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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

PGI doctors publish study on ‘effectiveness’ of defunct unit

Vishav Bharti, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 28, 2014
First Published: 10:54 IST(28/7/2014) | Last Updated: 10:59 IST(28/7/2014)

A study in how to doctor a research report and get it published. A team of doctors at the Pharmacology department of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, published a study, ostensibly conducted in 2013, on the effectiveness of a wing in their department, at a time when the institute was actually lying defunct.

What’s worse, Delhi-based Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research also thought it fit to publish the study.

HERE’S THE ‘STUDY’
Two resident doctors, Dr Pugazhenthan Thangaraju, Dr Harmanjit Singh and professor and head of the PGI’s department of pharmacology Dr Amitava Chakrvarty published a short study titled ‘Short communication: Drug Information Unit as an effective tool for promoting rational drug use’.

The study was apparently based on the number of calls received at Drug Information Unit (DIU), a wing at the pharmacology department that answers queries of doctors over phone on whether the drugs they prescribe could have an adverse reaction on patients. The study claimed that a junior resident doctor manning the DIU received 56 calls a month, and also listed the department-wise number of calls.

THE FACTS
Information available with HT shows that the DIU had been defunct since the retirement of former head of the pharmacology department, Dr P Pandhi, in 2012.
The phone connection designated for the office had not been functioning for more than a year and was revived only in May this year, when Dr Arvind Rajwanshi, the cytology (study of cells) department head, was given additional charge of the department.

“When I took over as head of the department, I directed that the system be revived,” said Dr Rajwanshi. Since the revival of the DIU, it has been getting 8-10 calls a month. The corresponding author of the study, Dr Harmanjit Singh, could not be contacted as he did not take calls.

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