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Conflict of Interest in the Media Articles Sorted by Source

Stories in the Print Media - sorted by source | sorted by date



Title & Summary

The Baltimore SunJanuary 23, 2010

“UM Professor Reprimanded for Apparent Conflict of Interest” by Childs Walker.  A University of Maryland, College Park professor faces conflict of interest questions after he used university letterhead to send his legal opinion in his role as a consultant to a labor union.  He violated university procedures by improperly using university letterhead for the work of this outside firm.

The Boston GlobeSeptember 24, 2008"Tufts Doctor is Chided on Ethics: US Senator Faults Federal Adviser for Endorsing Device" by Carey Goldberg- Senator Grassley sets his sights on NIH contractors.  Dr. Marvin Konstam is accused of a breach of ethics in serving as a contractor for NIH, as a faculty member at Tufts Medical Center and as a medical director of Orquis, a private heart-device company.  Senator Grassley believes this type of arrangement speaks to the underlying oversight problems that currently plague the NIH.  Please see paragraphs 1, 3, 5, 13-14 for more details.

The Boston Globe

December 24, 2007

“UMass Policy Limits Doctor, Drug Maker Ties: Conflict of Interest Rules Among Strictest in Country” by Liz Kowalczyk - UMass Memorial Medical Center has instituted a new conflict of interest policy that severely limits interactions between doctors and companies. Notable Quote from Article: “It prohibits doctors and other clinical staff from eating meals paid for by companies: bans all gifts, from candy to medical journals; stops drug companies from giving money directly to individual physicians and departments for educational programs; and places a complete ban on doctors joining company “speakers bureaus” to give talks about products.”

Business WeekJune 26, 2008"Drugmakers and College Labs - Too Cozy?" by Arlene Weintraub - This article chronicles Senator Charles Grassley’s continuing effort to ensure full disclosure of doctors’ ties to industry.  In late June, Sen. Grassley criticized Stanford University for failing to monitor Dr. Alan Schatzenberg, a renowned psychiatrist, and his ties to Corcept Therapeutics, Eli Lilly, and Johnson & Johnson.  Please see paragraphs 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, and 12.
Business WeekJune 26, 2008"Doctors Under the Influence" by Arlene Weintraub - This article examines the promotion of an anti-smoking drug, Chantix, by researchers with financial ties to the drug’s manufacturer, Pfizer.   These researchers recommend long-term use of Chantix, though the drug has proven to cause adverse reactions in many patients.  The article calls into question the ability of researchers to form unbiased opinions about drugs when they have financial ties to drug companies. Please see paragraphs 1-6, 10, 15, and 21.
CBS Evening NewsJune 26, 2008"Are Perks Compromising MD Ethics? CBS Evening News - This piece originally aired on the CBS Evening News. The story questions whether doctors receiving drug company money and gifts compromises patient care.  CBS describes the case of the Downign family, whose doctor failed to notify them that he received money from Pfizer.  He prescribed Zoloft, a drug manufactured by Pfizer, to their daughter to treat mild anxiety.  The drug led to her death.  Please watch the video clip for more information.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 20, 2010
"Baylor College of Medicine Faces NIH Sanctions Over Financial Conflicts" by Paul Basken. The NIH has ordered more extensive financial disclosures on federal grant applications from Baylor College of Medicine after an NIH investigation discovered undisclosed financial interests.  The NIH now imposes "special award conditions" on future grants to Baylor.  This increased scrutiny could signal upcoming changes in federal regulations concerning conflict of interest.
The Chronicle of Higher EducationOctober 15, 2008"Conflict-of-Interest Concerns Halt NIH Project at Emory U." by Richard Monastersky- The NIH froze support for a $9.3-million, 5-year study held at Emory University because the principal investigator, Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff, failed to comply with federal regulations and university policies by underreporting payments from drug companies.  The NIH's quick action comes after Senator Grassley discovered similar issues concerning researchers at Harvard, Stanford, the University of Texas, the University of Cincinatti, and others reporting payments from drug companies inaccurately.
CNN HealthAugust 21, 2008"Don't become a victim of medical marketing"by Elizabeth Cohen- This article describes the dangers of undisclosed clinical conflicts of interest.  Linda Lewis was given an artificial disk to help relieve back pain.  Instead, the disk led to debilitating pain and corrective surgery.  Lewis discovered that her doctor had financial ties to the company that created the articial disc, leading her to believe the doctor made his decision based on profit rather than patient care.  The article describes the powers of perceived and real conflicts of interest in patient care.  See paragraphs 1, 6, 8, 9, and 11 for more information.
The Harvard CrimsonNovember 14, 2008"Harvard Medical Students Push to Codify Conflict of Interest Policies" by June Q. Wu- Medical and Dental students at Harvard are pushing the school's administration towards creating a better policy concerning conflicts of interest in the classroom.  Please see paragraphs 1-5, 7, 9, and 14-16 for more details.
Inside Higher EdJune 7, 2011

