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IPFS News Link • Drugs and Medications

Blood, Lies, and a Drug Trials Lab Gone Bad

•, Brendan I. Koerner

The email that Joe Hagood received in August 2017 was vague and brief, but too unsettling to ignore.

Hagood worked at Medpace, a Cincinnati company that tests new drugs for pharmaceutical manufacturers. His job was to supervise the independent research centers that Medpace pays to handle the nitty-gritty of human trials: finding volunteers, dispensing medications, tracking side effects. The author of the unsettling email, Justina Bruinekool, was a staffer at one of those centers. She claimed to have an urgent reason for writing: Her employer was fraudulently conducting a major trial that Hagood was overseeing.

The email contained no evidence to support this jarring allegation, so Hagood thought it wise to tread cautiously; he worried that Bruinekool might be a disgruntled employee out to make trouble. In his reply, he thanked her for the tip and politely encouraged her to reach him on his cell phone.