Diseases Grow at Psychiatry Meeting-Thanks to Big Pharma
The first week in May brought a new leader in France and new prospects for same sex couples seeking marriage. But at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia, attended by 11,000 psychiatrists, it was the same old same old. Instead of listening to the public outcry about overmedicated children, soldiers, elderly and everyday people watching too many drug ads, the psychiatry group re-affirmed its resolve to pathologize healthy people and even rolled out new groups to target.
This is the year the APA puts the finishing touches on DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a compendium that determines what treatments insurers will cover, what disorders merit funding as “public health” threats and of course, Pharma marketing and profits. Some question the objectivity of a disorder manual written by those who stand to benefit from an enlarged patient pool and new diseases. Furthering the appearance of self-dealing is the revelation that 57 percent of the DSM-5’s authors have Pharma links.
No kidding. Present at this year’s meeting were former APA president Alan F. Schatzberg, MD and Charles Nemeroff, MD, both investigated by Congress for murky Pharma income. Schatzberg and Nemeroff are co-editors of the APA-published Textbook of Psychopharmacology whose 2009 edition cites the work of Richard Borison, MD former psychiatry chief at the Augusta Veterans Affairs medical center who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a $10 million clinical trial fraud. Also present was S. Charles Schulz, MD, who was investigated for financial links to AstraZeneca believed to alter his scientific conclusions.
Even though Assistant Secretary of Defense Jonathan Woodson sent a memo to all branches of the military in February about overprescription of antipsychotic medications like Seroquel and Risperdal for PTSD, military figures closely linked to that overprescription were also listed in attendance at the APA meeting.