Posted by: Jane | December 1, 2010

Pharma paid Nemeroff to write drug literature, sort of.

The New York Times is reporting about a book called “Recognition and Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: A Psychopharmacology Handbook for Primary Care” that was apparently co-written by Dr. Charles Nemeroff and Dr. Alan F. Schatzberg.

The issue seems to be, how much of this book did they write? Apparently much of it was ghostwritten by a company called Scientific Therapeutics Information, Inc. Here is the link to their site.

There has been some brouhaha stirred up about ghostwriting in psychopharmacology and it is something Philip Dawdy from Furious Seasons has written about in the past.

Charles Nemeroff I’ve heard of before. This is the infamous psychiatrist who never found a psychotropic drug he couldn’t be paid to like. But really creepy is this Springfield, New Jersey company Scientific Therapeutics Information, Inc that apparently wrote a significant portion of the book.

This is just a few things I found on their site that raised my eyebrows

Who we are

Our highly educated staff can take you through the lifespan of a drug, from the pre-launch publication of clinical trials through comprehensive speaker training programs. We’ll stick with you even when your needs shift from cutting-edge research to brand revitalization.

Comment: these are the kinds of people who helped Big Pharma launch atypical antipsychotics. Probably helped them spin the false image of atyps being an improvement over earlier generation formulas. These are the spin doctors to Big Pharma. This particular company was made by a pharmacist for the purpose of propagating pharmaceuticals. When you need scientific papers drummed up for your product and co-written by experts, this company hooks you up with their writers and contacts and makes it all happen. Then when your latest blockbuster drug starts killing people these are the folks you go to get your drug rebranded or reimaged.

Relationships with Industry Leaders and Opinion Leaders

We also know the people who work in therapeutics. In twenty years, we have developed close working relationships with expert physicians and industry leaders in a vast number of medical fields. We can put a voice to your product and keep that partnership going in the long term. Our history has taught us the science of pharmaceuticals, and the science of communication.

Comment: I take this to mean, companies like this, act as middlemen or a dating service, setting up people like Nemeroff or Joe Biederman with drug companies who need them for their seal of authority on various papers, to the profits of all three parties.

There is some nice juicy nuggets to be found at The Project on Government Oversight regarding this pharma-funded book and Sally Laden, a writer for STI, Inc who apparently wrote portions of it. Very insightful to me was reading about how GlaxoSithKline writes the consensus statements about treating mental disorders for the DBSA, another apparent advocacy group which like NAMI is primarily funded through grants by pharmaceutical companies and consequently, all the literature about mental illnesses, their causes and drug treatments that is espoused by DBSA (as with NAMI) consist primarily of pharmaganda.

Scary company. Read more about the book and ghostwriting here and Dr. John Grohol’s post and plea about it here.

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