Trial By Error: Professor Sharpe’s Retraction Requests

David Tuller



By David Tuller, DrPH

After this month’s release of the Health Research Authority’s PACE analysis, Professor Michael Sharpe sent e-mails to at least two US publications requesting a retraction or major correction of critical articles. Professor Sharpe’s e-mails accused the writers involved of suggesting that PACE was “fraudulent.” This accusation was not true.

In both cases, the writers had accurately described the PACE investigators’ misleading presentations of the data. In both cases, editors have rejected Professor Sharpe’s request.

Professor Sharpe appears to be hyping the HRA report as a full-scale vindication of PACE. In doing so, he is ignoring the limits of the agency’s purview. In its letter, the HRA itself noted that its remit is to focus on regulatory matters, such as the process of obtaining ethical approvals, and not on the quality of the science.


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