College Corruption at Its Worst

March 6, 2013

I remember my university days when our basketball team made the news for taking a bribe and throwing some basketball games. The team was ostracized; our university suffered a black eye. If my parents had known about it, they would have transferred me out of there in a heartbeat.

I can’t imagine what they would have done if they had heard about the corruption going on at Ohio State University. They probably would have taken the university to court for corrupting its innocent minors. And in those years, we were innocent.

But the situation is even more extensive than just OSU. It is only the tip of the iceberg. Corruption is so widespread in this country that it has infiltrated academia nationally.

It has been reported that “Federal officials found evidence that more than 100 researchers nationwide committed misconduct over the past decade, and experts are certain that universities and other institutions underreport that fraud, which comes at an untold cost to taxpayers.”

Ohio State University is an example of underreporting. The university’s investigation of research misconduct by a pharmacy professor failed at first to recognize his deception. In fact, they glossed over it because millions of dollars in grants were at stake.

The pharmacy department concluded that the “irregular” images in journal articles on the part of professor Terry Elton were caused by disorganization, not “intentional malfeasance” on his part.

A year later, the federal Office of Research Integrity urged the university to reconsider the case, using a PowerPoint presentation to highlight a pattern of falsified images in Elton’s publications over the past decade.

It could no longer be hidden. The university was forced to admit that Elton had intentionally misstated figures in several journal articles and in a grant application to the National Institutes of Health.

John Dahlberg, director of the federal office’s investigative oversight division, wrote “It is clear from the PowerPoint that Dr. Elton has a long-standing convention of reusing figures to represent both control and experimental conditions. It would also appear that he has copied, resized/stretched/shrunk, darkened and flipped images (horizontally and vertically) … to conceal similarities.”

He went on to say that “the images in question include those of proteins and microRNAs – small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression.”

Elton was forced to retract all six of his articles although a total of $1.6 million in grant money was associated with this project.

The handling of Elton’s case raises questions about whether research misconduct inquiries at universities are rigorous enough to root out wrongdoing.

Dr. Ivan Oransky, co-founder of the blog Retraction Watch and executive editor of Reuters Health, said, “The Elton case should spur university officials to examine what they can do to make sure such an oversight doesn’t happen. It behooves them to do as thorough a job as possible rather than find excuses for why they didn’t find it the first time . . . If they need to be nudged, why should tax dollars be going to places that have very little accountability?”

The Office of Research Integrity received an anonymous tip about Elton’s research in July 2010. After Elton was cleared by the pharmacy department’s first investigation, Dahlberg asked that anyone who had a personal or working relationship with Elton be removed from the panel investigating the matter. He also requested that OSU officials ensure that the committee had members with expertise in reading Western blots, a lab technique used to detect proteins that Elton had reportedly falsified.

In a staggering decision, OSU will allow Elton, who is tenured, to keep his $130,146 a year job. In deference to the sensitive issue of the fraud that he committed, he will be barred from serving as primary advisor to undergraduate or graduate students, postdoctoral trainees or lab technicians for three years, plus other sanctions.

Dr. Oransky said, “Elton’s misconduct is similar to or greater than that of other researchers who lost their jobs. It’s unusual for this level of misconduct to not be punished by either an early resignation or early retirement.”

Elton’s written response was, “Although I strongly disagree with the conclusions of the College of Pharmacy Investigation Committee Report and the severity of the proposed sanctions, I take full responsibility for the figure irregularities in manuscripts outlined by (the National Institutes of Health).”

The fact that research misconduct allegations against Terry Elton were not proven until the Office of Research Integrity requested a second investigation suggests that research misconduct policies at Ohio State University were misused as tools to fuel greed and corruption. After all, why kill the “cash cow” for the sake of honesty and justice if it meant giving up millions of dollars in funding from federal grants and other sources at Ohio State University?

So, Elton will keep his $130,146 a year job and he will still be teaching at OSU; he just won’t be allowed to do research for three years. And he’s complaining about that? If this had been anywhere other than in academia, he would be going to prison for fraud.

Roughly 7,100 university faculty, staff and graduate research associates take part in research at Ohio State, according to the university. I can’t imagine any of them not feeling tainted by the association of Elton’s fraudulent research articles or students wanting to take his classes. I can’t imagine NIH not being reluctant to fund more grants for OSU, especially with the perpetrator of this fraud still on staff.

To make matters worse, OSU officials disclosed two other investigations of research misconduct over the past five years. One began in 2009 but has not been completed by the Office on Research Integrity, a university spokesman said. The other probe, which began in 2011, involved a pharmacy graduate student who the university will not name. He falsified lab data, according to a university report.

And all this makes me wonder how any student who is interested in pharmacology and/or interested in pharmacology research would want to enroll in a university that puts fraudulent research ahead of the welfare of their students and the welfare of the taxpayers.

 

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47 Responses to “College Corruption at Its Worst”

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    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Thank you for your kind words. When I heard about the corruption that is going on in the school of pharmacology at Ohio State University, I had to write this article.

