Top U.S. Psychiatrist Calls for Ethics Cleanup

Publication: Associated Press

Author: Carla K. Johnson

03/23/2010 - American psychiatrists need to break away from a “culture of influence” created by their financial dealings with the drug industry, the head of the National Institute of Mental Health said in a leading medical journal.

Dr. Thomas Insel stops short of calling researchers corrupt or asking them to stop taking money from drug companies. But he highlights a “bias in prescribing practices” that favors brand names drugs over cheaper generics and non-drug treatments. And he says the situation must change with new standards for transparency and full disclosure of psychiatry’s collaborations with industry.

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His efforts got a boost Tuesday with the signing of the health care overhaul legislation which requires drugmakers and others to file annual reports to the government on their financial ties to doctors. The law requires reporting of gifts, entertainment, food, research money and other fees and grants. Consumer advocates applaud the “sunshine” provision because it also requires a database the public can search for their own doctors’ ties to industry.

“Transparency is the first step toward giving patients and the public the tools they need to evaluate those relationships,” said Allan Coukell, director of the Pew Prescription Project, a consumer health project of the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts.

Read the full article Top U.S. Psychiatrist Calls for Ethics Cleanup from the Associated Press.

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