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University Bans Researcher From Industry Talks

Emory University has taken the unusual step of banning one of its own, prominent psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff, from collecting industry money at certain speaking engagements. The decision comes after Nemeroff spent months under the uncomfortable spotlight of Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), who accused him of failing to report at least $1.2 million of the more than $2.4 million he earned by consulting for drugmakers. Nemeroff subsequently stepped down from his post as department chair.

Yesterday, Emory reported the results of its internal investigation into Nemeroff's dealings with GlaxoSmithKline. The Atlanta, Georgia, university found that Glaxo paid him more than $800,000 over 5 years for giving 250 speeches, money he did not report to Emory. Although Emory says Nemeroff's failure to disclose the amounts he received didn't taint his research or patient care, the university imposes these limitations on his activities: Nemeroff will need to "seek review and approval by the dean's office of any and all outside compensated engagements before he accepts them," and he can't seek National Institutes of Health grants for 2 years. When it comes to speaking at continuing medical education events, Nemeroff will be permitted to talk only at those "sponsored by academic institutions or professional societies."

Emory spokesperson Ron Sauder declined to tell ScienceInsider whether the measures were taken to appease Grassley or because Emory doesn't trust Nemeroff to participate in industry-sponsored events. "I really can't interpret that for you," Sauder said, beyond noting that the measures don't apply to other faculty members.

Nemeroff said in the statement that he had misunderstood the disclosure rules and thought he was following them properly.