Something is rotten in Irish Psychiatry.

Something stinks in this country with Irish psychiatry and their cosy relationship with pharmaceutical companies. The two are seemingly (or unseemly) very closely involved and the small matter of “conflict of interests” doesn’t seem to enter into the equasion.

I found it very hard to understand why some members of Irish psychiatry seemed to have such a big issue with us telling the truth about the possible side effects of suicide/homicide associated with ssri antidepressants, and their frantic denials of either in the media. Surely public awareness can only be a good thing? It didn’t take much researching to find some members with very dubious cosy relationships with lundbeck and other pharmaceutical companies, mostly with their own particular brand of SSRI antidepressant…

Even our Ministers are in on the act; Pharmaceutical company Lundbeck’s Ireland offices, were officially opened by Mary Harney, TD, Minister for Health and Children. Health, children and Lundbeck Mary?

Seven of the eight professor’s who signed the letter in my previous post…

Prof Patricia Casey, UCD: Long history of collaboration with pharmaceutical company lundbeck, and has Previously sued Dr Michael Corry.

Prof Timothy Dinan, UCC: also a long history of collaboration with lundbeck and has lectured at meetings and served on advisory boards organised by companies promoting antipsychotic medications, including Eli Lilly, Janssen-Cilag, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, and is also a clinical trials subcommitee member with the Irish Medicines Board. He has lectured at meetings sponsored by or acted as an advisor to all companies who market a branded SSRI. He contributed to the Lundbeck Mental health barometer report. He has also previously made a complaint to the medical council against Dr Michael Corry.

Prof David Meagher, University of Limerick: Dr Meagher has received research grant funding from Astra-Zeneca and has acted as a advisory consultant for Pfizer, Eli-Lilly, Bristol-Meyers, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals as well as receiving travel support from Smith-Kline Beecham, Eli-Lilly, Astra-Zeneca, Novartis, Wyeth, and Bristol-Meyers Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Prof Brian Lawlor, Saint James’s Hospital, Dublin: Prof Lawlor has loaned his name to and put his shoulder behind the ‘Mind Yourself — Mental Health in Later Life’ campaign, a project that has been enabled by the generous support of Lundbeck (Ireland) Ltd. He also contributed to the booklet of the same name.

Prof James v Lucey, St Patrick’s Hospital Dublin: Jan 07 Speaker at DIT Conference, sponsored by Lundbeck. Nov 2010 Lecture supported by educational grants from AstraZeneca, Janssen, Lundbeck and MPS. Speaker at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)’s Alumni Weekend 2011, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland; Global Medical; Hermitage Medical Clinic; Lundbeck; and Pfizer.

Prof Kevin Malone, St Vincent’s University Hospital/UCD: He is a co-founder of “Turn the Tide of Suicide” charity which was founded to raise awareness of the problem of suicide in Ireland and to raise funds to help lower suicide rates through dedicated research, educational support and intervention and yet will put his name to denials of side effects already admitted by pharmaceutical companies and disregard the findings of  the only Irish expert on ssri antidepressants, Professor David Healy. Prof. Malone was a scientific advisor for the AFSP who’s founders were among others, Bristol Myers Squibb, Forest labs and J&j. Eli-Lilly was a benefactor and Lundbeck a listed patron.

Prof Michael Gill, TCD: was a judge at the All Ireland institute of psychiatry Belfast and was sponsored by GSK, makers of Seroxat. He is part of the VISIOn team which is sponsored by, among others, janssen-cilag, Astra zeneca, Pfizer and Eli-lilly. Professor Michael Gill and Dr Louise Gallagher of TCD’s Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine – will lead a €12 million Global Autism Genome Project,  of which  €5 million has been received from the Health Research Board (HRB), as well as an additional €7 million from a variety of international organisations.

9 thoughts on “Something is rotten in Irish Psychiatry.

  1. There are a lot of people making a lot of money from the exploitation of mental suffering… The last factor in this equation is the individual suffering from mental, psychological or emotional distress, unfortunately it is these individuals whom are used as fodder for the psychiatric-pharmaceutical gravy train… Awareness is the key. Keep blogging.. 🙂

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  2. http://www.narpa.org/mosher.htm

    Renowned Psychiatrist Loren R. Mosher Resigns
    from the American Psychiatric Association in Disgust

    This is a copy of a letter by Dr. Mosher resigning from the American Psychiatric Association. Note that Dr. Mosher was a pioneer in establishing programs of psychosocial community care in the field of psychiatry (e.g., Soteria House,); his many publications in that regard have been very influential (e.g.: Mosher, L., & Burti, L. (1989). “Community mental health: Principles and Practice”. New York: Norton.).

