“McGuire stepped down in 1992 and H. Barton Grossman, M.D., followed McGuire, serving as section head until the arrival of Dr. Joseph Oesterling in 1994.”

The University of Michigan’s urology department shares its leadership history, marking without comment the curiously short reign (he left in ’97) of Joseph Oesterling. But here’s a comment, from a local journalist recalling her most important story:

In the early 1990s, I got a tip from an insider at the University of Michigan that Dr. Joseph Oesterling, chief urologist, had scammed the university on expenses and pocketed money from prostate cancer foundations he created. He used the money to build himself a mighty fine mansion. Through FOIA, I and reporter Maryanne George, who was a cub reporter I edited while we both were at the Michigan State News, got reams of information about his expense records showing he double- and triple-billed the university for expenses drug and medical device companies gave him. He resigned in disgrace but only served a brief stint of community service.

We ran a big story including a photo of the house that my newspaper got by hiring a helicopter (with our lawyer’s OK) and shooting it from above. (The house was on a private road with a chain fence that said no trespassing). Turns out the picture we ran was of the back of the house, but that entrance looked so posh it was taken as the front entrance. I used the photo in speeches and the back entrance comment always got good laughs.

The story opened my eyes to the poor oversight of medical professionals by most states.

Poor oversight? You mean just because Oesterling was – until a few days ago – still practicing medicine?

I mean, yes, twenty years after the Michigan thing, plus a 2005 misconduct charge, plus an arrest at the end of December for running a chain of pill mills, Oesterling’s license has finally been suspended… Not taken away, mind you… Wouldn’t want to act hastily…

But – wait for it – he’s still prescribing!

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… Oesterling’s clinics, including one in Caro, prescribed a total of “some 330,000 dosage units of Norco, a (Schedule II) controlled substance, within a 16-month period.

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If you’re anxious about your fix, you’ll be relieved to know he’s out on bond, and with all his money he’ll almost certainly be able to beat these latest charges.

“At the Brazil lecture in April, [Joseph] Pergolizzi was presented as still affiliated with Temple. Pergolizzi said he was not aware his credential with the university had lapsed, and has let Mundipharma know.”

WHOOOOOPS! Did you catch me peddling an American university affiliation while helping the Sackler family make the world safe for opioids? Now why would I do that? Why would I present myself as an American university professor – from Temple, no less, one of whose trustees just spent decades sharing with women the amazing power of drugs – when I’m not?

It turns out I don’t understand that when you no longer have an affiliation with a university you’re not affiliated with it anymore.

That’s why the Sacklers chose me to promote OxyContin to the world. I’m smart.

Les UDs take a train to Boston today…

… for Christmas with the family. Among UD‘s many blessings is a great deal of reader email – some of it with book and cd suggestions, some of it links to the latest university absurdities. Assuming she has anything like a steady internet connection on the train, she will answer all of that on her way north.

UD has been working on a post about the Sackler family, those tireless global ambassadors for OxyContin. Why should opioid epidemics with the effect of neutron bombs visit only our cities and towns? We must gift the Chinese – already busy with their tobacco and pollution epidemics – with this most up-to-date form of the opium the Chinese of course have known from way back.

The Sacklers are of particular interest to University Diaries because they combine at the highest level UD has ever seen that whole Madoff/Yeshiva thing: A totally disreputable business model and a hoitsy-toitsy record of philanthropy to universities (in their case, medical schools). In a subsequent post, we shall examine in greater detail this whole killing them softly approach to the life of the mind and the life of the body.

“Asking them to sell a potentially deadly narcotic on an incentive plan created a powder keg primed to explode.”

Not really a powder keg. A morgue is more like it. A big fat national morgue full of dead Fentanyl users.

Remember Michael Jackson and how he hired a personal physician to knock him out with pain killers meant only for advanced cancer patients? Well, why shouldn’t all Americans have that same opportunity?

