Monday, April 18, 2011

More on Ghostwritten Psychiatry Textbook: What Coverup?

That ol' day job has been kicking up again, hence my long delay in posting, and a bit of a backlog to address. Once again our pals over at Health Care Renewal have been busy, in this particular instance, psychiatrist Bernard Carroll: Dr. Carroll is back to discussing the case I initially posted about last fall, in which the American Psychiatric Association was implicated in working on a psychopharmacology textbook for primary care physicians, that appeared to have been ghostwritten by a medical communications company with financing from the company that's now GlaxoSmithKline: Dr. Carroll updates us on the failure of the APA to release documents which presumably could absolve it of a lot of the blame for this debacle--suggesting that since they will not release the documents, we just might suspect that the documents are in fact incriminating. One key document is the contract signed with the communications company, Scientific Therapeutics Information. Dr. Carroll notes that this is the same company known to have ghostwritten the report of the now-infamous Paxil Study 329, and Healthy Skepticism has in its files a copy of the contract executed with STI to ghostwrite that paper, later released as a result of litigation: Dr. Carroll suggests, first, that this contract makes it quite clear that the article was ghostwritten, and second, if the APA won't release the contract with STI for its textbook, they invite concerns that it's because that contract looks just about the same as the Study 329 contract. He adds further that since this flap arose, STI, which used to have a page on its website boasting of its role in creating the textbook, has now removed all mention of the text from that site, again making us wonder who has what to hide. I suggest that if you have a few minutes you actually glance at the contract at the Healthy Skepticism site. It's only 12 pages. Who, you might ask, wants to read 12 pages of single-spaced legalese? Well, surprise--in addition to being easily comprehensible, the pages are mostly white space, with only a few sentences on each page. (Funny thing about our legal system. Apparently if you want to do something honest and above-board, like say buy a house, you have to sign page after page of gobbledygook, but if you want to do something nefarious, just dash off a few sentences and you're good to go.) The contract speaks of the academics whose names will be signed to the final article as "authors" and the head honcho of them as the "principal author," but it makes clear who's in charge. For example, the first draft will be written by STI and then shown to the company. The second draft, based on the corrections the company suggests to Draft 1, will then be completed by STI and shown to the company and to the "principal author." And also STI says that in the end, they'll provide each of the listed authors of the paper with a copy of the final submitted manuscript, "as a courtesy." How nice of them. NOTE ADDED 4/18: Folks, I again apologize that all the paragraph breaks I inserted into the above post have been erased in the process of uploading to the blog. I don't know why that is or what to do about it, as I tried to get info from Blogspot on how to fix this last time out and failed. I had hoped by now they'd have fixed the problem, but apparently not.

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