Hey Officer Krimsky!

UD‘s impressed.

A man of principle.

If I were a university pharmawhore, I’d be watching my ass.

[A just-announced Justice Department] indictment accuses [a] Glaxo official, Lauren C. Stevens of Durham, N.C., of lying to the Food and Drug Administration in 2003, by writing letters, as associate general counsel, denying that doctors speaking at company events had promoted Wellbutrin for uses not approved by the agency. Ms. Stevens “made false statements and withheld documents she recognized as incriminating,” including slides the F.D.A. had sought during its investigation, the indictment stated.

This could get ugly. The Justice Department has decided to go after people, not just companies.


UPDATE: Along these same lines, the latest issue of Academe, edited by the wonderful Sheldon Krimsky, is all about conflict of interest and corporate influence in the university. Looks like a must-read.


ANOTHER UPDATE:  Much more detail about the Justice Department’s action from the indispensable Health Care Renewal.

Tufts Students Go After the University’s …

… leadership for stifling free speech.

… [T]he administration informed the ethics committee that if [Senator Grassley’s] aide spoke, no administrator would be allowed to partake in the [conflicts of interest] panel. As students at Tufts, it is crucial for us all to recognize the administration’s misstep. While it is understandable that Tufts wants to avoid any conflict regarding the investigation, it seems unreasonable that the topic could not be avoided for the educational purposes the event could provide.

The symposium is intended to provide the audience with multiple views and stances on the medical issues of today. Mr. Thacker has firsthand knowledge and experience about a subject that would have provided a unique and fresh viewpoint at the conference. His voice differs from the professionals of Harvard or Tufts, allowing for some diversity and debate at the symposium itself.

Possibly most outspoken on the issue is ethics committee co-chair Sheldon Krimsky, who removed himself from the issue and the organization of the event when the decision was passed. We praise Krimsky for standing behind his belief and the purpose of the ethics committee as a whole…

Background here.

UD had a pleasant lunch not long ago…

… with Paul Thacker, a Charles Grassley staffer.

They ate at Two Quail, a place UD used to go to quite a lot when she lived on Capitol Hill, and which now seems to have gone out of business.

Tufts University invited Senator Grassley to speak at a conference there on conflict of interest, and because he wasn’t able to attend, he suggested to Tufts that Thacker, a specialist on the matter, attend in his place. For reasons that remain obscure, Tufts said no to Thacker.

One of the conference organizers has pulled out, in protest.

Sheldon Krimsky, an environmental-policy professor at Tufts who is co-chairman of the university’s Committee on Ethics…. wrote [in an email message] that he had recused himself after feeling his role as organizer had been “compromised,” and the university’s commitment to academic freedom diminished, by the refusal of Tufts administrators to accept Mr. Thacker’s presence.

Bravo, Krimsky. Just because some of what Thacker says at the conference will embarrass your university doesn’t mean university officials should bar speakers and shut down discourse. Major black mark for Tufts. If I were Grassley, I’d take another look at my schedule and figure out some way of attending this conference.

Update: An insider’s account, from the excellent Carlat Psychiatry Blog.

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