Recently, I took pious gasbag Senator Brownback to task for, among other things, arguing that ‘faith’ plays a role in scientific inquiry. In a NY Times article about ‘ethically-challenged’ doctors who take part in clinical trials, I found this little gem:
Dr. Ronald Hardrict, a psychiatrist from Minneapolis who pleaded guilty in 2003 to Medicaid fraud. In 2004 and 2005, he collected more than $63,000 in marketing payments from seven drug makers. In an interview, Dr. Hardrict said it was “insulting” and “ridiculous” to suggest that income from drug makers might influence doctors’ prescribing habits.
“I bought the Mercedes because it has air bags, and I use Risperdal because it works,” Dr. Hardrict said, referring to an antipsychotic medicine for schizophrenia. Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Risperdal, paid Dr. Hardrict more than $30,000 in 2003 and 2004.
Srikant Ramaswami, a spokesman for Johnson & Johnson, said the company removed Dr. Hardrict as a speaker in 2004 when, as a result of his conviction, his name appeared in a government database.
Asked why other drug makers continue to hire him despite a fraud conviction, Dr. Hardrict responded with an e-mail message stating only, “I will pray for you daily.”
I think many of us would feel better if, rather than praying for people, he stopped conducting clinical trials. Pious gasbaggery: it’s the new ersatz patriotism.