Richard Smith, the chair of the board of trustees at BMJ, penned an editorial yesterday bringing increased scrutiny to research misconduct and medical fraud in the UK. Smith identifies denial about the seriousness of the problem and the reluctance of universities to submit themselves to reviews as the two major reasons that Britain has failed to address these issues.
Smith begins with the story to draw attention to the need for regulation and policy to address research misconduct:
“Anjan Kumar Banerjee, a surgeon, spent the years 2002 to 2008 erased from the medical register for serious professional misconduct related to research fraud, financial misconduct, and substandard care, yet in 2014 he was awarded an MBE “for services to patient safety.”1 This embarrassing mistake was quickly rectified, and the MBE forfeited. But he remains a fellow of three medical colleges. Each either awarded him or reinstated a fellowship after his erasure, and the University of London has not withdrawn his MS degree, which has been known for 15 years to be based on fraudulent data.”
A recently revealed “secret dossier” about research and medical malpractice also fuels Smith’s editorial:
“… An article in the Times Higher Education about a report to government that says: “Senior figures in UK science have warned that despite decades of awareness of the cultural problems driving misconduct in science, little progress has been made … The draft … concludes that some research institutes, university administrators, funders, journals and science leaders have been covering up malpractice.”
To read the whole editorial, click here →