MISSING in ACTION on MEDSCAPE
Charles Nemeroff has been in the news lately, under investigation by Senator Grassley for allegedly violating NIH regulations on conflict of interest and disclosure. The fallout to date includes his severance from several NIH-funded projects at Emory University School of Medicine, a freeze of NIH funding for a major center grant, and his stepping down from Emory’s chair of psychiatry while an internal investigation proceeds. Some amazing documents were released by the Senator. Among other surprises, they contained a scathing critique of a Nemeroff publication by Emory’s Dean Claudia Adkison, and evidence that Dr. Nemeroff tried to get himself off the hook within Emory by smearing third parties and blaming them for harassment. Now that these internal documents have been released by the Senate Committee on Finance and then appeared in The New York Times, Dr. Nemeroff will have even more explaining to do.
The word is finally out. Dr. Nemeroff’s credibility is under a cloud, to say the least, and his influence is rapidly waning. After all, who wants to be associated with a suspect and a loser? In the hardnosed, commercial world of Continuing Medical Education, for instance, the signs are that Dr. Nemeroff is toast. Whereas he once coordinated multi-city traveling CME road shows and a parade of spots on CME websites like Medscape, his profile now is suffering. Go to this Medscape website, for instance. You will find that his current Expert Viewpoint spots are missing, replaced by the message, “This article is temporarily unavailable.”
Well, good for Medscape. They came in for their share of criticism, here and here, a while back. Now they deserve credit for displaying ethical standards. Meanwhile, we are waiting for another company called CME Outfitters to get the message. Dr. Nemeroff is slated to moderate a raft of new programs for this company in the coming weeks, sponsored by corporations like Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Ortho-McNeil Janssen. CME Outfitters' logo, after all, is Education with Integrity. Sooner or later the pharmaceutical corporations, like the CME companies, will understand that they are not helping themselves by trotting out a shopworn and sleazy KOL figurehead like Nemeroff for their marketing efforts. And other KOLs who up to now were willing to "wet their beaks" in these CME forums controlled by the Boss of Bosses Nemeroff will now be leery of associating with him.
The fallout continues.