Doctor Edward Erin faked asthma drug results which proved fatal

18 June 2013

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Doctor Edward Erin faked asthma drug results which proved fatal

A British doctor faked test results during clinical trials for an asthma drug in which one person died and others contracted cancer and pneumonia. The  trial began in 2003, when a twelve researchers at Imperial College London began trialling a new drug on 38 asthma sufferers at St Mary’s Hospital, London, where Dr Edward Erin worked as a chest consultant.

The results had been partly based on data by Erin, whose job was to analyse the build-up of  sputum taken from patients' lungs, enabling the scientific team as a whole to assess what the drug might achieve. What was not known was that an analysis of one set of tests, which looked at the build-up of mucus developing in the lungs of patients, was ‘bogus’. Those findings were the result of work done by Erin. 

 “There were serious side effects,” Professor Barnes said. “Pneumonia and cancer.” Dr Wenzel added: “It is potentially one of the big finds if it works, but Golimumab had substantial side effects.”

The next day the US Food and Drug Administration ordered a shut-down of the trials. But it was too late. “One death occurred in the 200mg group,” the American Journal of Respiratory and Clinical Care (AJRCC) dispassionately reported. 

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