Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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At Least One of Your Parents or Grandparents Takes a Psychiatric Drug!

At Least One of Your Parents or Grandparents Takes a Psychiatric Drug! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

About one in six American adults --25.1% of adults aged 60 to 85 years -- reported taking at least one psychiatric drug, usually an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety medication, and most had been doing so for a year or more, according to a new analysis. The report is based on 2013 government survey data on some 242 million adults and provides the most fine-grained snapshot of prescription drug use for psychological and sleep problems to date.


“I follow this area, so I knew the numbers would be high,” said Thomas J. Moore, a researcher at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a nonprofit in Alexandria, Va., and the lead author of the analysis, which was published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. “But in some populations, the rates are extraordinary.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

Related article: “Scientology Video Blasts the Pyschiatry-Drug Industry-FDA Complex!”:

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Two Case Studies of Pharma Marketing Influence Over Science & Journal Publications

Two Case Studies of Pharma Marketing Influence Over Science & Journal Publications | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Inappropriate prescription and overconsumption of pharmaceuticals is one of the most pressing public health concerns in North America. Aggressive pharmaceutical promotion practices are widely recognized as a major contributing factor. Two recent medical journal articles provide further evidence of serious problems with the scientific record that has become an intrinsic part of pharmaceutical marketing.


Jon N. Jureidini, Jay D. Amsterdam, and Leemon B. McHenry’s paper in the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine is a case study of how the pharmaceutical company Foster used a scientific publication to boost prescription of its blockbuster anti-depressant citalopram. A paper by Joanna Le Noury and colleagues in the British Medical Journal is the first publication produced as part of an innovative initiative by the scientific community aimed at correcting the scientific record on a host of pharmaceutical products. The study involves a reanalysis of the raw data of a Smithkline Beecham (now GSK)-sponsored published study on the efficacy of paroxetine and imipramine for the treatment of depression in adolescents.


That both publications deal with anti-depressants is not entirely surprising. They have been among the most prescribed—in fact overprescribed—drugs of the last decades. The vagueness of diagnostic criteria and the subjective nature of efficacy measurements in relation to most mental health conditions further facilitate data manipulation. Yet it should not lull us into thinking that the problems are restricted to psychiatric drugs. Both papers confirm … that industry control over the design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of clinical drug trials has turned many scientific publications into marketing tools. It has enabled the industry to selectively report positive results, hide negative results, manipulate statistical tools for favorable outcomes, and underplay problems.


Both papers reveal problems of scientific integrity in pharmaceutical industry-sponsored publications and raise serious questions about the collaboration of academic scientists. In light of what is being exposed in these and in many other related publications, it is remarkable how academic institutions remain silent about the alleged scientific misconduct by some of their researchers.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Also read “Researchers Demand APA Retract ‘Deviant’ Celexa Article That Promotes Rx for Kids”;

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Shire to Defend Its Binge Eating Disorder Screener at 2016 APA Annual Meeting

Shire to Defend Its Binge Eating Disorder Screener at 2016 APA Annual Meeting | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Shire will present new research on Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at the upcoming 169th Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in Atlanta, GA, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to furthering the understanding and management of psychiatric disorders.


“The data being presented this year at APA will address several important topics within the adult psychiatry therapeutic area, including the characterization of eating behaviors in adults with binge eating disorder, as well as patterns of prescription medication use in two psychiatric disorders,” said Barry K. Herman, MD, MMM, DLFAPA, Global Medical Team Lead, Senior Medical Director for Shire. “These presentations underscore our long-standing commitment to furthering knowledge of psychiatric conditions and advancing research into the unmet needs of people with B.E.D. and ADHD.”


Posters presented during the conference will include:


Poster Number P6-048; Monday, May 16, 2:00pm EDT: The Use and Value of the 7-Item Binge Eating Disorder Screener in Clinical Practice; Presented by Barry K. Herman, MD, MMM, DLFAPA


“Continued research on binge eating disorder in adults is crucial to expanding our understanding of the disorder,” said Cynthia Bulik, PhD, FAED, Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and co-author of P6-136. “We value our collaboration with Shire to enhance efforts to educate health care professionals who evaluate adults living with B.E.D.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

Shire makes it easy for anyone to convince their docs to prescribe Vyvanse for their B.E.D. (Binge Eating Disorder), which I described in Pharma Marketing Blog: "How Virtually Anyone Can Get an Rx for Amphetamine... Sorry, I Meant to Say Vyvanse"


Shire's B.E.D. symptom checklist, IMHO, is a perfect aid for people who wish to abuse a dangerous Schedule II controlled stimulant.


According to my more or less truthful answers to the screener, I may suffer from B.E.D. and be able to convince my doc to prescribe me Vyvanse. 


I suggested ( that Shire remove this tool from its website to prevent possible abuse of this medication, but now I see Shire wants to "prove" to the medical community that this bogus test has value in clinical practice!


