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Feds Accuse Doc of Faking Research On Pfizer & Merck Drugs

Feds Accuse Doc of Faking Research On Pfizer & Merck Drugs
By James A. White

It looks like Scott Reuben, the Massachusetts anesthesiologist said to have used phony research data in 21 published papers, has reached a plea deal with the feds.

Federal prosecutors accused Reuben of health-care fraud for allegedly faking
data that suggested after-surgery benefits from painkillers including Merck’s
Vioxx and Pfizer’s Bextra and Celebrex, the Justice Department said yesterday.
The Justice announcement said he faces as much as a 10-year sentence and a
$250,000 fine.

But the Associated Press said Reuben, the former chief of acute pain at Baystate
Medical Center in Springfield, has agreed to plead guilty in exchange for
prosecutors recommending a more lenient sentence. The sentence would also
reportedly include forfeiting assets of at least $50,000 that Reuben received
for the allegedly phony research. The Republican, a Springfield newspaper, said
Reuben has signed a plea agreement under which he must pay $420,000 in
restitution to pharmaceutical companies.

Reuben is accused with taking pharma money for doing research, then fabricating
results and getting studies published in anesthesiology journals.The tale began
to unravel last year as Baystate said it found Reuben had faked data and the
Boston U.S. attorney began looking into the case. (For refreshers, see our
posts here and here.)

Reuben’s attorney has said in the past his client cooperated with the hospital
review and expressed regret. The lawyer didn’t immediately return a call for
comment after Thursday’s federal complaint, the AP said.

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