Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Maybe the End to L'Affaire Nemeroff?

For those of you who are sick and tired of my posting about Dr. Charles Nemeroff and his misdeeds, good news--we may finally have reached the effective end of this saga. The quickest way to access the key documents is via Sen. Charles Grassley's website at the Senate Finance Committee:

http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/grassley.htm

Under the date "12-22-08" you will see three links, to a letter from Emory University; to a letter from Emory to the NIH; and to a comment by Grassley on both of the above.

Basically, Emory says that it has completed an initial investigation of Dr. Nemeroff and his unreported income from drug companies. The outcomes: He is to resign permanently as chair of Psychiatry; he is to be banned from any NIH study for two years; he is banned from accepting any money for speaking at events other than formal CME programs; and (according to the NIH letter) he is in a number of other ways being put on a very short leash and will be required to have the administration approve virtually his every move in relationship to accepting money or working with industry.

The Emory letter notes that Dr. Nemeroff believes that he was not required to report his speakers' fees under the then-existing Emory policy. He is quoted as expressing regret for his past actions and promising full cooperation with this new regime.

If things are as they appear then one of the most egregious flaunters of ethical propriety in the relationship between medicine and the pharmaceutical industry has at last been laid low.

2 comments:

Merrill Goozner said...

Hi Howard,

I just wanted to wish you a happy holiday season, and hope that neither of us find ourselves screaming in the new year, like one of the Beatles on "Helter Skelter" (was it John? was it Ringo?) "I've got blisters on my fingers!"

best wishes,
Merrill
http://www.gooznews.com

Peter Whitehouse said...

Hi Howard, thanks for your courage and persistence in naming names and pursuing the story of the ethics (or lack there of) of psychiatry. I agree with your important point that psychiatry itself is seriously value-impoverished by allowing Charlie (Nemeroff) to remain an opinion leader, by pushing questionable biological approaches and by failing to clean house.

Happy holidays,

Peter Whitehouse

PS yes bioethicists are also at fault for not focusing their moral imagination in the right directions, including looking in the mirror. Let's awake bioethics to its most helpful and ethical role as an activist, thought and value provoking field.