‘On November 9, 2020, [U. Chicago Professor Daniel] Catenacci received an email from Five Prime’s chief medical officer, … [notifying] him that [cancer drug] bemarituzamb passed its Phase 2 clinical trial and that U.S. securities law prohibited him from selling or buying stocks on the basis of this information, according to the charges. The following morning, Catenacci bought 8,743 shares of Five Prime’s stock. Five Prime publicly announced the results of the trial after the market closed that same day.’

LOL. Bad boy. Bad, bad, boy.

“I can’t believe this needs to be said but the BBC should not give a platform to people accused of child sexual abuse.”

Everyone’s having a field day [‘BBC: Who Better To Break Down Ghislaine Maxwell Verdict Than… Guy Accused In The Same Matter?‘] now that the BBC has chosen to interview Harvard’s finest, of all people, about his buddy Ghislaine’s guilty verdict. (See post below this one.) Whodathunkit?

To be sure, Dershowitz fully exploited the big fat opportunity the BBC gifted him with to protest once again his own innocence in the child sexual abuse game. Yeah yeah tough titties ’bout Ghislaine but did you notice I’m still out of jail? See what a good boy I am? You wouldn’t put an eminent Harvard professor on trial for child sexual abuse, would you?

“Once we get to 10 patients on this drug, we get a $100 gift certificate to a restaurant.”

Twenty-first century medicine.

Mein Lieber Herr
Farewell mein Lieber herr
Goodbye mein Lieber herr
It was a fine affair but now it's over
And though we made you Chair
You're not allowed to share
We're better off without you mein herr

Your talent was a Thousand Talents wide mein herr
Your chemistry with China mesmerized mein herr
It's really no surprise to find you lied mein herr
But that's why
Watched you spy...

Reddy or Not, Here They Come

They all go into the fraud,
The double dippers, the conflicted, the bogus guest speakers,
The whorish expert witnesses, the whorish corporate board sitters,
The twisters of research results to benefit their corporate masters,
The creators of bogus companies into which to deposit federal grant money,
They all go into the fraud…

To paraphrase T.S. Eliot. And as we enter a new decade, it’s good to remind ourselves just how rampant these and other forms of academic fraud are, especially in our medical, law, engineering, and business schools.

How rampant? So rampant that ProPublica has just released a helpful “reporting recipe,” a lengthy checklist of types of professorial corruption, and how you can discover/report them.

Double dipper Akhilesh Reddy, to take the latest instance, simply “did not notice” that two different universities were simultaneously paying him large salaries. And who can deny that overlooking large sources of funds from large institutions is something of which all of us are capable?

Sensing that this claim might not convince everyone, Reddy moved on to the what a tangled web we weave phase of his explanation.

The neurologist and researcher gave inconsistent statements about the money, claiming he only noticed the salary issue when he checked his account in February 2016, five months after starting at UCL, the tribunal heard… He said he thought the universities were “sharing his salary”, that there was an “overlap” in his salaries and also that he thought the large sum was just his salary from UCL... Prof Reddy said he thought “all necessary people were fully aware of the position.”

Before he could add that his dog ate his homework, the tribunal suspended him from medical practice. He has left England and moved to Pennsylvania, cuz there’s always another sucker.

Giuliani Under Gas Attack.

In the immortal words of Rufus T Firefly:

Tell him to take a teaspoonful of bicarbonate baking soda and a half a glass of water.

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ruth J. Simmons, Robert L. Barchi, Phyllis M. Wise, Victor Dzau…

… the list of university leaders settling their greedy asses on corporate boards and drawing big money from them for doing nothing (except cutting into their university time by going to Hawaii for corporate junkets) is very very long; and even though they keep getting caught failing to disclose their several, often conflicted, board seats, these people keep doing it cuz man you don’t know greed and how it can drive you! You can’t hope to understand!

The latest corporate board scandal comes out of already insanely scandal-plagued University of North Carolina system, with its fake classes and shit. Take a place that’s already in deep doodoo and drive it yet farther underground: This has been the mandate of new head guy William Roper, who jest can’t seem to ‘member all the boards – some of whom do business with his institution – on which he has settled his ass. The local lamestream media insists on sticking its nose into his affairs, looking at forms he’s failed to fill out, etc., etc., and he’s pissed – as pissed as Shirley Ann Jackson used to get when people called her out (she had her people call her critics racists). From the height of his ass-cooling dignity Roper has issued statement after statement and you know what? It’ll work. UNC has suffered few negative consequences because it’s a jock-sniffing academic joke; Roper will suffer few negative consequences for his greed and deceit. UNC is what it is and life – in all its glorious scumminess – goes on.

Ubi est mea?

This was, you recall, Mike Royko’s famous proposed motto (Where’s Mine?) for the incredibly corrupt city of Chicago; it now clearly stands for the tragic city of Baltimore, whose already-hapless mayor has revealed not only her personal corruption, but – along the way – the corruption of the University of Maryland medical system board of trustees.

Tragicomic, really, since the latest confirmation of the link between urban collapse and systemic corruption comes from sales – make that non-sales – of children’s books the mayor wrote (maybe – maybe someone else wrote them for her), self-published, and then sold in bulk for permanent storage in a warehouse to the same UM med system on whose board of trustees she sat.

