Biederman-ness Next to Godliness?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Harvard’s Biederman: After Me, There Is Only God

Do you remember Joseph Biederman? (Hint: He’s the guy pictured below left not the big man on the right.)

He’s the Harvard University psychiatrist who is one of several prominent academics being investigated by the US Senate Finance Committee for allegedly failing to properly disclose payments from the pharmaceutical industry, while also conducting grants for the National Institutes of Health (see background).

In Biederman’s case, he allegedly failed to fully report approximately $1.6 million in consulting fees from various drugmakers between 2000 and 2007, according to the committee. And court documents released late last year suggested he also pushed Johnson & Johnson to fund a research center at Massachusetts General Hospital that would advance J&J’s commercial goals (take a look).

As a result, Biederman is currently enmeshed in litigation in the Superior Court of New Jersey, where three drugmakers – AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and J&J’s Janssen unit -are being sued in connection with risks associated with their antipsychotic medications. Attorneys for the families who filed suit fought to interview Biederman under oath because his work has been crucial to the widespread acceptance of the pediatric usage of antipsychotics.

Now, though, Biederman is hoping Superior Court Judge Jamie Happas will agree to have his deposition sealed, because he doesn’t want the extent of his involvement with the companies publicized. However, we understand The New York Times is already gearing up for a story, which prompted Biederman’s attorneys to write this letter to Happas.

What’s in the deposition? Dozens and dozens of pages of detail relating to Biederman’s activities, but we encourage you to peruse both sections of the document. (Please see here and here.)

One exchange in particular caused us to do a double take. On page 47, Biederman is quizzed about his professional ranking at Harvard. He notes that his resume is used for academic promotions.

Lawyer: “What does that mean?”

Biederman: “To move in the ranks from one rank, for example, at Harvard, there is instructor, from instructor you move to assistant professor, from assistant professor you move to associate professor, from associate professsor you move to full professor.”

Lawyer: “Full professor?”

Biederman: “Hm…mmm.”

Lawyer: “What rank are you?”

Biederman: “Full professor.”

Lawyer: “What’s after that?”

Biederman: “God”

Lawyer: “Did you say God?”

Biederman: “Yeah.”

No mere key opinion leader is he.

4 thoughts on “Biederman-ness Next to Godliness?

  1. Dr. Biederman is a wonderful doctor who has been an incredible help to my child and our family. Before you judge him so harshly, see this description of how Gardiner Harris of the New York Times has used tabloid journalism techniques to distort his record For the truth about Dr. Biederman, also see: and

    1. Perhaps before you trust him any more with your child’s life, you should spend a few hours on this blog or my website or the sites of others. Your child deserves your steadfast attention to healthy choices. I promise you that whatever is wrong or problematic in your family it is not going to be cured by trusting Biederman. Have a nice day.

  2. This typically no last name commentor has all the hallmarks of a blogger paid to run around the internet and post comments to dilute the scandals surrounding Biederman.

    The link to DrugWonks was the biggest red flag. The poisoned pen, Peter Pitts who runs the Wonks blog for the Big Pharma funded front group makes a living doing just such blogging.

    I wouldn’t be suprised to find a money trail between the commentor and his PR firm or to find out that its Pitts himself.

    If this dad is for real, we can only pity his poor child who has no doubt been drugged to the max since the first day he set foot in Biederman’s office.

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