Fraud earns researcher time in jail

In a rare occurrence, New York VA researcher receives 71 months in jail for altering patient records

Anne Harding(anne_harding@yahoo.com)
Dec 12, 2005

A Veterans Administration researcher based in New York was sentenced to almost 6 years in jail after he admitted to doctoring patient test results – an extreme punishment for an extreme crime, experts say.

The VA's Paul Kornak was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to 71 months in jail in November after he admitted to altering a patient's blood test results so the patient could be enrolled in a cancer drug study, even though his kidney and liver function were impaired. The patient died during the study.

Experts say cases like Kornak's, in which a person is convicted of harming someone through research misconduct, are exceedingly rare. But one critic of the pharma industry says they point to serious flaws within the clinical trials system that may harm patients on a much larger scale, and penalties similar to the one Kornak received may be warranted for other researchers...