Booth, William. "Conflict of Interest Eyed at Harvard," Science 242 (16 December 1988), pp.
This is Science's statement of yet another scandal at Harvard, this time involving Scheffer C. G.
Tseng, who experimented with a drug produced by a pharmacology company in which he had a
major interest. The company was begun by Tseng's mentor, Johns Hopkins' giant in the field of
ophthalmology, A Edward Maumenee. Moreover, Tseng's supervisor at Boston's Eye and Ear
Infirmary is Kenneth Kenyon, also a principal stockholder in the company, Spectra
Pharmaceuticals. The three are now the subject of nine investigations at Harvard over what is
called a "conflict of interest."
It is reported here that the Boston Globe broke this story. Questions are being raised all over the
place: at Harvard, the Food and Drug administration, the University of Miami (where Tseng now
works), the SEC, and Johns Hopkins (where the original investigations of Tseng was made and
concluded that while there was no fraud, there was a "conflict of interest.")
None of the ophthalmologists are researchers, and they did make "efforts" at studying the drug in
question, but their procedures were wrong and mistakes were made. The principals insist they did
nothing deliberately wrong.
Dean Tosteson of Harvard Medical is concerned that flawed studies were conducted and a
conflict of interest not brought to light. He wants the institutions's ethics again dusted off.
Tosteson suggests that his faculty is but "dimly aware" of "conflicts of interest."
"The whole affair is causing some institutions to reevaluate their policies regarding conflict of
interest." (p. 1499)