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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 19476

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Electronic Source

Carlat D
Like a Bad Penny, the Nemeroff/Schatzberg 'Textbook' Problem Returns
The Carlat Psychaitry Blog 2011 Apr 5
http://carlatpsychiatry.blogspot.com/


Full text:

Do you remember the hoopla a few months back about a textbook apparently ghostwritten by medical writers hired by the makers of Paxil? Charles Nemeroff and Alan Schatzberg were the identified authors, but a letter was posted on the internet showing that STI, a medical writing company, had written a first draft of the textbook. See my posts here and here about the issue. The textbook, as published, ended up being a veiled advertisement for Paxil.

The APA responded by denying wrongdoing in the organization’s official newspaper here. They claim possession of various documents proving that the textbook was not ghostwritten. The obvious rejoinder is, “show me the documents.” This is exactly what psychiatrists Robert Rubin, Bernard Carroll, and professor Leeman McHenry asked Psychiatric News in this letter to the editor. They make the following entirely reasonable request:

“We call on the APA/APPI to release all the key documents. The contract between STI and GSK will reveal how much influence GSK had on the content and tone of the book, and the role of GSK in approving drafts. Correspondence between Drs. Nemeroff and Schatzberg and STI will make it clear whether they followed the contract. Transparency also requires release of any GSK marketing/ business plans for the Handbook; the legal release form transferring ownership from GSK to the ‘authors’ and APPI; marketing activities of GSK sales representatives detailing the Handbook; and correspondence among all parties regarding the “unrestricted” educational grant.”

Psychiatric News has refused to publish it. Here is their rejection letter.

I don’t think this issue is going away. It’s time for the APA to prove to the world that they were not complicit with a drug company in publishing a “textbook” that artfully hid Paxil’s side effects.

 

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There is no sin in being wrong. The sin is in our unwillingness to examine our own beliefs, and in believing that our authorities cannot be wrong. Far from creating cynics, such a story is likely to foster a healthy and creative skepticism, which is something quite different from cynicism.”
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