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Alzheimer’s researchers face trial for scientific fraud and defrauding US government

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e3608 (Published 22 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3608
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

A leading US researcher in Alzheimer’s disease and two Harvard teaching hospitals face trial later this year, charged with using fraudulent scientific data to obtain a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The suit relies on the False Claims Act of 1863, which penalises contractors who defraud the government.

The case is thought to be the first such involving alleged scientific fraud to go to trial in the United States—most previous cases have dealt with contractors defrauding the government by providing faulty supplies.

More lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act on the basis of scientific data manipulation may be expected, said Michael Kohn, of the Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto law firm in Washington, DC, who represents the whistleblower who exposed the fraud. “This is a major breakthrough holding universities accountable for the integrity of reported research results,” he said.

Those charged are Marilyn Albert, a former professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical …

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