Memory Hole (28 October): Making punishment fit the crime

6 years ago today: Oxycontin - 282 deaths - purposeful misbranding

On 28 October 2001 "An extensive federal review of autopsy data has found that the powerful painkiller OxyContin is suspected of playing a role in the overdose deaths of 282 people in the last 19 months, more than twice the number in some previous estimates."

Although it was initially put out that the deaths were related to illicit abuse of the drug, in fact less than 10 of the deaths were due to intravenous abuse and only 1 to snorting. Most were conventional patients who took the tablets orally or after crushing. Purdue Pharma heavily promoted the drug as safer than other narcotics because its active ingredient was in a time-release mechanism.

In 2007 the Purdue Frederick Company pleaded guilty to felony charges that they purposely misbranded the OxyContin with intent to mislead and defraud. Purdue and the three executives paid $634,515,475. Those named are President Michael Friedman, Executive Vice President Howard Udell, and former Executive Vice President Paul D. Goldenheim.

Is this scientific fraud? Did anyone go to prison?

See also Pharmagossip Make the punishment fit the crime

Source: New York Times Overdoses of Painkiller Are Linked to 282 Deaths, Oct 28 2001

2 years ago today: MIT fires Van Parijs - fabricating and falsifying

On 28 October 2004 M.I.T fired a biology professor (Luk Van Parijs) for fabricating research data. A group of colleagues reported faking to MIT administrators. Van Parijs admitted to fabricating and falsifying data in a paper several manuscripts and grant applications. The journal "Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics" later published a correction of an 2004 article. Van Parijs earned a doctorate in immunology from Harvard. He worked with Cal Tech President David Baltimore.

Another nice easy case. The same names and institutions keep cropping up, but perhaps a coincidence or a confounding variable.

New York Times, M.I.T. Dismisses a Researcher, Saying He Fabricated Some Data, 28 Oct 2005

Odds and ends

  • 515 years ago on 28 October 1492 - Christopher Columbus lands in Cuba (predating Michael Moore by 514 years).
  • 139 years ago on 28 October 1868 - Thomas Edison applied for his first patent, an electrical vote recorder. [See also <G Bush]

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