U.S. Senate Finance Leader Raises Questions Over Stanford Policies
On Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) urged Stanford University's Medical School to rework its conflict-of-interest policy, citing a Stanford psychiatrist's stock holdings in a pharmaceutical company that could be affected by the school's research, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
In a letter published in Tuesday's Congressional Record, Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, wrote that he is "concerned that Stanford may not have been able to adequately monitor the degree of [Alan] Schatzberg's conflicts of interest with its current disclosure policy."
Schatzberg's stock in Corcept Therapeutics, a psychiatric drug maker that he co-founded, is valued at more than $6 million.
The company is working to develop the drug mifepristone as a treatment for depression and other psychiatric conditions. Schatzberg served as principal investigator on a study that explored mifepristone's use in such cases.
Stanford officials said that Schatzberg's involvement in the study did not influence the research and that Schatzberg reported that he held more than $100,000 in stock in Corcept, as required by Stanford's conflict-of-interest policy.
Grassley and other critics agree that Schatzberg complied with Stanford's policy but argue that the policies are inadequate because they do not fully indicate the potential conflicts in such cases (Krieger, San Jose Mercury News, 6/25).