November 30, 2022

Call for head of US bioethics commission to step down

Corporate governance and management oversight are flavour of the week with the shenanigans at Rupert Murdoch’s defunct News of the World on every front page.

Corporate
governance and management oversight are flavour of the week with the
shenanigans at Rupert Murdoch’s defunct News of the World on every front page.
On a vastly different scale, a similar issue has cropped up in the bioethics
community. A self-styled watchdog, the Project on Government Oversight, has called
upon the chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical
Issues to step down after allegations of ghostwriting by professors at her
university.

Dr
Amy Gutmann is the president of the University of Pennsylvania. A psychiatry professor there has filed a
complaint of scientific misconduct regarding a “ghostwritten” paper on
GlaxoSmithKline’s antidepressant Paxil which was published in 2001 in the
American Journal of Psychiatry. Prof Jay Amsterdam alleges that the study
failed to recruit enough patients to measure its primary outcome, and downplayed
the drug’s side effects. Prof Amsterdam’s lawyer wrote a complaint to Dr
Gutmann, complaining that his research had been “stolen”, “manipulated and used
in a ghostwritten article.”

Allegations
of ghostwriting at UPenn are not new and this fresh charge prompted POGO to
make a statement. “We do not understand how Dr Gutmann can be a credible chair
of the commission when she seems to ignore bioethical problems on her own
campus,” the group wrote in a July 11 letter to President Obama. Science Insider, a blog at Science, describes
the confusing affair as a “spat”. UPenn says that it will investigate but there
has been no reaction from Dr Gutmann. ~ BMJ Jul 13

Alleged research misconduct at University of Pennsylvania
Jared Yee
clinical research
psychiatry
research