Blogger Power: Bloggers Expose Japanese Data Tampering in Clinical Trial

Blogger Power: Bloggers Expose Japanese Data Tampering in Clinical Trial

@DanGraur shared a report from Science titled “Tampered Data Cast Shadow on Drug Trial”. It is the story of blockbuster hypertension drug valsartan, commercially available as Diovan.

In a scandal reverberating across Japans biomedical research landscape, a university in Kyoto last week acknowledged data manipulation in a university- run clinical trial for a blockbuster hypertension drug, valsar-tan. Japanese media have turned the episode into a cause clbre; the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japans biggest newspapers, labeled it aserious betrayal for patients. Repercussions could extend beyond valsartan, marketed under the trade name Diovan by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis.

Interestingly, the initial questions about irregularity were raised by the bloggers, before mainstream journals and researchers figured out what is going on. Also, call to attention by bloggers may have reduced the time-frame for getting the scandal exposed.

In late 2011, bloggers started raising questions about alleged image manipulation in Matsubaras papers. Then, in an April 2012 letter to

The Lancet, Yui expressed concerns about Kyoto Heart Studys statistics and conclusions, writing that the effectiveness in preventing angina was not seenin other trials of valsartan like drugs or in clinical practice. Responding to requests from journals, KPUM started its own investigation. Matsubara resigned from KPUM in February, after the European Heart Journal, citing[c]ritical problems with some of the data,retracted the heart study paper.

Data were manipulated, KPUM President Toshikazu Yoshikawa bluntly stated atan 11 July press conference.

Who is to blame? That is not clear. Right now, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine (KPUM) researcher Matsubara is saying that an unknown Novartis employee is responsible and Novartis is blaming the academic researcher. There is an easy and inexpensive way to sort that out too. Pass all relevant information to bloggers.

Science journal, in its infinite wisdom, reported the story and came up with the wrong conclusion.

Matsubara received about $1.4 million for his research from Novartis. Such grants to clinical researchers are not unusual, but they highlight inadequate public support for clinical research in Japan, Tanimoto says.

It is as if pouring tons of public money turns people into ethical scientists !! Here are the right conclusions. Bloggers are the only winner in the whole episode, and they should be more capable to write the ‘NEWS & ANALYSIS’ column of Science. If we are asking for too much, maybe the ‘NEWS & ANALYSIS’ column can offer the bloggers some ‘public support’ by naming which bloggers exposed the story. Why should only Lancet and European Heart Journal be named in your articles, and bloggers who got there first be mentioned as mere ‘bloggers’?

Written by M. //