US psychiatrist is fired from radio programme for not disclosing drug company ties

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 09 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2934
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

    Frederick Goodwin, an eminent US psychiatrist, has been fired as host of a popular radio programme after Senator Charles Grassley revealed that the doctor had received $1.2m (£0.8m; €0.9m) in speaking fees and $100 000 in expenses from GlaxoSmithKline since 2000 (Congressional Record, 19 Nov, pp S10641-4, “Payments to Radio Host”)

    The award winning programme, The Infinite Mind, was carried on two satellite channels of National Public Radio (NPR). It was produced by an independent company, Lichtenstein Creative Media, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr Goodwin began hosting the programme in 1998.

    NPR issued a statement saying that all programmes on the satellite channels were “expected to adhere to the same code of ethics and practices that apply to programs produced and distributed by NPR. It appears that The Infinite Mind was in direct violation of that code, and is being removed from the channel.”

    Bill Lichtenstein, head of the media company, denied that his company knew Dr Goodwin had ties to industry that put its programme in breach of NPR’s code. He said, “We were aware that Dr Goodwin had previously had involvement in the areas of education and research with pharmaceutical companies. However, what we were not aware of, at any time, until we received the call from Gardiner Harris at the New York Times on 20 November 2008, was that he had business and marketing relationships with pharmaceutical companies, even though he was required under his strict conflict of interest agreement that he signed to disclose those relationships to us.

    Senator Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has been investigating financial links between doctors and drug companies for some time (BMJ 2008;337:a2363, doi:10.1136/bmj.a2363; 2008;337:a2315, doi:10.1136/bmj.a2315; 2008;337:a2088, doi:10.1136/bmj.a2088; 2008;337:a930, doi:10.1136/bmj.a930; 2008;337:a929, doi:10.1136/bmj.a929; …

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