Don’t forget: Biederman is still at Harvard, and Schatzberg is still at Stanford.

[Joseph] Biederman, along with Charles Nemeroff, who was then at Emory University, and Alan Schatzberg of Stanford (the 116th President of the American Psychiatric Association) are in many ways poster boys for [pharma corruption]. Ironically, it was Schatzberg, during his presidency in 2009, who responded vehemently to Allen Frances’s criticisms of the DSM 5 task force by pointing to the $10,000 in royalties Frances was still receiving from DSM IV. Apparently, the $4.8 million in stock options Schatzberg had in a drug development company, or the fat fees he received from such companies as Pfizer, had no similar distorting effect on his judgment — just as the $960,000 Charles Nemeroff received from GlaxoSmithKline (while reporting only $35,000 to his university) had no influence on him. And just as the millions of dollars that Biederman and his associates at Harvard received for creating a new diagnosis and a massive new market for antidepressants and second-generation antipsychotics among young children (drugs associated with massive weight gain, metabolic disorders, diabetes, and premature death) had nothing to do with their behavior!

Nemeroff is now at the University of Miami, but that’s not a scandal because Miami isn’t a respectable university. The scandal lies at respectable places like Stanford and Harvard, which will “turn a blind eye to ethical failings if the money on offer is sufficiently tempting.”

NUI Sance

Stanford’s got a bit of a problem on its hands. It’s the sort of problem you get when you’re an exceedingly entrepreneurial university and you’ve got your hands and your professors’ hands in a lot of businesses.

Remember the problem they had with Alan Schatzberg’s investments and Alan Schatzberg’s research? It just doesn’t look good for empirical analysis when you stand to make gazillions on its outcome… So Stanford spends half its time tweaking its conflict of interest rules…

And another thing. Take NU Skin, an outfit that, among other things, sells face-whitening cream to women in the Philippines who want to look white, and an outfit with which Stanford’s had a long relationship (meaning NU Skin gives Stanford big money to do anti-aging research). NU Skin’s in serious trouble with the FDA for this and that — the usual stuff, questionable marketing tactics, questionable claims… And Stanford’s name’s being dragged into it… NU Skin’s scientific claims for its products rest on its association with Stanford researchers, and NU Skin talks up that association in its advertising.

So, seeing the shit about to hit the fan, Stanford has done a cease and desist letter

asking the company to stop using a university researcher’s name in its advertising, adding new scrutiny to the skin product maker’s business claims and practices.

According to a copy of the letter emailed to Reuters, Stanford geneticist Stuart Kim is listed as a “Nu Skin Partner” in developing its ageLOC anti-aging products, though he has nothing to do with the company. Nu Skin touts its skin creams and pills as using innovative technology to “reset” genes that promote a more youthful look and feel for its clients, according to its website.

“Neither Dr. Kim nor Stanford is a ‘Nu Skin Partner’ and neither has anything to do with the company,” states the letter, signed by Steven Rosen from Stanford’s Office of the General Counsel.

Which isn’t true, I’m afraid. Kim did do research with NU Skin money (he doesn’t anymore), and while that doesn’t make him what you’d call a “partner,” I guess, it certainly doesn’t rise to nothing to do with the company. To make matters even less factual, Stanford indeed continues its long association with NU Skin via the work of other faculty researchers.

As this guy, an outraged NU Skin investor (its stock value has withered like a ninety year old kneecap) points out, Stanford had to issue another letter directly contradicting this one and admitting that the school has plenty of NU Skin in the game:

Not only does the university cite their longstanding relationship with the company, they essentially apologize for creating any misunderstanding that a relationship did not exist.

It is rather bad form to take millions and millions of dollars from someone, and then when that person has a run-in with the law to disown him. But these are the dilemmas inherent in the entrepreneurial university business model.

“The American Psychiatric Association just reported a surprisingly large yearly deficit of $350,000. This was caused by reduced publishing profits, poor attendance at its annual meeting…”

What? You mean thousands of people aren’t attracted to meetings featuring Charles Nemeroff and Alan Schatzberg?

Allen Frances goes on to say that “Psychiatric diagnosis has become too important to be left in the hands of a small, withering, cash-strapped, incompetent association that feels compelled to regard its bottom line as a higher priority than having a safe, scientifically sound, and widely accepted diagnostic system.”

The Stalking Cure

The remarkable American Psychiatric Association (until recently ruled by Alan Schatzberg) makes money two ways:

1.) Publishing, and regularly revising with an eye toward broadening the categories under which people can be considered mentally disordered, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

2.) Making the people who work for the APA devising these broader categories sign confidentiality agreements so that the APA can without hindrance from the scientific community enlarge the number of Americans who must buy psychotropic drugs.

Now, as Allen Frances notes, the APA has gone a step further, loosing its lawyers to stalk bloggers who use the letters DSM in their blog’s name. It’s all part of protecting psychiatry’s, and pharma’s, enormous investment in retaining ownership of the who’s mentally disordered franchise.

APA research guidelines: Throw enough shit at the wall and some of it might stick.

In recent years, psychologists have reported a raft of findings on race biases, brain imaging and even extrasensory perception that have not stood up to scrutiny.

… In a survey of more than 2,000 American psychologists scheduled to be published this year, Leslie John of Harvard Business School and two colleagues found that 70 percent had acknowledged, anonymously, to cutting some corners in reporting data. About a third said they had reported an unexpected finding as predicted from the start, and about 1 percent admitted to falsifying data.

The ruler of this universe seems to be ex-Harvard psychology professor Marc Hauser (scroll down), and his long slow downfall is certainly instructive; but really where is the American Psychological Association? UD gathers the APA is the official organization here… UD fears the APA has, at the very least, co-dependency and enabling issues.

A far more healthy research model is the open rollicking naughtiness of the American Psychiatric Association, with its Schatzbergs and Nemeroffs and Biedermans and all. The first APA is getting all weepy and neurotic; the second hums happily along.

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