For years we expected and believed that the for-profit science industry provided objective answers to important questions based on careful application of the scientific method. Unfortunately, recent scandals at many significant medical and scientific labs have revealed that our faith in laboratories and scientists is not always justified. Ethical and quality controlled laboratories make the world safer and save lives. But when science is driven by profit motives at the expense of ethics and quality, the consequences can be profound. When people rely on laboratories to provide information to help them decide whether to pursue a certain treatment or take on an expensive remediation project, the results should be trustworthy and reliable. Exposing laboratory fraud is critical to the safety of consumers and the restoration of faith in the scientific process.
The EPA defines Laboratory fraud as “the deliberate falsification of analytical and quality assurance results, where failed method and contractual requirements are made to appear acceptable.” Errors can occur in a variety of ways: Sample collection methods can cause contamination, lack of available processing chemicals can make certain protocols impossible to perform, machine calibrations can cause erroneous results. Quality labs have procedures in place to check for these problems and report the inconsistencies in their results. Often these problems will require a repeat of the test, or the need to obtain new samples. Whether profit margins or simple indifference motivate them, some laboratories do not come clean when the test results are flawed.
Test results are relied on by consultants, healthcare providers, facility managers, and families to make important decisions about medical treatment, remediation, and other life-altering choices. A falsified lab report can have devastating consequences, causing panic, economic hardship, and even death.
Consumers are entitled to rely on the accuracy of sampling, testing, and reporting lab results. Adherence to ethical standards and quality practices are essential for maintaining the integrity of scientific studies, evaluations, and testing.
Adams Landenwich Walton attorneys have handled multiple cases involving laboratory misconduct where scientists have failed to follow the rules. We represent consumers harmed by laboratory fraud and employees who have been targeted after blowing the whistle on inappropriate scientific practices in their workplace.