Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sponsored Editorial?

In the October Journal of Clinical Psychiatry appears a “sponsored editorial.” Last time I checked, editorials often reflected the informed opinions of the editorial board or perhaps a knowledgeable guest. But, no, this editorial reflects the opinion of AstraZeneca, maker of Seroquel.

You can see what it looks like to the right. How far do we want to blur the line between marketing and science? If the claims made in this advertorial are true, then perhaps someone should write them up in more detail and submit an article on the topic, rather than giving the hint that the editorial board approves of this non peer-reviewed message. Maybe the editors of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry no longer have standards or maybe it was an oversight. In any case, it is well beyond the standards of acceptable scientific journal editing to allow an advertisement to be labeled as an editorial.


Anonymous said...

CL Psych:


Based on that "aditorial," do you get a sense that in addition to competing directly with SSRI's in the potentially huge "social anxiety" niche they may also be trying to plant the seeds for a future "Seroquel for drug-induced akathisia" campaign?

I know that may sound like a stretch, but nothing surprises me and I could easily see a doctor thinking that "Sure. . .Seroquel for your Paxil induced akathisia seems reasonable."

I am interested to see where you think they would go with this, since I think SSRI-induced akathisia is terribly serious and under-appreciated by clinicians.

I have always assumed "they" would continue to dismiss the seriousness of this side effect (tis not the drug but underlying disease. . .blah), but I now I can also see them using this as an opportunity to substitute more expensive, patented substances for the benzo's that are sometimes given to temper SSRI's.

I'd like to know if you think this is at all plausible, or if I have been observing Big Pharma so long that my cynicism has finally reached full-blown paranoia.

CL Psych said...


I absolutely got the impression that a Seroquel for akathisia campaign could be in the works. SSRI-induced akathisia has been discussed at some length in some of David Healy's work; I think he has laid out a credible idea that akathisia leads to aggression and suicide in some cases.

The object is always to deny a side effect until the side effect becomes profitable. After all, drug companies insisted that tricyclic AD's were safe and effective until the SSRI's came out, then they did nothing but heap scorn on the old medications. Same story with antipsychotics -- The side effects of Haldol et al. were underplayed by drug co's until the newer antipsychotics were released, at which point the older meds were derided by drug companies as terrible treatments.

I'm not certain that a full-blown Seroquel for akathisia reduction campaign will actually emerge; perhaps this stealth advertising campaign is giving AstraZeneca the desired results without the possible negative publicity of an all-out advertising blitz regarding using it as a treatment for drug-induced akathisia.

Big Pharma is set up to do one thing: make money. It is their obligation to maximize shareholder return. Sometimes patients benefit; often they do not.

As always, thanks for your thoughtful comment.