The Jurisprudential Nature of Fraud in Biomedical Publishing
Medicine and Law: The World Association for Medical Law 2008 June; 27(2): 285-305
When instances of fraud in biomedical publishing come to light there is widespread indignation, not least because the consequences seem usually only to be internal enquiries and professional displeasure. A number of bodies have been constituted to improve publishing ethics and but these are largely advisory. Potentially though, actions in the tort of deceit and negligence, possibly misfeasance in a public office, and loss of chance could be brought against those responsible. These aspects are examined in the context of English law. In addition the new Fraud Act (2006) appears to be wide enough in scope to cover publishing fraud as a criminal offence. Any organisation such as a drug company financing clinical trials which produce spurious results could face serious losses and might well look to remedies in contract as well as in tort. A theoretical scenario centered on a drug trial is presented in order to explore these issues.
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