back on the stage…

Posted on Saturday 31 March 2012

Academics To Doctors’ Group: Dump Nemeroff
By Ed Silverman
March 30th, 2012

Here is an irony, the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, which is devoted to combating anxiety, depression and stress-related disorders, is causing some stress and anxiety among academics and physicians. Why? The professional organization recently named Charles Nemeroff, the controversial psychiatry professor, to its board. And so, an Internet petition is now circulating that calls on the ADAA board to swiftly remove Nemeroff before the reputation of the organization and its professionals are sullied. How so? His “track record of unethical behavior that has harmed the standing of our field, the credibility of some of its treatments, and risked the well being of millions of patients,” according to the petition.

For those who may not recall, Nemeroff was an Emory University professor who was sanctioned for failing to disclose that he had accepted about $500,000 in payments from GlaxoSmithKline while he was also the primary investigator for a National Institutes of Health study of the Paxil antidepressant, which is sold by the drugmaker. The details emerged thanks to a US Senate Finance committee probe into undisclosed conflicts of interest. At issue was the extent to which such relationships may unduly influence medical research and practice. The Senate probe reached out like an octopus and ensnared various drugmakers, universities, medical journals and the NIH itself, specifically the National Institutes of Mental Health.

Since then, various drugmakers and institutions have gradually adopted policies concerning disclosure. And, of course, the pharmaceutical industry will be required to publish payments to physicians next year. As for Nemeroff, he now chairs the psychiatry department at the Miller School of Medicine at The University of Miami, where he is, once again, seeking grants from the NIH, according to sources.

Next month, Nemeroff is scheduled to make his first appearance as an ADAA board member when the organization holds its annual meeting. The petition hopes to rescind the decision before his public vetting. “In determining its position on the issue, the (ADAA) board apparently overlooked or questioned the severity of the case against Dr. Nemeroff. Nonetheless, we do not believe the board’s position represents general sentiment within the professional community, nor does it erase the public record upon which many potential supporters of ADAA will determine their opinion. By selecting Dr. Nemeroff to represent the organization at its highest level, the board sends the wrong message to ADAA’s membership and to the public at large regarding the organization’s values and commitment to integrity in patient care, research, and education. ADAA is not immune to the public distrust and decline in professional membership inevitably associated with decay of an organization’s credibility”…

One has to ask why they would do such a thing – select Dr. Nemeroff. Barbara Rothbaum, one of Charlie’s Emory researchers is on the Board. Maybe she nominated him. Charlie’s M.O. is to "cash in some chips" from previous favors granted. He seemed to have done that to get the job in Miami, calling in debts owed from Tom Insel, Director of the NIMH. Maybe Rothbaum or someone else owes him. It’s hard to remember what a wheeler-dealer and Kingmaker Nemeroff was in his "boss of bosses" days. Perhaps, it’s more interesting to consider why he would want to put himself in the public eye like that again. Does he think we’ll forget? I was told recently by a friend that he’d asked some faculty in Miami what they thought of Nemeroff, and they reported that Charlie had "gotten a bad deal from Emory." So, he apparently hasn’t lost his winning ways over the years. It seems like only yesterday…
Top Psychiatrist Didn’t Report Drug Makers’ Pay
New York Times
October 3, 2008

One of the nation’s most influential psychiatrists earned more than $2.8 million in consulting arrangements with drug makers between 2000 and 2007, failed to report at least $1.2 million of this income to his university, and violated federal research rules, according to documents provided to Congressional investigators. The psychiatrist, Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff of Emory University, is the most prominent example to date in a series of disclosures that is shaking the world of academic medicine and seems likely to force broad changes in the relationships between doctors and drug makers.

In one telling example, Dr. Nemeroff signed a letter dated July 15, 2004, promising Emory administrators that he would earn less than $10,000 a year from GlaxoSmithKline to comply with federal rules. But on that day, he was at the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo., earning $3,000 of what would become $170,000 in income that year from the British drug giant — 17 times the figure he had agreed on…

Dr. Nemeroff was the principal investigator for a five-year, $3.9 million grant financed by the National Institute of Mental Health for which GlaxoSmithKline provided drugs. Income from GlaxoSmithKline of $10,000 or more in any year of the grant — a threshold Dr. Nemeroff crossed in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, records show — would have required Emory to inform the health institutes and manage the conflict or remove Dr. Nemeroff as the investigator. Repeatedly assured by Dr. Nemeroff that he had not crossed this income threshold, Emory did nothing…