"Supremes Rule Against Stanford" by Doug Lederman.  The Supreme Court ruled against Stanford University in a dispute over ownership of an invention made by a Stanford faculty member who was working for industry.  The Court ruled that the Bayh-Dole Act does not automatically vest title to federally funded inventions in federal contractors (e.g., the university).  Stanford’s policy on inventions required researchers to “agree to assign” ownership rights to the university.   The dispute arose when it became apparent that the researcher had entered into an agreement with Cetus, a company that later was bought by Roche, which stated that he “will assign and do[es] hereby assign” his rights in certain inventions to the company.  Stanford argued that all inventions made by its employees belong to the University, which would mean that the researcher could not have assigned his intellectual property rights to the company.  The court rejected this argument, stating that rights in an invention belong to the inventor.

Inside Higher EdJune 12, 2008"Researchers’ Financial Disclosures in the Spotlight" by Andy Guess - This article touches on recent media reports about three Harvard scientists who failed to report their conflicts of interest related to controversial, federally funded research.  It also discusses Senator Charles Grassley’s Physician Payments Sunshine Act and the act’s potential impact of the relationship between physicians and corporations.  Please see paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 20 for more information.
The New York TimesJanuary 16, 2012“U.S. to Force Drug Firms to Report Money Paid to Doctors,” by Robert Pear – In an effort to address health care-related conflicts of interest, the Obama administration is moving forward with the Sunshine Act, a new law that will require pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers to disclose payments made to non-employee physicians.  Under the legislation, companies must report money paid for consulting and speaking arrangements, research, travel and entertainment, in addition to royalty payments for inventions or discoveries and any ownership or investment interest held by physicians or their immediate family members.  The public will have until February 17, 2012 to comment on the proposed rule, which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, has the potential to reduce health care spending by reducing overprescribing.  An analysis undertaken by the Times found that physicians who receive compensation from drug companies “often practice medicine differently from those who do not” and “are more willing to prescribe drugs in risky and unapproved ways.”  The payment data – expected to be large in volume – will be posted on a publicly available Web site.
The New York TimesMay 3, 2011

"Board Disciplines 3 Doctors" by Reed Abelson.  The New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners disciplined three orthopedic surgeons for failing to disclose their financial interests in a medical device that they were testing for FDA approval, the New York Times reported.  According to the Attorney General of New Jersey, the conflicts “undercut public trust in the medical profession.”  The doctors were fined for their failure to disclose, and Synthes, the manufacturer of the device, is now required to disclose any future payments to doctors involved in research on the company’s products.

