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NC Medical Board reprimands Potti

The North Carolina Medical Board has formally reprimanded Dr. Anil Potti for unprofessional conduct during his time as a cancer researcher at Duke.

The 12-member board considered Duke’s investigation of Potti’s curriculum vitae and biographical sketch that stemmed from accusations that the former Duke doctor had falsely claimed awards and accomplishments, including a Rhodes Scholarship. The board noted that Duke found issues with both documents but concluded “they were largely the result of carelessness and honest errors with no clear intention to mislead,” according to the consent order, which was signed by the medical board’s president, Dr. Ralph Loomis.

The medical board, which regulates medicine and surgery in the state, found Potti in violation of North Carolina General Statute 90-14 (a)(6), which covers unprofessional conduct that includes “departure from, or the failure to conform to, the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice, or the ethics of the medical profession.”

Potti was formally reprimanded and agreed to comply with a number of terms established in the document, including investigative interviews at the request of the board. Failure to comply with those terms would constitute unprofessional conduct and would be grounds for the doctor’s medical licence to be suspended or revoked.

The terms are in effect until the medical board orders otherwise.

The document, which Potti signed Nov. 18 and Loomis signed Nov. 22, makes mention of the ongoing medical misconduct inquiry currently being conducted by Duke. The accusations in summer 2010 that Potti had falsified parts of his resume resulted in added scrutiny of his cancer research, which included clinical trials. Potti’s research was related to using an individual’s genome to predict the most effective method of cancer treatment.

A number of Potti’s papers, which were once regarded as ground-breaking in the field, have been retracted from prestigious journals because their results cannot be reproduced. It remains unclear whether the errors discovered in those papers were made with malintent.

Potti has not spoken publicly since the allegations surfaced but is currently practicing medicine at the Coastal Cancer Center, which has four offices in South Carolina and one in North Carolina.

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