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Barry Blackwell: Corporate corruption in the psychopharmaceutical industry

Donald F. Klein’s comment on collated (November 17, 2016) document


            Presenting Blackwell's critique of the current psychopharmacological debacle, collated with other expert opinions, offers a very rich menu.

            At first, I thought it would be possible to make a detailed analysis of each stated opinion, but soon gave up. My own views are fairly simple, probably more left than most, but I still wish that Barry Blackwell's legislative hopes come true. However, given recent disheartening electoral results, such hopes appear wishful fantasies. It is difficult to arrive at a coherent, hopeful program

            The absolutely central problem seems to be poorly regulated profit seeking. This is made especially difficult in an area that generally has received cultural high respect. Criticizing the work of healing professionals and industrial provision of effective medications appears the work of cranks.

            Affecting regulation via legislation seems the way to go, but not now.  In the context of a backlash against our current government's continued failure to meet its promises, there may be a possibility.

            However, such a failure does not necessarily lead to improvement. Things might get worse. It is to avoid this dire possibility that despite current defeat, a continued effort is called for, but it needs definition.

            Efforts to communicate the positive benefits of scientific efforts are needed. A book like “Microbe Hunter“ inspired a generation.

            Negative critiques are also needed, but there is too much to criticize.

            Judgment is necessary. Focusing on the public’s vital, personal concerns are most effective. Critiques of issues such as endemic KOLs, medicalizing normality, lying with statistics, conflicts of interests, pervasive corruption, necessary dimensionality, etc., are often handled as inexplicable value deteriorations, abstract conflicts, or unjust exploitations, rather than real dangers to the reader. Tangential critiques that offer nothing but nostalgia, such as “holistic” care, further blur the issues.

            We should learn from the youth uprisings of the 60s. They were due to the draft. Current absence is due to being draft free.

            An abstract focus on the corrupting, anti-scientific effects of hiding negative data that causes the destruction of evidence-based medicine bores many.

            Greedy motivation and anti-public health effects are easily understood, but rarely arousing. Most important is that your doctor has been deprived of  a truthful basis  for the best treatment. That is personally arousing because of directly being put in danger. Similarly, that biased papers or downright false presentations mislead your doctor’s practice, strikes home.

            Even though a scientific focus on corrupted research causing personal danger may be insufficient to directly gain useful regulation, it should appeal to effective political effort.


Donald F. Klein

January 19, 2017