Psychiatry researcher steps down

Embattled Stanford psychiatrist and president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association, linkurl:Alan Schatzberg,;http://www.stanford.edu/group/adolescent.ctr/Research/schatzberg.html has resigned leadership of an NIH-funded research project studying the effects of mifepristone (also known as linkurl:RU-486);http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/10905/ on patients with depression. The drug is made by Corcept Therapeutics, a company which Schatzberg co-founded, and in which he owns mo

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

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Aug 14, 2008
Embattled Stanford psychiatrist and president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association, linkurl:Alan Schatzberg,;http://www.stanford.edu/group/adolescent.ctr/Research/schatzberg.html has resigned leadership of an NIH-funded research project studying the effects of mifepristone (also known as linkurl:RU-486);http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/10905/ on patients with depression. The drug is made by Corcept Therapeutics, a company which Schatzberg co-founded, and in which he owns more than $6 million in stocks. His financial conflicts of interest have been linkurl:scrutinized;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54771/ for several months by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). Schatzberg is also the chair of the department of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. According to linkurl:__The Stanford Daily__,;http://daily.stanford.edu/article/2008/8/14/profStepsDownAfterConflict university officials call Schatzberg's exit from the project, which was run on grants from the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), "temporary." Grassley first called attention to Schatzberg's apparent conflicts about six months ago, and the Senator has pursued the issue in several letters sent to Stanford administrators. Though Stanford University officials claim that Schatzberg...
olescent.ctr/Research/schatzberg.html has resigned leadership of an NIH-funded research project studying the effects of mifepristone (also known as linkurl:RU-486);http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/10905/ on patients with depression. The drug is made by Corcept Therapeutics, a company which Schatzberg co-founded, and in which he owns more than $6 million in stocks. His financial conflicts of interest have been linkurl:scrutinized;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54771/ for several months by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). Schatzberg is also the chair of the department of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. According to linkurl:__The Stanford Daily__,;http://daily.stanford.edu/article/2008/8/14/profStepsDownAfterConflict university officials call Schatzberg's exit from the project, which was run on grants from the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), "temporary." Grassley first called attention to Schatzberg's apparent conflicts about six months ago, and the Senator has pursued the issue in several letters sent to Stanford administrators. Though Stanford University officials claim that Schatzberg fully disclosed the fact that he owned Corcept stock prior to beginning the project, Grassley insisted that the psychiatrist's research was in conflict with his financial ties to the company. "This equity could grow dramatically if the results of Dr. Schatzberg's government-sponsored research find that mifepristone could be used to treat psychotic major depression," Grassley wrote in a July 31 letter to Stanford president linkurl:John Hennessy.;http://www.stanford.edu/dept/president/biography/ In a linkurl:reply;http://ucomm.stanford.edu/news/073108_grassley.pdf to Grassley's inquiries about Schatzberg dated July 31, Stanford vice provost and dean of research Ann Arvin, wrote in a letter to the Senator that the university was taking measures to ameliorate the apparent conflict of interest surrounding Schatzberg. "Despite our belief that Stanford, NIMH, and Dr. Schatzberg have handled this grant in accordance with the regulations and applicable policies and with due regard for the integrity of the research, we can see how having Dr. Schatzberg continue as Principal Investigator on the grant can create an appearance of conflict of interest," she wrote. "Therefore Stanford University, with the concurrence of Dr. Schatzberg, is temporarily appointing another Principal Investigator on this grant and we have so advised NIMH." A Stanford spokesperson told __The Daily__ that linkurl:Fredric Kraemer,;http://med.stanford.edu/profiles/Fredric_Kraemer/ a cell biologist in Stanford's School of Medicine, will be filling in for Schatzberg on the project. Grassley continues to press the university on its own financial ties to Corcept and has asked Stanford officials to fully disclose the school's connections to the company. I have the feeling this story is far from over.

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