Joseph Biederman

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Joseph Biederman
Medical career
InstitutionsMassachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Joseph Biederman (born 29 September 1947) is Chief of the Clinical and Research Programs in Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD at the Massachusetts General Hospital, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Biederman is Board Certified in General and Child Psychiatry.

Awards and honors[edit]

Biederman received the American Psychiatric Association’s Blanche Ittelson Award for Excellence in Child Psychiatric Research, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Charlotte Norbert Rieger Award for Scientific Achievement. He has been inducted into the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) "Hall of Fame."[1]

Biederman was the recipient of the 1998 NAMI Exemplary Psychiatrist award. He was also selected by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society Awards committee as the recipient of the 2007 Outstanding Psychiatrist Award for Research. In 2007, Biederman received the Excellence in Research Award from the New England Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He was also awarded the Mentorship Award from the Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Ethics conflicts[edit]

In 2008, Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, undertook a Congressional investigation[2] that alleged that Joseph Biederman, along with two other psychiatrists, had violated federal regulations in addition to Harvard Medical School's and Massachusetts General Hospital's research rules by receiving large sums of money from the pharmaceutical companies.[3] He received research funding from 15 drug companies and served as a paid speaker or adviser to seven, including Eli Lilly & Co. and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.[4] Biederman earned consulting fees of at least $1.6 million over eight years from pharmaceutical companies while failing to accurately report the income to his other employers.[5][6] In 2001, Biederman failed to report any income from Johnson & Johnson; when asked about this later, he said he received $3,500. In contrast, Johnson & Johnson reported that they paid him over $58,000 in 2001. Johnson & Johnson also gave more than $700,000 to a research center that was headed by Biederman from 2002 to 2005, which was involved in research on Risperdal,[7] the company's antipsychotic drug.[8][9]

These allegations prompted an investigation by the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Biederman has said that he was not influenced by the money and that some of his work supported drugs other than Risperdal.[8] In 2011, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School disciplined Biederman for small violations of conflict of interest policies but did not identify their specific breaches of policy.[10] He retains his academic standing at Harvard and his clinical position at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Biederman's advocacy for prescription drug use in children[2] was also cited during the murder trial of Rebecca Riley. Riley died at age 4 from an overdose of medications prescribed to her by a psychiatrist at Tufts Medical Center, Kayoko Kifuji, who stated that she had treated Riley for ADHD and bipolar disorder based on the work of Biederman and his protege, Janet Wozniak. Kifuji's lawyer stated that "Dr. Kifuji subscribes to the views of the Mass. General team" on which Biederman was a leader.[4]

According to ProPublica's drug company money database, Biederman received over $3,000 from pharmaceutical company Shire's North American division in 2018, mainly for consulting.[11]

According to Biederman, 10% of children have ADHD.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hall of Fame". Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). n.d. Retrieved 17 September 2015. Could not find reference to this award on this site.
  2. ^ a b Kaplan, Stuart L. (11 July 2011). "Child Bipolar Disorder Imperiled by Conflict of Interest: Will The Credibility of Child Bipolar Disorder Be Undermined?". Psychology Today. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  3. ^ Kirk, Stuart A. (2013). Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs. Transaction Publishers. p. 21.
  4. ^ a b "Backlash on bipolar diagnoses in children - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  5. ^ Harris, Gardiner; Benedict Carey (2008-06-08). "Researchers Fail to Reveal Full Drug Pay". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  6. ^ Mirviss, Laura G., Wu, June Q. (3 June 2009). "Curbing Conflict Harvard Medical School takes on conflict of interest". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 17 September 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ The Medicated Child, Frontline, 8 January 2008, retrieved 17 September 2015
  8. ^ a b Duff Wilson (October 2, 2010). "Side Effects May Include Lawsuits". New York Times.
  9. ^ Harris, Gardiner (24 November 2008). "Research Center Tied to Drug Company". New York Times. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  10. ^ Yu, Xi Crimson Staff Writer (2 July 2011). "Three Professors Face Sanctions Following Harvard Medical School Inquiry: Investigation by Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital punishes psychiatrists accused by senator". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Dollars for Docs".
  12. ^ Commonsense Rebellion - Bruce E Levin page 14 (2003).