“The Infinite Mind” Radio Host Investigated for Drug Company Promotion Ties

November 24, 2008

Washington (ChattahBox) — Popular radio host of the NPR program, “The Infinite Mind,” Dr. Fred Goodwin, has reportedly received over $1.3 million from 2005 to 2007 in exchange for his promotional lectures for drugmakers. The problem is the psychiatrist and former National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin never mentioned those payments on his program. Dr. Goodwin’s radio show producer claims to have had no idea that he was receiving money from drug companies. And Godwin exonerated his producer, saying he did not know about his ties to the drug companies, but he did not realize at that time that he should have disclosed the connections. Dr. Fred Goodwin has been hosting the radio show on NPR radio stations for over 15 years.

Dr. Goodwin received more than $329,000 from GlaxoSmithKline for promoting Lamictal,a drug that helps stabilize moods, records given to Congressional investigators show, according to the New York Times. As part of a September 2005 radio show, Dr. Goodwin suggested that children with bipolar disorder who do not undergo treatment could suffer brain damage. He stated on his show that there are certain drugs that work for this disorder and mentioned a drug for GlaxoSmithKline on his radio show for a bipolar medication. The New York Times noted that Dr. Goodwin told his audience in a program broadcast on Sept. 20, 2005: “But as we’ll hearing today, modern treatments – mood stabilizers in particular – have been proven both safe and effective in bipolar children.” That very day, GlaxoSmithKline paid Dr. Goodwin $2,500 to give a promotional lecture for its mood stabilizer drug, Lamictal, at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. That year.

Senator Charles Grassley, who first uncovered the GlaxoSmithKline ‘promotion payoffs’, says he knows that certain drugmakers are paying doctors to help promote their drugs, but now it seems that the same thing is happening in journalism. Senator Grassley is leading a Congressional inquiry which is currently demanding that top researchers provide their conflict-of-interest disclosures. Grassley is comparing those documents with records of actual payments from drug companies. He began his investigation with Dr. Melissa P. DelBello of the University of Cincinnati, who reported income of about $100,000 between 2005 and 2007, while drug maker AstraZeneca’s records showed the company alone had paid DelBello $238,000 within that time.

Sen. Grassley revealed in October,that Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff of Emory University, one of the nation’s leading psychiatrists and a prominent University figure, received at least $2.8 million in consulting fees from companies whose drugs he was evaluating and failed to report income of more than $1.2 million, thus violating federal regulations. Nemeroff voluntarily stepped down as chairman of the psychiatry department at Emory pending a resolution of the matter. The National Institutes of Health suspended a $9.3 million research grant to Emory after the findings.


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