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Industry CME funding the only way to avoid med school tuition increase?

Dave Durenberger has a couple of interesting tidbits in his recent (March 26) newsletter:

BUYER BEWARE


Dr. Joseph Biederman, a Harvard psychiatrist and expert in diagnosing bipolar disorder in children, was director of the Johnson & Johnson Center for Pediatric Psychopathology Research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He earned at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from Johnson & Johnson between 2000 and 2007 of which he reported only $200,000 to his academic employer. He is also being accused of tilting research on J & J's Risperdal (risperidone) and his opinion (plus company marketing) as better than competitive neuroleptics like Eli Lilly's Zyprexa. Don't know what the naming rights on the center cost J & J, but the kind of research done in Boston and many other academic medical centers with drug company naming rights must be critical to the industry. Then why tilt outcomes. Smells like A.I.G. retention bonuses.

Dr. Charles S. Schulz is head of the department of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.
Schultz has received $112,000 in consulting fees from AstraZeneca between 2002 and 2007 and nearly $450,000 from Eli Lilly. Questions have been raised about his professional judgment in advocating superiority of AZ's Seroquel over Lilly's Haldol, a competing anti-psychotic.

Also at the UMN, medical school dean Dr. Deborah Powell defends a watered down conflict of interest policy as a "work in progress," an effort to "craft a policy that reaches some consensus." Believe this if you can, she defends killing an effort to eliminate drug company funding of continuing education as "the only alternative to raising tuition."

IN A HURRY TO GET OUR MEDICAL MIRACLES


The release last week of the two big studies on the effectiveness of the PSA test in saving lives from prostate cancer tells us there is as yet no solid proof that everyone with highly elevated PSA will benefit from treatment.
In fact, most do not and some suffer serious side effects from treatment. The first Senate PSA's were performed on Bob Dole and Ted Stevens and they quickly passed legislation which had the effect of setting national blood testing standards for men at 40 which has resulted in billions of dollars in new income for the medical industry. And got Bob Dole a job selling erection enhancing drugs.

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