FDA Under More Scrutiny

As FDA Comes Under Scrutiny over Profit-Driven Medical Experts
NY Times Investigation Finds Psychiatrists Top List of Experts Receiving Pharma Funding

Public outrage and Congressional criticism over financial conflicts of interest in the medical field has led to the Food and Drug Administration’s newly proposed guidelines to exclude doctors with ties to pharmaceutical companies from voting on FDA advisory committees. Investigating such conflicts of interest in one state, the New York Times (NYT) found that when it comes to taking money from drug representatives, psychiatrists are leading the way. According to NYT, Psychiatrists in Minnesota received more drug company money than any other medical specialty—$6.7 million from the pharmaceutical industry between 1997 and 2005. Psychiatrists received “more than their share” of pharmaceutical funding—250 psychiatrists, which is only 5% of the 5,500 health care workers in Minnesota who were paid by drug companies, received a whopping 12% of the total money ($57 million) paid to these individuals. NYT also found that seven out of the last eight Minnesota Psychiatric Society presidents served as consultants to drug manufacturers. Psychiatrists are heavily tied to the pharmaceutical industry at a national level as well—a 2006 study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found:

· A majority (56%) of the panel members responsible for revisions to psychiatry’s billing bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), had one or more financial ties to drug companies.

· 100% of the panel members on “Mood Disorders” and “Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders” (for which prescribed psychotropic drugs are the regular course of “treatment”) had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

· In 6 out of 18 panels, more than 80% of the panel members had such conflicts of interest.

Further, the lead author of the study, Lisa Cosgrove of the University of Massachusetts Boston, stated, “”No blood tests exist for the disorders in the DSM. It relies on judgments from practitioners who rely on the manual.” Despite the fact that psychiatric diagnoses are entirely subjective—lacking any physical abnormality to show that a “disorder” really exists—psychiatrists increasingly rely on these diagnoses to justify the prescription of powerful, mind-altering drugs. Worldwide sales of psychotropic drugs, including stimulants, antipsychotics and antidepressants, now exceed $80 billion annually. Along with the sales, international warnings on these drugs are also on the rise.

The FDA has now acknowledged that psychiatric drugs cause suicidal and homicidal behavior, psychosis, stroke, heart attack and sudden death. Read The Report on the Escalating International Warnings on Psychiatric Drugs by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a mental health watchdog, to learn more about the lethal side effects of these drugs. For more information about the connection between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry, click here .

Citizens Commission On Human Rights International
6616 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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