Medical Writing The Medical Writing Business HIV research fraudster handed stiff prison sentence

Volume 24, Issue 3 - The Medical Writing Business

HIV research fraudster handed stiff prison sentence


In the December 2014 issue of Medical Writing, I reported that disgraced Iowa State University researcher Dong-Pyou Han was facing fraud charges for faking experiments on a new HIV vaccine.1 In spite of a guilty plea, on 1 July 2015 Dr Han was sentenced to 57 months in prison. He was also ordered to repay $7.2 million to the NIH and faces probable deportation on his release.

In a poll on, opinion was divided as to whether the punishment is fair.2 It is rare for research fraud to result in a prosecution and so Han's sentence is exceptional. By way of comparison, infamous anaesthesiologist Scott Reuben was sentenced to a more modest 6 months in prison in 2010 for fabricating data and even patients in upward of 20 papers.

The involvement of Senator Charles Grassley, who first proposed the Sunshine Act, is thought by some to be a factor in the Han case coming to court. Although the impact of the sentence cannot be measured, it certainly sends out a clear message.


  1. Gilliver S. AIDS researcher charged with fraud. Med Writing. 2014;23(4):279.
  2. Reardon S. US vaccine researcher sentenced to prison for fraud. News, Nature; 2015 Jul 1 [cited 2015 Jul 14]. Available from:



In this issue… The Medical Writing Business
President's Message
Setting up and running a medical writing company
For the greater good…Can agency competitors cooperate to advance medical publication practices?
The Section of Scientific Publications at the Texas Heart Institute
Is cheap outsourcing a threat to your career?
Successfully outsourcing medical writing
Freelancing – Are you ready to go solo?
News from the EMA
European Science Editing: May 2015 picks
Profile: An interview with Dawn Bentley: How personal branding can advance your professional career!
The Webscout
In the Bookstores
Regulatory Writing: New developments in public disclosure of clinical trials
Lingua Franca and Beyond
Gained in Translation
HIV research fraudster handed stiff prison sentence
English Grammar and Style: Good Writing Practice
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Medical Communications
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