Grassley investigates Pfizer's financial ties to Harvard Med School MDs

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) continues with his campaign to address pharma influence in medicine, this time with a letter to Pfizer asking about its financial relationship with doctors at Harvard Medical School. The letter follows on intensifying protests among medical students, many of whom object to what they see as excessively close ties between the school and industry.

In the letter, Grassley asks Pfizer to provide a detailed accounting of payments or any other benefits the company might have given to 149 Harvard faculty members mentioned in a recent New York Times article, as well as any other unreported Harvard physicians who might have gotten paid by Pfizer. The article Grassley mentions discusses how students at Harvard have started questioning the school's overall financial ties to the drug business.

The plot thickened yesterday when, as mentioned in the Times article, a Pfizer employee took cellphone pictures of students protesting over faculty drug industry relationships. Grassley, who isn't having any of this either, is also asking Pfizer to send any "emails, faxes, letters, and photos regarding Harvard medical students demonstrating and/or agitating against pharmaceutical influence in medicine." (What does Pfizer intend to do with the photos--bar the students from getting fat pharma consulting contracts when they graduate?)

To learn more about the dispute:
- read this Wall Street Journal piece

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