ADHD Stimulant Sales To Adults Outstrip Sales To Children

Bloomberg reports that, "Adults in the U.S. have overtaken children in taking medication for the condition and accounted for 53 percent of the industrywide 63 million prescriptions for ADHD drugs last year, according to data compiled by Shire Plc, which makes the top-selling Vyvanse treatment. That compared with 39 percent in 2007, the Dublin-based drugmaker said." More →

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Hundreds of Thousands of Mental Health Workers In US Earning Tens of Billions

1 Boring Old Man links to a recent US Congressional Research Service report, "The Mental Health Workforce: A Primer." It reviews various sources of information on how many different types of mental health workers there are and how much money they earn. More →

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Transparency and Outcome Reporting Not Improving in Behavioral Health Studies

A study of randomized controlled trials that have been published in four leading behavioral health journals found that new requirements for registering of trials does not seem to be improving trial design or transparency. The study appeared in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research. More →

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Former NEJM Editors Attack Journal’s “Flawed” and “Rambling” Conflict-of-interest Articles

In the British Medical Journal, three former editors of the New England Journal of Medicine criticize the NEJM for its recent publication of a series of articles downplaying conflicts of interest in medicine and psychiatry. The former editors describe the articles as a "seriously flawed and inflammatory attack on conflict of interest policies and regulations." More →

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More Responses to NEJM Conflict-of-interest Articles

The Lown Institute's RightCare Weekly newsletter has gathered a variety of articles and posts -- both supportive and critical -- in response to four New England Journal of Medicine articles suggesting that concerns about conflict of interest are overblown. "Rarely does a medical journal series... incite such astonishment from us..." the special edition of the newsletter begins. "For the most prominent journal of American medicine to offer so much precious real estate for arguments that are half-baked and tendentious is amazing." More →

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“Why People Take Antipsychotics For Depression”

Buzzfeed looks at the history -- and present -- of how antipsychotic drugs became a common treatment for depression, despite their apparent lack of effectiveness. More →

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Company Suing to Prevent Increased Drug Trial Transparency

Richmond Pharmacology, a company that conducts clinical drug trials for pharmaceutical companies, is taking legal action against the UK Health Research Authority to try to halt government efforts to bring greater public transparency to drug trials, reported The Guardian. More →

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NEJM Hosts Online Poll on Conflicts of Interest in Medicine

1 Boring Old Man reflects on his frequent use of expletives in response to a series of New England Journal of Medicine articles downplaying conflicts of interest in medicine and psychiatry. And an NEJM "Reader Poll" on the topic describes physicians in different potential conflict-of-interest scenarios, and asks which of the physicians should be allowed to publish scientific reviews. The ongoing poll results are publicly displayed. More →

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World Health Organization “Opens the Doors Wide to Corporate Influence”

International Baby Food Action Network and Baby Milk Action have posted an update on the World Health Organization's moves towards developing tighter ties with corporations through its new Framework of Engagement with non-State Actors. The News Minute also covers the developing story. More →

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Experts Shocked to Learn US Centers for Disease Control Taking Drug Company Funding

The US government's Centers for Disease Control have been taking millions of dollars in drug company money in recent years, according to a news report in The British Medical Journal. Researchers in America and around the world expressed shock, and asked how the funding has been influencing CDC actions and decisions. More →

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National Initiative Launched to Get People Out of Prisons and Into Treatment

The American Psychiatric Foundation has announced the launch of a national collaborative initiative to move people from jails into psychiatric care. The Foundation is the philanthropic and educational arm of the American Psychiatric Association. It's "Corporate Advisory Council" and major contributors are all pharmaceutical companies. More →

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Drug Company Suing FDA Over Right to Discuss Off-label Uses

The New York Times reported on a lawsuit against the FDA by Amarin, the manufacturer of a prescription omega-3 fatty acid derivative. The company wants the right to tell physicians about benefits of its drug which the FDA has not approved. More →

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Average Mental Health “Clinician” Earns Over $200k

The average salary for psychiatrists and other mental health "clinicians" is $216,000 per year, reports Psychiatry Advisor. The source was the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2015, a survey of some 19,500 physicians. More →

