Scientist gets jail time for falsifying drug test results

A scientist who faked research data for experimental anti-cancer drugs has been jailed for three months for falsifying test results…Steven Eaton, from Cambridgeshire, has become the first person in the UK to be jailed under scientific safety laws.

Eaton, 47, was working at the Edinburgh branch of US pharmaceutical firm Aptuit in 2009 when he came up with the scam…If it had been successful, cancer patients who took the drug could have been harmed, the court was told…Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Eaton had manipulated the results of an experiment so it was deemed successful when it had actually failed.

When bosses at his firm scrutinised his work, they noticed that it was fraudulent.

They stopped work on the project that Eaton was involved in, and reported him to watchdogs at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency…Investigators there discovered that Eaton had been selectively reporting research data since 2003…

The story emerged after Eaton was convicted last month under legislation called the 1999 Good Laboratory Practice Regulations…Sentence had been deferred so that the court could obtain reports about Eaton’s character.

Sheriff Michael O’Grady said: “I feel that my sentencing powers in this are wholly inadequate. You failed to test the drugs properly – you could have caused cancer patients unquestionable harm

Almost bemusing to see the long arm of the law come down on an individual crook in the pharmaceuticals industry. The cardinal rule of commerce in drugs and potions designed to extend life, ease and enable the ill is that nothing supersedes profitability.

Certainly, long term balance sheet considerations played a role in this case – as well as the potential for killing off customers. Providing an opportunity for politicians and bureaucrats to pat themselves on the back is always a hit, as well.

Yes, I’m glad to see a corrupt, phony scientist get jail time for his crime. Mail me a penny postcard when there is comparable effort focused on corporate theft from the body politic.