There are a few new developments in the case of Anil Potti, the former Duke oncologist who resigned amidst an investigation into clinical trials he was running — and has been forced to retract seven papers, at last count.
Over the weekend, The Cancer Letter, which has been out front on this case, noted that the North Carolina Medical Board reprimanded Potti late last month. A reprimand carries no sanctions, but is entered into a physician’s public record. According to the consent decree:
Whereas, Duke Medical Center has investigated Dr. Potti’s curriculum vitae and Duke Medical Center biographical sketch concerns and concluded that, while there were some inaccuracies on the biographical sketch and curriculum vitae, they were largely the result of carelessness and honest errors with no clear intention to mislead;
The decree also notes that
Duke Medical Center is currently in the process of conducting a medical research misconduct inquiry related to Dr. Potti’s oncology research work; and
Whereas, Dr. Potti’s conduct as described herein constitutes unprofessional conduct within the meaning of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-14 (a) (6)
The state board reserved the right to call Potti back for testimony at any time, as new information surfaces, and the document makes it clear that Potti agreed to all of the terms.
While we we poking around the state medical board site, however, we found records (click on the “Malpractice” tab) indicating that Potti — or his insurance company — has recently paid out for 11 incidents of alleged malpractice. The payments — which are “malpractice judgments and awards that occurred within the last seven years and…Settlements of $75,000 or more that occurred on or after May 1, 2008,” according to the medical board — were made between September 6th and 26th of this year. They concern incidents between November 2007 and July 2009, which is when the trials in question were taking place.
Even at $75,000 each, which is the lowest possible amount that would be listed, that would be $825,000.
Two separate suits have recently been filed against Potti and Duke, on September 7 of this year. One involved eight plaintiffs and another involved one. The first payment listed on the state medical board site predated that filing, and the others are within a matter of weeks of it, so it appears likely these are older suits. We’ve contacted the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the August suits to find out if he knows anything about these cases, and will update with anything we hear back.
In the meantime, we doubt any of this information will show up in the daily stream of press releases that Potti has sent out on his behalf. Today’s, for example, is titled “Anil Potti Has Won Multiple Accolades For His Contribution In The Field Of Lung Cancer” and notes that he “loves watching movies.”
Update, 5:30 p.m. Eastern, 12/5/11: Thomas Henson, who is representing eight plaintiffs in suits against Potti and Duke, sent us the following comment by email:
…I am aware that before the lawsuit was filed, there were persons who elected not to pursue litigation.
Hat tip: Zachary Tracer