Friday, October 16, 2009

Washington U Panel Completes Investigation into Kuklo's Study

On October 15th, 2009 the Barry Meier of the NY Times reported that an academic panel at Washington University had completed its investigation into the research study that Timothy Kuklo, M.D. had performed while a surgeon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.

The controversy surrounding this study centered on Army officials accusing Dr. Kuklo of inflating the number of combat soldiers whose leg injuries were successfully treated with INFUSE, a bone morphogenic protein (BMP) marketed by Medtronic. In addition, to these accusations, military officials found that Dr. Kuklo had voluntarily forged the names of four other Army doctors before submitting the study to the British Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS).

Now here is where the findings get interesting. After a lengthy review, the panel concluded "that it had been possible for Dr. Kuklo to support the number of leg injuries he reported if such injuries were defined broadly," So what does Kuklo's attorney do, he sends Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) a letter describing the panel's findings as exonerating his client. A spokesperson for Washington University counters by stating that Mr. Dane (Dr. Kuklo's attorney) misrepresented the panel's findings by selectively citing from it in his letter to Grassley.

The spokesperson for Washington University said, "that even though the panel's review had found insufficient evidence of research fraud," the findings did not exonerate him of misconduct in connection with the forgery of the other doctors' names on the study. Dr. Kuklo's defense has been that he included the other names as a courtesy and had no intention of misleading anyone. The Washington University panel disagreed, finding that Dr. Kuklo had intentionally used "four different" hand writing styles suggesting intentional deception. As a result of this investigation Medtronic suspended his consulting agreement.

In closing, Washington University has no intention of reinstating Dr. Kuklo since he had tendered his resignation. So TSB asks its readers, what was accomplished by this kangaroo court led by Senator Grassley? Has he made the industry any cleaner? Has it changed our perception of Medtronic, aka "the Evil Empire?" And what about Dr. Kuklo? Should the industry lose a surgeon whose skills outweigh his poor judgement? How can our readers' not be cynical and jaded? Until the DOJ prosecutes the real criminals in our industry those that use graft as a sales tool, Rome burns while Nero fiddles.


  1. If the DOJ is to prosecute the criminals that use graft as a sales tool, why exclude the graftee? In this great country both the hooker and the john, the thief and the fence, the murderer and the accessory are all considered criminals. Admittedly, the very selective choices made so far can be considered unfair, but only because there are quite a few others that qualify, not because the ones chosen are as pure as the driven snow.