DOD: Dr. Michael Hoffer Used Drug He Holds Patents For In Tests
7:25 AM, May 19, 2011
A U.S. Navy doctor faces scrutiny for a drug study involving military members wounded in combat.The federal government has expressed concern over a study conducted by Dr. Michael Hoffer while on deployment in Iraq.Hoffer, a captain the Naval Medical Corps and a well-respected doctor at the Naval Medical Center in Balboa Park, conducted a study of wounded troops suffering from mild forms of traumatic brain injury.According to the Department of Defense, in a test involving 80 troops, Hoffer gave half of the troops a placebo and the other half an antioxidant called NEC -- a drug he reportedly holds two patents for."Financial interest is certainly a red flag to a conflict of interest in patient treatment and in a clinical trial involving human subjects," said Joy Delman, a professor of bio-ethics for the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.The Pentagon is also looking to see if medical guidelines and protocols were followed in the study."When you have a double blind study where some patients are receiving treatment and some are getting a placebo, it's mandatory that the patients are aware of that and that they agree to participate," said Delman.The study first came to light through a tip to the Inspector General in 2009.The Navy said none of the participants were harmed in the study.A representative at Naval Medical Center said Hoffer is not commenting pending the outcome of the investigation.