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A company that investigates research fraud on behalf of the drug industry as well as its chief executive and former medical adviser have been awarded libel damages of £300000 (€445000; $615000) against a doctor who is currently facing serious charges before the General Medical Council of research misconduct and dishonesty.
Tonmoy Sharma, a former senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, was ordered by the High Court in London to pay the damages, together with costs, to MedicoLegal Investigations (MLI), its chief executive, Peter Jay, and the retired medical adviser Frank Wells.
Dr Sharma conducted a number of trials for major drug companies in the late 1990s and built up an international reputation before MLI was called in to investigate after several sponsors grew suspicious about his work. The material gathered by MLI led to the GMC proceedings.
The GMC accuses him of having falsely claimed to have sought and received approval from ethics committees; recruiting patients by telephone without informing their carers; offering financial inducements to research participants; breaching agreed research protocols; lying in a job application; posing as a professor; falsely claiming to have a doctorate; and threatening a patient with withdrawal of treatment if she left a study.