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Dr. Fisher Defends Work, Calls Government Actions 'Chilling'

Dr. Fisher Defends Work, Calls Government Actions 'Chilling'

ABSTRACT: The following are excerpts from a speech given by Bernard Fisher, MD, Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Fall 1994 Educational Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

"I have been involved with breast cancer research since 1958
and was part of the group which founded NSABP [National Surgical
Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project]. I have devoted my entire life
to science, clinical trials, and efforts to help women . . . but
never have I felt such anxiety about what to say and do about
this presentation. . . .

"You're all familiar with l'affaire Poisson. . . . We've
been accused of delay in reporting falsifications to the NCI.
Not true. Delay in publication of analysis and notification of
editors and members of the NSABP. Not true. There was no--at that
time or now--due process to answer such charges. And there were
no rules to guide us. . . .

"If there was such a breach, then it involved the NCI, the
NIH, and the ORI [Office of Research Integrity], who knew everything
that we did and who could have stepped forward at any time and
notified patients and physicians about this whole affair.

"We were accused of publishing papers with data from St.
Luc. The answer is yes, we did, because there are scientific and
biological justifications for doing so. The biostatisticians are
the ones who govern this kind of thing, since it relates to very
sophisticated analytical procedures.

False Accusations

"We've been accused of delay in reporting deaths due to endometrial
cancer. False. We've been accused of knowing about a problem of
falsifications at another Canadian hospital for 6 months and not
reporting it. False.

"I've been accused of holding an ICI [Imperial Chemical Industries,
makers of tamoxifen] professorship at the University of Pittsburgh.
False.

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