Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dirty Little Secret

Does it surprise you to learn how many doctors are hiding income, often a lot of income, the receive from drug companies? In the news recently is the story about a world-renowned Harvard child psychiatrist whose work has helped fuel the explosion of use in antipsychotic medications for children who neglected to report he received at least $1.6 million from drug makers from 2000 - 2007.

Yes, this is a violation of federal and university rules designed to police conflicts of interest, but it turns out several doctors there aren't paying attention. The case has been referred to the university's conflict committee for review and NIH is looking into the that it's been exposed for them.

The situation came to light through the efforts of Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. He noted the amended disclosures may actually understate the researcher's outside income because the amounts contradict payment information from the drug manufacturers.

Most of us aren't surprised in the least by such news reports. We know the doctors and researchers are in bed with the drug makers. We're surprised when they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar is all, and are deeply grateful to Sen. Grassley and others for shining light on these dirty little secrets.

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