"The strategy for a new drug to treat binge-eating disorder reveals how a pharmaceutical company can influence the treatment of a medical condition," said Dr. Lawrence H. Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif. Read: "Shire Makes It Easy for the Public to Learn About the ‘Glories of Amphetamine’"; 

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Notes from a Conflict-of-Interest "Myth" Instigator: Big Pharma Has Cures What Don't Ail Ya!

Notes from a Conflict-of-Interest "Myth" Instigator: Big Pharma Has Cures What Don't Ail Ya! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

A study published in 2010 found significant financial gifts (up to 69 percent of overall funding) in the state of Vermont between pharmaceutical companies and specialists in psychiatry (Chimonas, et al. 2010). Although all these are covered by “disclosure laws,” which maintain that it is acceptable to have a conflict of interest in this scenario as long as it’s openly stated, it can and should make the average citizen question the validity of research being done in the field of psychiatry.

Furthermore, while it’s no secret that document review procedures are often inefficient within drug companies (Bernhardt, 2003), the public has it all wrong if they suppose that the studies done on their antidepressants are strictly scientific. When JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) evaluated the research quality, they found an overwhelming bulk of medical studies “[contained] false or misleading statistics” (Murray, 2009, p.17).

It has been argued that the prevalence of psychiatric drugs in particular arose out of the increasing pressure on psychiatrists to produce evidence-based practices for actual diagnosis, in order to be seen as providing “cures” in the same way as most medical practitioners (Burwell & Stith, 2008, documentary). They needed official guidelines for mental illnesses, and they needed viable treatments. Enter the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual). The first edition consisted of just over 100 mental disorders, quite a step up from the vague general label of lunatic. Now, with the release of the DSM-V, we currently have about 300 mental illnesses. With such numerous options for mental maladies, who couldn’t find a disorder for which they might need a pill? - See more at:

Recently, the media has come out with multiple reports about the changes in the fifth and newest edition of the DSM. Some of these changes include: Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (temper tantrums), Major Depressive Disorder (bereavement following the loss of a loved one), Binge Eating Disorder (eating too much twelve times in three months), and Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, just to name a few. (Frances, 2012). Of course, the implications of the changes are that you may be slapped with a label and medicated with greater ease.

- See more at:

Pharma Guy's insight:

The person who wrote this obviously qualifies as a conflict-of-interest myth "instigator' as defined by Tom Stossel in his new book, PharmaPhobia, Read more about Dr. Stossel's attempt to bust the COI "myth" here: 

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The ADHD #Pharma | Psychiatrist | Celebrity | Patient Complex

The ADHD #Pharma | Psychiatrist | Celebrity | Patient Complex | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

While other books have probed the historical roots of America’s love affair with amphetamines — notably Nicolas Rasmussen’s “On Speed,” published in 2008 — “ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic” focuses on an unholy alliance between drugmakers, academic psychiatrists, policy makers and celebrity shills like Glenn Beck that Schwarz brands the “A.D.H.D. industrial complex.” The insidious genius of this alliance, he points out, was selling the disorder rather than the drugs, in the guise of promoting A.D.H.D. “awareness.” By bankrolling studies, cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with psychopharmacologists at prestigious universities like Harvard and laundering its marketing messages through trusted agencies like the World Health Organization, the pharmaceutical industry created what Schwarz aptly terms “a self-affirming circle of science, one that quashed all dissent.”


In a narrative that unfolds with the momentum of a thriller, he depicts pediatricians’ waiting rooms snowed under with pharma-funded brochures, parents clamoring to turn their allegedly underachieving children into academic superstars and kids showered with pills whose long-term effects on the developing brain (particularly when taken in combination) are still barely understood. In one especially harrowing section of the book, Schwarz traces the Icarus-like trajectory of Richard Fee, an aspiring medical student who fakes the symptoms of A.D.H.D. to get access to drugs that will help him cope with academic pressure. When he eventually descends into amphetamine psychosis, his father tells his doctor that if he doesn’t stop furnishing his son with Adderall, he’ll die. Two weeks after burning through his supply, Fee hanged himself in a closet.


“ADHD Nation” should be required reading for those who seek to understand how a field that once aimed to ameliorate the behavioral problems of children in a broad therapeutic context abdicated its mission to the stockholders of corporations like Shire and Lilly. Schwarz is sounding an alarm for a fire that looks nowhere near abating.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Speaking of celebrities, read "Patient Testimonials aka Anecdotal Experience #Pharma Marketing"; 


Meanwhile, not only does Shire, which markets an ADHD treatment, "oversell" the product, it also has been caught marketing it illegally as it did on September 25, 2008, for a video testimonial featuring Ty Pennington posted on See here: 

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Researchers Demand APA Retract "Deviant" Celexa Article That Promotes Rx for Kids

Researchers Demand APA Retract "Deviant" Celexa Article That Promotes Rx for Kids | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

More than a decade ago, a published study touted the benefits of using the Celexa antidepressant to treat children and teens. A recent analysis, however, alleged the study had numerous problems — notably, there was no difference between the drug and a placebo. And so, the researchers and several other academics want the medical society and the journal that published the study to issue a retraction.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the American Psychiatric Association, the researchers maintain the original 2004 study, which was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, contained “gross misrepresentations” about the safety and effectiveness of the drug. They also allege the study reflected the “pervasive influence” of the marketing objectives of Forest Laboratories, the Celexa manufacturer, since the drug was never approved for use in youngsters.

