Exposure of fraud in GP drug tests 'on the rise' (CORRECTED)

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The Independent Online
CORRECTION (PUBLISHED 25 JANUARY 1993) APPENDED TO THIS ARTICLE

FRAUD and misconduct by family doctors using patients in clinical trials for drug companies are increasingly being exposed, according to a book published yesterday, writes Rosie Waterhouse.

Fraud and Misconduct in Medical Research, published by the British Medical Journal, is likely to outrage many GPs. It suggests that fraud by doctors who recruit patients to take part in clinical trials of new drugs is as much, if not more, of a problem than fraudulent research by drug companies.

And it claims that while academic researchers are motivated by 'peer pressure' and the unreasonable demands and expectations of drug companies, GPs are driven by greed.

The book, edited by Stephen Lock, editor of the BMJ, and Frank Wells, medical director of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, lists five cases since 1990 of British family doctors who were struck off the medical register by the General Medical Council for faking data in drugs trials which involved their patients.

But these represent just the tip of the iceberg, contributors say.

The book cites a doctor who sent in identical electrocardiograms for each of six patients, and another who sent in data on 18 patients in each of whom the level of potassium in the blood was always, at each visit, between exactly the same narrow limits.

CORRECTION

THE British Medical Journal has asked us to point out that the editor of the publication is Dr Richard Smith and not Stephen Lock, as was stated in the Independent last Saturday, in a story concerning fraud in general practitioners' tests on drugs. Mr Lock is a former editor of the publication.

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