juniorprof on the ever-expanding Grassley investigation

Our good blog friend juniorprof has a post up on the latest round in the BigPharma/scientist payola stakes. I had referenced an investigation being conducted by Senator Charles Grassley in the context of Charles Nemeroff's little boo-boo. Apparently this was just the beginning as juniorprof notes:

Apparently Charles Grassley (Rep, Iowa) has expanded his probe of illegal (or at least unethical) Pharma payments to University based researchers. This time, he is demanding financial disclosures from a group of cardiologists at Columbia University

In other news, a reader kindly pointed me to a related story that suggests at least one person was telling the NIH about the problem years ago.

The NIH was warned about the dangers of the problem years ago by one of its own scientists, Ned Feder, who wrote letters to several publications suggesting that the agency require its grantees to publicly disclose money they earn from medical companies. Instead of heeding Dr. Feder's advice, the agency punished him.

5 responses so far

  • juniorprof says:

    You know, the more I think about this developing story the more it makes me squirm. I think that what Grassley is doing is right; however, I really hope we (academic research community) can get one step ahead of him in cleaning up our collective act to soften the blow. This has potential to get very ugly, very fast, in a time when people might really pay attention to what is going on and get very angry about it.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    Crooked academicians are among us and I agree with juniorprof that we do not do enough to expose and punish them before the authorities get involved. As a whistleblower I know that the great majority (99.99%) of my peers would choose not to get involved in compalining about their crooked peers for many different reasons, but mainly because they fear for their own skin.
    Accepting monies from drug companies and hiding conflict of interest is not the biggest type of misconduct crooked academicians are engaged in. Here's a case that has been investigated since June, 2008, in which a dean of the school of education at the University of Louisville was just indicted for stealing federal grant funds (2.3 million) to enrich himself. You can read about it here:
    http://www.journaltimes.com/articles/2008/10/22/local_news/doc48ff5b0209c71181018153.txt

  • juniorprof says:

    Sol, that's one seriously fucked up story you've linked there. What are these people thinking?

  • S. Rivlin says:

    Junior,
    The story has additional facets beside the monitory one. Eventually, there were many complaints against this crooked dean by faculty members, the majority of which were filed anonymously for fears of retaliation. When the case broke out, the president of the university, on camera, told a reporter who asked about the 30-some complaints against the dean that "this is anonymous crap."
    You can learn more about the story in the link I provided by reading previous articles about the case. The accomplice of the dean in this embezzlement was surrendered to authorities today.
    One of the reasons that faculty members today do not out their crooked peers has to do with the power grab by administrators that many academic institutions have went through in the past two decades. Faculty members have no say in ridding their department from a crooked chairperson or their school from a crooked dean. These positions are now administrative positions where the persons filling them do not answer to the "whims" of the faculty members. Academic institutions had copied the business corporation model of CEOs and vice-CEOs where the faculty members are just employees with no say in the management of their departments and universities.

  • S. Rivlin says:

    Here's the latest developments in the federal investigation into misappropriation of federal grant funds by the ex-dean of the School of Education at the University of Louisville and his associate.
    http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20081025/NEWS01/810250470&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL

Leave a Reply