Blood pressure papers retracted over fake data


22 Sep 2015

Two papers published in prestigious journals have been retracted after the lead author from Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne admitted to fabricating data.

The first paper published in JAMA in 2013 reported the results of a three year randomized controlled trial in which 24 weeks’ treatment with the blood pressure drug ramipril had led to significant increases in pain-free and maximum treadmill walking times.

The second paper published in Circulation Research in 2014 reported that patients treated with ramipril had shown marked improvement in biomarkers of angiogenesis, as well as significant reductions in markers for thrombosis, inflammation, and leukocyte adhesion.

An internal inquiry by Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute revealed anomalies that triggered an investigation, which resulted in an admission of fabricated results by Dr Anna Ahimastos.

Full Retraction letter published in JAMA:

We wish to retract the article “Effect of Ramipril on Walking Times and Quality of Life Among Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease and Intermittent Claudication: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” published in the February 6, 2013, issue of JAMA.1 A recent internal subanalysis of these data revealed anomalies, which triggered an investigation and an admission of fabricated results by Anna A. Ahimastos, PhD, who is both the first and corresponding author and was responsible for data collection and integrity for the article. No other coauthors were involved in this misrepresentation. In particular, the data collected at the Townsville and Brisbane sites remain valid. Given the current indications for ramipril, we do not believe that patients have been adversely affected. All authors recognize the seriousness of this issue and apologize unreservedly to the editors, reviewers, and readers of JAMA. A system of good clinical practice was in place; however, clinical governance and audit procedures will be reviewed and strengthened to minimize the chance of possible recurrence of such behavior. We are also in the process of examining other studies for which Dr Ahimastos had oversight of data collection and integrity.

We sincerely regret that this study has been compromised. We feel deeply disappointed and let down by this situation and are committed to rapidly correcting the public record and implementing practices to prevent recurrence.

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