RIO’s report finds no evidence of asbestos research misconduct

Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012

By McGill Reporter Staff

After a six-month investigation, McGill Research Integrity Officer (RIO), Prof. Abe Fuks, has submitted a report saying he has found no evidence to support allegations of research misconduct levelled against Prof. John Corbett McDonald in connection with his work on the health effects of asbestos. The report was released by the University yesterday.

In the 17-page report, Fuks states that McDonald properly acknowledged financial support from the asbestos industry in his publications – the earliest of which date from the 1960s – and that there is no evidence to suggest the sponsors influenced the data analyses or the conclusions. McDonald and his research team demonstrated clearly that all forms of asbestos increase the risk of lung cancer; these findings “have been replicated by other groups,” and “their robustness has endured many critical analyses and legal inquiries,” the report concludes.

Fuks also concludes that his review of relevant information “lends no credence” to allegations that McGill colluded with the asbestos industry in promoting the use of asbestos.

In a verbal report on the matter to McGill Senate yesterday, Vice-Principal of Health Affairs and Dean of Medicine David Eidelman, who requested the RIO’s report last March, thanked Fuks for his careful review and announced that the Faculty of Medicine would move forward on the RIO’s recommendation to organize an academic conference on safe alternatives to asbestos, particularly in the developing world, and on other topics of public interest related to it.

“This is not a small matter. Issues that touch upon public health and dangerous products need to be taken seriously and debated,” Eidelman told Senate.

“At my request, Prof Abraham Fuks carried out a review of the information and concluded that there’s no basis for further inquiry, Eidelman told members of the media following his presentation to Senate. “I’ve decided to accept that recommendation and from our point of view the issue is completely closed.”

The RIO’s full report can be found here.

Watch a video of Dean of Medicine David Eidelman’s press conference:


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