State University of New York

University at Buffalo: Potential Conflict of Interest in the School of Pharmacy

The University at Buffalo operates a School of Pharmacy, which includes a Department of Pharmacy Practice. The Department, in addition to teaching students, conducts research on the effects of different drugs. This research is funded in part by outside grants. In 1992, a professor in the Department created Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research, Inc. (PhOR), a private, for-profit corporation that also conducts drug research. In October 1995, we received a letter alleging that a computer network had been removed from the Department and moved off campus to PhOR offices where it was used by the professor to obtain pharmaceutical research monies that may have otherwise gone to the University. The letter further alleged that Department faculty and staff time had been inappropriately diverted to the benefit of PhOR.

We conducted a review of the matter and concluded that there was merit to some of the allegations, as we found that the professor used Department equipment and funds, and may have used Department employees, to compete with the University for grant funds on behalf of a private corporation that he created and owned. We suggest actions that need to be taken if the problems identified by our review are to be resolved. In particular, we suggest that the matter be referred for further investigation to prosecutors and to the State Ethics Commission.

For a complete copy of 95-D-50 click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.