Boston shrinks blog on pharma, ethics and more

These are not the  psychiatrists you tell your problems to. These two blog about pharma, continuing medical education and ethics. 

 BHN already links to The Carlat Psychiatry Blog, where on Friday author and Newburyport psychiatrist reviewed the notorious 1999 text-book apparently written by drug company ghostwriters.

According the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) report, the book’s authors are

..department chairs who were then at Stanford and Emory University signed their names to a textbook used by primary care physicians to prescribe pharmaceuticals for patients with psychiatric problems. (Drugmaker) GSK paid a marketing firm to write the physician textbook and was allowed to approve the drafts and final page proofs.

Dr. Carlot calls  it “…(A)n advertisement for Paxil. Not obvious, not blatant. But artfully crafted, subtle, smooth…

You open the book, and the first thing that slaps your retina is a chapter on anxiety disorders. I’ve read a lot of psychiatry textbooks, probably over a hundred, and I can confidently report to you that I have never seen a textbook on general psychiatry (whether written for psychiatrists or PCPs) that begins with a big honking chapter on anxiety disorders. Most begin with tips on diagnosis, basic principles of psychopharmacology, mood disorders, or other topics. But they never begin with anxiety disorders.

For more on Carlot”s insights on meds and the mind, see his book Unhinged.

A garbled response to the scandal in the Stanford paper:

Unrestricted” grants, such as the one SmithKline Beecham awarded for the book, “support specific projects” but do not allow companies to control books’ content,” according to the American Psychiatric Association’s publisher.

“From our perspective, timeline and details in the letter were never approved by APPI [the publisher] or the authors,” the statement added.

“This type of editorial assistance was quite common, especially the use of editorial experts to compile and check facts in books on pharmacology,” said Ron McMillen, chief executive of APPI, in the statement. “To say the book was ghostwritten is not true.”

More in the NY Times story.

And, we add  Health Care Organizational Ethics, a blog by another Boston area psychiatrist,to our blog roll. An ethicist, Jim Sabin writes that “The ethical quality of health care is profoundly influenced by the ethics of organizations. We can’t have ethical health care without ethical organizations.” More on him later.


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