The Boston U.S. Attorney’s office has subpoenaed financial records belonging to Dr. Scott S. Reuben, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Reuben, an anesthesiologist and head of the acute-pain unit, was terminated from Baystate Medical Center March 19, after it was revealed that he faked data in at least 21 anesthesiology studies between 1996 and 2008.
Wyeth, Pfizer, and Merck funded his research on the drugs Celebrex and Vioxx and Bextra. Both Vioxx and Bextra have since been taken off the market because of consumer safety concerns.
So far he has not been charged with anything. Reuben’s attorney tells the Wall Street Journal that the doctor “deeply regrets that this happened.”
The hospital, located in Springfield, Mass., is reportedly not the target of any investigation and is “fully cooperating” with the federal investigation.
Baystate was named as one of America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in 2008.
The discrepancies in Dr. Reuben’s work were noted by the hospital’s chief academic officers last spring which led to the larger investigation.
Published Works Retracted
The journal Anesthesia & Analgesics has listed a Retraction Notice on the published articles, while the journal Anesthesiology had to retract three of his articles.
Baystate requested medical journals to retract 21 studies that published some of the favorable results about Pfizer Inc.’s Bextra and Merck’s Vioxx.
Dr. Reuben also gave a published green light for Wyeth’s antidepressant Effexor XR to be used as a pain remedy and Pfizer’s Celebrex and Lyrica.
Dr. Reuben has reportedly been on medical leave since May 2008 and is no longer a professor of medicine at Tufts University medical school.
Merck said in a statement it "was not aware of any issues with Dr. Reuben's papers, or the data underlying them, until very recently."
Pfizer also expressed surprise, even though it had financed Dr. Reuben as a paid speaker and as a researcher. Wyeth said it was not aware of any conflict-of-interest.
Because of Dr. Reuben’s standing, his opinion mattered. At least one pain service at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center plans to review he protocols encouraged to treat pain by Dr. Reubens.
The WSJ says the center is conducting its own studies to verify the efficacy of the drugs Dr. Reuben claimed were effective painkillers. #