Jailed for Faking Data

A researcher working for a US pharmaceutical company’s Scotland branch is sent to prison for falsifying safety test data on experimental drugs due for clinical trials.

Apr 18, 2013
Dan Cossins

WIKIMEDIA, STEAKPINBALLA British scientist has this week (April 17) been sentenced to 3 months in prison for falsifying pre-clinical data for experimental drugs, reported The Daily Telegraph. It is the first time a researcher has been jailed under scientific regulation laws introduced in the United Kingdom in 1999.

Steven Eaton, who worked at US pharmaceutical company Aptuit’s site near Edinburgh, Scotland, performed liquid chromatography analyses to assess drug concentrations in blood, which helps to determine what doses of drug can safely be given to subjects in clinical trials. But in 2009, supervisors at Aptuit noticed irregularities in Eaton’s work and tipped off the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The subsequent investigation found that since 2003, Eaton had been manipulating calibrations such that his analyses were flawed—and may have persuaded his colleagues that drugs were suitable for clinical trials when in fact they were not.

“Mr. Eaton’s actions directly impacted on the validity of clinical trials and delayed a number of medicines coming to market,” Gerald Heddell, director of inspection, enforcement, and standards at the MHRA, told The Telegraph. “This conviction sends a message that we will not hesitate to prosecute those whose actions have the potential to harm public health.”