One look at his CV lets you know that he needs to be in the limelight, but this seems folly even at that. What is the Anxiety Disorders Association of America anyway? Other that a cheesy web-site, I can’t find much. Their Annual Conference is in two weeks with you-know-who moderating the scientific panel with one of his old Emory researchers on it:
Scientific Research Symposium
The Interface of Anxiety Disorders and Medical Disorders: Pathophysiology and Treatment Implications
Friday, April 13

Charles Nemeroff, MD, PhDModerator

Charles Nemeroff, MD, PhD
University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

The theme for this Scientific Research Symposium is anxiety in medicine, exploring the increased medical vulnerability, and impact on outcomes when patients have stress, anxiety, and related disorders.

But if there’s one thing that the Emory Administration learned in his two decades there, Charlie doesn’t stop. He keeps on going no matter what, so it’s no surprise to see him back on the stage…

My bet – the petition will fail – that he’s cut a deal somehow that will bind the ADAA to keep him…
    March 31, 2012 | 10:51 AM

    He also remains (last time I checked a few weeks ago) on the board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

    March 31, 2012 | 4:24 PM

    for the love of money

    March 31, 2012 | 4:53 PM

    Nemeroff… the gift that keeps on givin’.


    March 31, 2012 | 5:06 PM

    My theory is the Mafia runs these organizations.

    March 31, 2012 | 5:37 PM

    From the ADAA’s 2009 annual report:

    Corporate Contributions
    ADAA received unrestricted educational grants and donations in support of consumer and professional education from the following:

    Jazz Pharmaceuticals
    Pfizer Inc.
    Takeda Pharmaceuticals

    It’s Astro-turfed.

    March 31, 2012 | 5:40 PM

    Great find! I looked all over.

    March 31, 2012 | 5:42 PM

    Hmmm. From the ADAA website: A

    “About one in eight children suffer from an anxiety disorder, a category that includes obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD. These disorders often occur simultaneously with ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and others.

    When anxiety becomes unrelenting and persistent, it can interfere with your child’s everyday activities, making it difficult to play, relax, sleep, or concentrate. Children and teens may experience stomach and headaches and other physical ailments. Anxiety in children and teens may not be obvious because it may appear to be irritability, sleep problems, or refusal to join in family or social activities. Find out how you can help your child avoid a lifetime of anxiety.”

    Being a child in a dysfunctional and hostile environment usually means being an anxious child. As an in-home caregiver I attended parenting classes one of my clients was required to attend after his divorce. Child care experts in those classes told parents that it was enough to spend 15 minutes a day of “quality time” with their children. How can you even know a person by spending only 15 minutes a day with them? That biological bond does not confer knowledge and understanding about the thoughts and feelings of a child. It is necessary to have a relationship with a child to understand what upsets them. It appalls me that so many people subscribe to “mommy magic” and believe that biological parents can read the minds of their children. It seems the more a parent believes that the less they actually see how they are effecting their child(ren).

    It seems that the whole field of biological psychiatry thrives on victims to the degree that it isn’t in its best interest to challenge the people responsible for victimizing. Better to give the bullies and incompetents an out in order to profit from all the pain and confusion they leave in their wake.

    Even well meaning parents often are too harried and undisciplined to be strong for their children, but most of all, they lack insight. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a parent say, “I tell them over and over again, and they don’t LISTEN!” Well. That’s the problem, isn’t it? Say what you mean. Mean what you say. And say it once. Then ACT as you said you would if the child doesn’t comply. It’s painful to watch parents teach children that their words don’t mean much of anything.

    It’s even more painful to see psychiatry branding children who are being failed as inherently pathological and feeding them powerful mood/mind altering drugs.

    April 2, 2012 | 10:08 AM

    I checked out AADA’s website. Their tagline: “Anxiety disorders are real, serious, and treatable” sounds like the key message of a pharma marketing plan.

    Such a message has been used to market drugs for IBS, fibromyalgia, and many other conditions. And lo and behold–those conditions and others, including headaches and insomnia, are included as conditions that often accompany anxiety and “must be treated.”

    April 2, 2012 | 2:05 PM

    The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International has a detailed and devastating review of ADAA including prior involvement by Nemeroff regarding Paxil and the creation of social anxiety disorder. Beyond worth a look:

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