Psychiatrist Danny Carlat and mental health blogger Philip at Furious Seasons reported on the news that the world-renowned psychiatry researcher Charles Nemeroff has resigned from his position as chair of the psychiatry department at Emory University, after Sen. Grassley’s continuing investigation into pharmaceutical funding payments, proper reporting, and ethics questioned why the researcher failed to report $1.2 million (yes, that’s million) in pharmaceutical payments since 2000.

In simultaneously published news accounts, both David Armstrong of the Wall Street Journal and Gardiner Harris of the New York Times have detailed the extent of Dr. Nemeroff’s cynical pattern of subterfuge regarding his involvement with the pharmaceutical industry.

I’m glad that Sen. Grassley’s office is continuing to police this industry when the FDA and universities ranging from prestigious Harvard University on down to Emory University (among many others) have failed to do so. Their reluctance to actually conduct the simple audits that Sen. Grassley is conducting is disturbing and symptomatic of the fundamental problem with the research funding model as it exists today in psychiatric pharmacological research.

I hope Sen. Grassley takes his investigation from individual cases into formulating new regulations or policies to ensure universities and government agencies do not suffer from future lax oversight. Because as soon as the spotlight is turned off, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before researchers start cutting corners again.

And as Dr. Carlat pointed out, if this kind of funding deception can happen with one of the country’s most-respected psychiatric researchers, imagine the kind of things lesser well-known researchers have also likely been getting away with for years.

The Carlat Psychiatry Blog: Curtains for Nemeroff

Furious Seasons: Nemeroff Resigns

Worth a laugh: Emory University’s statement about the resignation (treating the matter as a mere reporting formality and seemingly not even recognizing the serious ethical breaches alleged)