Tuesday, November 25, 2014

An interesting development: Novartis fires employee for academic dishonesty

I'm sure folks saw this Retraction Watch posting
A former Vanderbilt University biomedical engineer committed fraud on a massive scale, according to a new Office of Research Integrity (ORI) report. 
Igor Dzhura is banned from receiving federal funding for three years, and is retracting six papers, which have been cited more than 500 times. Since leaving Vanderbilt, he has worked at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and now works at Novartis.
But this little tidbit is definitely worth noting:
Update 1:20 p.m. Eastern, 11/21/14: A Novartis representative reached out to inform us that they’ve fired Dzhura after discovering he included the faked papers on his application: 
"We have learned that Igor Dzhura included papers with fraudulent data in his application for employment at Novartis.  Falsifying data is not acceptable and we have terminated his employment with the company. We are conducting an internal review to ensure that there was not any scientific misconduct related to his research here."
Dr. Oransky says (at Pharmalot) that "[this] is the first case we’ve seen in which a drug company has immediately fired someone for such revelations." I'm guessing that this may set a precedent, or highlight contradictions where people have not been dismissed. That said, most folks don't get the full blast of an ORI report.

Readers, is Dr. Oransky correct in that this is the first case of a pharma company firing an employee for academic integrity issues? 

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