Adam, David. "Paper Retracted as Co-Author Admits Forgery," Nature 421 (20 February 2003),
In a case more befitting Sherlock Holmes, London's Imperial College is investigating how
several cardiology researchers found themselves authors of a paper that they knew little or
The bizarre incident came to light on 10 February, when the New England Journal of Medicine
published a retraction notice on its website. In it, the editors said that several of the eight authors
on the original paper had not seen the original data or copies of the manuscript.
Suspicions were raised as soon as the paper was published on 24 October last year (W. Shamin et
al. New Engl. J. Med. 347, 1326-1333, 2002) " Over a number of days it became apparent to use
that not all the authors had bewen fully involved in preparing the paper," sayd Gregory Curfman,
executive editor of the journal.
But all eight signatures appeared on both the original submission and the three revised versions
of the paper that followed. Several of these signatures, it emerged over the following weeks, were
forgeries. "There were falsified signatures on the letters accompanying the original and revised
versions of the manuscript," Curfman says.
The paper describes a long-term follow-up study of 64 patients with hypertropic cardiomyopathy,
a heart condition caused by overgrowth of the muscular wall that separates the left and right
ventricles. The patients were treated by injecting ethanol into an artery leading to the thickened
Curfman puts the blame for the deception squarely on the shoulders of just one of the co-authors,
who confessed in a brief letter to the journal that he had forged the signatures. But some people
close to the case, including one of the co-authors who had had his signature forget and did not
want to be identified, point at more than one culprit.
Six of the authors on the papers were listed as having affiliations to the National Hweart and
Lung Institute at London's Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital, now part of Imperial
College. A spokesperson for Imperial says that an inquiry, headed by the college's recor, Richard
Sykes, is already under way. It is expected to report within three months, and the college will
then decide whether disciplinary action is needed.
Nature understands that one focus of the paper's author: Waqar Shamin, a hospital consultant
described as an affiliated member of Imperial College, and Mohammed Yousufuddin, a physician
who previously worked as a temporary research fellow at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and who
is listed as a student on Imperial's website.
Shamin is the first named author on the paper and, Curfman says, was the corresponding author
on each of three previous versions. Youszufuddin is listed as the corresponding author on the
published manuscript, which states that both researchers "contributed equally to this article."
Neither Shamin nor Yousuffudin, who has taken legal advice, according to some of those
involved, could be traced for comment.
Hubert Seggewiss, a cardiologist at a hospital in Schweinfurt, Germany, and another of the co-
cuthrs listed on the paper, says that the article was a total surprise. "The first thing I knew of it
was when Yousufuddin rang me two days before its publication to congratulate me, and to ask
me about the method involved in case journalists questioned him," Seggewiss says.
One of the pioneers of the technique described in the paper, Seggewiss says that he has
performed it on over 600 patients. But he does not recognize the study in the paper and says that
he has never met Shamin or Yousufuddin. "The probably used my name because in the
cardiology field I am famous for this technique," he says.
He says that some of the data "just don't add up," but adds that Imperial's investigation will
establish formally whether or not the conclusions are sound."
Kefauver, Estes (with the assistance of Irene Till), In A Few Hands: Monopoly Power in
America. New York: Pantheon, 1965.
This is a posthumous book by the late senator from Tennessee. Kefauver was chair of the Senate
subcommittee on monopoly for several years and that committee had years of meetings on the
topic. There are some 29 volumes of reports on that work and some of the materials are
classified. The senator undertook to write this book to get the information he had amassed in
those hearings to the public. Now the most famous of his hearings - the ones which attracted the
most attention - focused on the drug industry and that material is covered in but a single chapter
here, Chapter 1, Monopoly and Prices, The Case of Drugs, pp. 8-79. It's that chapter which I'll
The drug industry of the 1950s is very much the same industry we still experience a half century
later. The things the business executives had to say then are the same things they are saying now:
prices justified in terms of "research costs" and in terms of the quality of life delivered with these
drugs. If the prices seem high, it is because some users of these products do not make enough
money and the government should see to it that they get more money, not try to cut the price of
drugs. Yet, the industry continues to have returns which are the best of any industry in the
The names of some of the blockbuster drugs have changed but the marketing techniques have