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Rotten Apple Award Goes To ... Army Doctor Who Forged Study, Got Gig With Medical Company

This is so much worse than your typical conflict-of-interest case. This guy pushed a less-effective drug because he was the manufacturer's minion? I w

This is so much worse than your typical conflict-of-interest case. This guy pushed a less-effective drug because he was the manufacturer's minion? I wonder how those Iraq veterans with the busted-up legs feel about this. I hope a few of them track this guy down and let him know what they think of him.

But let's not ignore the manufacturer in all this. After all, it was probably their idea:

A former surgeon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, who is a paid consultant for a medical company, published a study that made false claims and overstated the benefits of the company’s product in treating soldiers severely injured in Iraq, the hospital’s commander said Tuesday.

An investigation by Walter Reed found that the study cited higher numbers of patients and injuries than the hospital could account for, said the commander, Col. Norvell V. Coots.

“It’s like a ghost population that were reported in the article as having been treated that we have no record of ever having existed,” Colonel Coots said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “So this really was all falsified information.”

The former Army surgeon, Dr. Timothy R. Kuklo, reported that a bone-growth product sold by Medtronic Inc. had much higher success in healing the shattered legs of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed than other doctors there had experienced, according to Colonel Coots and a summary of an Army investigation of the matter.

Dr. Kuklo, 48, now an associate professor at the Washington University medical school in St. Louis, did not respond to numerous e-mail messages and telephone calls to his office and home seeking comment over the last two weeks. Walter Reed officials say he did not respond to their inquiries during their investigation.

Army investigators found that Dr. Kuklo forged the signatures of four Walter Reed doctors on the article before submitting it last year to a British medical journal, falsely claiming them as co-authors. He also did not obtain the Army’s required permission to conduct the study.

“This was a real letdown for us to have one of our former members do something like this,” one of those doctors, Lt. Col. Romney C. Andersen, wrote in an e-mail message Tuesday. Dr. Andersen, now posted at a combat hospital in Baghdad, said he could not comment further without the permission of his commanders.

It was Dr. Andersen who brought the problem to the Army’s attention last year, prompting the inquiry. In its March edition, at the Army’s request, the journal retracted the article — something that has gone largely unnoticed outside orthopedic circles.

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