Friday, June 5, 2009

Spurred by Nemeroff Debacle, Emory Reforms Ethics

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Emory University School of Medicine has announced a new ethics policy that, among other things, forbids any Emory faculty from speaking for drug companies and bans gifts from industry.

You can read the updated ethics policy here.

Regarding industry-funded CME, the report makes the intriguing statement that:

"Revisions in national and School of Medicine guidelines and policies on continuing medical education are underway. Therefore, this policy currently contains only limited revisions at this time."

I assume this is an oblique reference to the recent hard-hitting report from the Institute of Medicine, which has recommended that a new system of CME funding be developed within two years that will prevent direct industry funding of courses.

At any rate, Emory's updated ethics code still allows its faculty to speak at industry-supported CME events, but does not allow such courses to occur in any Emory-affiliated buildings. In addition, the policy states that:

"Preferably the event will have more than one industry sponsor, and possibly an institutional cohost."


Anonymous said...

I recently received a CME offering from a medical education company that usually highlights Dr. Nemeroff as a member of the faculty. He was suspiciously absent from this recent newsletter, which your blog adequately explains. I couldn't help notice that a prominent staffer from the NIMH was listed as a faculty member. Is it fair that a private institution, like Emory, have its faculty excluded from sponsored CME activities while physicians who work for the federal government continue the practice?

Anonymous said...

I think I saw the same offering. The money is being laundered through a MECC (medical education communications company). The offering I saw featured Daniel Weinberger from NIMH.

Bernard Carroll said...

This CME offering appears to be the long weekend junket at Hilton Head Island July 16-19, sponsored by Janssen, Pfizer, and Shire (so far).

Nemeroff kicked off this series last year with the title “1st Annual Chairs in Psychiatry Summit.” It was billed as “a groundbreaking educational event.” The usual cronies, including Daniel Weinberger, were rounded up to pitch in for Charlie. The general tone of the advertising was grandiose, to say the least. A summit it wasn’t.

Following the sanctions imposed on him by Emory, Nemeroff is absent this year, and the list of “the most respected names in psychiatry” looks very different now. But Daniel Weinberger from the intramural program at NIMH is still going along for the ride. He, of course, was one of the hot protestors when corporate consulting by intramural program researchers came under a searchlight in 2004. Some of his companions at Hilton Head will be Alan Schatzberg and Martin Keller, who are under searchlights themselves.

Here is the link to last year’s junket: and here is the link to this year’s event: You can see all the names there.

Bernard Carroll said...

CORRECTION: The event this year will be in Charleston, S.C. Last year's event was in Hilton Head. Sorry about that.

Gina Pera said...

I can't help but wonder what counter-reactions like this will do to psychiatry.

In my experience, pharma has worked with the very smartest, ablest psychiatric researchers. Now we turn the reins over to the also-rans, many of whom presumably have longstanding sour grapes?

It seems as though the collective psychiatry field has ADHD -- swinging from one extreme to the other, never finding the reasonable middle ground.

Heaven help us with the next DSM.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Heaven help us indeed, Ms Pera! Do you mean that psychiatry may have to return to key opinion leaders who are non-sociopathic academicians who are honest and transparent in their dealings with Big Pharma? And who honestly report their “take” and “payoffs” to NIH, NIMH, and their respective universities? And that such a return to moral, ethical and patient decency will bring down our noble profession??? Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Charles Nemeroff has been recruited for and is being seriously considered for a position as chief of a newly-planned Brain Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.