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MedCity morning read, Friday, March 20

It turns out that you can doubt God’s work. That would be if God were Dr. Joseph Biederman, the Harvard child psychiatrist under scrutiny for encouraging the use of antipsychotic drugs in children and potential conflicts with drug companies. The New York Times reports on court documents that show Biederman essentially told Johnson & Johnson that planned studies would find results that would benefit the company.

It turns out that you can doubt God’s work.

That would be if God were Dr. Joseph Biederman, the Harvard child psychiatrist under scrutiny for encouraging the use of antipsychotic drugs in children and potential conflicts with drug companies. The New York Times reports on court documents that show Biederman essentially told Johnson & Johnson that planned studies would find results that would benefit their company.

One example: The Times notes that in a slide of “Key Projects for 2005” stated one study would “extend to adolescents positive findings with Concerta in A.D.H.D. N.O.S. in adults,” the slide said.

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“In 2006, Dr. Biederman was co-author of a study showing that children given Concerta for a prolonged period did not have reduced growth, allaying a significant concern about the medicine,” writes the Times.

“It’s another shadow over his work,” Josephine Johnston, a research scholar at the Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute, told The Times.

So is the following exchange – taken from a deposition and recounted in The Times’ story (as well as the IN VIVO blog).

In a contentious Feb. 26 deposition between Dr. Biederman and lawyers for the states, he was asked what rank he held at Harvard. “Full professor,” he answered.

“What’s after that?” asked a lawyer, Fletch Trammell.

“God,” Dr. Biederman responded.

“Did you say God?” Mr. Trammell asked.

“Yeah,” Dr. Biederman said.

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