Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Scientist Accused in 800,000 Deaths

From behind the pay wall at Science Magazine:

Suspect Drug Research Blamed for Massive Death Toll

In a paper published in and then withdrawn from the European Heart Journal, two British cardiologists, Darrel Francis and Graham Cole allege that scientific misconduct by a Dutch heart researcher, Don Poldermans, has cost approximately 800,000 lives.

In 2011 Poldermans was fired by Erasmus MC after allegations of research fraud including data fabrication.  His work was cited was used to create guidelines that lead to the use of beta-blockers in people receiving heart surgery.  When his research is omitted, the preponderance of evidence suggests that using beta-blockers with heart surgery is more likely to lead to negative outcomes, including death.

Given how common heart surgery is now, even a small added risk multiplies out to huge numbers.

Poldermans was the author of over 300 papers.  Is this a case of publish and perish?

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