DSM Panels Rife With Conflicts of Interest


Safeguards ostensibly put in place to ensure “a transparent process of development for the DSM,” and an “unbiased, evidence-based DSM, free from any conflicts of interest” have failed to do so. Rather, 69% of DSM-5 task force members have ties to the pharmaceutical industry, an increase of 21% over the proportion of DSM-IV task force members with such ties. Moreover, limits on payments from pharmaceuticals do not apply to research grants. These findings appear in a study published today in PLoS Medicine.

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“Nothing has really changed,” says Lisa Cosgrove, one of the study’s authors, in an article in New Scientist, “transparency alone can’t mitigate bias.”


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]