Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have disciplined three faculty members in a conflict-of-interest case that became a prime exhibit in the debate over the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2010, according to the NPR Health Blog.
Drs. Joseph Biederman, Thomas Spencer and Timothy Wilens were accused of accepting more than $4.2 million from drug companies for psychiatric research and other activities between 2000 and 2007 without reporting the income to Harvard, MGH or the federal government.
Harvard and MGH are barring the three from accepting payments for "all paid industry-sponsor outside activities" for one year. After that, they'll have to seek approval before engaging in any "paid activities" and report to Harvard and the MGH on those activities for an additional two years.
The three will also undergo training on conflict-of-interest and will suffer "a delay of consideration for promotion or advancement."
"Our mistakes were honest ones," the doctors said in their letter. "We always believed that we were complying in good faith with institutional policies."
Industry payments to Biederman and his colleagues made headlines in 2008 when Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) accused them of understating, or failing to report at all, millions of dollars in support. Grassley detailed many discrepancies between what various drug companies said they paid the doctors and what the doctors reported to Harvard and MGH.