3 Doctors Cited for Not Disclosing Pay

Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have punished three psychiatrists for failing to disclose payments they received from companies in their industry. The three doctors, Joseph Biederman, Thomas Spencer, and Timothy Wilens received $4.2 million from drug companies for psychiatric research performed between 2002 and 2007. The income was never reported to either medical institution or the federal government.
It’s hard to fathom why doctors would continue to hide payments in such conflict of interest cases especially when the federal government has demonstrated a heightened concern over the issue as well as a willingness to investigate such matters.
The three doctors will be prohibited from receiving any payments for such research for one year as well as undergo conflict of interest training. In light of the potential harm such conflicts can generate, the penalty seems to be no more than a light slap on the wrist especially given some of the research they were doing.
According to National Public Radio, “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.”