Altman, Lawrence K. "U.S. Halts Recruitment of Cancer Patients For Studies, Pointing to Flaws

 

Altman, Lawrence K. "U.S. Halts Recruitment of Cancer Patients For Studies, Pointing to Flaws
in Oversight," New York Times, 30 March 1994, p. B8.

Doctor Bernard Fisher of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project has been
ousted. His resignation was demanded by officials at the National Cancer Instituted, "The public
rebuke of Dr. Fisher was extraordinarily harsh punishment of a visible and distinguished
scientist. Officials at the National Institutes of Health said they could not immediately recall any
similar case."

"The disciplinary action was demanded by cancer institute officials after their repeated criticism
of Dr. Fisher for delays in detecting falsified data submitted by Dr. Roger Poisson at St. Luc
Hospital, in Montreal to the Pittsburgh center. The falsifications were first detected in 1990 and
not reported to the cancer institute for several months."

"In addition, on Monday the cancer institute said it had found a new discrepancy in a breast
cancer study at a second hospital in Montreal, St. Mary's. The cancer institute harshly criticized
Dr. Fisher's administrative abilities by saying his team had failed to follow up in a timely way
after it detected the irregularity at St. Mary's. The health officials said they had not yet
determined whether the irregularity was significant. But they said Dr. Fisher's team had violated
its own guidelines for conducting the breast cancer studies."

As a further consequence of the administrative mess, the institute has stopped enrolling patients
in its on-going studies of the effectiveness of the drug tomoxifen. Other on-going studies will
also be delayed.