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Good Practices

Multiple irregularities

The journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, published by Hindawi, has announced the retraction of a scientific paper published in 2010 on the effects of a homeopathic extract used by cancer patients. The decision was based on a number of factors. The first was the discovery of inconsistent information: the article reported that the protocol for the clinical trial had been approved by the ethics committee of a private clinic in a suburb of Calcutta, India, in 2001, but subsequent records showed that the committee was only created in 2008. The publishers requested documentary evidence of the study protocol and made some disturbing discoveries: lead author Aradeep Chatterjee had been arrested in June 2017 for practicing medicine illegally—he had no homeopathic training as he claimed—and his father, coauthor Ashim Chatterjee, was jailed in September. Both were accused of causing the death of a patient they had treated. Three other coauthors were contacted, which only worsened the situation: all three reported that they had no knowledge of the article and had not agreed to its submission.