    ______________________________________________

    Loren R. Mosher M. D.
    2616 Angell Ave
    San Diego, CA 92122

    December 4 1998

    Rodrigo Munoz, M.D., President
    American Psychiatric Association
    1400 94 Street N. W.
    Washington, D.C. 20005

    Dear Rod;

    After nearly three decades as a member it is with a mixture of pleasure and disappointment that I submit this letter of resignation from the American Psychiatric Association. The major reason for this action is my belief that I am actually resigning from the American Psychopharmacological Association. Luckily, the organization’s true identity requires no change in the acronym.

    Unfortunately, APA reflects, and reinforces, in word and deed, our drug dependent society. Yet, it helps wage war on drugs. Dual Diagnosis clients are a major problem for the field but not because of the good drugs we prescribe. Bad ones are those that are obtained mostly without a prescription. A Marxist would observe that being a good capitalist organization, APA likes only those drugs from which it can derive a profit – directly or indirectly.

    This is not a group for me. At this point in history, in my view, psychiatry has been almost completely bought out by the drug companies. The APA could not continue without the pharmaceutical company support of meetings, symposia, workshops, journal advertising, grand rounds luncheons, unrestricted educational grants etc. etc. Psychiatrists have become the minions of drug company promotions. APA, of course, maintains that its independence and autonomy are not compromised in this enmeshed situation.

    Anyone with the least bit of common sense attending the annual meeting would observe how the drug company exhibits and industry sponsored symposia draw crowds with their various enticements while the serious scientific sessions are barely attended. Psychiatric training reflects their influence as well; i.e., the most important part of a resident curriculum is the art and quasi-science of dealing drugs, i.e., prescription writing.

    These psychopharmacological limitations on our abilities to be complete physicians also limit our intellectual horizons. No longer do we seek to understand whole persons in their social contexts rather we are there to realign our patients’ neurotransmitters. The problem is that it is very difficult to have a relationship with a neurotransmitter whatever its configuration.

    So, our guild organization provides a rationale, by its neurobiological tunnel vision, for keeping our distance from the molecule conglomerates we have come to define as patients. We condone and promote the widespread overuse and misuse of toxic chemicals that we know have serious long term effects: tardive dyskinesia, tardive dementia and serious withdrawal syndromes. So, do I want to be a drug company patsy who treats molecules with their formulary? No, thank you very much. It saddens me that after 35 years as a psychiatrist I look forward to being dissociated from such an organization. In no way does it represent my interests. It is not within my capacities to buy into the current biomedical-reductionistic model heralded by the psychiatric leadership as once again marrying us to somatic medicine. This is a matter of fashion, politics and, like the pharmaceutical house connection, money.

    In addition, APA has entered into an unholy alliance with NAMI (I don’t remember the members being asked if they supported such an organization) such that the two organizations have adopted similar public belief systems about the nature of madness. While professing itself the champion of their clients the APA is supporting non-clients, the parents, in their wishes to be in control, via legally enforced dependency, of their mad/bad offspring. NAMI, with tacit APA approval, has set out a pro-neuroleptic drug and easy commitment-institutionalization agenda that violates the civil rights of their offspring. For the most part we stand by and allow this fascistic agenda to move forward. Their psychiatric god, Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, is allowed to diagnose and recommend treatment to those in the NAMI organization with whom he disagrees. Clearly, a violation of medical ethics. Does APA protest? Of course not, because he is speaking what APA agrees with but can’t explicitly espouse. He is allowed to be a foil; after all he is no longer a member of APA. (Slick work APA!)

    The shortsightedness of this marriage of convenience between APA, NAMI and the drug companies (who gleefully support both groups because of their shared pro-drug stance) is an abomination. I want no part of a psychiatry of oppression and social control.

