A national panel to combat scientific fraud was proposed by leading doctors yesterday after detected cases soared to 100 in the past four years. Unethical treatment, failure to obtain consent and fabricated results emerge regularly in scientific research but there is no formal system for detecting or dealing with them, doctors said.
Members of the Committee for Publication Ethics, set up by the editors of leading medical journals, stepped up their campaign yesterday for a national body with powers to tackle fraud. The United States andScandinavia have had such agencies for a decade
Last July, Dr Paul Chima, a GP in West Lothian, was struck off the medical register July for trying to get cash from a pharmaceutical company for a phoney drug trial. The GMC heard he had offered one patient a bribe of £2,000 not to report him to the authorities.
Again last year, Anjan Kumar Banerjee was found guilty by the General Medical Council of falsifying his research into Crohn's disease at King's College Hospital in 1990. He had fabricated test results for 12 "subjects" by substituting his urine for theirs.
At least six cases involving research fraud await hearings before the GMC but doctors fear many more go undetected because of the absence of a verifying system, or even expectation of investigation.
Professor Sir George Alberti, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: "The situation is shambolic. There is a tendency to hush things up ... and there is a major deficit in training in good practice. We need a panel that must be independent and have real stature. This is absolutely critical."
The powers of the panel have not been worked out.Reuse content