Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Student newspaper gives Brown a black eye

In June when the news broke that U.S. Senator Charles Grassley was probing the financial ties between Martin Keller, the chief of psychiatry at Brown University, and the drug industry, Brown officials tried to stonewall the entire issue. They refused to acknowledge that Grassley was seeking information from the university about whether Keller failed to fully disclose his myriad conflicts of interest with the very companies whose drugs he was studying and touting in medical journals and at conferences; see back story here.

Now, Brown's own student newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald, has leaped into the fray, with an indepth story on Keller and the problems with a key study of Paxil in adolescents, of which he was the principal investigator. The Herald cites my book, Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial and research by Australian researchers, which both found the same thing: that Keller and his co-authors had misrepresented data in this clinical trial, known as study 329, that made Paxil look safer and more effective than it really is.

The student reporters who wrote The Herald story did their homework, reaching out to all the parties involved in this sordid tale, including Keller (who declined to talk), Donna Howard, the whistleblower whose inspiring story I chronicle in my book, and several Brown faculty members who remain baffled as to why Brown has taken no public action against Keller. They also quote university officials, who, true to form, said the university "can't discuss particular cases of possible claims of wrongdoing..."

Now that the cat's out of the bag at Brown, will they be more forthcoming? Stay tuned...

1 comment:

Bernard Carroll said...

Actually, it was Keller who gave Brown the first black eye. The school's administration added another through its inaction.