Drug researcher sentenced to 3 years in prison for lying about asthma drug study

A federal judge sentenced a former clinical research coordinator to three years in prison Jan. 12 in a case concerning a confirmatory trial for a pediatric asthma drug, according to the Justice Department. 

Jessica Palacio, 37, worked at a Miami-based clinical trial firm from 2013 to 2015, and after the trial, the drugmaker noticed inconsistencies and told the FDA. 

During the summer of 2021, she was accused of a scheme to "falsify medical records to make it appear as though pediatric subjects made scheduled visits to UMR, received physical exams from a clinical investigator, and took study drugs as required, when in fact these events had not occurred," according to a news release. 

When an FDA investigator asked Ms. Palacio about her role, "she submitted a false affidavit claiming that she had performed a screening visit of a child subject when she had not," according to the plaintiff's case.

Ms. Palacio was found guilty of wire fraud and making a false statement to investigators, and a few months later, she faces 36 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Four co-conspirators have been sentenced for a similar amount of time of imprisonment and probation.

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