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expert reaction to Joachim Boldt alleged drug research fraud

16 medical journals retracted research carried out by a German doctor at the centre of an investigation into alleged fraud and ethical breaches.

Prof Jeffrey Aronson, Clinical Pharmacologist, University of Oxford, said:

“This news highlights the long-standing debate about the relative merits of colloids, such as hydroxyethyl starch, Boldt’s main area of interest, and crystalloids, such as salt solutions, in volume repletion in critically ill patients. A 2009 Cochrane review of 65 studies, of which only three were by Boldt, showed that crystalloids were as effective as colloids; they are also safer. All intensivists will be well aware of the need to monitor patients carefully while they are being given volume replacement.”

Dr Rupert Pearse, Senior Lecturer & Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at Barts and The London Medical School, said:

“The most important point is that there are no immediate safety concerns for patients because these studies are small and they are not fundamental to how doctors use intravenous fluid in clinical practice. But it’s worth noting that NICE are currently developing guidelines for intravenous fluid therapy in all patients.

“The wider issue is research fraud, which is rare but very serious. It’s vital that we maintain patient safety and public confidence. And as doctors, we must continue our efforts to ensure the integrity of our research.”

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