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Psychiatric medical journal editor Nemeroff resigns after secret financial ties uncovered

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: medical journals, conflicts of interest, drug racket

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(NewsTarget) The editor of the medical journal Neuropsychopharmacology, Charles B. Nemeroff, has resigned his position after drawing criticism for failing to disclose his financial ties to a medical company whose device he endorsed in his journal.

Nemeroff -- chairman of Emory University's department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences -- co-authored a paper on a device made by Cyberonics Inc. meant to treat depression. Nemeroff's article endorsed Cyberonics' product -- a device implanted in patients' chests that electrically stimulates the vagus nerve to treat depression -- as "a promising and well-tolerated intervention."

Nemeroff was one of eight authors of the article with financial ties to Cyberonics, and a ninth author was an employee of the company. Last month the Wall Street Journal sharply criticized Nemeroff and Neuropsychopharmacology for failing to disclose such financial conflicts of interest. Nemeroff then published a correction disclosing his and his co-authors' relationships with Cyberonics.

"The surprise is not that Nemeroff lacks fundamental ethics and abused his power as a medical journal editor to pad his own pockets; the surprise is that he got caught," said Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and critic of unethical practices in conventional medicine. "Notice how he only published a correction after being exposed by the Wall Street Journal?"

"You have to remember," Adams explained, "that virtually everyone in conventional medicine -- from doctors to journal editors to FDA advisory panel members -- claim they operate with such supreme intellect that they are immune to financial influence, and thus there is no need for them to even disclose conflicts of interest. Conventional medicine is an industry that believes it is above the laws of ethics, and that it should operate with impunity, without any serious scrutiny or disclosure. They seem to demand, 'How dare you question our judgment?' while simultaneously pocketing cash from pharmaceutical companies or medical device manufacturers," Adams said. "The arrogance is astonishing."

The medical society that publishes the journal says Nemeroff's resignation -- reported in yesterday's Wall Street Journal -- was partly because of bad publicity over his failure to enforce the journal's conflict-of-interest policies.


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