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Conversation Continues: Physicians and Their Relationships with Pharmas


On, Gary Schwitzer calls our attention to a new book Recognition and Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: A Psychopharmacology Handbook for Primary Care' and the pharmaceutical financial ties of its co-authors Drs. Charles B. Nemeroff and Alan F. Schatzberg. Gary writes:

But, as the New York Times reports, the "authors" acknowledged in the preface of the book they had received an "unrestricted educational grant' from a major drug company. The Times continues:

But the drug maker, then known as SmithKline Beecham, actually had much more involvement than the book described, newly disclosed documents show. The grant paid for a writing company to develop the outline and text for the two named authors, the documents show, and then the writing company said it planned to show three drafts directly to the pharmaceutical company for comments and sign-off' and page proofs for final approval.

"That doesn't sound unrestricted to me," Dr. Bernard Lo, a medical ethicist and chairman of an Institute of Medicine group that wrote a 2009 report on conflicts of interest, said after reviewing the documents. "That sounds like they have ultimate control."

CFAH Fellow Trudy Lieberman questioned a similar practice in her November 11th post Doctors and Their Speaking Fees about ProPublica's new databases showing which doctors may be on the payroll of the very companies whose drugs they prescribe.  Trudy asks, Would you keep using a doctor who collected speaking fees from drug companies for saying a good word about the drug company's products?"

What's your opinion?  Are doctors influenced by the companies from which they receive funds?

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