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Popular Radio Host Has Drug Company Ties

21 November, 2008
Published: November 21, 2008

An influential psychiatrist who served as the host of public radio’s popular “The Infinite Mind” program earned at least $1.3 million between 2000 and 2007 giving marketing lectures for drug makers, income not mentioned on the program.

The psychiatrist and radio host, Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, is the latest in a series of doctors and researchers whose ties to drug makers have been uncovered by Senator Charles E. Grassley, a Republican from Iowa. Dr. Goodwin, a former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, is the first media figure investigated. (emphasis mine)

Dr. Goodwin’s radio programs have often touched on subjects important to the commercial interests of the companies for which he consults. In a program broadcast on Sept. 20, 2005, Dr. Goodwin warned that children with bipolar disorder who are left untreated could suffer brain damage, a controversial view. “But as we’ll be hearing today,” Dr. Goodwin reassured his audience, “modern treatments — mood stabilizers in particular — have been proven both safe and effective in bipolar children.”

That very day, GlaxoSmithKline paid Dr. Goodwin $2,500 to give a promotional lecture for its mood stabilizer drug, Lamictal, at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. Indeed, Glaxo paid Dr. Goodwin more than $329,000 that year for promoting Lamictal, records given Congressional investigators show.

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This doctor felt no shame about backing a controversial point of view concerning a health issue in children and then taking money from the company that stood to make a fortune many times over from the very drug that would be given to these children to “help” prevent (maybe) brain damage? No discussion here of side effects of the medicine, either.  Am I delusional, living in a fabrication of my own. I thought doctors were supposed to protect their patients, not see them as another way to make a quick profit.

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Sarah Alspach, a spokeswoman for Glaxo, said, “We continue to believe that healthcare professionals are responsible for making disclosures to their employers and other entities, in this case National Public Radio and its listeners.”

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In other words, “we’re not responsible” so “don’t blame us,”

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Here’s another one:

In October, Mr. Grassley revealed that Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff of Emory University, one of the nation’s most influential psychiatric researchers, earned more than $2.8 million in consulting arrangements with drug makers from 2000 to 2007, failed to report at least $1.2 million of that income to his university and violated federal research rules. As a result, the National Institutes of Health suspended a $9.3 million research grant to Emory and placed restrictions on other grants, and Dr. Nemeroff relinquished his chairmanship of Emory’s psychiatry department.

And another:

In June, the senator revealed that Harvard University’s Dr. Joseph Biederman, whose work has fueled an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic medicines in children, had earned at least $1.6 million from drug makers between 2000 and 2007, failed to report most of this income to his university, and may have violated federal and university research rules.

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Dr. Goodwin has authored an influential textbook on bipolar disorder (emphasis mine) and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University. In an extensive interview, Dr. Goodwin blamed a changing ethical environment for any misunderstandings emphasis mine (between himself and Mr. Lichtenstein about his consulting arrangements.

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A  changing ethical environment!  This is a new dilemma for me.  What exactly does it mean?  I know that there are a lot of unethical people who think “Ethics” is a meaningless word.  I’m not really that naive, but blaming the ‘changing ethical environment” is a stretch.  Maybe Goodwin forgot the mening of ethics, so this is for him (and anyone else who needs a refresher course.

Ethical:  of or conforming to moral standards.  conforming to the standards of conduct of a given profession…   Ethics:  the system or code of morals of a particular philosopher, religion, profession, etc .                     from Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language.

I say we all write or phone to thank and encourage Senator Grassley.

Contact information available here:  http://grassley.senate.gov/contact.cfm

an added thought here:   I have been told that I am naive to even think this is worth commenting about.  Do you agree?

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read the rest of the story here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/22/health/22radio.html?_r=1&hp

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