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Project on Government Oversight

POGO's third reply to letters from Dr. Schatzberg and Dr. Nemeroff

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December 16, 2010 | By: Scott H. Amey, J.D.

Mr. Stuart C. Clark
Carr Ferrell
120 Constitution Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Mr. Lawrence J. Myers
Smith Moore LLP
Atlantic Center Plaza
1180 West Peachtree Street, NW
Suite 2300
Atlanta, GA 30309-3482

Dear Mr. Clark and Mr. Myers:

In response to your third letter, and after additional reviews of the numerous documents in our possession, the Project On Government Oversight (“POGO”) will not be altering its November 29, 2010, revised letter to National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) or blog entry, or issuing an apology.

After a review of the February 25, 1997, “PRELIMINARY DRAFT” (emphasis and capitalization in original) and of the 1999 published version of the handbook, POGO feels strongly that its statements regarding Scientific Therapeutics Information, Inc.’s (“STI”) development of the physician handbook titled Recognition and Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: A Psychopharmacology Handbook for Primary Care are accurate and supported by the evidence.

First, the timeline lays out a framework for work to be performed, and POGO has not mischaracterized or provided false statements about the timeline or GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) involvement in publishing the handbook. The timeline indisputably states, which POGO highlights, that GSK would receive drafts I, II, and III; “sign-off” on draft III; and receive “Page proofs … for final approval.” Additionally, GSK was in possession of the timeline and first draft of the handbook, providing both during discovery in a lawsuit against the company. GSK’s possession of those records further evidences its involvement in the process of developing the handbook.

Second, you and your clients fail to recognize or admit that complete sentences, paragraphs, and tables appearing in the 1997 “PRELIMINARY DRAFT” “developed by” STI also appear verbatim in the handbook “authored” by Dr. Nemeroff and Dr. Schatzberg. You claim that the preliminary draft was “boilerplate” and sections were “under construction,” and those statements blatantly fail to recognize the fact that STI’s “development” of specific portions of the published handbook constitute authorship. According to an article published by JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association), STI had a similar problem in 2000 when it authored an article for the publication without “disclosure” that STI specializes “in the development of scientific literature, ie, writing papers for a price.” (Footnote omitted) (Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD, MPH, and Phil B. Fontanarosa, MD, MBA, “Impugning the Integrity of Medical Science: The Adverse Effects of Industry Influence,” JAMA, vol. 299, No. 15, April 16, 2008, pp. 1833-1835. Available at http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/299/15/1833.extract

If you have any records showing that Dr. Nemeroff or Dr. Schatzberg authored “PRELIMINARY DRAFT” or that the timeline was amended to prohibit GSK’s involvement in the handbook, I’d be pleased to consider them and take any subsequent measures that POGO deems appropriate.

Finally, your recent letters appear to be on the behest of GSK’s due to your concerns about GSK’s involvement in the publication of the handbook. Due to potential conflicts of interest involving the publication of the handbook that exist between your clients, GSK, and STI, any future correspondence from POGO to you will cease until I receive a signed affidavit from you stating that you are not representing GSK or STI.

Sincerely,

Scott H. Amey
General Counsel

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