Harvard Psychiatrist Joseph Biederman and Parents: “Should Be Left in a Room Together”

Joseph Biederman is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard. He recently received a far-too-mild sanction for behavior that included this:

Biederman was then placed in charge of the institute and began a study of 40 children between 4 and 6 years old who were given Risperdal [made by Johnson & Johnson] and Lilly’s Zyprexa, another antipsychotic. At the time, Harvard and MGH [Massachusetts General Hospital] rules forbid researchers from running trials with [drugs] if they receive more than $10,000 from a company that makes the drug.

It was eventually revealed that Biederman had received at least $1.6 million from drug companies, including far more than $10,000 from Johnson & Johnson and far more than $10,000 from Lilly. One comment on the quoted article made the excellent point that bipolar disorder had a usual onset age of onset of 18 years or more and had never been found in young teenagers (e.g., 14-year-olds). Yet Biederman suddenly claimed it appeared in 6-year-olds. In a good expression of how I feel about Biederman’s behavior, another comment said he should “be left alone in a room with the parents of the children [he] treated”.

4 Responses to “Harvard Psychiatrist Joseph Biederman and Parents: “Should Be Left in a Room Together””

  1. Alex Chernavsky Says:

    Yeah, and I would have put the word “treated” in scare quotes.

    Joseph Biederman and Charles Nemeroff (among others) should be permanently barred from doing any clinical work and any research.

  2. Seth Roberts Says:

    Alex, you are too forgiving. Biederman should go to jail.

  3. Ruth Says:

    I wish I were surprised.

  4. psychotherapy Says:

    It is very unfortunate that such high caliber professional was involved in such a scheme. Many doctors are “in bed” with pharmaceutical companies and prescribe only medications that are more profitable for them. Unfortunately, it is very common. Thank you for an interesting post.