Read the article based on the committee's findings here. It's very good reading. They make a long list of recommendations, 24 to be exact, including highlights such as...
- External funds (i.e., drug money) should not be a part of APA's core budget
- Exhibitors at APA conventions should not pimp their wares in bizarre manners (see the American Psychiatric Association convention for examples of marketing gone awry)
- APA should consider not allowing continuing education credits for industry-sponsored courses
- No drug pens or other branded material on display where psychologists work
- Psychologists should not accept gifts from corporations (including meals)
APA will not heed the recommendations of their task force, at least not many of the important ones. Should psychologists attain prescription privileges in more states over the next 10 or 2o years, drug companies will throw their money at psychologists in the following ways (and then some)...
- Gifts, small and large
- Sponsoring continuing marketing, er, education
- Funding APA directly
- "Unrestricted" research grants
- Psychologist-to-psychologist marketing. Paying psychologists to "educate" other psychologists about medication.
- Having psychologists rubber stamp their name on ghostwritten, pro-industry "research" pieces
Prediction 2. APA and the various state psychological associations will not restrict CE credits based on who funds them. There is already grumbling about a lot of what passes for continuing education of psychologists being nothing more than fluff, puffery, or a feel-good session. That being the case, there will be many who will be drawn to the allure (however fake it may be) of science surrounding drug company-sponsored continuing education. Of course, some psychologists already receive pharma-funded continuing ed, but there is much room for drug companies to move into "educating" psychologists about their products.
Prediction 3. Psychologists will become more involved in drug research. Some people have stated, I believe quite naively, that if psychologists become more involved in drug research, they will clean it up. Um, what makes psychologists more capable of cleaning up the dirty research system (1, 2) than the current body of medical researchers. Seems like a rather arrogant belief to think that psychologists will clean up a system of biased clinical research just because they are psychologists. Psychologists will also be involved in signing their names onto puff pro-drug pieces.
I could be wrong. APA could take a stand. But APA has dedicated many resources to getting psychologists on-board as prescribers. Just read through APA press releases and see their enthusiasm (1, 2). So don't make a bet on it. For psychology to make the moves suggested by the Task Force, there will have to be a very vocal group of psychologists who constantly harrangue the leadership of APA into taking a firm stand. I'd suggest they start up a blog, get in the ears of reporters, and do anything they can to draw attention to their very legitimate concerns. I realize that prescription privileges for psychologists and being corrupted by pharmaceutical marketing are not necessarily one and the same. Only time will tell if psychology will be more strongly influenced by science or by marketing.