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Retractions in Gut 10 years after publication
  1. January 2001

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It is with great regret that I include in this issue of the journal a retraction order for a paper authored by Dr Anjan Banerjee and Professor Tim Peters, which was published inGut in 1990 when they were employed by King's College Hospital. Dr Banerjee wrote to me immediately following the decision by the Professional Conduct Panel of the General Medical Council (GMC) that he had been found guilty of serious professional misconduct and had been suspended for a period of 12 months. He indicated that he wished to retract the paper written by himself and Professor Tim Peters, “Experimental non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug induced enteropathy in the rat—similarities to inflammatory bowel disease and effect of thromboxane synthetase inhibitors” (Gut1990;31: 1358–64) in which it was judged that he had falsified data. He also indicated that he wished to retract an abstract “Sulphasalazine reduces indomethacin induced changes in small intestinal permeability in man” (Banerjee A, Sherwood R, Rennie JA, Peters TJ. Gut1990;31: A593) which had been published in Gut as part of the proceedings of the Spring British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) meeting in Warwick 1990. However, Dr Banerjee and colleagues had indicated to the BSG that they wished to withdraw this abstract before the meeting took place and, although it was not presented at the meeting, the copy had already gone to press and therefore appeared in the journal. Thus for 10 years these reports, now deemed to contain falsified data, have remained within the biomedical literature.

This is clearly a personal tragedy for the authors, and has been potentially harmful to the development of scientific ideas which could have ultimately affected patient care. This case, however, perhaps raises more questions than answers. Why has it taken a decade before the record has been …

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