WASHINGTON, Aug 23 (Reuters) – The U.S. National Institutes of Health revised on Tuesday its 16-year-old conflict of interest rules for medical researchers, lowering the amount of money that constitutes a financial conflict and expanding the required disclosures….Concern about the integrity of research in the United States has grown since 2008, when Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley criticized prominent Harvard University psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Biederman and others for failing to fully disclose payments from drug companies.
Two prominent authors of a 1999 book teaching family doctors how to treat psychiatric disorders provided acknowledgment in the preface for an “unrestricted educational grant” from a major pharmaceutical company. But the drug maker, then known as SmithKline Beecham, actually had much more involvement than the book described, newly disclosed documents show. The grant paid for a writing company to develop the outline and text for the two named authors, the documents show, and then the writing company said it planned to show three drafts directly to the pharmaceutical company for comments and “sign-off” and page proofs for “final approval.” The 269-page book, “Recognition and Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: A Psychopharmacology Handbook for Primary Care,” is so far the first book among publications, namely medical journal articles, that have been criticized in recent years for hidden drug industry influence, colloquially known as ghostwriting.
Senator Grassley has asked 33 medical groups for information about their financial backing they get from the medical device, insurance and pharmaceutical industries, including several psychiatric front groups such as Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Mental Health America, NARSAD, Screening for Mental Health Inc. and the National Center for Mental Checkups at Columbia University (TeenScreen).