Grassley asks for Pfizer-Harvard payment info

The disclosure heat is on--again--at Harvard Medical School. And once again, the man turning up the flame is Sen. Charles Grassley. Yesterday, Grassley asked the drugmaker for details on its payments to almost 150 faculty at the school. And the Iowa Republican is asking Pfizer for any email, faxes or photos regarding Harvard students who've been protesting company influence.

Yesterday, as you know, the New York Times wrote about a group of med school students who are worried that industry has too much influence in the classroom. They've been fighting for reform. Also yesterday, an NYT blog carried an item about a Pfizer employee who photographed the students when they were protesting on campus. Grassley wrote the company to say he was "greatly disturbed" about the photography incident, adding that he's documented "several instances where pharmaceutical companies have attempted to intimidate academic critics of drugs."

That, however, is simply a sidebar to the real issue: disclosure of pharma payments to Harvard faculty. Grassley has been digging into industry relationships with three Harvard psychiatrists who promoted antipsychotic use in children. According to Grassley's records, the doctors did not properly report at least $4.2 million in payments from industry.

And now, apparently, Grassley wants details on Pfizer's financial relationships with scores of faculty. The senator has specifically asked for details on payments since January 1, 2007. No word on whether Grassley will ask for similar figures from other drugmakers.

- read the NYT story

ALSO: The University of Minnesota's medical school is hammering out a new conflict-of-interest policy, which would include a public website listing industry payments to faculty. Report