Proof that some doctors receive money from drug companies


Producers of the radio show The Infinite Mind announced the departure of host Dr. Fred Goodwin. It was Goodwin, they say, "not us" who let down the listeners of a popular show heard on public radio nationwide. He didn't comply with his contractual obligation to disclose conflicts-of-interest, stipends from pharmaceuticals.

Are we to believe that Lichtenstein, an award-winning journalist, was not just a bit curious when an article appeared in Slate in May saying guests on Prozac Nation: Revisited failed to disclose ties to Eli Lilly?

This week Sen. Charles Grassley hinted at the depths of those potential conflicts. He entered into the Congressional Record details about the $1.3 million Goodwin receivied from GlaxoSmithKlein, maker of mood stabilizer Lamictal. Grassley didn't itemize six other arrangements.

Lichtensetin does not say why he ignored ominous signs six months ago. Perhaps he was spending his time pondering, as he tells Poynter, whether it is "acceptable for a public radio program about the human mind to take grants from the pharmaceutical industry?"

What's he been doing for six months? Clearly trying to raise money and keep afloat. He also said that finances will force the program off-air, a decision he said was made in October.

This is sad for all. It is sad for Lichtenstein, an investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and the recipient of 60 broadcast awards including the Peabody, just as it is sad for Goodwin, a world leader in psychiatry, to say good-bye this way. It is also sad for us as we try to make sense of where the goal posts of ethical boundaries have been moved.

Perhaps it is just my own innocence that media is or should be different. Perhaps there never was a Santa Clause and maybe we shouldn't be shocked, shocked, shocked that there's gambling in Casablanca.

Above my desk, along with post'ems of urgent telephone numbers, I often take heart in a quote from Lilly Tomlin: "no matter how cynical I am, I can't keep up."

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