Nothing unusual about that arrangement, though — huge numbers of trustees were self-dealing through the hospital system. The head of the UMMS board of trustees is doing mucho harrumphing about “managed conflicts,” but the phrase managed conflict has about the same persuasiveness as the phrase managed massage in the mouth of Robert Kraft.

Oh and here’s another fraternity with no adults in the room (see the post just below this one).

Although in the case of this fraternity – a medical one – they don’t bankrupt, overmedicate, pointlessly medicate, or kill each other.  They do that to us.

Everybody knows.

A bunch of nasty stuff goes on among groups of elites that everybody knows about but can’t do anything about because it’s hidden. Only when someone – a reporter, a whistleblower – blows their cover does anything happen. And even then, nothing really happens. I mean, there’s a reason they’re called elites; there’s a reason people resent elites.


Two examples, starting with the more recent:

1. A very high-ranking cancer researcher at Sloan Kettering has for years and years failed to report his financial conflicts of interest. He just don’t do it, folks, and everyone has let him get away with it even though it’s an enormous no-no. (Best headline: “Top Cancer Expert Forgot to Mention $3.5M Industry Ties.”)

Ethicists say that outside relationships with companies can shape the way studies are designed and medications are prescribed to patients, allowing bias to influence medical practice. Reporting those ties allows the public, other scientists and doctors to evaluate the research and weigh potential conflicts.

This guy was chief medical officer.

Jeffrey S. Flier, who was dean of the Harvard Medical School from 2007 to 2016, said medical leaders should be held to a higher standard.

“The higher you are in the organizational structure, the more important it is that you fulfill those obligations,” he said. “You’re not just another faculty, you’re also a faculty to whom other people look up and your reputation is tied to the institution’s reputation.”

Like wink wink if he doesn’t do it we sure don’t have to do it. It’s a win-win situation and we all make lots of money. Look how much more he’s making than his paltry $1.5 million (in 2016; figure it’s significantly more now) salary! What a role model!


In statements to industry analysts and the American Association for Cancer Research, Dr. Baselga praised two drug trials that many of his peers considered failures, without mentioning that the trials’ sponsor, Roche, had paid him millions of dollars.


How much more?

Look, I’m too grossed out by the final paragraphs of the NYT article, which list his takings – I mean haha some of his takings because for sure he’s still hiding a hell of a lot even from the nosy NYT guys. Read them yourself.

My favorite part of these stories is always the boards these people sit on. Money for Nothing is the title of the best-known book about board-sitting, and this guy hauled in hundreds of thousands by doing absolutely nothing.

In an editorial, the NYT says: “Ban paid appointments to outside boards… [When] appointments come with payments that meet or exceed a doctor’s existing salary, the process is almost certain to be corrupted, and public trust is sure to be undermined.”


A letter-writer at the Times poses a really naive question:

[H]e received a salary in 2016 (the most recent data available) of more than $1.5 million from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he is the chief medical officer. This is a princely sum, which, given the work he does, no one should begrudge him.

But it appears he also earns uncounted millions more in consulting fees, director’s fees and ownership interests from businesses directly involved in the areas of his expertise, and he is criticized for not fully disclosing this in his professional writings evaluating the products of some of the companies that pay him large sums.

But I would ask another question: Why isn’t $1.5 million enough?

Recall the classic porn film – Never Enough.


The main point UD‘s making in this post, however, is that the scheme doesn’t work unless this guy lives in a closed world of fellow privileged who all agree to keep their traps shut in order to protect their privileges. The scheme works for years – the guy is about to turn sixty – until maybe some grotesque bad fortune falls out of the sky and an outsider squawks.

The guy resigned immediately.

But don’t worry about him. He’ll be fine.

2. The now-notorious letter sent secretly (or so its authors thought) to NYU, threatening to do whatever angry groups of elites do if you come down too hard on someone in their group, has generated plenty of anger and plenty of thoughtful writing about the same subject: How groups of powerful people (here professors) protect bad actors among them. As with the Sloan Kettering guy’s nondisclosure, what went down was routinely corrupt behavior until someone decided to intervene.

But again, as with the cancer researcher, the result of the exposure is embarrassment and some docked salary. A lawsuit or two. Things are a bit bumpy, and they’ll stay a bit bumpy for awhile, and then these groups will reconstitute themselves.

[T]he commonality of all of these people is the entitlement. Do as I say, not as I do. We see this so often in the exemptions politicians create for themselves, and the same can be said for highly profitable executives and physicians, whose organizations exempt them from scrutiny as long as the profitability is in their favor. Do you really believe CBS didn’t run a cost-benefit analysis on retaining or removing Les Moonves?


It’s just as Kurt Vonnegut said in Slaughterhouse Five:

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

This is why men make very poor media …


Cremo Brain

Applying chocolate to your football concussion is a surefire way to treat it, but only if you apply one specific make of chocolate, according to a University of Maryland study paid for in part by the maker of the chocolate.

