By Ed Silverman
March 25, 2010
Two essays published in separate periodicals this week raise troubling questions about the extent to which psychiatrists may be unduly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, and how this relationship may effect public trust in psychiatry. The upshot? The concern about corruption, or at least the appearance of corruption is palpable. Sigmund Freud would not be pleased. Interestingly, one of the authors is Tom Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
For instance, Lisa Cosgrove and Harold Bursztajn write in Psychiatric Times that they looked at the two philanthropic arms of the American Psychiatric Association – the American Psychiatric Foundation and the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education – and found that APF’s 15-member board includes four high-level pharma execs that either make meds recommended by APA or are developing products targeted to treat mental disorders. Other board members include two more with industry ties and a senior vp at Fleishman Hillard, the public relations firm whose clients include six drugmakers.
APF’s corporate advisory council lists drugmakers, they continue, that contribute “significant funding” to APF and that make meds recommended in the APA’s clinical practice guidelines. Although it was not possible to discern the total amount of industry funding given to APF, in fiscal year 2008 APF lists 11 pharmaceutical companies and 1 medical device manufacturer that contributed monies; 6 of the companies are listed as giving $40,000 “and above” per year.
They go on to write that APIRE, like APF, doesn’t require disclosure of financial conflicts of interests, and that nine of 16 APIRE board members have ties to drugmakers. They also note current disclosure policies don’t require reporting of pooled industry money to academic departments, units, hospitals, and med schools. And because there is no independent monitoring of industry ties, they maintain “underreporting is very likely a problem. For example, one board member who reported ‘no disclosure’ in an APA publication was found to be on the speakers’ bureau of multiple pharmaceutical companies.”
Read entire article: http://www.pharmalot.com/2010/03/psychiatrists-and-pharma-undue-influence/
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