Prominent Medical Researcher Charged with Health Care Fraud for Falsifying ResearchJanuary 19, 2010
By Peter M. Jaensch –
On January 14, 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts issued a statement announcing the charging of Doctor Scott Reuben, a former Chief of Acute Pain at Bay State Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts, with one count of health care fraud (18 U.S.C. §1347), alleging that Dr. Reuben falsified medical research.
The Information filed in the case alleges that Dr. Reuben sought and obtained research funding to study drugs used in multimodal analgesia therapy from companies manufacturing such drugs. In his proposals to these companies, Dr. Reuben represented that he would perform clinical trials and present the results in an article for publication. However, the government alleges that he never enrolled any patients and simply fabricated his results, which he then presented as legitimate research. Although the government alleges an overarching course of conduct extending back to at least 1999, the specific charges are based on the defendant’s alleged fraud against Pfizer, Inc. in connection with a study of its drug Celebrex.
Dr. Reuben has entered a plea agreement with the government in which he agrees, among other things, to make substantial restitution to several pharmaceutical companies. The agreement has not yet been accepted by the court. What effect the revelation of this fraud may have in the wider healthcare and clinical research communities remains to be seen.