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Recently, we blogged about the fake clinical trials of Dr. Scott Reuben, a Massachusetts doctor who has been accused of fabricating the data used in at least 21 different drug studies. The data Reuben falsified was used to demonstrate benefits of painkillers like Vioxx (since pulled from the market after causing thousands of heart attacks and strokes) and Celebrex (still on the black box market after causing heart attacks and strokes).

According to The Wall Street Journal, federal investigators have now subpoenaed Reuben’s financial records.

The Baystate Medical Center, where the anesthesiologist Reuben headed the acute pain unit until he was terminated on March 19, after evidence of his clinical trial manipulation had come out, received the subpoena from the Boston U.S. attorney’s office for financial records related to Reuben’s work.

A spokeswoman said the Springfield, Mass., medical center isn’t a target of the investigation. The hospital is "fully cooperating," the spokeswoman said.

In an interview last month, attorney Ingrid Martin said Dr. Reuben "deeply regrets that this happened" and cited unspecified "extenuating circumstances." -David Armstrong and Keith Winstein, The Wall Street Journal

Officials at Pfizer, Wyeth, and Merck have admitted to funding some of Reuben’s studies.

In a statement, Merck said it "was not aware of any issues with Dr. Reuben’s papers, or the data underlying them, until very recently." Pfizer said its support for Dr. Reuben’s research was based on the fact "he worked for a credible academic medical center and appeared to be a reputable investigator." Wyeth said it provided $10,000 in grant money to Dr. Reuben from 2001 to 2003. –WSJ

Hopefully, Reuben is not the first of many doctors to come forward admitting to fabricating the data of clinical trials for the drugs many of us depend on to save our lives…or alternatively, not to kill us. The clinical research of every doctor receiving money from drug companies (and this should stop too) needs to be closely monitored by regulatory agencies to keep this from happening again.

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