I was just reading this piece - not because I'm particularly interested in bipolar, harvard, psychiatry, or the quality of the Globe's coverage, but rather because I'm fascinated by the myth of Joseph Biederman.
"I think a pharma person would not dare to tell Joe what to say," wrote Dr. Jerrold Rosenbaum , chief of psychiatry at Mass. General, in an e-mail. "And if they made that mistake, it would be only once. . . . For Joe, it is his ideas and mission that drive him, not the fees."
Well, thank goodness for that! This is Rosenbaum's perspective, of course, not Biederman's, but let's assume it's accurate.
Which begs the question, I think, as to what ideas Biederman has, and what his mission is. He perceives that "these children... are in a desperate state," and he assumes that the reason for this is that they are mentally ill, in some sense. However, as the piece points out, rightly, I think, assuming that the issue lies with the individual allows Biederman to ignore the environment in which that individual operates.
I'm skeptical about what Rosenbaum says, mind you: if one is included in a club (and pharma has surely included Biederman in its club), then one is inclined, generally-speaking, not to act against the interests of that club, especially if one is receiving a benefit, by dint of membership. I wonder what Biederman's stance would be, if pharma were prevented from giving him money? Would he start to see the solution to childhood bipolar (assuming it exists - there appears to be some doubt about that), as lying somewhere else? Is Biederman that superficial? Are we all that superficial?
Who knows? And who cares? Well, I'll tell you who cares, actually. The people who care are the ones for whom Biederman's solutions don't work, and who are left bearing all responsibility for the fact that they don't work.
You're a charlatan, Biederman. Your piddling little ideas have never fixed anybody, and the idea that you should be paid millions of dollars for failing is a fucking travesty. But only in my opinion, obviously.
Jesus, this is one secretive bunch! This is Biederman's official homepage, in which he's only mentioned as one of the 650 faculty members. Nothing about his ideas, nor his "mission" (am I the only person to find that word disturbing, although I'm not quite sure why?).