Thursday, April 10, 2008

Key Opinion Leader Is Unfairly Disparaged

Or so she said. I've written about key opinion leader, University of Cincinnati child psychiatrist Melissa DelBello a few times (here, here, and here). One key point was she was quoted as saying "Trust me. I don't make much" in regards to income received from AstraZeneca for giving favorable talks for its antipsychotic drug Seroquel. I had missed that in 2007, she claimed she was misquoted in an interesting piece on Inside Higher Ed:

[University of Cincinnati spokesperspon] Puff said that DelBello’s comment in May that she did not “make much” money from drug companies had actually come in response to the reporter’s question “about how much money she was given for making a single, individual presentation. Her comment was misrepresented and then repeated by Sen. Grassley.” Added DelBello: “I was and have been misquoted by the NYT.” (The Times reporter, Gardiner Harris, could not be reached Sunday to respond to the suggestion that he had misrepresented DelBello’s comment.)

Puff also said that “the implication of what Sen. Grassley said was that she was disingenuous in what she was paid. She has been completely open in disclosing her payments. She’s made complete disclosures to the university and its IRB. Furthermore, she’s made full disclosure to the Senate Finance Committee.... Additionally, Dr. DelBello has disclosed her funding at all speaking engagements and she’s disclosed in the patient consents of her studies.”

I wonder if she has made disclosures about her company (MSZ Associates) that Senator's Grassley's investigation claims was set up for "personal financial reasons"and well-funded by AstraZeneca. Also, does the above mean that DelBello disclosed that she has personally received hundreds of thousands of dollars from AstraZeneca and other sources in the consent forms for her studies? I have to admit I'm pretty skeptical about that, but I could be wrong. As far as full disclosure to the Senate, Grassley's most recent findings seem to contradict this claim. Hey, maybe Grassley is just making things up, so either DelBello is being unfairly persecuted or her story is simply not adding up.

Why am I making such a big deal about this? Well, such a gigantic hidden conflict of interest doesn't exactly engender my faith, and DelBello is a person who can take at least responsibility for the widespread treatment of children with antipsychotic medications. Due to her research findings that some claim support the use of antipsychotics in kids and her many marketing speeches for AstraZeneca and others, the landscape for badly behaving children is changing, and likely not for the better (1, 2, 3).

Pharmalot reports that the University of Cincinnati is unresponsive to his requests for comment. Perhaps they're going for the time-honored tradition of remaining in silence under the belief that this publicity cannot possibly last much longer.

1 comment:

Stephany said...

I commented about her before; but I find her being on the advisory board of a very large parent website Child Adolescent Bipolar Foundation[CABF} which hosts a [now paid member only]parent forum; as being something to take note of, because this is one forum I found years and years ago, that slam-dunked the bad information and dx/medication works only/ bp stuff the psych was dishing out. So how conflicted she is, has a ripple affect as far as I am concerned into the mass diagnosing of American Children: and not to mention Biederman is part of that team too. There was a push for this common med "cocktail" at bp kids dot org [cabf] years ago:

1. One or 2 mood stabilizers, most common was Depakote
2. An anti depressant
3. Antipsychotic

That cocktail was heavily promoted on that site, and this site is telling parents of children under age 18 to use those drugs!

It's all connected, and this is why I personally see her name and actually do not hesitate to see an unethical situation here.

I was banned from posting on that site years ago, when I posted my daughter had a bad reaction to anti depressants. They never used to state they had pharma funding back then on the site, as they do now. Many of us posting there, questioned if pharma was backing the site per our banning. We were banned for asking those questions; came in as a new name asked again and was banned permanently.

I'd take a look at the bipolar child connections with all of these ppl, and you'll see how come I call this 'riding an axis of evil'. Because antipychotics being doled out for use in little kids is ridiculous and dangerous. Then we find out what we pretty much know anyway: the bigwigs are all paid off bullies.