Wednesday, March 4, 2009


News Updates: Time Magazine

The New York Times Headline:Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary
By DUFF WILSON, March 2, 2009
“In a first-year pharmacology class at Harvard Medical School, Matt Zerden grew wary as the professor promoted the benefits of cholesterol drugs and seemed to belittle a student who asked about side effects.”

Very brave student indeed. And it did not stop him from finding out more:

“Mr. Zerden later discovered something by searching online that he began sharing with his classmates. The professor was not only a full-time member of the Harvard Medical faculty, but a paid consultant to 10 drug companies, including five makers of cholesterol treatments.”

Did he have anything to do with our
Statin Police as featured in NHS Blog Doctor?
“I felt really violated,” Mr. Zerden, now a fourth-year student, recently recalled. “Here we have 160 open minds trying to learn the basics in a protected space, and the information he was giving wasn’t as pure as I think it should be.”

He is lucky he is still there!

“Mr. Zerden’s minor stir four years ago has lately grown into a full-blown movement by more than 200 Harvard Medical School students and sympathetic faculty, intent on exposing and curtailing the industry influence in their classrooms and laboratories, as well as in Harvard’s 17 affiliated teaching hospitals and institutes.
They say they are concerned that the same money that helped build the school’s world-class status may in fact be hurting its reputation and affecting its teaching.”

The NY Times article continues:

“Among them: Some 1,600 of 8,900 professors and lecturers have disclosed financial ties under the school’s disclosure rules.”
“There were 149 with ties to Pfizer and 130 with ties to Merck. The school’s dean, Jeffrey Flier, previously received a $500,000 research grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb and consulted for three Cambridge, Mass., biotech companies, though he told NYT those relationships were over. The prior dean sat on the board of Baxter International for half of the decade he led the school, earning up to $197,000 a year from the company.”

There is more:

“Harvard should be embarrassed by the F grade it recently received from the American Medical Student Association, a national group that rates how well medical schools monitor and control drug industry money.

Harvard Medical School’s peers received much higher grades, ranging from the A for the University of Pennsylvania, to B’s received by Stanford, Columbia and New York University, to the C for Yale.”

“To educate a man in mind, and not in morals,

is to educate a menace to society.”

Theodore Roosevelt 26th President, United States

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