Study: Massive bias toward pharmaceuticals at American Psychiatric Association conferences
by Mike Bundrant
Like most professional groups, psychiatrists attend conferences to network and catch up on the latest trends in the industry. A couple of young researchers have recently shown, however, that conferences for psychiatrists are not so different than conferences for multi-level marketers - full of bias toward target products.
Hold on a sec... Given they are an industry of professionals, we really should give them the benefit of the doubt. Okay here goes: At least the MLMers are up front about their promotional agenda.
The American Psychiatric Association doesn't appear so straightforward.
The level of bias is mind-blowing
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology by two young psychiatrists from the University of Michigan and Yale University, analyzes the presentations given at two recent meetings of the American Psychiatric Association.
The vast majority of research presented at conferences was funded by pharmaceutical companies. Of the industry-supported studies, 97.4 percent reported results that were positive toward the medicine that the study was designed to test, and 2.6 percent reported mixed results. No industry-sponsored studies with negative results were found!
97.4% positive news for big pharma! No negative results! Its a miracle!
Yessiree! Step right up, friends! This wondrous little elixir will soothe the nerves, tone the inward organs and lighten your heavy burden in life. And for you, ma'am, you'll never worry about that philandering husband again. He'll find you irresistible and that's a proven fact! Just make the $5 co-pay and your problems are solved!
The bias in APA conference presentations matches the bias in research journals. It amounts to nothing more than marketing hype. APA conferences appear to be little more than industry funded pow-wows to pump up the team. These snake-oily tactics are shrouded in an aura of medical professionalism and scientific research.
What are doctors thinking? These are supposed to be smart people - people that we are told to trust with our health. Are they so easily bamboozled? Like one industry insider recently told me on Mental Health Exposed: Doctors are either naive to the tactics used by big pharma, or complicit. Either way, should you trust them when they whip out the prescription pad and tell you it is perfectly safe and effective?
As if this news weren't bad enough, APA conference presenters are going so far as to make pitches for drugs that are still "on patent" - still in development! As if they were engaged in some sort of pre-sales cycle to warm up the market before drugs are even approved and ready for sale.
The worst news yet
For practitioners like me who help people improve their lives without fancy diagnoses or drugs, the worst news of all is that non-drug treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy are ignored at APA conferences. There is a huge body of research and evidence that cognitive approaches work as effectively as drugs (supposedly) work for mental health, yet this evidence is rarely presented.
The APA does not support psychiatric health that is not endorsed by pharmaceutical companies.
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Mike Bundrant is the host of Mental Health Exposed, a Natural News Radio program, and the co-founder of the iNLP Center.