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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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Busted! Couple Imprisoned for Faking Data
8 September 2000 7:00 pm
In what scientific misconduct experts say is an unusual crime, a federal judge has sentenced a former drug company executive to 3 years in prison for falsifying data in a clinical trial. His co-conspirator was sentenced to 2.5 years.
Prosecutors charged that Harry Snyder, a former vice president of BioCryst Pharmaceutical in Birmingham, Alabama, and his wife, nurse Renee Peugeot, conspired to make BCX-34, a drug developed to treat psoriasis and T cell lymphoma, appear effective. The couple planned to cash in by selling stock in the company when the share price rose on news of the drug's success, prosecutors alleged. But BioCryst abandoned the drug several years ago after informing regulators about study irregularities. Last month a jury convicted the couple of conspiracy, mail fraud, and making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration.
Snyder and Peugeot's lawyers have appealed the verdict, maintaining that the pair made only record-keeping errors. Criminalizing research mistakes is "unprecedented," says Mark White, Peugeot's lawyer.
Although the government routinely prosecutes stock manipulators, researchers don't often face criminal charges for falsifying data, agrees Chris Pascal, director of the Office of Research Integrity at the Department of Health and Human Services. Scientific misconduct cases, he says, typically end up in court only if the researcher appeals government disciplinary action.