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Feds Investigate Glaxo Ties To Emory Doctor

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, February 27, 2009 10:12 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Conflicts of Interest, Dangerous Drugs, Drug Research, GlaxoSmithKline, Product Liability


IMAGE SOURCE: © Emory University Web site / picture of Dr. Nemeroff

The federal government is investigating Emory University to determine if the school misled the National Institutes of Health (NIH) when it failed to disclose an Emory psychiatrist’s financial relationship to pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), according to a report by the WSJ.

Dr. Charles Nemeroff, who has served as primary investigator on an NIH-funded research effort to study five GSK antidepressants, is the center of the probe led by the inspector general for the Health and Human Services agency, which investigates fraud in NIH programs.

In December, Dr. Nemeroff stepped down as chairman to the psychiatry department following an investigation into the matter that found he failed to report more than $800,000 he received from GSK over a three year period.

This week, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote a letter to the inspector general, which included new information regarding the relationship between Glaxo and Dr. Nemeroff.

The senator’s letter is being reviewed, according to a spokesperson for the inspector general, but declines to comment further. GSK and Emory will continue cooperating with Mr. Grassley’s efforts. And Dr. Nemeroff was unavailable to comment, but in the past has said, to best of his knowledge he followed the appropriate University regulations concerning financial disclosures.

Grassley is aggressively advocating transparency in the medical establishment and is promoting the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which will require drug companies and medical device makers to disclose any payments of value above $500 to physicians.

Universities are required to report potential conflicts of interest to the NIH and to ensure research is carried out objectively. Schools that violate those policies face possible sanctions ranging from fines to a freeze on funding.

Dr. Nemeroff is one of the most prominent figures to date who has been the focus in a series of disclosures concerning apparent conflicts-of-interest between drug companies and the doctors they work with. #

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