The researchers wrote that procedural deviations in the study were not reported; negative outcomes were not reported; side effects were misleadingly analyzed; and drafts of the study were prepared by company employees and outside ghostwriters. These points were highlighted in their analysis of the 2004 study, which was published last May in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine.

“We believe that the unretracted … article represents a stain on the high standard of the American Journal of Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association,” they wrote to APA president Dr. Maria Oquendo. “Neither the AJP nor the APA can claim to be a leader in scientific research and moral integrity, while failing to redress this article that negligently misrepresents scientific findings.”

[Most antidepressants don’t work on kids and teens,  one study found.]

An APA spokeswoman did not respond when asked whether the organization will consider issuing a retraction.

The researchers maintain a retraction is warranted because the study “continues to be cited uncritically in the psychiatric literature” as evidence that Celexa is effective in treating adolescent depression. “Our main concern is that children and adolescents are continuing to be at risk of harm unnecessarily because well-intentioned physicians have been misled,” they wrote the APA.

The demand for a retraction follows years of controversy over the extent to which some drug makers manipulated clinical studies in order to broaden the market for their medicines.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Fellow pharma blogger Rich Meyer has said: "Medical journal articles sponsored by drug companies are part of marketing," says Meyer. "That is a fact of a capitalist business that has to market to medical professionals. 'Ghostwriting' has been around for over 20 years and is standard industry practice for the drug industries. I personally see nothing wrong with ghostwriting as long as it is made clear at the beginning of the article who wrote it and who endorses the content." What do you think? Take my ghost writing survey:

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New Psychotropic Drugs No Better Than Old Ones or Psycotherapy

New Psychotropic Drugs No Better Than Old Ones or Psycotherapy | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

With few exceptions, every major class of current psychotropic drugs — antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications — basically targets the same receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain as did their precursors, which were developed in the 1950s and 1960s.

Sure, the newer drugs are generally safer and more tolerable than the older ones, but they are no more effective.

Even the new brain stimulatory treatments like repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation don’t come close to the efficacy of electroconvulsive treatment, developed in the 1940s. (Deep brain stimulation is promising as a treatment for intractable depression, but it is an invasive treatment and little is known about its long-term safety or efficacy.)

At the same time, judging from research funding priorities, it seems that leaders in my field are turning their backs on psychotherapy and psychotherapy research. In 2015, 10 percent of the overall National Institute of Mental Health research funding has been allocated to clinical trials research, of which slightly more than half — a mere 5.4 percent of the whole research allotment — goes to psychotherapy clinical trials research.

As a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist who loves neuroscience, I find this trend very disturbing. First, psychotherapy has been shown in scores of well-controlled clinical trials to be as effective as psychotropic medication for very common psychiatric illnesses like major depression and anxiety disorders; second, a majority of Americans clearly prefer psychotherapy to taking medication. For example, in a meta-analysis of 34 studies, Dr. R. Kathryn McHugh at McLean Hospital found that patients were three times more likely to want psychotherapy than psychotropic drugs.

Finally, many of our patients have histories of trauma, sexual abuse, the stress of poverty or deprivation. There is obviously no quick biological fix for these complex problems.

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Has Collusion with #Pharma Caused an "Anti-psychiatry Movement?"

Has Collusion with #Pharma Caused an "Anti-psychiatry Movement?" | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

On February 18, the eminent psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, former President of the APA, published a video and transcript on Medscape.  The article was titled What Does the New York Times Have Against Psychiatry?, and was essentially a fatuous diatribe against Tanya Lurhmann, PhD, a Stanford anthropologist, who had written for the New York Times an op-ed article that was mildly critical of psychiatry.  The essence of Dr. Lieberman's rebuttal was that an anthropologist had no business expressing any criticism of psychiatry, and he extended his denunciation to the editors of the NY Times.

"Why would such a report be printed in a widely respected publication such as the New York Times? What other medical specialty would be asked to endure an anthropologist opining on the scientific validity of its diagnoses? None, except psychiatry. Psychiatry has the dubious distinction of being the only medical specialty with an anti-movement. There is an anti-psychiatry movement. You have never heard of an anti-cardiology movement, an anti-dermatology movement, or an anti-orthopedics movement."

I have already written a critique of Dr. Lieberman's paper, but my purpose today is to address the question:  why does psychiatry have an anti-movement?  In my view, there are ten reasons.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Reason #4, #5, and #6 involve pharma.

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