Joachim Boldt (born September 29, 1954) is a German anesthesiologist who used to be considered a leading researcher into colloids. He has been stripped of his professorship and is under criminal investigation for possible forgery of up to 90 research studies.
Drug research fraud scandal
The editors of sixteen different scientific journals, including Anesthesia & Analgesia, Anaesthesia, the European Journal of Anaesthesiology and the British Journal of Anaesthesia, allege that 89 of 102 studies published by Boldt contained research that lacked proper institutional review board approval.
On November 10, 2010, Boldt was suspended from Klinikum Ludwigshafen, a hospital in Germany, for a scientific publication in Anesthesia & Analgesia that lacked sufficient background research. His field of research, and the publications, are related to hydroxyethyl starch (HES). Some ninety studies he published are currently being reviewed.
In February 2011, Boldt was stripped of his title of professor at the University of Giessen for failing to teach, and the university is investigating possible charges of scientific misconduct. His case was described at the time as "possibly the biggest medical research scandal since Andrew Wakefield was struck off last year for falsely claiming to have proved a link between the MMR vaccine and autism."
In August 2012 the hospital in Ludwigshafen released the results of their investigation, determining that while no patients were harmed, "in a large number of the studies investigated, the conduct of research failed to meet required standards. False data were published in at least 10 of the 91 articles examined, including, for instance, data on patient numbers/ study groups as well as data on the timing of measurements."  On February 20, 2013 JAMA published a metaanalysis on HES in critically ill patients (Zachyranski R et al.) The Analysis included 7 studies of Boldt from the 1990s, that had not been retracted yet. Including them, there was no increase in mortality; excluding them, there was a significant increase in mortality. Only the Boldt studies showed an improvement with HES; all other studies showed the opposite. It is believed that his fraudulent studies put critically ill patients at risk and caused harm. See also press release: Zachyranski and Companion Editorial. An overview of the challenges for metaanalysts presented by the fraud has recently been published. This includes double publication of studies, manipulating demographic and outcome data to conceal double publication and get more favorable results for a tested drug.
- Heidi Blake, Holly Watt and Robert Winnett. "Millions of surgery patients at risk in drug research fraud scandal". The Telegraph, 03 Mar 2011 (retrieved 2011-03-03)
- "Medical journals retract 'unethical' research", Kate Kelland, Reuters, March 4, 2011
- Informationsdienst Wissenschaf: "DGAI: Wissenschaftliches Fehlverhalten in der Anästhesie inakzeptabel" 2010-11-26 (retrieved 2011-03-04) German
- "Joachim Boldt profile: a glittering career built on charisma and charm", Daily Telegraph, 2011-03-03 (retrieved: 2011-03-04)
- Giessen University: "Akademische Bezeichnung aberkannt" 2011-02-15 (retrieved: 2011-03-04) (German)
- Press release, Klinikum Ludwigshafen, http://www.klilu.de/content/aktuelles___presse/pressearchiv/2012/hospital_presents_results_of_final_report_committee_completes_investigation_in_the_case_of_dr_boldt/index_ger.html, 9 August 2012
- JAMA by Antonelli, Editor of Int Care Medicine. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1653508