Cases of medical fraud in the US continue to come to light. Following on from the discovery that falsified data found its way into a major cancer study, two medical centres are under investigation for misrepresenting data in a study into ocular melan

The two centres, the Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, are being investigated by the Office of Research Integrity of the Department of Health and Human Sciences.

Although the charges against the centres have not been revealed, they are believed to include altering patient records, backdating reports and reporting inaccurate dates for eye examinations.

Researchers heading up the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study are confident that the data, if fraudulent, will not affect the overall outcome. In all, 43 centres across the US are participating.

As the study is still in its early stages, no recommendations for treatment changes have been made.

It is a second blow in quick succession for medical research in the US. Earlier this year it was revealed that part of the data in a major 1985 study into breast cancer, the biggest of its kind ever undertaken in North America, contained falsified data.

The results of the survey changed the way American doctors treated breast cancer, shifting from mastectomy to lumpectomy plus radiotherapy for early stage cancer.

A swiftly assembled analysis showed that the survey outcome was not altered when the falsified data was removed.

!AJAMA, 18 May 1994.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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