Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, has tentatively agreed to a settlement of $2.2 billion to resolve a federal investigation into the company’s marketing practices.
Grassley is questioning the award of a five-year grant worth almost $402,000 annually to investigate “psycho-biological” risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder to Dr. Charles Nemeroff at the University of Miami (Fla.) School of Medicine.
Nemeroff was the chairman of the psychiatry and behavioral sciences department at Emory University in Atlanta and leading a $9.3 million NIH-funded study on depression when it was uncovered that he had received more than $800,000 from drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline for 250 speaking engagements between January 2000 and January 2006 and other income that he had not disclosed.
In his book Psychiatryland, psychiatrist Phillip Sinaikin recounts reading a scientific article in which it was debated whether a three-year-old girl who ran out into traffic had oppositional-defiant disorder or bipolar disorder, the latter marked by “grandiose delusions” that she was special and cars could not harm her.1
How did the once modest medical specialty of child psychiatry become the aggressive “pediatric psychopharmacology” that finds ADHD, pediatric conduct disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, mixed manias, social phobia, anxiety, sleep disorders, borderline disorders, assorted “spectrum” disorders, irritability, aggression, pervasive development disorders, personality disorders, and even schizophrenia under every rock? And how did this branch of psychiatry come to find the answer to the “psychopathologies” in the name of the discipline itself: pediatric psychopharmacology? Just good marketing. Pharma is wooing the pediatric patient because that’s where the money is. Just like country and western songs about finding love where you can when there is no love to be found at home. Pharma has stopped finding “love” in the form of the new blockbuster drugs that catapulted it through the 1990s and 2000s. According to the Wall Street Journal, new drugs made Pharma only $4.3 billion in 2010 compared with $11.8 billion in 2005—a two-thirds drop
Like an aging, punch drunk fighter struggling through the twelfth round, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) can’t seem to slip the punches coming its direction. Last week, a host of blogs went after them for refusing to print a letter written by three academics that was critical of a medical textbook the APA published with help from the ghostwriting company Scientific Therapeutics Information (STI).
The letter criticized the APA for failing to publish records that explain the provenance of the textbook, including drafts, contracts with STI and/or GlaxoSmithKline, and any communications regarding editing. The text’s purported authors are Dr. Charles Nemeroff of the University of Miami and Dr. Alan Schatzberg of Stanford University.
As The New York Times reported, the textbook was funded by GlaxoSmithKline. Author and blogger Dr. Danny Carlat reviewed the book and wrote that it read like “an advertisement for Paxil.”
Yesterday, a writer over at MIWatch landed a blistering combination on the APA. When she poked them for a response, the APA covered up and peeked back through their gloves. “The APA’s official response has been unconvincing,” she jabbed.
She then landed a solid uppercut.
File this under The Case of The Missing Book. When last seen, Scientific Therapeutics Information was at the center of an ongoing controversy over an allegedly ghostwritten book – yes, an entire book – that was published in 1999 by the American Psychiatric Association. Funding came from a grant provided by SmithKline Beecham, which is now part of GlaxoSmithKline (back story).
The listed co-authors were Charles Nemeroff, who chairs the psychiatry department at the University of Miami medical school, and Alan Schatzberg, who until recently chaired the psychiatry department at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Both men were at the center of a long-running probe by the US Senate Finance Committee into undisclosed conflicts of interest among academic researchers. They were also regular speakers for Glaxo, which makes the Paxil antidepressant