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Australians to Get More Info on Doctor-Pharma Relationships

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced that drug companies must start publicly releasing information about different types of payments to Australia's physicians, reported The Saturday Paper. More →

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Australian Medical Journal Editor Fired, Others Resign Over Independence Concerns

The editor of the Australian Medical Association's main medical journal was fired after he voiced concerns about governance changes that he felt endangered the journal's scientific and editorial independence. Others involved with the publication then resigned. More →

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FDA: Abilify Promotions Are Misleading Physicians and the Public

The US Food and Drug Administration has requested that the drug manufacturer Otsuka "immediately cease" distributing some of its educational materials for its top-selling antipsychotic Abilify. Otsuka's "pharmacology aid" documents suggest that Abilify helps modulate serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, which the FDA called "misleading." More →

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Psychiatrists Took Undisclosed Payments While Promoting Antipsychotic to Government

WSJ Pharmalot reported on the case of two psychiatrists who took money from a pharmaceutical company, and then did not disclose it when they were trying to convince state legislators to put the company's antipsychotic drug Seroquel XR on the state formulary. More →

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“Global Pandemic” of Fake Medicines, Say Researchers

There is a global pandemic of counterfeit medications occurring, and the worst part is that no one knows the true scale or level of risk of the problem, according to 17 articles published in a special edition of The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Collectively, teams of researchers from around the world, including from the US government, tested 17,000 drug samples and found that up to 41% failed to meet quality standards. More →

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“What Can Patients Do In The Face Of Physician Conflict Of Interest?”

Surgeon James Rickert examines the growing financial conflicts of interest which affect physician decisions, and discusses how patients can try to protect themselves. More →

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Lieberman Calls Whitaker “A Menace to Society”

On Canada's popular national CBC radio program The Sunday Edition, psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman today described Robert Whitaker as "a menace to society." Lieberman is the Chairman of Psychiatry at Columbia University, a former head of the American Psychiatric Association and author of the new book Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry. Whitaker is the publisher of this website, whose 2010 book Anatomy of an Epidemic focused on what science is showing about the long-term effects of psychiatric medications. More →

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“The New York Times and the ADHD Epidemic”

In a commentary in Society, MIA Bloggers Jonathan Leo and Jeffrey Lacasse review the New York Times' history of reporting on ADHD and the ensuing epidemic of ADHD. More →

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Psychiatrists Still Promoting Low-Serotonin Theory of Depression

On Slate Star Codex, psychiatrist Scott Alexander asserts that the now widely discredited notion that depression is caused by a serotonin deficiency "was never taken seriously by mainstream psychiatry" and was never promoted by psychiatrists or pharmaceutical companies. He further suggests that no one at Mad in America has evidence that they did promote it. More →

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Pharma Direct-to-consumer Ad Spending in US Jumps to $4.53 Billion

The pharmaceutical industry spent $4.53 billion on direct-to-consumer advertising in the US in 2014, up 18% from $3.83 billion in 2013, reports FiercePharma. More →

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“Will 20th Century Patient Safeguards Be Reversed in the 21st Century?”

In BMJ, Yale University law lecturer Gregg Gonsalves and Diana Zuckerman of the National Center for Health Research argue that the US government has been "chipping away" at the FDA's powers in order to speed up drug approvals, and the latest proposed bill could roll back patient safeguards by half a century. More →

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Publication Bias and Meta-Analyses: Tainting the Gold Standard with Lead

For decades the gold standard for medical evidence was the review article – an essay looking at most or (hopefully) all of the research on a particular question and trying to divine a general trend in the data toward some conclusion (“therapy X seems to be good for condition Y,” for example). More recently, the format of review articles has shifted – at least where the questions addressed have leant themselves to the new style. The idea has been to look at the original data for all of the studies available, and in effect reanalyze them as though the research participants were all taking part in one gigantic study. By increasing the number of data points and averaging across the vagaries of different studies, a clearer finding might emerge. The meta-analysis has gone on to be revered as a strategy for advancing healthcare. It has vulnerabilities.
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