UK House of Commons Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Research

Written questions from Kelvin Hopkins MP (Luton North) asked 22 Nov 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial  Strategy, if he will prevent the PACE trial researchers from being given further public research funding until an inquiry into possible fraudulent activity into the PACE trial has been conducted. [54266]

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will request that the Medical Research Council conducts an inquiry into the management of the PACE trial to ascertain whether any fraudulent activity has occurred. [54269]

Written answer by Joseph Johnson MP

Queen Mary University of London, as the research organisation which held the award, is responsible for the management of the study, including the investigation of any concerns relating to research conduct and research integrity.

Whilst the Medical Research Council (MRC) was one of the funders of the PACE trial, the responsibility for the management of the trial rested with the host research institution, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). This responsibility included oversight of the trial and the investigation of any well-founded allegations of misconduct that are brought to its attention. As part of this oversight, in accordance with MRC guidance on best practice, a trial steering committee was set up and supported by various sub-groups, including a data monitoring committee. The MRC was an observer on the trial steering committee.

Anyone wishing to raise concerns to over the conduct of individual researchers or research programmes is advised to contact QMUL in the first instance to allow the University to investigate appropriately. It would be inappropriate for BEIS to intervene in such investigations or to impose sanctions against researchers.

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