The trials, which were sponsored by pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, aimed to test the efficaciousness of a drug—a fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor. One study involved people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among other conditions. FAAH inhibitors are meant to simulate the effects of marijuana.
According to the New York Times, NYU suspended Neumeister after learning of the FDA’s conclusions, which included alleging that the researcher failed to follow up in a timely fashion with patients who had received the drug, and that he had forged a colleague’s name on study reports. After confirming the research misconduct, NYU’s psychiatric department chairman Charles Marmar placed Neumeister on leave; Neumeister later resigned.
“I honestly believed I had the best qualified and among the most ethical researchers on the faculty” running these studies, Marmar told the New York Times. Neumeister’s lawyer, Georges Lederman, told the paper that “NYU has taken the position that those violations were more egregious than we believe they actually were.”
According to Marmar, NYU has discarded all data gathered from one of the trials, which recruited 50 participants, and is checking on their health.