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January 13, 1984

Fraud in Medical Research

Author Affiliations

SUNY Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn, NY

JAMA. 1984;251(2):215. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340260023008

To the Editor.—  I am impelled to comment on the extensive report in MEDICAL NEWS1 concerning the latest in an unfortunately growing body of literature on fraud in medical research.Each episode is, of course, in itself disturbing. But there is one aspect of each episode that I find particularly troubling and about which I have seen no previous comment. I refer to the actual fate of the protagonist. In this latest instance, he is "now in a second residency program... retraining as a critical care specialist." Elsewhere in the article, his is described as "the harshest penalty the federal government has ever imposed on a researcher for falsifying data."The relegation of a disgraced physician-investigator to the practice of medicine has become the norm in what the JAMA article calls "the expanding annals of scientific fraud." It seems to me that the punishment is entirely inappropriate.I have