British regulators do not take kindly to researchers who manipulate trial data. And Steven Eaton can now attest to the extreme risks involved.
Eaton, a former staffer at Aptuit, today became the very first person to be convicted of violating the U.K.'s Good Laboratory Practice law. According to a report in the Financial Times, Eaton had been charged with manipulating data from animal studies done to assess new drugs for the likes of Roche ($RHHBY) and AstraZeneca ($AZN). He was convicted of manipulating the animal data to make them look like a success, when in fact the drugs had failed. And after Aptuit found out about it in an internal audit, the company was forced to review "hundreds" of safety studies, delaying the launch of many drugs.
"Mr. Eaton's actions directly impacted the validity of clinical trials and delayed a number of medicines coming to market, including one to treat depression," said Gerald Heddell, director of inspection, enforcement and standards at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory agency, according to the FT. "This conviction sends a message that we will not hesitate to prosecute those whose actions have the potential to harm public health."
Eaton is scheduled to be sentenced in April.
- here's the story from the Financial Times (reg. req.)