Bernard Carroll, a psychiatrist who is known for laying down the smack on drug industry spin, has a fantastic post at Health Care Renewal that should be read by all. It deals with the marketing and "science" surrounding the use of Risperdal for treatment-resistant depression, a topic I've discussed at length on this site previously.
The campaign aims to shape a favorable climate of opinion for the drug through experimercials (commercially strategic clinical trials) and journal publications that are really infomercials. The stakeholders are some major corporations, “key opinion leaders” (KOLs), leading medical journals, and several million patients who suffer from nonresponsive depression in the US. The winners are the KOLs and the corporations, while the big losers are the patients.The plot thickens:
You begin to see the picture: we have the appearance of editorial self-dealing, including product placement for a corporate client of the editor; an incompetent or possibly dishonest journal review process; and the appearance that somebody went out of his way in two places to insert a false claim of efficacy into the report of a negative clinical trial.The depth of reporting is excellent. I can vouch for the Dr. Carroll's analysis of the situation and note that it closely matches my own investigation into the Risperdal for depression studies. When industry, academia, and buckets of money collide, the outcome is predictable.