      When fraud is committed by those who are researching drugs for the various diseases, that puts all of us at risk when we take the medicines that our doctors prescribe. If you have clinical depression and the research scientists have taken short cuts in their research data or falsified their findings, you could be worse off taking the prescription drug than taking nothing. Think about that every time you take a prescribed medicine, for anything, and this article about research scientists committing fraud, suddenly takes on new meaning when you experience the contraindications of that drug.

      The most alarming thing about all this is that NIH gave a research grant to Ohio State University of millions of dollars and, even after finding out that their money was used to perpetrate fraud in their research, that research grant was not withdrawn by NIH and that research scientist, who just got a little slap on the wrist for falsifying his data, is still drawing a paycheck of over $130,000 a year from OSU and teaching some of their pharmacology students.

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    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Welcome to my website. I post a different blog every day and none of them contain gossip so I hope you’ll keep coming back. In answer to your question, no, I don’t do newsletters; I assumed my daily blog would keep my readers up to date on what’s going on in my world.

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Thank you for your nice feedback. If you are taking prescription drugs, let’s hope that the ones who conducted the clinical studies of your medicines were not the ones in my article who committed fraud.

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Actually, Google was very kind. This article about the people who commit criminally fraudulent research on the prescription drugs you take, had over 45 million views and it was published in about forty publications. Not too shabby. It shows that a lot of people are concerned about the drugs that their doctors are prescribing for them… and they SHOULD be concerned about their prescription drugs.

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    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Thank you for your feedback and welcome to my website. The article you just read highlights the fraud that is being committed in Ohio State University in the research department. The prescription drugs you take may actually be very dangerous for you if they were researched by some of the professors from Ohio State University who were found guilty of fraud.

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Go to my website, ConnieHDeutsch.com and click on Blogs. Then click on Subscribe to Feeds and click on
      Blog. It will take you to a box that says Subscribe Now. Then click on Get Blog by Connie H. Deutsch delivered by email. From then on, you will receive an email telling you that I have just posted a new blog.

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    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      This is a heads up to let you know that your prescription drugs may not do what they’re supposed to do or they might possibly kill you because the pharmacology researchers committed fraud in their studies.

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Thank you for your feedback. It’s a frightening thing to know that the prescription drugs you take may make you sicker than taking nothing because the research scientists are tampering with the results of their studies.

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    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      My pleasure. Check your prescription drugs and if you have side effects, report them; the research scientists who have been conducting drug studies may have given false data in their report. This is more widespread than you can imagine.

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    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Welcome to my website. I’m not too familiar with RSS feeds so I can’t comment on them. However, if you want to be notified whenever I write something, I’d suggest you get a free subscription to my articles and blogs. Go to my website: ConnieHDeutsch.com and click on Blog. Then click on Subscribe to Feeds and click on Blog and/or Articles. I write about a different topic every day for my Blogs and my articles have been archived for easy accessibility as I write them.

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Thank you for your feedback and welcome to my website. The subject about the fraud that’s being committed by some of the research scientists at Ohio State University is one that is close to my heart because of all the people I know who are on prescription drugs. I worry about them and hope they are not taking the drugs that were researched by those scientists who committed fraud in the way they reported their findings.

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      So far, I haven’t joined Twitter, but I’m thinking about it. And, yes, I’d like it very much if you would follow my blogs and articles. Go to my website: ConnieHDeutsch.com and click on Blog. Then click on Subscribe to Feeds. Click on Blog and/or Articles and every time I post an article or a blog, you will be notified by email. The subscription is free and I look forward to your feedback.

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    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Thank you for your feedback. I don’t do newsletters but I do write a daily blog so anything that I would put in a newsletter is written about in my daily blog. The subscription is free and you will be notified by email every time I post an article or blog. If you’re interested, go to my website: ConnieHDeutsch.com and click on Blog. Then click on Subscribe to Feeds. Then click on Blog and/or Articles. I’d be interested in your comments on my articles and blogs.

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Absolutely. Go to my website: ConnieHDeutsch.com and click on Blog. Then click on Subscribe to Feeds. Click on Blog and/or Articles and every time I post an article or a blog, you will be notified by email. The subscription is free. I hope you will enjoy reading them and I look forward to your feedback.

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Thank you for posting my article on Facebook. This corruption is going on by some pharmacology researchers… you know the ones… they’re the ones who do the studies on your prescription drugs. And they’re taking short cuts and falsifying data on the drugs you’re taking which could endanger your life. So, thanks again for making your Facebook friends aware of this travesty that is going on at Ohio State University.

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    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Welcome to my website. I write a new blog each day, as well as some new articles, and hopefully, there is something for everyone. So, rest a while, have a cup of java, and start some discussions on any of the topics I cover.

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      Thanks for your feedback. BIG NEWS!!! The research scientist who sued Ohio State University for their part in the corruption that’s going on in the pharmacology department, just won her case!!! YAY for the little guy!! Her case was the first one to make it into Federal Court and she won it hands down!!

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      It’s not only intriguing, it’s extremely dangerous. Can you trust Ibuprofen or any of the other pain killers for the relief of pain now that you know that research scientists are committing fraud with their data?

    • Connie H. Deutsch says:

      It may take a few more years, but something is in the works to stop this corruption. Ohio State University just lost their first case to the tune of 1 million, twenty-six thousand dollars and Columbia just lost their case. Stay tuned… more is coming.

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