Fraud and Misconduct
Fraud is often coupled with misconduct and the two are certainly related; fraud by definition is misconduct, but not all misconduct is fraud. Fraud always contains intent whilst misconduct covers a wide range of activities, from carelessness, right through to deliberate deception.
The word misconduct is used differently in English. Therefore, there are different definitions. According to the UK Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Foundation, misconduct is defined as:
‘The fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or deception in proposing, carrying out or reporting results of research or deliberate, dangerous or negligent deviations from accepted practices in carrying out research.'
Alternatively, the Joint Consensus Conference, Edinburgh, (1999) defined it as:
‘Behaviour by a researcher, intentional or not, that falls short of good ethical and scientific standards.’
In contrast, a definition of clinical research fraud is clearer:
‘The generation of false data with the intent to deceive.’
Sponsors of clinical trials and doctors participating in clinical trials (investigators) put a lot of emphasis on planning, performing and evaluating clinical trials. This is to ensure that the trial results in:
- Trustworthy data.
- Clear results and treatment recommendations.
This topic explains the following:
- The difference between ‘misconduct’ and ‘fraud’ – examples are provided.
- Ways to prevent, detect and handle fraud and misconduct.