Tuesday, 4 August 2009

BBC looks at financial links of psychiatrists with the pharmaceutical industry

Tonight on BBC radio 4, at 8pm, a documentary will review the links between psychiatrists who create and determine new names for mental disorders, conditions, even quirks of personality, and the psychiatrists' financial links to the pharmaceutical industry. An industry that profits from the prescribing of drugs licensed for these conditions.

You can access the programme for the next 7 days, on the BBC iplayer via this link:

The DSM is the psychiatrist's bible, with such conditions as 'Social Phobia' and 'ADHD' being conditions added by members of the Americal Psychiatric Association

Matthew Hill investigates the links between psychiatrists and the industry and asks should there be increased transparency over top psychiatrists' links to the pharmaceutical industry.

The following link should take you to the information page and the broadcast on the Internet

Rewriting the Psychiatrist's Bible 8pm Tuesday 4th August 2009


My personal awareness of the conflict of interest goes back to the year 2000 when I attended the British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP) conference in Cambridge. The event was like a trade fair. Stands promoting drugs, food and literature provided by the pharmaceutical companies, abounded. The presence of industry representatives, standing around a room seemed to inhibit questioning about the safety of drugs in the session I attended on Suicide and antidepressants.

Following the shock of the BAPC drugs trade show, I then became aware of the efforts of psychiatirsts, Loren Mosher, David Healy, Joanna Moncrieff, psychologist Rufus May to open up the debate on drug safety and the overuse of psychotropic medicines including antidepressants.

Little attention to the harms and over emphasis on benefits, in research, has led to many drug induced illnesses (iatrogenic disease), suicides, sudden deaths, disability and misery, affecting countless millions of people across the world.

(Loren Mosher, David Healy and Rufus May attended and spoke at the APRIL charity conference in 2001)


I invited psychiatrist Loren Mosher MD to attend the London conference I organised in 2001. He was dismayed at the Industry influence on the psychiatric profession, the Diagnostic Manual (DSM) and the APA. Loren and his wife Judy came over and it was an honour to meet them. Loren's death in 2004 was a great loss to the campaign for truth and transparency in psychiatric diagnosis and prescribing.

( At the time of his death in 2004, Loren Mosher was Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, at the University of California, San Diego.)

I had seen his letter of resignation on the Internet. I felt admiration for his courage and tenacity in the face of such power and influence.

The letter to Rodrigo Munoz, President of the APA is self explanatory:


At the same conference we heard from Dr David Healy, who had a job withdrawn, in Canada, following his advice to a group of psychiatrists that they should be aware of the risk of adverse reactions that may lead to suicide for some patients, when they prescribe SSRI and similar antidepressants. The influences on the University of Toronto were clearly seen in this scenario.

(David Healy was Director and is now Professor of Psychological Medicine, Cardiff University School of Medicine.)

The full story is told on the web site


Psychologist Rufus May has done so much for people suffering mental distress, without using drugs. Rufus openly discusses his own episode of psychosis when a young man and this is now in the archives of BBC radio 4. A documentary film was made about his support for a medical student while she was psychotic and links to these and advice on coming off psychotropic medicines is on web sites: and


I disoverered the group known as Critical Psychiatry and found these are psychiatrists in the UK who are concerned about the over use and harm being caused by psychotropic medicines.

Dr Joanna Moncrieff was at the conferences I organised for APRIL charity in 2004 and 2008. Films with Joanna in the Coming of Medicines sessions, is on the APRIL web site and the link is in the left hand menu.

Joanna Moncrieff has written a book called The Myth of the Chemical Cure which contains valuable facts and information about the lack of evidence for prescribing and how the drugs work.
Joanna believes the drug induced state caused by medicines is not addressing the underlying problem and that we do not know what is actually going on in the brain.

Joanna says there is very little research into the drug induced states that the drugs create and main stream views that the drugs reverse an underlying state are wrong. We do not know what the drugs actually do when they create a changed mental state. I say that there is no research into the harms caused by psychotropic medicines, polypharmacy and inapropriate prescribing.

A BBC inteview highlights some of her views and can be accessed from an article:

A compact cheaper book by Joanna Moncrieff in the Straight Talking Introductions series edited by Richard Bentall and Pete Sanders is called Psychiatric Drugs at a price under £9 is recommended by David Healy who states " This straighforward book is one that should be read by anyone currently taking or thinking about taking, a psychotropic drug, anyone prescribing them and anyone party to their use. It offers a radically different and sobering view as to what the drugs can do compared with the views on offer elsewhere."

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