Given that university’s recent move to a much rougher football league, these findings couldn’t be better timed. In fact it’s one of those win-win-win sort of things, making everyone happy – the chocolate manufacturer, the study’s author (the study has drawn national attention), the university, and chocolate-loving, concussion-prone Americans everywhere.


Sure, there are naysayers. There were naysayers when the University of West Virginia, with money from Coca Cola, produced research that showed sugary drinks have almost nothing to do with obesity.

Scientists like those at the University of Maryland must simultaneously publish their research (well, the Maryland research hasn’t exactly quite yet been actually what you’d call published) and endure the disconfiture caused their institutions by a cacaophony of critics.

It’s a dark, bittersweet chapter in the history of the University of Maryland.


UD thanks Elizabeth, a reader.

Update, Ezra Merkin.

[W]hat are we to do about those of dubious stature who procure naming rights to adorn their philanthropies? Teaching my section of [Columbia University’s] Contemporary Western Civilization, I have several times used a classroom designated the J. Ezra Merkin classroom. Philanthropists pay to name everything. Hospitals have named elevators and named water fountains. Mr. Merkin was a hedge fund tycoon who fed funds invested with him into the operations of the swindler Bernard Madoff. Sued by New York State’s Attorney General for (in the words of the New York Times) “deceiving his clients by collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in management fees, when, in fact, he was just funneling money to Mr. Madoff rather than investing it himself,” Merkin agreed to pay a $410 million penalty.


A Columbia University professor notes one of the few remaining public appearances of Ezra Merkin’s name outside of a courtroom (for background on Merkin, type his name into my search engine).

Ever since his BFF went to prison, Merkin’s life has been an absolute flurry of lawsuits, darling. Plus he had to sell all his Rothkos and stop being president of a synagogue and chair of Yeshiva University’s investment committee and all. He’ll spend the rest of his life in courtrooms. He’s being sued by everybody.

On the other hand, students contemplating contemporary western civilization can gaze up at a name supremely iconic of contemporary western civilization.


One bit of good news for Merkin: He will be immortalized by Lewis Black.

American Academe’s ‘Centers for the Absorption of Federal Funds’…

… chronicled in this book, are entertaining places, and no doubt this new year we’ll continue following them at their most efficient, at the nation’s for-profit colleges.

But this country’s Centers for the Absorption of Corporate Funds deserve equal attention. Indeed these are arguably even more entertaining places, because while the federal government simply acts the well-meaning idiot as it dispenses hundreds of millions of dollars to hedgies pretending to run schools, corporations are often brilliant operators with bad motives — and it’s always more fascinating to watch the strategic villain than the bumbling good guy.

UD doesn’t claim that corporations looking for academic respectability in order, for instance, to hook America on opioids, always exhibit strategic brilliance. Crucially, they must identify research units within American universities able to balance compromised data (papers and presentations must uncover the urgent necessity plus the safety of massively increased pain pill intake) with the continued appearance of scientific integrity, a scheme fraught with difficulty. It’s not uncommon for reporters, and even politicians, to notice that a place like the University of Wisconsin’s Pain and Policy Studies Group is an almost wholly owned subsidiary of pharma, as it stashes away more and more OxyContin money while pumping out more and more Oxy Rocks! research.

Coca Cola, fast food, over-prescribed anti-depressants, over-prescribed anti-psychotics for toddlers, Dr. Shkreli’s Miracle Elixirs… All of these substances need whitewashing, and the university is where that happens. When things get too obvious, or when from the start they’re mishandled (remember what brought down Virginia’s last governor), the Centers suddenly shut down, or suddenly announce they’ve decided to stop taking corporate money…

Wolves of Pharma at the Door – Way Past the Door – of the American University.

“[Martin] Shkreli has become the Wolf of Pharma Street — he’s basically come to represent everything … bad and wrong with pharma,” Art Caplan, a medical ethicist at New York University, said by phone. And while Shkreli may be reviled, said Caplan, “he’s not doing anything in terms of prices that other companies haven’t done.”

This blog, dedicated to universities, has over the year pointed out the ways in which America’s predatory pharmaceuticals industry has compromised our academic institutions. Some of pharma’s corruptions are crude and overt: Med students have been so hounded by pharma (and other health industry) reps – med students, right? not even docs yet, but people who will at some distant point be docs – that to defend themselves their organization (the American Medical Student Association) established its now well-known Conflict of Interest Scorecard (UD‘s own George Washington University languishes near the bottom), which ranks such delicacies as GIFTS, MEALS, and of course GHOSTWRITING (a category all its own here at University Diaries).

Several of the best-compensated professors at American med schools are walking around with the names of the very dirtiest companies (GlaxoSmithKline Distinguished Professorship). Quite a few professors are themselves little more than pharma shills, given the riches they’ve accepted from the industry. Because of pharma, academic experimental protocols and published results are often tainted; because of pharma, research subjects may be treated unethically. Because of pharma, the fifteen-million page Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (At Least One Billable Diagnosis For Every American!) has become a joke.

Some of pharma’s academic depredations are more covert. For instance, on the board of trustees of the University of Chicago sits Gilead’s John Martin, a far more powerful and destructive icon of greed than measly little Shkreli.

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