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Has Big Pharma Corruption Suppressed Effective Treatment Options?

Dr. Bruce E. Levine, author of Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy, posted a new article to AlterNet examining the unethical treatment suppression tactics of the big pharmaceutical companies. Congress is taking a closer look and not liking what they see.

From the article:

American psychiatry has been rocked by Congress. Congressional investigators first exposed the financial relationships between high-profile psychiatrists and drug companies. “But now the profession itself is under attack in Congress,” reported the New York Times on July 12, 2008.

Specifically under attack is psychiatry’s premier professional organization, the American Psychiatric Association. The New York Times stated, “In 2006, the latest year for which numbers are available, the drug industry accounted for about 30 percent of the association’s $62.5 million in financing. About half of that money went to drug advertisements in psychiatric journals and exhibits at the annual meeting, and the other half to sponsor fellowships, conferences and industry symposiums at the annual meeting.”

The American Psychiatric Association is, as the New York Times notes, “the voice of establishment psychiatry.” It publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is the standard diagnostic manual. It also publishes influential professional journals. And it is the primary lobbying organization for American psychiatry.

The president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association is Alan Schatzberg of Stanford University, and his $4.8 million stock holdings in a drug development company raised a red flag for Congressional investigators. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, informed the American Psychiatric Association, “I have come to understand that money from the pharmaceutical industry can shape the practices of nonprofit organizations that purport to be independent in their viewpoints and actions.”

One example of how psychiatric treatment practices are corrupted by drug-company money was revealed in a 2007 analysis of Minnesota psychiatrists. The analysis showed that psychiatrists who received at least $5,000 from makers of newer-generation antipsychotic drugs wrote, on average, three times as many prescriptions to children for these drugs as psychiatrists who received less money or none.

Read the full article here.


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