Doc Goes To Jail In Pfizer Research Fraud Case


scott-reubenScott 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.

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  1. Who’s going to host the Jeff Foxworthy show?

  2. I hope this sets a precedent!!

  3. Who’s going to replace Lee Majors as The Fall Guy?

  4. Interesting that Scott Reuben commits felony fraud while gets sentenced to six months jail time (which in real terms mean probably around three months at some country club facility and then home detention). Then he will have to repay some grant money, has his privileges with the hospital terminated, but no where do you read about his medical license being revoked and suspended.

    If this is the case, he could be moving down to UM Florida in the near future applying for a job and government grants as a celebrated colleague of Nemeroff in all practical theory.


  5. Real justice. A 6 month jail term for this level of fraud. A pothead can get more than that for buying or selling a joint. And we wonder why the fraud never ends in the field of medicine?

  6. Evelyn Pringle and Ms.Piggy right on target with the comments on this one!

  7. What about his medical license?

  8. Maybe he will find a profitable second career at an HMO or PBM in comparative effectiveness research!?!

  9. “…an investigation found 21 papers published in journals between 1996 and 2008 in which Reuben made up some or all of the data…

    Plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose… Thanks be to God that all the other studies that get published are scrupulous in their presentation of the truth.


  10. This is one of the reasons Massachusetts passed laws banning onerous drug marketing in the state. Notice that the drug companies(Pfizer,Wyeth) never picked up on this scam, they were too busy celebrated the ‘results”, paying Reuben big bucks.It was his own hospital that found out the research was a joke. These companies have only one interest and it is not patients!!

  11. Interesting to Pfizer was pushing the same indication for Bextra–perioperative pain–which was part of the big bust.

    From what I understand, there was no real data in that instance either.

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