    Biologically based brain diseases are convenient for families and practitioners alike. It is no fault insurance against personal responsibility. We are just helplessly caught up in a swirl of brain pathology for which no one, except DNA, is responsible. Now, to begin with, anything that has an anatomically defined specific brain pathology becomes the province of neurology (syphilis is an excellent example). So, to be consistent with this “brain disease” view all the major psychiatric disorders would become the territory of our neurologic colleagues. Without having surveyed them

    I believe they would eschew responsibility for these problematic individuals. However, consistency would demand our giving over “biologic brain diseases” to them. The fact that there is no evidence confirming the brain disease attribution is, at this point, irrelevant. What we are dealing with here is fashion, politics and money. This level of intellectual/scientific dishonesty is just too egregious for me to continue to support by my membership.

    I view with no surprise that psychiatric training is being systemically disavowed by American medical school graduates. This must give us cause for concern about the state of today’s psychiatry. It must mean, at least in part, that they view psychiatry as being very limited and unchallenging. To me it seems clear that we are headed toward a situation in which, except for academics, most psychiatric practitioners will have no real relationships, so vital to the healing process, with the disturbed and disturbing persons they treat. Their sole role will be that of prescription writers, ciphers in the guise of being “helpers”.

    Finally, why must the APA pretend to know more than it does? DSM IV is the fabrication upon which psychiatry seeks acceptance by medicine in general. Insiders know it is more a political than scientific document. To its credit it says so, although its brief apologia is rarely noted. DSM IV has become a bible and a money making best seller – its major failings notwithstanding. It confines and defines practice, some take it seriously, others more realistically. It is the way to get paid. Diagnostic reliability is easy to attain for research projects. The issue is what do the categories tell us? Do they in fact accurately represent the person with a problem? They don’t, and can’t, because there are no external validating criteria for psychiatric diagnoses. There is neither a blood test nor specific anatomic lesions for any major psychiatric disorder. So, where are we? APA as an organization has implicitly (sometimes explicitly as well) bought into a theoretical hoax. Is psychiatry a hoax, as practiced today?

    What do I recommend to the organization upon leaving after experiencing three decades of its history?

    1.. To begin with, let us be ourselves. Stop taking on unholy alliances without the members’ permission.

    2.. Get real about science, politics and money. Label each for what it is – that is, be honest.

    3.. Get out of bed with NAMI and the drug companies. APA should align itself, if one believes its rhetoric, with the true consumer groups, i. e., the ex-patients, psychiatric survivors etc.

    4.. Talk to the membership; I can’t be alone in my views.

    We seem to have forgotten a basic principle: the need to be patient/client/consumer satisfaction oriented. I always remember Manfred Bleuler’s wisdom: “Loren, you must never forget that you are your patient’s employee.” In the end they will determine whether or not psychiatry survives in the service marketplace.

    Sincerely,

    Loren R. Mosher M. D.

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  3. This link explains how the relationship between medical schools and pharmaceutical companies has been corrupted in the last few decades. There is an inherent flaw in the system and until the system is overhauled the problems will continue. Perhaps medical schools and clinical trials should be publicly funded to avoid the bias of having a private company with a vested interest in control of the outcome of the drug trials?

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  4. Hi All

    I have refused to take Anti Psychotic medications full time for Bipolar since it was shoved in my face and I was told I would end up in hospital if I did not,…I don’t like taking medications anyway. The time I took these pills for 6 months they made me fat and anxious and stopped my menstraul cycle completely.

    Since I dont take much other than Lithium, I have been discharged!! to my GP. I am very well and do know and believe that these tablets Olanzapine etc are only useful for a short period od time ie. 2 weeks if absolutely required and not as dolled out in Ireland by every shrink to keep the pharma plants happy. I know because I actually took the medications as directed by them,….so basically I know.

    And I am officially not Bipolar any more,..because I said No.!

    That’s legally too. Ciao for now Linda Irish Survivor no respect for Institute of Irish Shrinks whatsoever.

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  5. I am in the process of exposing a private mental health hospital in Dublin having been an inpatient there recently , I witnessed physical assault (nurse slapping a patient),medication I blatantly refused from the get go attempting to be administered to me via apple juice ,I have the photos to prove,blatant neglect and complete disregard for service users ,this country is in a vile state where mental health issues are concerned and until these so called hospitals and consultants are exposed and held accountable nothing will change,my experience will be posted within the next two days and it’s shocking

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