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Old 07-03-2011, 06:58 AM   #1
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Harvard punishes 3 psychiatrists for conflict of interest


Harvard Punishes 3 Psychiatrists Over Undisclosed Industry Payby Richard Knox

10:36 am

July 2, 2011

Massachusetts General Hospital
Child psychiatrist Charles Biederman, of Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have disciplined three faculty members in a long-running conflict-of-interest case that became a prime exhibit in the debate over the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2010.

Drs. Joseph Biederman, Thomas Spencer and Timothy Wilens stood accused of accepting more than $4.2 million from drug companies for psychiatric research and other activities between 2000-2007 without reporting the income to Harvard, MGH or the federal government.

Harvard and MGH are barring the three from accepting payments for "all paid industry-sponsor outside activities" for one year, they disclose in a "Dear Colleagues" letter sent Friday. The letter was made available to selected reporters by the hospital.

After that, they'll have to seek approval before engaging in any "paid activities" and report to Harvard and the MGH on those activities for an additional two years.

The three will also undergo training on conflict-of-interest and will suffer "a delay of consideration for promotion or advancement." Biederman is already a full professor; the other two are associate professors.

"Our mistakes were honest ones," the doctors say in their letter. "We always believed that we were complying in good faith with institutional policies," they write. "We now recognize that we should have devoted more time and attention to the detailed requirements of these policies and to their underlying objectives."

Industry payments to Biederman and his colleagues made headlines in 2008 when Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) accused them of understating, or failing to report at all, millions of dollars in support. Grassley detailed many discrepancies between what various drug companies said they paid the doctors and what the doctors reported to Harvard and the MGH.

The accusation carried more weight because Biederman is a leading proponent of the off-label use of antipsychotic drugs to treat bipolar illness in children. His work is widely seen as contributing to an explosive growth in such prescriptions, and much of his support came from companies that benefited from his research.

Biederman and the other two psychiatrists have also published extensively on the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Harvard and the MGH didn't allow much sunshine in on the outcome of its lengthy investigation of the case.

The MGH issued a brief statement to reporters saying that "appropriate remedial actions have been taken by the hospital to address specific issues." But the hospital refused to spell out what the scope of its investigations was, what violations were found or what sanctions imposed.

Harvard Medical School issued a similarly vague statement, and a spokesman said he couldn't answer any questions about the particulars.

The National Institutes of Health was even less forthcoming. In 2008, Grassley had charged that the Harvard psychiatrists may have violated federal guidelines on disclosure of industry support while accepting federal grants.

At that time, the New York Times quoted NIH spokesman John Burklow saying that "if there have been violations of NIH policy — and if research integrity has been compromised — we will take all the appropriate action within our power to hold those responsible accountable. This would be completely unacceptable behavior, and NIH will not tolerate it."

However, on Friday NIH spokeswoman Renate Myles said she could not say whether the agency had ever mounted an investigation on the matter or whether one has been concluded. That, she said, would require a Freedom of Information Act inquiry.
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Old 07-03-2011, 08:47 AM   #2
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Re: Harvard punishes 3 psychiatrists for conflict of interest

Biederman,and his team were the "creators" of child bipolar. He is an evil man.
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Old 07-04-2011, 10:16 PM   #3
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Re: Harvard punishes 3 psychiatrists for conflict of interest

Absolutely shameful...
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:29 PM   #4
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Re: Harvard punishes 3 psychiatrists for conflict of interest


The Real Biederman Scandal

By Jacob Azerrad, PhD

Splashed across the front page of the July 2nd Boston Globe was word that Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University had “sanctioned” psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Biederman for failing to follow conflict of interest reporting policies at both institutions.

Sanctions? Conflict of interest? Failure to report? Ho hum. How is this news – especially in Massachusetts?

