Walsh still not disclosing conflicts?

Even as Federal prosecutors linkurl:may be deciding;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/37502/ to focus their efforts on alleged misconduct by NIH researcher linkurl:Thomas Walsh;http://ccr.nci.nih.gov/Staff/Staff.asp?profileid=5598 , Walsh is apparently still not disclosing all of his potential conflicts of interest in his publications. Walsh -- who engaged in ''serious misconduct'' by accepting more than $100,000 in consulting fees from drug and biotech companies without disclosing the

By | December 29, 2006

Even as Federal prosecutors linkurl:may be deciding;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/37502/ to focus their efforts on alleged misconduct by NIH researcher linkurl:Thomas Walsh;http://ccr.nci.nih.gov/Staff/Staff.asp?profileid=5598 , Walsh is apparently still not disclosing all of his potential conflicts of interest in his publications. Walsh -- who engaged in ''serious misconduct'' by accepting more than $100,000 in consulting fees from drug and biotech companies without disclosing the funding, according to an internal NIH report ?- is the lead author on a linkurl:study published online;http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CID/journal/issues/v44n1/39344/39344.web.pdf on November 28 in Clinical Infectious Diseases of the treatment of invasive aspergillosis with posaconazole, a Schering-Plough drug. That study will appear in print in the journal's January 1, 2007 issue. What's noteworthy is that 21 of Walsh's 23 coauthors disclosed conflicts of various kinds, such as funding or fees from Schering-Plough or from Merck and Pfizer, who make drugs that compete with posaconazole. Walsh and Charles White reported no conflicts. I don't know anything about White, but I'm very puzzled by Walsh's failure to disclose that he has received fees from Merck and Pfizer. We know that those were two of the companies that have paid him over the years. Pfizer's drug, voriconazole, is mentioned in the abstract's conclusion, because the present study was carried out before voriconazole was introduced, so the two drugs could not be compared head-to-head. Just as many of his co-authors disclosed their funding from Pfizer, so should have Walsh. Even if Walsh only recently realized that he should have disclosed these conflicts, there was plenty of time between when the paper was submitted on February 16, accepted on July 5, and published online on November 28 for him to notify the editor. (It's also worth noting that the journal ?- whose editorial board Walsh sits on ?- published linkurl:a defense of his work;http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CID/journal/issues/v43n8/41034/41034.web.pdf in September from more than 100 of his colleagues from around the country. They felt the need to write that piece after David Willman of the Los Angeles Times published an investigation of Walsh's research and ties to industry. As I linkurl:wrote in The Boston Globe;http://tinyurl.com/rvsva in October, I found that defense seriously lacking in that it fails to mention Walsh's industry funding.) I've contacted the journal?s editor to see if he can explain what to me seems a discrepancy between Walsh's potential conflicts and his disclosures. I'll let you know what I find out. In the meantime, I'm troubled by what seems like a pattern of failure to acknowledge what could turn out to be the same kinds of conflicts that led to a guilty plea by another NIH researcher.

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