Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Facts in Scientific Drug Literature May Not Be

From the 29 May 2012 article at ScienceNewsDaily

A growing concern with fraud and misconduct in published drug studies has led researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research to investigate the extent and reasons for retractions in the research.

“We were surprised to find the proportion of retractions due to scientific misconduct in the drug literature is higher than in general biomedical literature,” said Simon Pickard, associate professor of pharmacy practice and senior author of a study published in the journalPharmacotherapy.

Nearly three-quarters of the retracted drug studies were attributed to scientific misconduct, he said, “which includes data falsification or fabrication, questionable veracity, unethical author conduct, or plagiarism. While these studies comprise a small percentage of the overall literature, health care professionals may rely on this evidence to make treatment recommendations.”

These studies can affect the treatment of thousands of patients, since scientific publications are often printed months in advance. There is an average lag in time of 39 months between the original publication and a retraction notice, Pickard said.

“Once a health care professional changes treatment options, it’s not easy to reverse,” said Jennifer Samp, a fellow in Pickard’s research group and lead author of the study. “Staying current with new findings in scientific literature is a priority for health care practitioners — especially pharmacists — and it is important for them to know when a study has been retracted, especially those with manipulated data.”…

May 31, 2012 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , ,

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