Here's one example, from Gardiner Harris and Benedict Carey at the New York Times:
In one example, Dr. Biederman reported no income from Johnson & Johnson for 2001 in a disclosure report filed with the university. When asked to check again, he said he received $3,500. But Johnson & Johnson told Mr. Grassley that it paid him $58,169 in 2001, Mr. Grassley found.So Biederman is supposed to report outside income to the university, but he didn't. Then, his amended reports were in some instances a wild underestimate of his outside income. So how well is the "honor system" working out for conflicts of interest, anyway? To be fair, Biederman is not alone -- two other Harvard psychiatrists (Timothy Wilens and Thomas Spencer) had similar reporting problems. Indeed, there is nothing to say that Biederman's conflicts of interest are any more noteworthy than those of other "stars" in the academic psychiatry universe.
Worry not, Biederman is still interested in saving lives. He is recruiting 4 to 6 year olds with "bipolar disorder" for a Seroquel trial.
For some reason, I thought Biederman's prior comments were worth repeating here. From the Boston Globe:
Biederman dismisses most critics, saying that they cannot match his scientific credentials as co author of 30 scientific papers a year and director of a major research program at the psychiatry department that is top-ranked in the "US News & World Report" ratings.
"The critics 'are not on the same level. We are not debating as to whether [a critic] likes brownies and I like hot dogs. In medicine and science, not all opinions are created equal,' said Biederman, a native of Czechoslovakia who came to Mass. General in 1979 after medical training in Argentina and Israel. He now lives in Brookline.
You tell 'em, Joe! I suppose those who dare critique his conflicts of interest are "not on the same level" as him. Some say that we shouldn't be concerned about conflicts of interest, that we should just look at the quality of a person's work, regardless of financial conflicts. Well, Biederman is the undisputed King of Bipolar in kids, and I'm still awaiting any impressive outcome dataon the "bipolar" kids being treated with antipsychotics. Especially the young kids. 4 year olds on Seroquel -- I'm glad I'm not on Joe's level. Are we better off now that the diagnosis of bipolar has run rampant in kids?
Update: Also read the Carlat Psychiatry Blog post on the topic.