Monday, November 24, 2008

On conflicts and giving a lecture at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla.

A New York Times story, based on an investigation by Senator Charles E. Grassley, reported that Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, a former director of the National Institute of Mental Health and current host of the NPR radio program "The Infinite Mind" -->

had received from GlaxoSmithKline $2,500 to give a promotional lecture for its mood stabilizer drug, Lamictal, at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. In all, GlaxoSmithKline paid him more than $329,000 that year for promoting Lamictal, records given to Congressional investigators show.

The Times further wrote

In an interview, Dr. Goodwin said that Bill Lichtenstein, the program’s producer, knew of his consulting but that neither thought “getting money from drug companies could be an issue.”

In retrospect, that should have been disclosed,” he said.
[Lichtenstein denied knowledge of Goodwin's conflict.]

The Times further noted: The radio program has received major underwriting from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, both of which have policies requiring grantees to disclose and manage conflicts of interest.

Some of this evokes the major conflicts that riddle California's CIRM. One recalls the words of Don Reed: But if we disqualified every board member who might indirectly benefit from the California stem cell program, we would have nobody left. Indeed not a bad idea.

A different view of "indirect benefit" came from Kenneth Taymor, as referenced in the Sacramento Bee:

"Taymor, who has been watching the institute's [CIRM's] operations for three years, noted that nearly everyone on the institute's governing board – medical school deans, university officials – has some sort of financial interest in the grants being awarded.

"Even with officials recusing themselves, the board's deliberations, he said, have the feel of 'a club that was allocating money among themselves' based on preordained decisions."

See also

Stem cell research comatose as a political issue, or simply comatose?

Bias in grant review by California's CIRM?


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