The New York Times which broke the story due to army-leaked information and to its credit persisted in unmasking the criminal Washington University in St Louis surgeon Dr Timothy R. Kuklo, has reported that he received $788,280 in payments from Medtronic between 2001 and 2009. Buried in the story, however, and not very well edited is the revelation that Medtronic’s Pay to Fake scheme also dished out $64,000 for “indirect” expenses such as travel to professional meetings etc.
Such a payment is hardly “indirect” whatever that means. Travel is expensive: hotel, rental, air travel. Therefore $852,280 was paid to Dr Kuklo. One may surmise that the colonel either independently or in collaboration with Medtronic faked and published medical-research claims that its bioengineered bone-growth product Infuse was a breakthrough in lower-limb restoration. Dr Kuklo lied about collaboration with other researchers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center by forging their signatures and was disgraced with the retraction of a published article in the London-based Journal of Bone and Spine Surgery.
Yet the New York Times made an error in its June 17 report. It identified the fake medical researcher as “assistant medical professor” in the Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine. He is an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery with putative clinical specialties in the Cervical Spine (all pathologies); Spinal Deformity (both pediatric and adult); Spinal Tumors; Spine Trauma which this link clearly authenticates. Rarely does an assistant professor have tenure. The colonel has tenure but should be fired on the grounds of moral turpitude.
Dr Kuklo’s next home? His current one is worth $2.1 million according to the New York Times .
I would opine that the intentional publication of falsified medical research that could lead to misguided and harmful patient treatment is criminal. The potential for inappropriate use of Infuse as a result of the doctor’s article I think merits incarceration as criminal negligence. I would argue that the falsification of signatures of four distinguished physicians–some of whom are senior army officers– to create the impression of authentic team research investigatory methods is certainly libelous. To place the names of other researchers on a falsified article would certainly appear to indicate libel in deliberately and knowingly publishing false information that could damage a physician’s career. I know I would sue an investigator who listed me on an article in which data was invented, patient cohorts fabricated and conclusions concocted as part of a Pay to Fake scheme.
The failure to receive Army approval for publication should at least merit a dishonourable discharge and a retroactive reduction in rank to private. I have argued that the University of Connecticut should revoke Dr Kuklo’s medical degree from that institution. I am also questioning whether the administration of Washington University in St Louis Medical School should be fired or if tenured reassigned to other duties for allowing both Dr Kuklo and Dr K Dan Riew to either become players of a Pay to Fake scheme or cover up their venality. Administrators have a responsibility to ensure the highest ethical behaviour on the part of their faculty and failure to do so with such apparent insouciance is unworthy of the esteemed institution.
While I do not know if Dr Riew has committed any unprofessional research fraud, it is apparent he did not sufficiently disclose his massive compensation as a consultant to Medtronic in which hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid for “product development and innovation.” Pay to Fake?? The question is legitimate without making a direct allegation.
Medtronic (MDT) raised its dividend today by 9% and closed at 33.35 up 1.28%. It’s nice to know its shareholders are doing well with this blood money. They would be well advised, however, to use some other big pharma company’s products.
Other articles on disgraced Washington University’s Colonel Kuklo:
May 17, 2009 Dr Riew first critiqued
comments and information to Kirstein@sxu.edu