Research Misconduct on Grizzly Bear Study Leads to Paper Retraction

Friday, September 11, 2015
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A popular scientific paper investigating diabetes and obesity in grizzly bears was retracted from the journal Cell Metabolism on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. The reason: one of the scientists manipulated data. This is by no means the first time falsified data and researchers have crossed paths. Research misconduct between scientists and health care professionals is more common than you think.

Research Misconduct and Scientific Fraud.

A scientist working for the company Amgen falsified data in a study on how grizzly bears avoid developing long-term metabolic problems, despite gaining weight and ceasing activity during hibernation. Upon learning of the research misconduct, the authors retracted the paper. “We know data were actually manipulated, and that just cannot stand,” said Amgen’s research chief Alexander Kamb. When contacted, the paper's senior author said he was dismissed by Amgen for fabricating research on another matter separate from the grizzly bear paper. To read the full article or track other current cases of retraction, visit the Retraction Watch website.

These kinds of incidences spark a question of how often research misconduct really occurs and what happens when these violations slip through the cracks. To find out more about this topic, read one of my past blogs on research misconduct here.

What Are the Consequences?

The grizzly bear study is clearly unfortunate, as a fascinating set of results on diabetes and obesity has now been plunged into doubt. However, health care professionals can also come under fire for various objectionable conditions or practices. A doctor in Seattle recently made news and ultimately had his license suspended for misconduct. The alleged violations include authorizing students to inject each other with controlled substances and allowing them to perform invasive procedures on each another. To read more about this case of research misconduct, click here.

How Does Research Misconduct Affect You?

Scientists and health care professionals that take part in research misconduct not only jeopardize key research trials, but also directly waste millions of tax dollars on fraudulent studies. Allegations of research misconduct can throw academic researchers into a tangled web of institutional and legal challenges.  University policies, federal regulations and legal concerns overlap in ways that may become quite frustrating for a health care practitioner and researcher devoted to clinical care.

Research misconduct is incredibly disappointing when promising findings are forever tainted and careers are cut short due to the regrettable actions of one or more individuals. Click here to read a past blog I wrote on research misconduct and compliance.


Would you be prepared for inquiries and investigations into your research? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representation for Clinical Research Fraud and Misconduct.

In order to combat such destructive accusations and avoid major punishments, it is critical to have a legal representative present on your behalf in an effective manner that does not compromise a legal defense. The Health Law Firm attorneys, through years of experience, have obtained the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate research misconduct cases. An accusation of research misconduct, even if later proven to be incorrect, may unfairly tarnish your professional reputation. Legal guidance and experienced insight are invaluable when it comes to protecting the time and efforts you have put forth in building a sustainable and impacting career.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or visit our website at


Rockoff, Jonathan. (September 2, 2015). "Paper on Grizzly Bears Retracted Over Data." The Wall Street Journal.

Woodfield, Jack. "Falsified data and diabetes: Grizzly bears, chocolate and serious misconduct." (September 2, 2015). From:

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: research misconduct defense attorney, professional misconduct, falsifying data, manipulating data, retracted over data, clinical investigation defense lawyer, clinical trials, Amgen, institutional review board, IRB, Department of Health and Human Services, HHS, Food and Drug Administration, FDA defense counsel, Office of Human Research Protections, scientific fraud, research misconduct defense lawyer, research misconduct defense attorney, health care lawyer, health law firm, The Health Law Firm reviews

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