TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Updated: List of Pharma-Free Experts Published

A few months back, Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer wrote on Slate about potential conflicts of interest, addressing doctors who had received funds from pharma talking about SSRIs on public radio. They stated that they'd created a list of pharma-free experts for journalists, but declined to share it with Ted Frank at AEI. They also declined at the time to share it with me, but noted that they intended to post it publicly at some point, and sure enough, it's now up here at their site,

Glancing through, I recognize one or two names from having done work for plaintiffs (e.g., Psaty), but not as many as I would have predicted. Update: Beck & Herrmann are collecting via the comments fields who all on the list has been a paid plaintiffs' expert.


Update: Whoops! Almost forgot my own disclosure. I have done some consulting for pharma companies. I have no current pharma clients, but have in this calendar year.

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» Update: Pharma-free expert list from PointOfLaw Forum
Readers may recall Ted's commentary in May about a much-ballyhooed list of pharmaceutical experts who were said to be free of the taint of recent financial ties to drug companies. Slate contributors Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, who compiled the... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 3, 2008 5:55:41 PM


Disclosures are lawyer tools of gotcha. They make discovery easier, and oppress the adverse party. Because torts are punishment and massive fines, all forced voluntary disclosures violate the Fifth Amendment. Let the plaintiff do his own discovery.

Disclosure is a subtype of the Stalinist tool of self-criticism. Journalists disclosed themselves. Stalin had them executed. Lawyer gotcha is itself a form of bad faith. There is an infinite number of rules. No one is free of violation. For example, the SC called carbon dioxide a pollutant. Anyone who breathes out is now a polluter.

That list of experts is one of the extreme left wing of the medical profession. Almost no one sees patients for a living. Lots of lawyer gotcha on each. Dr. Carlat used to take drug company money. I demanded he disclose his being a competitor to CME companies on his blog, where he bashes them. He did!

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 29, 2008 8:44:34 AM

Supremacy Claus is incorrent in his assertion that the members of our list don't see patients. Many of them do. Some are not physicians, and therefore would not be expected to see patients.

Posted by: Shannon Brownlee | Jul 29, 2008 11:55:14 AM

The majority of MD's on the list are "scholars," like the law profs here. Patients are a nuisance to them, as a real case might be to the profs. Therefore the MD experts are junior to any clinician in every professional manner. They are less experienced, less intelligent, less hard working, less compensated, less wealthy. They are more dependent on government, more enamored of paper shuffling, and strongly biased in favor of medical rent seeking. Medical rent seeking dwarfs lawyer rent seeking in its cost and damage to the economy. They love socialized medicine, which is cheap medicine. Anyone needing a procedure with a cost having 4 numbers can just pass away. It ain't happening.

Would one hire a tort prof to pursue a tort claim or to defend one? Well, I would not trust these doctors with the care of a worst enemy.

These are the most louche of experts by their superciliousness, combined with hypocrisy, bias, and failure to disclose their left wing agendas.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 29, 2008 1:29:25 PM

Shannon's Slate article questions the credibility of doctors' comments about suicide and anti-depressants. She states they all accepted payments for work and time from drug makers. No doubt cheapskate drug company payments were far below their earnings in clinical care.

Nowhere in the article is there any evidence that they made incorrect statements, nor tried to mislead, nor exaggerated any effect.

Why bother to rebut? Bashing people without evidence, facts or logic has a name. Hate speech. A scholarly blog should be vetting its references better, and should strive to exclude hate speech.

Nor do I appreciate Shannon's failure to disclose her extreme left wing ideology in her article. Attacking the person is the sole remaining argument for the left. The facts abandoned it 100 years ago. They killed 100 million people, and still failed to persuade.

Except as a controversy starter, the article is biased garbage.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 29, 2008 6:03:16 PM

Is the task of experts to apprise a court, a committee, a regulatory agency of the mainstream thinking inside a field? The expert is a creative genius, 100 years ahead, understood by no on in the field. When testifying, is there not a duty even of such an outlier to present mainstream thinking to the legal body?

If that is the task, this list of wierdos, buffoons, biased, left wing extremist, hate speech spewers will not serve any legal body well. Being on this list should disqualify the person per se from any legal testimony.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 30, 2008 10:45:29 AM

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