Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Once-secret drug company records put U on the spot

"Documents raise questions about a drug study by U of M psychiatrist S. Charles Schulz. He says there is a 'misunderstanding' about the results he reported," according to the Star Tribune.

"In the spring of 2000, Dr. S. Charles Schulz attended a national medical conference to present favorable research on a new psychiatric drug called Seroquel. Schulz, chief of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota, reported that the drug was 'significantly superior' to the old gold-standard treatment for schizophrenia. In a press release by the manufacturer, AstraZeneca, he touted the 'dramatic benefits' of Seroquel's class of drugs."

"But newly released documents show that AstraZeneca knew the research didn't support the claim -- and knew two months before Schulz went public with it."

In a longer, more detailed story, The Pioneer Press reports that "a U spokesman said that the dean of the medical school, Dr. Deborah Powell, is aware of the controversy over Schulz's research and has offered him her full support. "

PharmaGossip comments here.

Meanwhile, in an AHC News Capsule, AHC VP Frank Cerra comments on financial conflicts of interest:

"I’d like to make a couple of points loud and clear, as I have publicly on several occasions. Yes, the faculty within the Academic Health Center – and indeed in other parts of the University – have relationships with industry. Our new ideas, our discoveries would never go anywhere if there weren’t a company willing to develop or manufacture the results of our work. And then those discoveries would never make it into the marketplace to both improve and enhance care and health. Yes, pharmaceutical and device manufacturers pay for clinical trial work taking place at the University. There is no other source of funds. And, yes, our faculty – physicians, pharmacists, dentists and others – are compensated for their time and work.

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