invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

Charles Nemeroff’s “Dear Me” letter December 19, 2008

Charles Nemeroff, you know the guy, who 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. Ironically on that day, he was at the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, earning $3,000 of what would become $170,000 in income that year from that company — 17 times the figure he had agreed on. Mr. Nemeroff resigned as chair of the psychiatry department at Emory University in October after this news broke thanks to Senator Charles Grassley.

A leading critic of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the surprise withdrawal from the market of Merck’s painkiller Vioxx in 2004, Grassley is now focusing on university researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who haven’t been properly reporting income from drug companies.” Straight talk with…Charles Grassley, Nature Medicine, October 2008

now this is when it gets bizarre.

From the WSJ Health Blog

We’ve heard of Dear Doctor letters before, but a “Dear Me” letter? That’s a new one on us.

But we’ve now learned that Emory University psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff penned just such a thing in 2000 when he was also serving as editor in chief of the journal Depression and Anxiety. The “Dear Me” letter, on the journal’s letterhead, indicated he was paying himself $3,000 to write an article for a special supplement of the medical journal that would “celebrate the 5th anniversary of the introduction of Effexor” –- an antidepressant from Wyeth.

According to Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) , who has been investigating drug company payments to a bunch of academic psychiatrists, Nemeroff also billed an Emory account $3,000 for the work. The money Emory used to pay him came from a grant Wyeth gave to the school, according to Grassley.

It isn’t clear, however, from the correspondence if Nemeroff was paid by the both the school account and the medical journal. According to Emory, 14 of its faculty members each received $3,000 from that fund to pen articles for the special section on Effexor. Calls to Emory and Nemeroff for comment weren’t returned immediately.

here’s the “Dear Me” letter:



children, bipolar and antipsychotics December 14, 2008

How many times will this be the title of one of my entries? I mean, truly, when will this madness end? Every time I read another story my heart breaks and I am furious at the same time. Those of you who are unfamiliar to the world of antipsychotics, I beg you to read this entire blog. and click on the links. Take this excerpt from today’s LA Times for example:

‘I need these pills refilled,” the weary mother says, displaying an array of empty bottles on the desk in my office. “My son is bipolar.”

The boy, a quiet slip of a 10-year-old, had been prescribed two antipsychotics, two mood stabilizers, one antidepressant, two attention deficit disorder medications and another medication to manage the side effects of the antipsychotics.

The mother explained that she had just regained custody of her son and his brother. During the last year, while they were in foster care, a doctor had diagnosed the 10-year-old with bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder and prescribed eight medications.

In the hour I spent with the boy and his mother, he exhibited no signs or symptoms of bipolar disorder, though he did display some irritability. In school, he continued to perform poorly in his second attempt at third grade. Both irritability and poor school performance can be significant problems. But I strongly questioned his diagnosis.

There are so many to blame for this problem:
Joseph Biederman
Fred Goodwin
Charles Nemeroff