Federal prosecutors have issued a subpoena seeking information about the work and statements of three prominent Harvard researchers who have been the focus of a Congressional investigation into conflicts of interest in medicine.
The researchers — Drs. Joseph Biederman, Thomas Spencer and Timothy E. Wilens — are named in the subpoena, which was sent on Wednesday to Fletch Trammel, a lawyer who represents state attorneys general in lawsuits that claim makers of antipsychotic drugs defrauded state Medicaid programs by improperly marketing their medicines.
The three researchers have advocated increased use of antipsychotic medicines in children and have accepted lucrative consulting agreements from the drugs’ makers. Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican investigating conflicts of interest in medicine, found that each of the researchers had failed to report much of his consulting income to Harvard. Mr. Grassley has also said that Dr. Biederman and Dr. Wilens might have violated federal and university research rules. The controversy led Dr. Biederman to suspend his work with the drug industry.
The subpoena was issued by the Federal District Court for the Massachusetts District; it was sought by the United States attorney in Massachusetts, Michael J. Sullivan, and by the Health and Human Services Department inspector general, Daniel R. Levinson. The subpoena seeks all documents produced in litigation relating to the three researchers as well as transcripts of any depositions of them.
Mr. Trammel said he would “comply with the subpoena and facilitate the U.S. attorney’s investigation in any way I can.”
Peter Spivack, a lawyer for Dr. Biederman, and Mark Paoletta, a lawyer for Dr. Wilens and Dr. Spencer, said they were unaware of a subpoena.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Sullivan declined to comment on the investigation.