This was the business model of Insys Therapeutics, whose CEO (a Northwestern University business school grad, seen here dispensing not fatal opioids but career advice) identified this sort of doctor (read the whole thing) to write Fentanyl prescriptions for everybody! Everybody gets to join the party!

The CEO has now been arrested, along with a bunch of co-conspirators, and UD has been having a blast reading the racketeering etc etc case against them.

Killing this many Americans is not merely the work of b-school boys and pain pill docs. To keep the bodies mounting – to grow the business – you need these folks too, for they stand in the way of any prescribing restrictions at all. It’s the free enterprise system at its best, and our incoming prez will enthusiastically endorse it.

This teeny weeny arrest will embarrass a few people and amount to nothing. That doctor I told you about will move to another state and then another and keep doing his thing. And the opiates-for-all lobbyists will live forever.

Oh – and if your university has a med school, somewhere on the faculty there’s almost certainly a researcher paid by pharma to publish articles ghostwritten by opiate manufacturers – articles that reassure us about the efficacy and harmlessness of opioids. Whether it’s producing graduates like arrestee Michael Babich, or pill-propping professors, universities too have their role to play in keeping the morgue at capacity.

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UD thanks dmf.

Ten Days that Shook the Mice

“It’s unnatural for mice to die exactly every 10 days,” writes a group of online whistle blowers about a high-level Japanese research project.

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Either Japanese mice are rather like Mr Bunbury in The Importance of Being Earnest

My dear Aunt Augusta … The doctors found out that Bunbury could not live … so Bunbury died.

He seems to have had great confidence in the opinion of his physicians.

— or, um, “the data [was] tampered [with] to suit the theory envisioned by the researchers.”

But that’s just the Japanese way.

The Yale Psychiatrist is IN.

Helping you with your homicidal dog/crack cocaine issues.

Wagnerian Leitmotif

Karen Wagner, a psychiatry professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, seems to sound a repetitive theme in her work: Accept undisclosed money from drug companies; put your name on articles substantively ghostwritten for drug companies; and just generally over many years demonstrate the sort of behavior that gets you … named president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Rewards in this field, after all, go to people able to increase the probability that drug firms – eager, in the latest case involving Wagner, to rain anti-depressants upon the heads of our teeniest tots – will get FDA approval for their products.

Does the pill do anything a placebo doesn’t… ? Might it have dire side effects… ?

Erfahrt, wie sich die Pharmakonzerne rächen,
von deren Huld ihr euch gewandt!

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UD‘s friend Barney suggests some ways out.

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Oh – and speaking of kiddies and the makers of fun adorable stuff for them to play with, like Risperdal blocks – a new movie about that drug is coming out, and UD is way excited at the possibility that it will star one of the most… intriguing characters we’ve met on this blog: Harvard’s Joseph Biederman.

Cycle Slut

One of [William O’Brien’s] “patients” was a burly Pagan who boldly stated on his intake form that he “had been pregnant several times…”

“The prosecution also found that Oxy Reckitt Benckiser had wired several million won into a personal bank account of the professor in question, after asking for the team’s confirmation that its product had no direct links to lung damages.”

Corporations have long bribed willing professors to sterilize, if you will, their dirty products; here’s a case of literal sterilization in exchange for cash.

Hundreds of Koreans have been injured or have died from using inhalers they sterilized with what turns out to be a deadly substance. Two Korean professors allegedly performed bogus tests that showed no demonstrable link to toxic results from the sterilizer. The manufacturer is also accused of having destroyed strong evidence of toxicity.

An unnamed (why unnamed?) Seoul National University professor has now been arrested.

The Seoul Central District Public Prosecutor’s Office found out that Oxy Reckitt Benckiser paid the Seoul National University research team about 250 million won for the experiment and separately sent tens of millions of won to a personal bank account belonging to the professor who was leading the research team.

For sheer vileness, this one’s up there with the Iowa State guy who faked HIV vaccine results.

