Jay D. Amsterdam and Leemon B. McHenry : The Paroxetine 352 Bipolar Study Revisited : Desconstruction of Corporate and Academic Misconduct
Edward Tobe’s comment on Barry Blackwell’s comment on Jay Amsterdam and Leemon McHenry’s reply to his comment
I want to thank Dr. Blackwell for his kind remarks and his well-considered observations about the seduction of greed. Troublingly, physicians exist in a world where both knowledge and jobs must enable profit for corporate entities in an age where many citizens are without health care coverage, I share Dr. Blackwell’s reservations about highly paid executives advancing the economic interests of corporations. Corporations must be successful to survive, but we must be wary when they cross the line as demonstrated by Leemon McHenry and Jay Amsterdam’s bold analysis of the failed Paxil study and the complicity of the Journal of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Blackwell notes:
“lucre is the only one that suffers no adverse consequences and proceeds unchecked because the institutions taxed with oversight are afflicted with the same disorder.”
“The magnitude of the emoluments derived, the lure of the lucre and the anodyne that “everyone is doing it” are powerful constraints that stifle whatever individual slender moral or ethical impulses might still exist.”
I would like to respond with an expansion of comments about the moral underpinnings of fraud to address “the lure of lucre”, greed. Dr. Blackwell suggests greed is similar to an addiction. Greed’s addiction stems from the excitement generated by the action, or anticipated action, of grasping all for oneself, just as the gambler loves the action over the money. Greed is blind to how it affects others.
Dr. Blackwell states lucre is the only addiction without adverse consequences. However, there are significant consequences. With a self-centered preoccupation, the individual becomes blind to others and emotionally abandons significant others such as family<s>;</s> If the individual is part of a group that aspires toward greed, a challenge to individual character emerges.
A comment about character is warranted. Character, or personality, is an aggregate of distinctive qualities that the individual accepts, and which are influenced by environmental variables, such as trauma. Character is not always observable: its components are internal, derived from efforts to resolve developmental conflict or significant adult life stressors. However, age alone does not bestow maturity. Maturity requires placing reality over the pleasure principle, possessing impulse control, toleration of frustration and anxiety, resolution of adolescent conflicts of idealization, the assumption of personal responsibility and the development of empathy. The mature character is less inclined to yield individual autonomy to a group.
Under the influence of wanting to become a member of a group, the individual forfeits some aspect of autonomy and behaves syntonically to the group goals. The more enmeshed the individual is with the group, the greater the adoption of the group’s perception, and the character of the individual takes on the psychological character of the group. When someone becomes a part of the group, their energies serve the group, often lacking individual reflection and taking on less personal acceptance of responsibility. In the case of corporate life, the goals, values, and ethical standards of the corporation are adopted as acceptable. A similar trend is observed in cults. Leaders convince members of the group that they are a family and many members believe it.
Strong charismatic leaders may have their character and goals adopted by the group. If the leader of the group is effective, she or he can exploit the members of the group through setting goals that define value. For instance, the goal of a group may be the sale of Paxil. Member blindness to their actions surrounding this sale can be astonishing and suggest that the members obtained a secondary gain from expressing unrestrained impulses. A similar pattern is seen in atrocities.
Two infamous examples from the Twentieth Century of medical atrocities committed in first world countries illustrate such blind cooperation. The medical experiments conducted by Nazi medical personnel were performed on 15,754 confirmed victims plus 12,005 pending confirmation victims. The survivors were often seriously disabled and handicapped for the remainder of their lives.(3) Physicians from the U.S. Public Health Service supported the Tuskegee syphilis experiment from 1932 until Jean Heller of the Associated Press broke the story in July of 1972. The study was closed due to a public outrage (Heller 1972) (4). In these two examples, well-educated medical personnel collaborated with non-medical personnel to intentionally harm the selected victims to achieve a goal that was not in the best interests of the victims.
As a species, we tolerate the abuse of one group to satisfy the goals of another group. The goal of greed is socially acceptable and admired by many. Those who have obtained such greed through harm to others must shed responsibility in order to avoid shame. There is now a reality of living a lie that is accepted by many people, and in fact being admired for one’s achievement. If challenged, those involved with the lie must adamantly defend the lie or face shame.
Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men’s minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? (5)
Dr. Blackwell’s remarks about greed are the iceberg of improbity. Leemon McHenry and Jay Amsterdam, along with all of the numerous comment writers and the administrators of the INHN, have opened the eyes, ears and mouth of the famous three monkeys.
1. Amsterdam JD, McHenry L. The paroxetine 352 bipolar study revisited: deconstruction of corporate and academic misconduct. Journal of Scientific Practice and Integrity 2019;1(1). www.jospi.org/article/10840-the-paroxetine-352-bipolar-study-revisited-deconstruction-of-corporate-and-academic-misconduct.
2. Amsterdam JD, McHenry LB. The paroxetine 352 bipolar trial: A study in medical ghostwriting. Int J Risk Saf Med 2012;24(4):221-31.
3. Weindling P, von Villiez A, Loewenau A, Farron N. The victims of unethical human experiments and coerced research under National Socialism. Endeavour 2016;40(1):1-6.
4. Heller J. Syphilis Victims in U.S. Study Went Untreated for 40 Years. The New York Times; 1972. www.nytimes.com/1972/07/26/archives/syphilis-victims-in-us-study-went-untreated-for-40-years-syphilis.html.
5. Friedman SM, editor. Francis Bacon Online. Of Truth. 1601. www.westegg.com/bacon/truth.html.
Acknowledgements: Dr. Tess Bird, DPhil, MSc. provided valuable editorial assistance.
July 1, 2021