… for insider trading (“Among researchers, physicians, government officials and corporate executives, the lure of easy money in health-care insider trading has become epidemic.”), you might want to pay attention to the sort of people likely to get arrested and embarrass you the way Sid Gilman has embarrassed the University of Michigan. I hate to be the one to tell you, but the endless futzing you’ve been doing with your conflict of interest forms for professors ain’t gonna cut it. You need to be able to see these guys coming.

The Gilman/Martoma story, and the related Benhamou/Skowron story, reveal, for those who wish to see, “the deeply compromised, fundamentally flawed research system in which academic figureheads serve as puppets for industry interests.” Of course, these two are just the really big money stories – hundreds of millions in profit, or avoidance of loss; Gilman’s $1,000 an hour fee for the care and feeding of his hedgie. If you want to be reminded of the zillions of smaller stories (these aren’t always about insider trading; they’re about mercenary professors as other sorts of corporate puppets), click on this blog’s conflict of interest category.

So – how do you see ‘em coming?

First: Here’s what you shouldn’t do. Don’t do this retrospectively. Don’t think that by reviewing the traumatic life stories, and the pleading-for-mercy-in-front-of-a-judge statements, of people already in jail you can detect who among your faculty is, even as we speak, breaking insider trading laws. They all say the same thing. They have no idea how they lost their moral compass but they’re sure it’s around here somewhere. They thought they were dealing pretty well with their mother’s death but actually it turned them into bitter twisted nihilists. Don’t bother with this.

Instead, gaze about you at your medical faculty and ask the following question: Who’s the greediest of them all? The very greediest? I’m not talking about people who want to live well. Everyone wants to live well, and long may we prosper. I’m talking about faculty members whose acquisitiveness, ostentation, and status anxiety are notorious — the subject of jokes and stories and general incredulity. These guys are liable to be deeply in debt as they buy more and more and more and more. You want to have them in for a chat about their corporate ties.

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3 Responses to “Since your medical school, like Michigan’s, probably houses paid experts who will be getting in trouble…”

  1. Jack/OH Says:

    UD’s right. Monkeys on the back, such as sex, drugs and alcohol, costly hobbies, gambling (especially Mob bets), etc., are all worth a mental note by colleagues and superiors. You don’t have to play Stasi; just make the mental note.

  2. Jack/OH Says:

    BTW-no sanctimony on my part. I smoke, I drink, I’d probably be a minor collector of stuff if my income were up to it.

    Anger seems to me a constant in white collar work, where power trips and gamesmanship seem to trump productivity. Even in sales work, star performance is greeted with suspicion by managements that dislike having their impossible goals met and exceeded.

    The professors I occasionally speak with detest that they’re treated like furniture by some senior faculty and administrators. That’s even when they’ve demonstrated strong teaching and scholarly abilities. I guess I see a corporation with an agenda “working” a demoralized and acquisitive researcher to get the results it wants so it can get the revenues it wants.

  3. Sean O Says:

    Great little line. ~~ “You won’t be protected by forms.”

    It’s like expecting silly procedures at the airport, filling out forms, taking off your belt & shoes, and having one’s toothpaste thrown out if its over 3.3 ozs, to save us from terrorists attacks.

    Much better to be observant & have some insight into character.

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