Already disgraced Norwegian doctor, Jon Sudbo, apparently has more to be ashamed of than simply faking the data for a major cancer. He has now admitted also fabricating data for two scientific articles about cancer of the mouth in leading medical journals.
According to Sudbo’s attorney, Erling Lyngtveit: "There were three articles in which the basic material was not correctly handled" by Sudbo, once a respected cancer expert at Norway’s Radium Hospital.
Sudbo has now admitted making up data for an April 2004 article in the New England Journal of Medicine and also for one in March 2005 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. These latest revelations come a week after his cancer study in the October 2005 issue of the Lancet was exposed as false.
The attorney stated that Sudbo plans to cooperate fully with investigators. Sudbo claims that none of his co-authors knew that he was faking data. "This was not about money at all. It’s really about the things that in other contexts are positive and drive research forward — honor, fame, success, to be able to point to achievements."
Sudbo remains on sick leave since his hospital, first accused him of faking the data in his article in the Lancet.
Sudbo falsely claimed to have based his conclusions in the New England Journal of Medicine cancer study on Norway’s register of deaths. He has now admitted he had not had access to the register.
In the article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Sudbo also lied about having taken blood samples from all the smokers involved in a survey when he had not done so.
Sudbo is under investigation by his hospital and Norwegian health authorities who can reprimand, fire, or bar doctors from practicing medicine. Norway is now considering passing a new law that would make such fraud a crime for which a jail sentence could be imposed.
In the Lancet article, Sudbo and his co-authors claimed that commonly used painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen can reduce the risk of mouth cancer in smokers, but that long-term use could increase the risk of dying of heart disease.
The hospital said that Sudbo made up patients for the falsified review of 454 people with oral cancer.
The original claims of Sudbo’s study were seen as promising for people who no longer had access to Vioxx and Bextra, which were pulled from the market in 2004 and 2005 respectively because they pose an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The hospital is at a loss to explain Sudbo’s motive for fabricating data; however, a top official there said, “All of it was fabricated.”
The investigating committee announced it would also be examining other research papers by Sudbo, including the two he has now admitted faking.