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07 August 2013
A recent case regarding the misuse of funds intended for clinical trials has led to calls for a review of the payment procedures used by pharmaceutical companies when sponsoring clinical trials.
A senior physician at a major Copenhagen hospital has allegedly had more than Dkr2 million (approximately €270,000) transferred into his private account by pharmaceutical companies since 2000. The transfers were made by the companies as sponsors of clinical trials carried out at the hospital with the physician as principal investigator. However, according to newspaper reports, the physician had used some of the funds for private purposes and has now been suspended from his position and charged with fraud.
It follows from the collaboration agreement on clinical trials between the Danish Medical Association and the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry that payments from a pharmaceutical company must be made to a research account administered by the institution (typically the hospital or university) where the clinical trial is being conducted. Payments to general practitioners must be made to accounts subject to public audit.
In the case at hand, the physician had allegedly opened an account in the name of the hospital, but with himself as sole administrator and apparently without the hospital's knowledge.
The case emphasises the need to have account information confirmed by the institution.
Following this case, hospitals and local health authorities have increased their focus on money transfers from private companies and several companies have initiated their own investigations into payments to clinical trials over the years.
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