The New York Times

May 13, 2009"Doctor Falsified Study on Injured G.I.'s Army Says" - by Duff Wilson and Barry Meier - A former surgeon of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center made false claims and overstated the benefits of the company's product in treating soldiers who were severely injured in Iraq, the hospital's commander said.
The New York TimesMarch 11, 2009"Doctor's Pain Studies Were Fabricated, Hospital Says"- by Gardiner Harris- Dr. Scott S. Reuben, a prominent researcher in the field of post-operative pain management, is accused of fabricating data in as many as 21 journal articles. His research supported the claim that neuropathic pain medicines and aspirin-like drugs should be prescribed to post-operative patients instead of narcotics.  This claim is now called into question. Much of his Pfizer-funded studies determined that Pfizer drugs, such as Celebrex and Lyrica, were effective in treating post-operative pain. Critics claim that Dr. Reuben's reliance on Pfizer funding may have led to his fabrications.
The New York TimesNovember 21, 2008"Radio Host Has Drug Company Ties"-by Gardiner Harris- Dr. Frederick K. Goodwind, the radio host of "The Infinite Mind" an independently produced radio show on public radio, is the latest subject of Senator Charles Grassley's investigations into drug company ties and federal funding.  Dr. Goodwin failed to report remuneration from drug companies to the NSF and the NIH, two federal institutions that sponsored his show.  He received money from drug companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and seven others. He has repeatedly spoken favorably about many products manufactured by companies that paid him for outside services.  Goodwin's radio show will now be going off the air.  Please see the article for more details.
The New York TimesNovember 17, 2008"Who Should Take a Statin?" an Editorial- New research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston indicates that people with low cholesterol would benefit from taking cholesterol lowering drugs.  Though the study's outcome points to high rates of success, many worry that the real benefit goes to drug companies, specifically Astrazeneca, who sponsored the trial, and the principal investigator, who could see gains from a patent involved in the research. Please see paragraphs 1, 2, 5 and 6.
The New York TimesOctober 8, 2008"Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies" by Stephanie Saul- Experts found that Pfizer used tactics to delay and withhold studies that had negative results concerning off-label uses of the epilepsy drug, Neurontin.  As part of a lawsuit, company emails discussing how to put a positive spin on negative research were released.  Merck and Schering-Plough have also faced allegations of spinning research data within the last year.  Please see paragraphs 1-3, 6-8, 12 and 13 for more details.
The New York TimesOctober 4, 2008"Top Psychiatrist Failed to Report Drug Income" by Gardiner Harris- Dr. Charles B Nemeroff, a leading psychiatrist from Emory, failed to comply with federal regulation and university policy by underreporting his earnings from drug and device companies for outside activities. Dr. Nemeroff's inaccurate earnings reports allowed him to continue to serve as an investigator on related research studies, including studies supported by federal grants. Senator Grassely unearthed this information by comparing the doctor's conflict of interest disclosures at Emory to company payment records. This is another example of the importance of accurate and complete disclosure.
The New York TimesSeptember 22, 2008"New Salvo in Splenda Skirmish" by Lynnley Browning- A new study from Duke University says that Splenda contributes to obesity.  However, this study has been dubbed "the Sugar Association-funded rat study" by McNeil Nutritionals, the company that manufactures Splenda, because funding for the study was provided by the Sugar Association. The Sugar Association is a lobbying group for the natural-sugar industry and McNeil Nutritionals fears that this colors the data in the Duke study. Please see paragraphs 2, 4, 6, 12 and 13 for more information.
The New York TimesJuly 12, 2008"Psychiatric Group Faces Scrutiny Over Drug Industry Ties"- by Benedict Carey and Gardiner Harris - The relationship between psychiatrists and drug companies is being investigated, as Senator Charles Grassley puts the American Psychiatric Association's finances under the microscope.  This investigation comes in the wake of recent stories involving Stanford, Harvard and the University of Cincinnati.  Researchers at these universities failed to accurately disclose the amount of money they received from drug companies. Please see paragraphs 1-8, 11, 12, and 15.

The New York Times

June 8, 2008"Researchers Fail to Reveal Full Drug Pay" by Gardiner Harris and Benedict Carey -The article reports that investigations by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley revealed that prominent clinical researchers at Harvard and elsewhere failed to fully disclose their income from pharmaceutical companies and that as a result Harvard failed to accurately report to NIH. The Harvard faculty members receive federal research funds and their work has led to a dramatic increase in diagnoses of pediatric bipolar disorder and prescriptions of antipsychotic drugs for children.

