Friday, January 26, 2007

For-Profit Research Update

I recently wrote about a psychiatrist, Dr. Andrew Cutler, who made misleading statements regarding the BOLDER I study. I ran across a little clip that mentioned more about his research venture:

Still, some junior faculty members are now abandoning academia to get into the drug-study business. Dr. Andrew Cutler, a psychiatrist, left the faculty at the University of Chicago to join the Psychiatric Institute of Florida in Orlando, a private practice with a research business. Then last year, he formed his own company, Coordinated Research of Florida, to perform drug studies full time.

Without a patient base to draw from for studies, Cutler found other ways to recruit subjects, including serving as a nursing home consultant.

"I will strategically pick a nursing home that has a large population that meets the criteria for a study," he said. "If there is a large community practice in town, I may work out a referral arrangement, or make them a co-investigator, and the arrangement is that they would be providing the patients."

Interesting. If I understand this right (and I'm not sure that I do), then he goes to local nursing homes, chums with the people in charge, then gets them to help recruit their residents as participants in drug studies from which both he and the nursing home administrators who get listed as "investigators" stand to make some cash. This is not necessarily bad, but it shows that the reach of clinical research teams, funded solely by industry, is fairly wide. Making money from enrolling your own residents in a research trial must certainly raise some conflicts of interest for nursing home administrators and physicians.

2 comments:

Marissa Miller said...

Hooray - I posted a whole comment and the damn thing said, "Sorry, use your Google account instead" while not offering... errr, I'll stop there.

What I kinda wrote:
" If I understand this right (and I'm not sure that I do), then he goes to local nursing homes, chums with the people in charge, then gets them to help recruit their residents as participants in drug studies from which both he and the nursing home administrators who get listed as "investigators" stand to make some cash. This is not necessarily bad, but it shows that the reach of clinical research teams, funded solely by industry, is fairly wide. Making money from enrolling your own residents in a research trial must certainly raise some conflicts of interest for nursing home administrators and physicians."

I think this is low. Why can't he just recruit the healthy and active 55 and older crowd? Why pick on senior citizens who are probably "volunteered" by NH staff to participate in these clinical trials? The practice just doesn't seem right to me.

Anonymous said...

Nothing sinister here...not leading lambs to slaughter as you make out. People or their families enroll in such a study to possibly help their diagnosis or help the advancement of treating their diagnosis. Staff members don't "volunteer" NH residents. And why are NH residents more vulnerable than your standard "active 55 and older crowd?" I know many NH residents would be offended by your disregard for them. There are residents that fit your so called "active 55 and older crowd"