By Ed Silverman // June 25th, 2010 // 7:45 am
Scott Reuben, who was accused of faking research for a dozen years in published studies that suggested after-surgery benefits from Vioxx and Celebrex, was sentenced to six months in jail plus three years supervised release after he pleaded guilty earlier this year to health care fraud, MassLive reports. The 51-year-old must also repay $361,932 in research grants, forfeit assets worth at least $50,000 and pay a $5,000 fine.
The former chief of acute pain at Baystate Medical Center received grants from various drugmakers but never performed the studies, fabricated patient data and submitted info to anesthesiology journals that was unwittingly published. Later, an investigation found 21 papers published in journals between 1996 and 2008 in which Reuben made up some or all of the data (background here and here).
The hospital asked the journals to retract the studies, some of which reported favorable results from painkillers including Pfizer’s Bextra, Celebrex and Lyrica, and Merck’s Vioxx. His studies also claimed Wyeth’s Effexor antidepressant could be used as a painkiller. Pfizer gave Reuben five research grants between 2002 and 2007, and he was a member of the company’s speakers bureau, giving talks about Pfizer drugs to colleagues. Separately, the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia retracted 10 of Reuben’s studies last year while the journal Anesthesiology retracted three studies.