This month’s British Journal of Psychiatry has another one of its regular ‘…in 100 words’ series – this month giving a concise guide to ‘psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry’.
It’s written by psychiatrist and historian of psychopharmacology David Healy, who’s had more than his fair share of heat from the drug industry.
Psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry – in 100 words
Little Pharma made profits by making novel compounds; Big Pharma does it by marketing. Doctors say they consume (prescribe) medication according to the evidence, so marketeers design and run trials to increase a drug‚Äôs use. They select the trials, data and authors that suit, publish in quality journals, facilitate incorporation in guidelines, then exhort doctors to practise evidence-based medicine. Because ‚Äòthey‚Äôre worth it‚Äô, doctors consume branded high-cost but less effective ‚Äòevidence-based‚Äô derivatives of older compounds making these drugs worth more than their weight in gold. Posted parcels meanwhile are tracked far more accurately than adverse treatment effects on patients.