Tag Archives: drugs

What Do Aspirin & Heroin Have In Common?

Besides both being well-known pain relievers? They were both synthesized by the same man, Felix Hoffmann, in August of 1897. Wired has an article.

Bayer AG still holds the rights to the trade name aspirin in more than 80 countries. Elsewhere, as in the United States, the word is often used generically to refer to almost any brand of acetylsalicylic acid and even other over-the-counter pain relievers. Legal maneuvering aside, Hoffmann’s wonder drug was a gold mine. Bayer certainly cleaned up, seeing as how it held a monopoly on aspirin through the end of the First World War. Following Germany’s defeat, Bayer was forced to sell off its U.S. production plants as part of war reparations.

Tip o’ the hat to Mind Hacks for putting me on to this item.

Historical Forms of Addiction

Man smoking hookahMind Hacks recently drew my attention to a rather unusual article entitled “Some Unusual Forms of Addiction.” The piece, first published in 1933, appeared in the British Journal of Inebriety, which started back in 1884 and continues to this day, under a title more in tune with modern sensibilities, British Journal of Addiction. All drug use appears to have been regarded as “addiction” by the article’s author, E. W. Adams. Adams was an official with the British Ministry of Health who had, a year earlier, been appointed to a government committee to decide the advisability of using mandatory sterilization to deal with “mental defectives” in Britain. (The committee included among its members the famed disciple of Francis Galton, Ronald A. Fisher.) Continue reading Historical Forms of Addiction

NY Review of Books on Physicians & Big Pharma

I have written quite a lot recently on the stunning revelations that have come forth from Iowa Senator Charles Grassley’s hearings on the extraordinarily lucrative connections between pharmaceutical companies and a number of highly influential psychiatrists. Now Marcia Angell has published a piece in the New York Review of Books summarizing what has been learned so far, and looking forward to what is yet to be learned. Importantly, psychiatry is only one of the medical disciplines that have been “corrupted” (as she puts it) by Big Pharma. Angell writes: Continue reading NY Review of Books on Physicians & Big Pharma

More on the DSM-V Process

Back on November 17 we wrote a short item on the current battle over how much transparency there would be in the process by which the forthcoming 5th edition of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V) is assembled. What is at stake is the level of influence that pharmaceutical companies will have on the people who decide which the psychiatric conditions (and their pharmacological treatments) will be insurable. In short, billions and billions of dollars are at stake. Today the New York Times published an article on the same topic. Continue reading More on the DSM-V Process

Psychiatrist Radio-Host Under Investigation

Frederick K. GoodwinThe news just keeps getting worse for the American psychiatric community, a period in time that will, no doubt, go down in history as one of the darkest for the profession (which is why I keep writing about it in this blog). This time, it is Frederick K. Goodwin, host of the NPR radio show, “The Infinite Mind,” who is under investigation by the relentless US senator, Charles Grassley. According to the New York Times, the intrepid Republican from Iowa, who perhaps most famously exposed Emory University psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff for failing to report millions of dollars in payments from pharmaceutical companies (as reported here and here), has found that Goodwin, a one-time director of the National Institute of Mental Health and noted specialist on manic-depressive illness (now known as bipolar disorder), earned over a million dollars from Big Pharma without mentioning that fact on the show. He is said to have advanced, on his radio program, controversial psychiatric views that favored the interests of the very drug companies who paid him. Continue reading Psychiatrist Radio-Host Under Investigation

Anti-psychotic Drugs, Kids, Gov’t (and Money)

American psychiatry and government drug oversight bodies came under attack again this week when a panel of federal drug experts concluded that “powerful antipsychotic medicines are being used far too cavalierly in children, and federal drug regulators must do more to warn doctors of their substantial risks.”

The New York Times article about the panel’s report noted that:

More than 389,000 children and teenagers were treated last year with Risperdal, one of five popular medicines known as atypical antipsychotics. Of those patients, 240,000 were 12 or younger, according to data presented to the committee. In many cases, the drug was prescribed to treat attention deficit disorders. Continue reading Anti-psychotic Drugs, Kids, Gov’t (and Money)

The Future of the DSM & $$$

Mind Hacks has a good piece on the current negotiations over how much transparency there will be to the development of the forthcoming (May, 2012) 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) of the American Psychiatric Association. At stake is whether anyone apart from the DSM writing committee itself will know how much pressure is being brought to bear on the authors by pharmaceutical companies, which have a vested interest in diagnosable conditions being included in the Manual for which they claim to have specific treatments (i.e., billions of dollars are at stake). One of the major criticisms of the last edition of the DSM was that several of the authors had deep entanglements with major pharmaceutical companies, leading to questions about possible conflicts of interest.

Here is the official DSM-V website.

More on Psychiatrist’s Ties to Big Pharma

Charles B. NemeroffThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published a detailed report on Dr. Charles Nemeroff, the prominent Emory University psychiatrist whose close connections to pharmaceutical companies have led the U.S. Senate to investigate his activities.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, recently released documents indicating that Nemeroff earned millions of dollars from drug companies but reported little of that money to Emory, a possible violation of federal and university disclosure rules. Much of the money came from speeches, consulting fees and positions on boards.

Nemeroff generates such divided opinions that he has become the subject of a number of polarized descriptions: Continue reading More on Psychiatrist’s Ties to Big Pharma

NYT: Psychiatrist Failed to Report $1.2M Paid by Big Pharma

The New York Times reports that Emory University psychiatrist Charles B. Nemeroff failed to report $1.2 million he earned from consulting with pharmaceutical companies. If true, this would violate federal research rules. According to the article:

In one telling example, Dr. Nemeroff signed a letter dated July 15, 2004, promising Emory administrators that he would earn less than $10,000 a year from GlaxoSmithKline to comply with federal rules. But on that day, he was at the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo., earning $3,000 of what would become $170,000 in income that year from that company — 17 times the figure he had agreed on. Continue reading NYT: Psychiatrist Failed to Report $1.2M Paid by Big Pharma

NYT: Law Should Compel Disclosure of Drug Company Payments to Physicians

A September 27 editorial in the New York Times calls on the US Congress to pass legislation that will force pharmaceutical companies to publicly disclose all payments they make to physicians. As the editorial puts it, “Patients need to know that doctors are prescribing particular drugs for sound medical reasons — not because drug companies have bought their doctors’ loyalty.”

The editorial follows an exposé the New York Times published this past July (see the AHP report) in which it was revealed that “nearly 1/3 of the [American Psychiatric Association’s] budget comes directly from the pharmaceutical industry, in the form of journal ads, convention exhibits, and the sponsoring of fellowships, conferences, and symposia.” Continue reading NYT: Law Should Compel Disclosure of Drug Company Payments to Physicians