Seroquel researcher got cash from AZ

Sen. Charles Grassley's hall of shame: The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who's been trying to rally support for a bill requiring drug and device makers to disclose anything of value given to doctors, raised the case of Dr. Melissa DelBello, a psychiatrist who got hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses, consulting fees, and lecture payments from AstraZeneca. DelBello also happened to be lead author of a study that concluded kids did well on AstraZeneca's antipsychotic med Seroquel.

Here's the timeline: DelBello authored the study, published in 2002. In 2003, she got $100,000 from the drugmaker, or so she told the University of Cincinnati. In 2004, she reported $80,000. AstraZeneca's figures total $238,000.

Grassley was pretty peeved not only about the apparent conflict of interest--which AstraZeneca denied; DelBello wasn't available for comment--but also by the fact that DelBello also got NIH funding during the same period. University of Cincinnati said it applauds Grassley's "looking into this very important issue."

- read the WSJ Health Blog item
- see Grassley's Physician Payment Sunshine bill

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