Richard Eastell MD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Ireland), FRCPath, FMedSci is a British medical doctor and Professor of Bone Metabolism at the University of Sheffield. He was born in Shipley (West Yorkshire) and attended the Salt Grammar School, later graduating from the University of Edinburgh in 1977 with an MB ChB and in 1984 with an MD and achieved prominence as an expert in osteoporosis.
Eastell was the subject of a 2005 report in the Times Higher Education Supplement concerning allegations that he had incorrectly claimed to have had full access to data for a trial of the Procter & Gamble drug Actonel (used to treat osteoporosis). The report established that the analysis for the trial had been carried out by Procter & Gamble and that Eastell did not in fact have complete access to the data. Eastell wrote a letter in 2007 to the editors of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, where the paper in question was published in 2003, accepting that he had not disclosed limitations on data access as required by the journal and acknowledging certain errors in the paper. At a General Medical Council "fitness to practice" hearing in November 2009, it was determined that Eastell's actions had not been "deliberately misleading or dishonest", although he may have been negligent in making "untrue" and "misleading" declarations; the council did not make a finding of misconduct.
The THE's report on Eastell was in part the result of whistleblowing by another Sheffield academic, Aubrey Blumsohn, who was initially suspended by the university and subsequently left the university with a "six-figure" payout. Other bone medicine academics, speaking on BBC Radio 4's programme "You and Yours", took the view that the paper in question had overstated the effectiveness of the drug.
Eastell resigned as director of research at Sheffield National Health Service Trust in 2006 after allegations of "financial irregularities" related to charging the NHS for laboratory tests in connection with his university research. His resignation followed suspension by the NHS when the allegations were made in May 2005. The NHS trust did not produce an investigation report, stating that this was pre-empted by Eastell's resignation.
In 2010 Eastell was involved in a further dispute with a colleague over a clinical trial and the right of that colleague to present commercially sensitive data.
Awards and honours
- Corrigan Lecturer, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 1998
- Kohn Award, National Osteoporosis Society, 2004
- Society for Endocrinology Medal, 2004
- Academic Unit of Bone Metabolism
- Eastell et al. (2003), "Relationship of Early Changes in Bone Resorption to the Reduction in Fracture Risk With Risedronate", Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 18:1051–1056
- Phil Baty, "Bone professor faces GMC probe", Times Higher Education, 22 September 2009
- Phil Baty, "Academic made ‘untrue’ declaration about ‘full access’ to research material, GMC finds", Times Higher Education, 10 November 2009
- Phil Baty, "Payout in P&G drug data row", Times Higher Education, 7 April 2006
- Jennifer Washburn, "Rent-a-Researcher: Did a British university sell out to Procter & Gamble?", Slate, 22 December 2005
- "Experts cast doubt over scientists' claims for Actonel", Times Higher Education, 24 February 2006
- Phil Baty, "Drugs trial row scientist resigns", Times Higher Education, 6 January 2006
- Jo Revill, "Doctor in drug research row quits NHS post", The Guardian, 15 January 2006
- Zoe Corbyn, "Contractual ties trip up radiologist", Times Higher Education, 18 February 2010
- Endocrine Society
- "Sheffield University pioneers osteoporosis research", News-Medical.net, 31 March 2004