Thursday, September 11, 2008

Investigations: Universities May Lose Grants Over Secretive Pharma Ties

The U.S. Senate finance committee and the National Institutes of Health are threatening to yank grants from universities that fail to disclose ties to pharmaceutical companies, according to this Wall Street Journal story (available by subscription only). It's the latest in a growing chorus of concern about secretive ties between the medical community and drug marketing reps. See more in this story I just did for Vancouver's Georgia Straight weekly, titled The Pill Pushers, as well as this follow-up story on how pharmacies sell doctors' prescription info to pharma-research firms, plus this one on the reaction from British Columbia health minister George Abbott and newly elected Canadian Medical Association president Robert Ouellet.

Investigations: Trysts and Bid-Rigging at Interior Dept. Favoured Big Oil

U.S. Department of the Interior employees rigged oil contracts, took money as oil consultants, had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives, and engaged in other misconduct, according to this ProPublica item - also reported on by The New York Times here - on an investigation by the department's inspector general. One report accuses an official of "engaging in sex with two subordinates, and of using cocaine that he purchased from his secretary or her boyfriend several times a year between 2002 and 2005," according to The New York Times.