10:01 20 April 2013
Scientist Steven Eaton from Cambridgeshire was sentenced to three months in jail for falsifying test results. He is the first person to be jailed under scientific safety laws.
According to the investigators, 47-year-old Eaton began selectively reporting research data in 2003. He was working for Aptuit in 2009 when he came up with the scam.
The court was told that he manipulated the results of an experiment so it was deemed successful when it actually failed.
Eaton’s bosses at the Edinburgh branch of the US pharmaceutical company found out about the scam when they assessed Eaton’s job. They discovered discrepancies that led them to report Eaton to the watchdogs at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
Sheriff Michael O'Grady said: "I feel that my sentencing powers in this are wholly inadequate. You failed to test the drugs properly - you could have caused cancer patients unquestionable harm.
"Why someone who is as highly educated and as experienced as you would embark on such a course of conduct is inexplicable."
Meanwhile, Gerald Heddell, Director of inspection at the Medicine and Healthcare Products regulatory board was happy with the conviction. He said: “This conviction sends a message that we will not hesitate to prosecute those whose actions have the potential to harm public health."
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