Researchers guilty of misconduct

December 8, 2000

The General Medical Council found two researchers from King's College London medical school guilty of serious professional misconduct, both for dishonesty, in separate cases this week. A third misconduct case against a senior KCL medical scholar is pending.

The GMC's professional conduct committee found that former KCL research fellow Anjan Kumak Banerjee had falsified research findings in journal articles. His supervisor, Timothy Peters, who is still at KCL, will face allegations that he knew of the fraud and failed to report it, at a later hearing of the GMC's misconduct committee.

The committee also found that senior KCL researcher Kyprianos Nicolaides, a leading gynaecologist, was guilty of serious professional misconduct for perjuring himself at a 1998 hearing in which he was cleared of misconduct.

Dr Banerjee, who left KCL at the end of 1990 and has been practising in Halifax, has been struck off the GMC's register for 12 months because he wrote "a wholly misleading article", published in the December 1990 issue of the journal Gut . The paper "contained information that had been deliberately falsified", including the research methodology and data. He also submitted falsified data in an abstract to the British Society of Gastroenterology, the GMC found.

The GMC took into account testimonials from Dr Banerjee's colleagues, claiming that he is now "a competent and caring practitioner", and allowed for the fact that the events took place more than ten years ago. Dr Banerjee was unavailable for comment.

Professor Peters, professor of clinical biochemistry at KCL, is to face allegations that he had "known that Dr Banerjee had falsified research but took no steps to retract the research or report it to the appropriate authorities". A date has not yet been set.

In 1996, Professor Peters was criticised by the Association of University Teachers for failing to explain his decision not to publish an article he had commissioned as editor of the Addiction Biology journal. Professor Peters declined to comment.

In a separate judgement, the GMC confirmed that Kyprios Nicolaides, the doctor who treated Mandy Allwood when she was pregnant with eight babies, was guilty of serious professional misconduct. He had lied on oath at a previous hearing when he denied having faced earlier sexual harassment charges.

Professor Nicolaides escaped being struck off after the committee heard he was an "excellent, hard working and highly conscientious doctor, working at the forefront" of his speciality.    

 

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