In July 1996 Frank Wells, a doctor, and Peter Jay, a former detective, took up the challenge to reduce fraud and misconduct in clinical research. It had to be tackled such was the extent of the problem. In the absence of an official body to deal with it and having the necessary expertise at their finger tips they embarked upon the challenge that many thought was too risky. They were deemed too vulnerable. MedicoLegal Investigations (MLI) was born regardless. In 1998, the investigation team expanded following the arrival of Jonathan Jay, formerly a sergeant in the Army Special Investigation Branch.
Since 1996, our confidence has been justified and over 80 studies at numerous centres have been investigated. 27 doctors have faced disciplinary hearings at the General Medical Council (GMC), 26 were found guilty of Serious Professional Misconduct. One of the most high profile cases was that of Dr Tonmoy Sharma.
The response from the industry has been excellent. The medical royal colleges, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the GMC and the British Medical Association (BMA) have shown their support. The most rewarding aspect has been the appreciation of patients who show initial horror at having been exploited followed by sincere and emphatic expressions of thanks for penetrating the wall of confidentiality once their exploitation was suspected.
Health Authorities and their research ethics committees are very co-operative. Confidentiality has never been breached and data protection laws are respected. The word is out that fraud/misconduct in the context of clinical research will not be tolerated in the UK and enquiries from Europe and America are now reaching MLI.
The company has achieved recognition for its success in tackling research fraud. The ABPI Board of Management demonstrated its support of MLI by nominating Mike Wallace (a former vice-president of ABPI) for board membership, Mike recently retired as a director of MLI. Dr Jane Barrett joined MLI as consultant medical advisor and director on 1st April 2002