The New York Times

April 15, 2008

“Citing Ethics, Some Doctors Are Rejecting Industry Pay” by Gina Kolata - This article describes the reasons behind these researchers’ decisions.  Please see paragraphs 9, 15, 16, and 27-29.

The New York Times

April 11, 2008

“Drug Companies to Reveal Grant Practices” by the Associated Press - According to this article, many of the major drug and medical device companies intend to publicly disclose grants and payments to outside groups and individuals.  Please see paragraphs 3-5 and paragraph 8 for details.

The New York Times

April 7, 2008

“The Importance of Appearances” an editorial - This editorial describes conflicts of interests in both sides of the debate about spiral CT screening for lung cancer. The last paragraph is of particular interest: “All the scientists presumably hold their strong views without being influenced by monetary considerations.  But their incautious behavior in accepting special-interest money and the failure of Weill Cornell researchers to make their royalty interests explicit have inevitably cast doubt on the research they take pride in.”

The New York Times

March 26, 2008

“Cigarette Company Paid for Lung Cancer Study” by Gardiner Harris - This article exposes a money trail between a new lung cancer study and the Liggett Group, a major cigarette company. Please see paragraphs 9 and 10 as well as paragraphs 19-23.

The New York Times

January 19, 2008

“Researchers Go Unchecked, Report Says” by Gardiner Harris - This article addresses growing concerns that the National Institutes of Health do not properly investigate conflicts of interests concerning university faculty members receiving grant money.  Please see paragraphs 6, 8, 10, and 11 for more details.
North County TimesMay 18, 2011

"Balboa Navy Doc Under Investigation" by Rick Rogers.  The Department of Defense is investigating a Navy physician researcher for his participation in a 2008-09 clinical trial that a Department report described as “inconsistent with military standards for human subject medical research.”   This article reports there are allegations that the physician improperly prescribed an anti-oxidant called N-acetylcysteine to troops and also failed to disclose his financial interest in the drug.  The investigation is ongoing.

PharmalotDecember 23, 2008"Edwards Lifesciences To Disclose Ties To Doctors"- by Ed Silverman- Edwards Lifesciences is preparing to disclose payments of over $5,000 made to doctors via their website.  This is in response to pending legislation that would make disclosure mandatory for drug and device companies.
PharmalotAugust 1, 2008"Grassley Intensifies Probe Into NIH & Stanford" by Ed Silverman - This article describes Sen. Grassley's investigations into allegations of unresolved conflicts of interest at Stanford. Writer Ed Silverman focuses on Dr. Schatzberg of Stanford's link to NIH funding and Stanford's attempt to manage Schatzberg's conflicts.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

