Wednesday, March 26, 2014

“It’s not only my lab. It’s my mortgage.”

"A ProPublica analysis shows that more than 1,300 practitioners nationwide received both research money and speaking or consulting fees from the same drug maker in 2012. All told, they received more than $90 million in research grants — plus nearly $13 million for speaking engagements and another $4 million for consulting."

"Critics say doctors who conduct a clinical trial while accepting personal payments from the company sponsoring the study can feel beholden to the drug maker."

“The pharmaceutical company has a paramount stake in a favorable outcome. The [research] grant recipient has a stake in a favorable outcome and the honorarium recipient or consultant has yet another stake in the outcome,” said David Rothman, director of the Center for Medicine as a Profession at Columbia University. “It’s not only my lab. It’s my mortgage.”

Of course, this has been exactly the situation here at the University of Minnesota for years, and the university insists that it is not a problem.  In fact, not only is it not a problem for researchers to pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from industry; it's not even a problem for the IRB members overseeing the study to be paid by the very same companies.  It has led to at least one death, possibly others, and yet nobody seems to mind.  Because here at the U, that's just the way we roll.

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