A new video exposing the extensive conflicts of interest between the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the pharmaceutical industry was released this week on a newly launched website, (http://www.psychconflicts.org/), to coincide with the 161st anniversary of the APA and its annual convention being held in Washington, D.C.
Widespread psychiatric drugging of children has become an increasingly contentious issue, with pharma-funded psychiatrists at the center of the controversy. The psychiatric drugging of foster children in particular is now the subject of a congressional hearing. A study in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics, now garnering international attention, found that American children take antipsychotics at about six times the rate of UK children, while a January New York Times (NYT) investigation revealed that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the more psychiatrists have earned from drug makers, the more they have prescribed a new class of powerful medicines known as atypical antipsychotics to children.Ã¢â‚¬Â
According to the psychiatric watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), which produced the new webpage and video, the soaring increase in psychotropic drugs to children is a result of the incestuous relationship between the APA and the pharmaceutical industryÃ¢â‚¬â€totaling more than $10 million a year in conflicts of interest.
Today, about 30% of the APAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s income derives from pharmaceutical industry advertising and nearly 20 drug companies this year have invested an estimated $3 million into the APAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s convention alone. Of the nearly 30 pharmaceutical industry-supported symposiums, speakersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ fees could run as high as $250,000. The APA has also made an estimated $40 million from sales of its Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), an Ã¢â‚¬Å“insurance billing bibleÃ¢â‚¬Â that pharmaceutical interests potentially influence.
In 2006, a Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics study determined that 56% of psychiatrists on panels determining what Ã¢â‚¬Å“disordersÃ¢â‚¬Â would be included in the DSM-IV had undisclosed financial interests in drug companies. Researchers also found that 100% of the psychiatrists on panels overseeing so-called Ã¢â‚¬Å“mood disordersÃ¢â‚¬Â (which includes the lucrative Ã¢â‚¬Å“bipolar disorderÃ¢â‚¬Â) and Ã¢â‚¬Å“schizophrenia/psychotic disordersÃ¢â‚¬Â were financially involved with drug companies that manufacture the drugs prescribed for these conditions, the sales of which are around $40 billion a year worldwide.
Lisa Cosgrove, a clinical and research psychologist from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and co-researcher in the 2006 study reported that these disorders are not based on medical science: Ã¢â‚¬Å“No blood tests exist for the disorders in the DSM. It relies on judgments from practitioners who rely on the manual,Ã¢â‚¬Â she stated.
Last December, U.S. News and World Report revealed that 19 out of the 27 task force members for DSM-V, due to be published in 2012, had financial ties to drug companies.
The January NYT investigation further found that psychiatrists earn more money from drug makers than doctors in any other specialty. In one state, Vermont, drug company payments to psychiatrists more than doubled from $20,835 in 2005 to an average of $45,692 in 2006. Antipsychotic drugs were among the largest expenses for the stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Medicaid program. On September 4, 2007, the NYT reported, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Drug makers and company-sponsored psychiatrists have been encouraging doctors to look for [bipolar] disorder.Ã¢â‚¬Â The expanded use of bipolar as a pediatric rather than adult disorder has made it the fastest-growing part of the $11.5 billion U.S. market for antipsychotics, reported Bloomberg News the next day.
Melissa Delbello, research psychiatrist with the University of Cincinnati who is speaking at the APA convention on May 7, was recently cited by Senator Charles Grassley for her failure to disclose to the university how much she had earned from pharmaceutical companies. In 2002, she was the lead author of a study that concluded that children responded well to the antipsychotic drug Seroquel, which is manufactured by AstraZeneca, one of the companies funding symposiums at the APA this year. She disclosed that sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d received $100,000 from the company between 2005 and 2007, but Senator Grassley discovered it was more than double thatÃ¢â‚¬â€$238,000.
A sample of speakers at the APA convention include:
+Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â David Kupfer, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was a member of the DSM-IV Task Force and is Chair of the DSM-V Task Force. He has been a consultant to Eli Lilly & Co., Hoffman-LaRoche, Pfizer, Forest Labs and Servier and also sat on the advisory boards of Eli Lilly & Co., Forest Labs and Pfizer.
+Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â KupferÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wife, Ellen Frank, Ph.D., has received research support from Eli Lilly & Co. and Pfizer and was also a member of the DSM-IV Task Force.
+Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Joseph Biederman, Chief of the Clinical & Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology, Massachusetts General Hospital is giving seminars on pediatric bipolar disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the latter funded by Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs. He was a member of the DSM-IV committee overseeing what infant, childhood and adolescent disorders would be included. Biederman has received research funds from 10 pharmaceutical companies, including manufacturers of antipsychotic drugs prescribed for bipolar. Last year, his promotion of pediatric bipolar disorder was blamed, in part, for the death of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley from Massachusetts from a prescribed cocktail of psychiatric drugs which included antipsychotics for bipolar. Dr. Lawrence Diller, a California behavioral pediatrician, told the Boston Globe, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I find Biederman and his group to be morally responsible in part. He didn’t write the prescription, but he provided all the, quote, scientific justification to address a public health issue by drugging little kids.Ã¢â‚¬Â
+Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â David Shaffer, Professor of Child Psychiatry at Columbia University and Director, Division of Child Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, is part of a symposium discussing Ã¢â‚¬Å“disorders of childhood: A DSM-V research agenda.Ã¢â‚¬Â Shaffer was a member of the DSM-IV Task Force and is responsible for inventing TeenScreen, a subjective survey conducted on teens in schools to determine if they are potentially suicidal. He admits thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a potential 84% chance of wrongly identifying students using his survey.
+Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â S. Charles Schulz, Professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School Minneapolis, Minnesota, was a DSM-IV project participant. His industry-supported seminar about Ã¢â‚¬Å“medication treatment for youthÃ¢â‚¬Â is funded by AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of the antipsychotic Seroquel. The company faces multiple suits alleging that it downplayed the risk of diabetes with the drug. Schulz has been a consultant for AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly & Co. and has received grants from them and Abbott Laboratories and Janssen Pharmaceutica.
+Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Charles Nemeroff, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Chairman of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, is conducting a seminar on depression supported by Sanofi-Aventis. Dr. Nemeroff was one of the psychiatrists on an FDA Advisory Panel in 1991 that exonerated Prozac (the first SSRI antidepressant) from causing suicidal behaviorÃ¢â‚¬â€a fact established 13 years later when the FDA ordered drug companies to add a black box warning that all SSRIs induce suicidal behavior in children and teens. Nemeroff is a consultant for at least 20 pharmaceutical companies and has received research funds from at least 8 psychiatric drug manufacturers.
CCHR has released the new webpage and video on the APA and its conflicts of interest to raise awareness on the fact the DSM medicalizes all human troubles as Ã¢â‚¬Å“mental disordersÃ¢â‚¬Â in order to sell psychiatric drugs.
In 1969, the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus from SUNY Health Science in Syracuse, New York, co-founded CCHR to investigate and expose psychiatric human rights violations. For more information on CCHR visit http://www.cchrstl.org/.