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Crossgar doctor McGoldrick could be jailed for two years for falsifying clinical trials

By Michael Donnelly

Published 17/06/2016

Former GP Hugh McGoldrick admitted he had falsified results submitted for clinical trials
Former GP Hugh McGoldrick admitted he had falsified results submitted for clinical trials

A Co Down doctor who falsified clinical test results could face a prison sentence of up to two years in the first prosecution of its kind.

Dr Hugh McGoldrick, who has since retired, was yesterday remanded into custody to await his sentencing next Friday.

In April, the 59-year-old from Crossgar Road East in Crossgar, pleaded guilty to two charges of falsifying clinical trials on patients with sleeping disorders.

He admitted that between November 2007 and June 2008 he "conducted a clinical trial relating to the efficacy and safety of 2mg per day of M100907 on Sleep Maintenance Insomnia'' in breach of the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004.

His defence QC Frank O'Donoghue told Downpatrick Crown Court the GP, who has more than 30 years in his Pound Lane practice, had behaved "out of character" during the clinical trial, one of 24 he had undertaken over a four-year period.

However, Mr O'Donoghue emphasised that McGoldrick had not undertaken the clinical trial, worth over £20,000 upon completion, for financial gain.

The lawyer added that outstanding monies of around £9,200 that he had received had now been lodged with his legal team for repayment.

He also submitted that had he made early admissions about the irregularities, the former GP may have avoided criminal proceedings "and the total erosion of reputation that has gone with this".

"He has lost his career, he has lost his reputation, he has had to deal with the publicity and the speculation of the community about the extent of his wrongdoing," said Mr O'Donoghue.

When directly asked by Judge Piers Grant if McGoldrick had made up the submitted phone-line results, Mr O'Donoghue said: "That is right; that is what he had pleaded to and has accepted."

The court had heard details of how McGoldrick recruited 10, mostly elderly, patients for the study, which involved over 1,800 people worldwide.

However, prosecution QC David McDowell said that if his patients had gone through the correct screening process, then "all 10 patients were probably ineligible".

This would have been for a number of reasons, either because they were overweight, suffering from pre-existing medical conditions, or in some case, already taking medication which would have interfered with their natural sleep patterns.

The court was told Dr McGoldrick had submitted the patient sleep records on their behalf, claiming this was because some were elderly and unwilling, or reluctant to use the dedicated phone system.

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