Closer Scrutiny for Drug Companies' Impact on Mental Health

Open pill blister packAs CMD recently reported, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, have instituted a voluntary, and therefore unenforceable, code to guide drug makers' relationships with doctors. Now, thanks to pressure from Congress, most notably by Senator Charles Grassley, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) needs to respond to concerns about the influence drug company money has on the association and its members. "In 2006, the latest year for which numbers are available, the drug industry accounted for about 30 percent of the association's $62.5 million in financing." There are serious questions about the association's leadership as well. "One of the doctors named by Mr. Grassley is the association’s president-elect, Dr. Alan F. Schatzberg of Stanford, whose $4.8 million stock holdings in a drug development company raised the senator’s concern." The New York Times analyzed Minnesota data from last year on drug company funding of doctors, finding that "on average, psychiatrists who received at least $5,000 from makers of newer-generation antipsychotic drugs appear to have written three times as many prescriptions to children for the drugs as psychiatrists who received less money or none."