Doctors are accused of plagiarising a medical guide to produce a smartphone app

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 03 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5426
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

Three doctors are accused of plagiarising a book on critical appraisal to create a smartphone application, in a misconduct hearing that began this week at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

Afroze Khan, Zishan Sheikh, and Shahnawaz Khan face charges of dishonesty in knowingly copying structure, contents, and material from the Doctor’s Guide to Critical Appraisal, by Narinder Gosall and Gurpal Gosall, when developing the app, representing it as their own work and seeking to make a gain from the plagiarised material.

The tribunal service alleged that Khan, Sheikh, and Khan released their app, called Critical APPraisal, for sale on the Apple iTunes Store in July 2011. A later edition of the original book won first prize in the basis of medicine category at the BMA medical book awards in 2012.

The two Khans, who are brothers, are also accused of dishonestly posting favourable reviews of the app on the Apple iTunes Store to encourage people to buy it, without disclosing that they were co-developers and that they had a financial interest in the app.

Material still on the web referring to the app includes the quote, “Wow the best thing since sliced bread—Mr Afroze Khan MRCS.” The same website describes the app as “the first and only smart phone app dedicated to helping healthcare professionals in critically appraising medical literature.”

All three doctors graduated from the University of London between 2004 and 2008. The General Medical Council alleges that their fitness to practise is impaired because of their misconduct. The hearing in Manchester is scheduled to finish on 20 September.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5426