Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Psychiatrists Get Religion, to a Degree

When I was doing research for HOOKED, one of my all-time favorite quotes came from a great press expose about the excesses of commercial sponsorship at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (I believe in 2004). A member of the board was quoted as saying that if the APA could not call upon industry money to support the meeting, they would have to endure the indignity of "meeting in the basement of the YMCA."

I never did find out what the reaction to that comment was from groups that actually do meet in the basement of the YMCA. But it indicates the extent to which consciousness has been raised about commercial influence and conflicts of interest to compare that statement with this press release:

The APA has now gone well out in front of most of its peer organizations by choosing to ban industry-sponsored symposia and meals from its national meeting.

This is a major step in a positive direction and so I hate to raise any skeptical questions. But the news release is silent on the nature and form of other industry funding that the APA will rely on to help support its national meeting. It does not report what percentage of total industry support the meeting will sacrifice by this move. It does not appear that the APA is ready for the basement of the YMCA quite yet. I'll be interested to see what our psychiatry colleagues like Danny Carlat and Doug Bremner have to say about this on their blogs.

1 comment:

Kevin B. O'Reilly said...

Well, the APA has said it gets more than a quarter of its revenues from pharma, and less than 10% of that amount was for symposia. See: