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The pharmaceutical industry and psychiatric research – a marriage for richer …?

  • David J. Nutt (a1)
Extract

It is timely to review the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatry, given the continuing move towards more evidence-based practice in medicine, as well as two recent government initiatives to improve the value of research in the National Health Service (NHS), especially research that is commercially driven.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Bioscience Innovation and Growth Team (2003) Bioscience 2015: Improving National Health, Increasing National Wealth. A Report to Government by the Bioscience Innovation and Growth Team. http://www.bioindustry.org/bigtreport/downloads/exec.summary.pdf.
Pharmaceutical Industry Competitiveness Task Force (2001) Final Report – March 2001. London: Department of Health (http://www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/05/83/90/04058390.pdf).
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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The pharmaceutical industry and psychiatric research – a marriage for richer …?

  • David J. Nutt (a1)
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eLetters

Re: Psychiatry may not be but many psychiatrists are up for sale

gertrude jones, Unemployed
17 May 2005

Aa a consumer of many anti-psychotic drugs, sedatives and anti-depressants over the years, and a diagnosis of Schizoprenia, I would like to share my opinion of the pharmaceutical industry.I do not disagree with psychiatric drugs and I have eagerly anticipated many times that the next drug I be given would be a drug that actually worked.

I feel that that the some of the new atypicals can have far more sideeffects than benefits.I find some of the anti-depressants okay, but the SSRI's can dull any ounce of personality that remains after the devastation of the illness.Thirorizadine gave me palpitations. Olanzapine is sedative, and increased my mood, but I put on 3 stones in weight out of sheer happiness that I unfortunately lost any benefits and self esteem that it gave me back.Sulpiride wasn't so effective and made me twitch too much.Risperidone is okay, but still not good enough and it makes me slightly nauseous.

I would happily support and advise these companies to come up with a drug that actually works and binds to the correct receptor in the brain. Keep trying, you'll get there in the end! Do remember to put the consumer and the consumers best interests first though, and not the profit margins.
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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Psychiatry may not be but many psychiatrists are up for sale

Murad M Khan, Professor of Psychiatry
25 April 2005

David Nutt has only focused on one aspect of pharmaceutical industry’s function i.e. drug research and development. While there are a number of contentious issues regarding these aspects as well, they are notnearly as bad as what follows after a drug is launched. Once the marketingof the drug starts, the whole complexion of the story takes a totally different route. Using some of the latest techniques to market and sell their products, enticements and inducements of all sorts are thrown at physicians, many of whom are more than happy to receive them.

Health care professionals who think that even a small amount of altruism motivates a drug company’s activities should seriously reconsider. Promotional activity has a single intent: to drive market share by influencing prescribing habits. Drug makers are in the business of selling products and are held accountable to shareholders who expect a return on their investment. How anyone could consider any other meaning behind these kinds of activities is only deluding themselves.

Psychiatry may “not be up for sale” but many psychiatrists are. In that respect “our discipline is no different from others in medicine”. Similarly while many “patients who benefit from drug treatment may owe a debt of gratitude to the pharmaceutical industry” there are hundreds and thousands of others who are suffering the consequences of inappropriate medication usage and are damaged for life. The responsibility for this lies both with the psychiatrists as well as the pharmaceutical industry and their aggressive marketing It is time both parties stop benefiting from each other and instead put patient interests before their own.
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