November 12, 2007

“UPMC Tightening Policy on Drugmaker Relationships” by Joe Fahy - This article explores the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s decision to ban gifts from drug representatives and enforce a strict code for using sample medications.  The article lists some of the provisions of this new policy. Please see paragraphs 1, 4, 7 and 14.
Policy and MedicineJanuary 22, 2009"Physician Payment Sunshine Act 2009 Introduced"- by Thomas Sullivan- Senators Grassley and Kohl introduce a stronger Sunshine Act that includes payments over $100 to physicians and additional reportable relationships.
United States Committee on FinanceJune 25, 2008"Grassley calls on Congress and NIH leaders to identify conflicts of interest in taxpayer sponsored medical research" Press Release - Senator Grassley alleges that the NIH's management of conflicts of interest in research with government funding is inaccurate and slow.  He states, "There's mounting evidence that the NIH hasn't done due diligence in keeping track of industry payments to medical researchers."  Please see paragraphs 2-4 for details.
The Wall Street JournalJanuary 16, 2009"Medtronic Pays Surgeon '$20,000 or More'- Much Much More- by Sarah Rubenstein- University of Wisconsin policies are under scrutiny for their failure to capture the precise amount that their researchers receive from industry for outside services.  Dr. Thomas Zdeblick, a spine surgeon and researcher at the University of Wisconsin, disclosed that he received over $20,000 for consulting services to Medtronic, when in fact he received over $19 million.  Because the university's policies do not require doctors to disclose exact amounts, Zdeblick was in compliance with these policies.  This points to a common issue in COI management- accurate and realistic disclosures.
The Wall Street JournalDecember 23, 2008"Emory Professor Steps Down"- by Joseph Pereira- Charles Nemeroff, a well-known researcher in clinical depression at Emory University, will resign his position as chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences because of his underreporting of payments he received from drug companies for more than 250 speaking engagements. 
The Wall Street JournalDecember 18, 2008"Grassley Blasts Emory over 'CME-Like' Defense of Nemeroff- by David Armstrong- Senator Grassley criticizes Charles Nemeroff and Emory University for calling his industry-funded speaking arrangements "CME-like."
The Wall Street JournalSeptember 25, 2008"Lawsuit Says Medtronic Gave Doctors Array of Perks" by David Armstrong- A lawyer who previously worked for Medtronic Inc. has filed suit against the device maker, stating that Medtronic used unethical incentives such as paid vacations masquerading as conferences, trips to strip clubs, and kickbacks in order to increase revenue and evoke favorable responses from doctors. The lawsuit is an effort to recoup losses incurred from company inducements to prescribe Medtronic products covered by Medicare or Medicaid. For more details, please see paragraphs 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 9.
The Wall Street JournalSeptember 12, 2008"Medical Journal Rebukes Researcher" by David Armstrong-  This article discusses the Ear & Hearing journal's rebuke of William W. Clark, a Washington University researcher, who failed to disclose that he was a paid expert of Federal Signal Corp. While acting as an expert witness for this company, Dr. Clark published an article in Ear & Hearing noting that firefighters are not at risk for job-related hearing loss.  See paragraphs 1, 2, 4, 8, and 9 for more details.
The Wall Street JournalSeptember 11, 2008"Pressured, Schools Review Ties to Drug Firms" by Alicia Mundy- Senator Grassley continues his investigation into ties between universities and drug companies, specifically when NIH funding is also involved.  Sen. Grassley proposes that NIH should remove funding from universities that do not disclose their relationships with drug companies accurately.  Please see paragraphs 1, 2, 5, 6, 9 and 11 for details.

The Wall Street Journal

January 18, 2008

“Conflicts in CT Lung Cancer Research Back in Spotlight” by David Armstrong - This article reports that “The Cancer Letter,” a medical journal, found that Dr. Claudia Henschke and Dr. David Yankelevitz have submitted patent applications related to their research.  In addition, Henschke’s group has a licensing agreement with GE, a major CT scanner producer, and Yankelevitz holds stock in PneumRx, a company that makes materials used in their research.  Please see paragraphs 1, 6, and 7.
The United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington - Press ReleaseOctober 7, 2011Military Cardiologist Sentenced for Illegally Accepting Benefits from Medical Device Company
USA TodayMay 5, 2011

"Doctors' Groups Welcome Medical Company Dollars" by Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber.  Concern is growing about the influence of industry funding on medical societies.  One example is the Heart Rhythm Society, whose recent conference was notable for the extent of promotional activity by industry sponsors, according to this article.  Several leaders of medical societies say industry funding is essential to reduce registration fees, subsidize the cost of CME, and provide money for disease awareness.   However, concerns over undue influence have drawn criticism from medical leaders and congressional scrutiny. 

The Wall Street Journal

October 8, 2007

“Critics Question Objectivity of Government Lung-Scan Study” by David Armstrong - This article concerns two researchers’ conflicts of interests and the National Lung Screening Trial.  These researchers, Dr. Denise Aberle and Dr. William Black, have served as paid expert witnesses on cases involving CT screening for lung cancer.  Please see paragraphs 3, 10-12, and 20.

USA Today

February 26, 2008

“Drugmakers Asked to Reveal Educational Grants to Doctors” by Steve Sternberg -  This article addresses Senator Chuck Grassley’s mission to create transparency concerning drug companies’ spending on educational grants.  Please see paragraphs 2, 4, and 7.