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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
On WSJ Pharmalot, Ed Silverman gets experts to comment on the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca's latest way of attempting to comply with growing public pressure to disclose data from drug trials for independent researchers to review. More →
"Ninety-nine percent of people or organizations that commented on a government proposal to allow the drug industry to misinform doctors about potential risks of medications oppose the plan," states a Public Citizen press statement, released after the organization analyzed the public comments. More →
In the name of national security, governments are increasingly playing central roles in the "pharmaceuticalization" of society, according to a paper in Social Science and Medicine. More →
The more advanced and expansive a country's system of medical care is, the sicker people feel, according to a study in Social Science Research. And much of that effect, argued the author, seems to be directly related to psychiatry. More →
In the wake of a second critical report this month about its psychiatry department's ethical practices and conflicts of interest, the University of Minnesota has temporarily suspended enrollment in its psychiatric drug trials, according to MinnPost. More →
Recently the problem of publication bias has been shaking the foundations of much of psychology and medicine. In the field of pharmacology, the problem is worse, because the majority of outcome trials (on which medication approval and physician information is based) are conducted by pharmaceutical firms that stand to benefit enormously from positive results, and run the risk of enormous financial loss from negative ones. Numerous studies have found that positive results tend to be published, while negative ones are quietly tucked under the rug.
The majority of clinical trials are still not reporting their results to the US government's ClinicalTrials.gov website, despite legal requirements that they do so, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. More →
The latest investigative report into the University of Minnesota's psychiatric research practices was "scathing," reported Forbes in a two-part story. Journalist Judy Stone also wrote that she was "suprised" by the strength of the criticisms, in light of the fact that the report from the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs was actually "bought and paid for" by the university itself. More →
Quartz has posted a list of the prescription drugs that generated the most in global sales dollars in 2014, according to a study by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News. The antipsychotic Abilify was number twelve at $5.7 billion. More →
In February, Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) was a keynote speaker at a public event about "Fixing America's Mental Health Care System" that was sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies Lundbeck and Takeda. Now, data on OpenSecrets.org show that pharmaceutical companies and psychiatric hospitals are in fact among the main funders of Murphy, who for several years has been strongly promoting his bill the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. And it appears that those same pharmaceutical companies and psychiatric hospitals are likely to substantially benefit financially if Murphy's bill becomes law, according to an analysis of the bill. More →
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