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.


The death of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley of Hull, Massachusetts, in 2006[2] due to an overdose of drugs for attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder occasioned public focus on the prescribing of such drugs to very young children. Although the parents were convicted of intentionally overdosing the child, the role of Joseph Biederman in promoting such prescribing was widely criticized.

Conflict of interest investigations[edit]

In 2008, Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, undertook a Congressional investigation[3] that alleged that Joseph Biederman, M.D., Timothy Wilens, M.D., and Thomas Spencer, M.D. had violated federal, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital regulations by receiving large sums of money from the pharmaceutical companies.[4] Biederman and Wilens "were leading investigators and advocates for the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents."[3] Biederman earned consulting fees of at least $1.6 million over eight years from pharmaceutical companies, but did not report much of this income to university officials.[5][6] Johnson & Johnson gave more than $700,000 to a research center that was headed by Biederman from 2002 to 2005, and some of its research was about Risperdal,[7] the company's antipsychotic drug.[8][9] These allegations prompted an investigation by the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Biederman responded saying that the money did not influence him and that he did not promote a specific diagnosis or treatment.[8] In 2011, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School disciplined Biederman, Wilens and Spencer for small violations conflict of interest of policies but most of the allegations made against them were not substantiated.[10] All retain their academic standing at Harvard and their clinical positions at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

In 2018 Biederman received 3,402 Dollars from Shire, mainly for consulting.[11]

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. ^ Allen, Scott (17 June 2007). "Backlash on bipolar diagnoses in children: MGH psychiatrist's work stirs debate". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Kirk, Stuart A. (2013). Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs. Transaction Publishers. p. 21.
  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.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 17 September 2015.
  11. ^