Doctor facing research fraud charge

Federal prosecutors in Boston announced Thursday that they have filed a health care fraud charge against a doctor accused of faking research for a dozen years in published studies that suggested after-surgery benefits from painkillers including Vioxx and Celebrex.

Court documents indicate that anesthesiologist Scott Reuben has agreed to plead guilty in exchange for prosecutors recommending a sentence of up to 10 years in jail, a $250,000 fine and forfeiture of assets received for the research worth at least $50,000.

Prosecutors allege the former chief of acute pain at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., received research grants from pharmaceutical companies but never performed the studies. He fabricated patient data and submitted information to anesthesiology journals that unwittingly published it, court documents allege.

Two of the drugs that Reuben reported favorable results for, Vioxx and Bextra, were pulled from the market amid evidence they raised the risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

How can someone who is supposed to be a healer and care for people show such callousness, knowing that his reports would affect drug use by thousands of patients?

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