Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nobody Does It Better - UD calls out the University of Minnesota

I feel a little neglectful of my first blogchild, the Periodic Table. Incoming flak has been so furious at the University of Minnesota that most of my posting in the last month or so has been done on the Periodic Table, Too - a blog hosted by Uthink, the University of Minnesota's blogging system.

Many of the posts have been simple snippets from other places with a few remarks. A lot of it has been inside baseball of the type that people outside the U of M may not find very interesting. But if you keep checking in to find something new and are disappointed, you might want to try the other site.

There's even something there by my colleague, PZ Meyers, who makes me look like Mr. Magoo. I've edited it ever so slightly, so as not to offend the thin-skinned.

My favorite blogger, Margaret Soltan, has been down in Key West for the last month or so where she has managed to stay on top of many of her wide ranging interests. While I was away on Spring Break, UD has had her way with the poor old GopherDocs. Nobody does it better than ole' UD.

Introducing Sargeant Schulz…

… another paid agent of America’s amazing pharmaceutical industry.

Schulz, a very good soldier, is (as Charles Nemeroff used to be) head of psychiatry at his university.

And what a university it is. The University of Minnesota medical school, under the leadership of even better soldier Deborah Powell, is making quite a name for itself in the conflict of interest field. When it comes to marching in step with your paymasters, no one does it better than the University of Minnesota.

A top University of Minnesota psychiatrist’s ties to a drug maker have come under scrutiny because he reported that the company’s blockbuster antipsychotic, Seroquel, was significantly superior to other drugs — despite evidence to the contrary.

Two months after an internal analysis by the company, AstraZeneca, found Seroquel was no better than an older, cheaper antipsychotic, Dr. S. Charles Schulz used much of the same data to publicly report that the company’s drug was “more effective.”

The disconnect between the company’s private findings in March 2000 and the psychiatrist’s optimistic report to the American Psychiatric Association in May 2000 are further evidence to critics that the drug industry can shape, revise or even conceal negative research.

It also feeds concerns that drug companies are paying noted doctors such as Schulz, the U’s chair of psychiatry, for research results that advance their marketing agendas.

Schulz has received $112,000 in consulting fees and university grants from 2002 through 2007 from AstraZeneca, according to state records, and nearly $450,000 from rival drug maker Eli Lilly.

“I hope that our findings help physicians better understand the dramatic benefits of newer medications like SEROQUEL,” Schulz said in an AstraZeneca news release on his 2000 report, “because, if they do, we may be able to help ensure patients receive these medications first.”

Note that Minnesota professors even write like hucksters rather than scientists:


Look sharp, junior professors in the University of Minnesota psychiatry department!

This is the way the chair writes.