“Zotova testified in her own defense that she suffered from a psychological issue that prevented her from going to the lab and meeting with any of the researchers in person.”

You have to read down the page a bit to get to the fun stuff in research fraud.

As his campaign shows signs of faltering, a new strategy for Donald Trump:

Uterus transplant.

Tenured Radical Hatches Anti-Capitalist Conspiracy.

An October 2015 email to Turing Pharmaceuticals from a University of North Carolina professor.

Given your company’s recent move to raise the price of pyrimethamine over 5,000% to an incredible $750 a pill, I have decided not to meet with representatives from Turing. … I am also urging my colleagues here at UNC, as well as at Duke, ECU, Wake Forest and other clinical centers across our state to do likewise, until Turing announces a reasonable and ethical reduction in the price of this important medication — a drug we rely on most to treat toxoplasmosis.

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UD thanks dmf.

Gonna take a sedimental journey…

… to jail.

As Bernie Sanders Surges, Here’s a Way to Understand What He Means by All that “One-Tenth of One Percent” Income Inequality Rhetoric.

According to a Senate report released in December, Gilead knew pricing Sovaldi at $75,000 per patient for a 12-month course would restrict patient access by 24% of US payers, and yet it still ended up seeking $84,000 for it. The company priced Harvoni at an even higher $94,500, such that last year barely 2% of the eligible [hepatitis C virus] patients in the US were treated with the drugs.

Sure, that’s much more than one-tenth of one percent.

Nonetheless. Get the picture? Only a small number of rich people get to be cured.

Gilead is so depraved that the Massachusetts Attorney General is stepping in (though she probably can’t do much about it). Yet the story hasn’t even gotten much press, because as Americans we’re so used to homicidal greed.

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Sanders owns this reality. He’s running with it. He’s running on it.

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The letter from the AG went out to Gilead CEO John Martin, a man who has brought his depravity to the board of trustees at the University of Chicago.

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The lovely larger picture.

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Never before has Norman Mailer’s immortal statement felt so true: The shits are killing us.

Payback’s a Bitch.

[Tasmanian physician James Freeman said] “The price [for Gilead’s hepatitis medication] was set at the absolute maximum the market could bear, with absolutely no respect for the fact that it was going to bankrupt the Veterans’ administration or Medicaid – it is extraordinary pricing for a medication. It’s dreadfully sad that we have invented a cure for one of the five big infectious disease killers in the world and we’re not deploying it.”

Well, Gilead needs to make a profit, doesn’t it (Gilead’s 2014 gross profit margin: 85%)? What the HBeAg you gonna do about it?

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Actually, turns out that in response to the rancid greed of this company the whole world is producing Gilead antibodies. They’re attacking Gilead’s profits in any number of ways.

They’re setting up buyers’ clubs to get the drugs more cheaply from other countries. They’ve staged such loud street and social media protests that Gilead has now joined Goldman Sachs in the Most Popular American Corporations Club.

A writer in Seeking Alpha keens:

Alas, in the wake of [Gilead’s] giant financial success, patients, insurance companies and government officials are getting perturbed by the greed. The company has had a great couple of years. Massachusetts Attorney General Mara Healey was on CNBC today (01/28/16) attacking the ethics of Gilead Sciences’ pricing of its Hepatitis C drug treatments. State governments making moves on drug prices would be great for patients, but an absolute nightmare for shareholders.

It’s worse than that.

Gilead must contend not only with a shrinking number of patients, as more sufferers are cured, but also the prospect of implementing price cuts to stop health insurers switching patients to Merck’s drug.

Impending competition is bad enough; there’s also the fact that once you cure the fuckers you run out of desperate people to bankrupt.

Watch for Gilead to launch a massive new investment in dirty needles.

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The company does have something nice to look forward to. CEO John Martin’s retirement party will reportedly feature a chorus line of hepatitis-free, newly homeless people.

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