The real scandal perpetrated by Biederman has nothing to do with his consulting fee shenanigans and everything to do with the real life (and death) consequences of the methods now used by modern pediatric psychiatry to tag normal childhood behaviors with diagnoses – like “childhood bipolar” -- and the pediatric medical profession’s complicit acquiescence to such malarkey. It has been nothing short an epic assault on our children by those who prescribe antipsychotic medications as an antidote to normal childhood behavior.

The result: a generation of parents looking for -- and given access to -- quick fixes for run-of-the-mill behavior issues, drugged out toddlers prescribed into submission, and drug companies whose top class of drug by revenue ($14.5 billion in 2009) is antipsychotics. Drugs like Risperdal, Trileptal, and Clonidine are among those which fall into this class and the long term effect of their use in toddlers is dangerously unknown. Their immediate side effects, however, are well documented and include drooling, ticks and excessive weight gain.

Many remember Rebecca Riley, the Hull, MA, toddler whose death in 2004 made headlines. But she is merely the tip of the iceberg. According to the New York Times from 1993 through 2008, 1,207 children who were given Risperdal suffered serious problems, including 31 who died. Among the deaths was a nine-year-old who suffered a fatal stroke 12 days after starting therapy with Risperdal.

Why is this happening? Because overmedicating kids is a symptom of modern parenting. We love our kids when they behave badly, then we drug them by the millions into “good behavior.”

Could the real cause behind the bad behavior be that the child is for the first time becoming self-aware, and exerting his or her independence by saying "No" and "you are not the boss of me"? Could they simply be kids with a backbone who just want to grow up? And when their independence is restricted, the child discovers that having a tantrum might get him what he wants.

Rather than view their behavior as the result of a problem that needs medicating, could it just be a healthy striving to be more grown-up and independent?

A parent's job is not to nurture negative toddler behaviors by way of talk therapy, but to teach their child what it really means to be grown-up. A grown-up is caring, handles disappointment calmly, and has self-control, does not hit, bite, or throw things in anger.

But, parents are taught to reward bad behavior with more attention – and that’s nonsense. Many of the most popular child-rearing books repeatedly urge parents to hold, soothe, comfort, and talk to the child who bites, screams, throws, breaks things, or otherwise behaves in obnoxious, infantile ways. Commonsense and truckload of research argue solidly against this practice. Yet, these experts seems to be unaware of the well-established fact that children do what gets noticed, that adult attention usually makes behavior occur more likely, not less. The result is that the “terrible-two” behaviors beget the even worse terrible threes, fours, and fives followed by a diagnosis and then -- all too often -- pills.

Once those methods are proven ineffective, after years of their use and endless therapy – here comes Biederman and his pills. And from his ivory tower, Biederman makes the pills acceptable.

It used to be that children once had discipline; they now have a diagnosis.

One million children have been diagnosed with this new and controversial diagnosis – “childhood bipolar.” And one million children are being treated for “childhood bipolar” disorder and more and more at younger and younger ages.

The real scandal isn’t Biederman’s failure to report potential conflict. Let him keep his money. The real scandal is that once reputable institutions are now linked to the enabler whose imprimatur and pills have bailed out the failed theories of child behavior which do more harm than good.

Jacob Azerrad, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, in private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts. He is the author of From Difficult to Delightful in Just 30 Days (McGraw Hill) and Anyone Can Have a Happy Child (Warner Books.) He has served on the faculty of the University of Virginia Medical School and University of Virginia. He interned at The Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston. He has appeared in several media outlets including Parents Magazine, Psychology Today and The Boston Globe as well as numerous radio and television programs.
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"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
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Old 07-24-2011, 03:15 AM   #5
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Re: Harvard punishes 3 psychiatrists for conflict of interest

I prescribe: old-fashioned limit-setting and discipline.

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Old 07-25-2011, 12:39 AM   #6
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Re: Harvard punishes 3 psychiatrists for conflict of interest

What a novel idea Junior!
Sadly, many children these days are in child care and parents feel guilty about that (they may not even recognise it) and so they do not discipline their kids, but give into them even more.
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