Barry Blackwell: Corporate Corruption in the Psychopharmaceutical Industry

Barry Blackwell’s reply to Hector Warnes’ comment


 I am grateful to Hector Warnes for his thoughtful and generous response to my essay (Compared to Emile Zola!). Also for drawing attention to additional examples of questionable ethical practices, including early testing of developmental drugs in Third World countries, the mortality due to improper drug use and the minimization of drug side effects by pharmaceutical representatives.

 Hector’s concern that the essay tilts perhaps too far in a “war on Big Pharma” is worthy of further discussion. Given the length and focus of the essay, I paid little attention to the role of the medical profession and the public in adopting an increasingly “biogenic” mindset. This important aspect is examined at length in responding to David Healey’s essay “The Shipwreck of the Singular” ( in Controversies). In that response (Maritime Metaphors) I explore the evolution of medical education and medical practice and record their ongoing struggle and frequent failure to preserve adequate attention to social and psychological aspects of illness and disease.

Perhaps the following short poem, from my memoir, Bits and Pieces of a Psychiatrist’s Life, reveals where my sentiments truly lie.



The mind accepts what’s working well,

But resurrects our body’s ills

In rituals of colored pills.


White oils the joints; green quells bad moods,

Pink stifles aches: red thins the blood,

Blue re-creates a gero-stud.


Despite these drugs, death reaches all.

God pulls the plug and wills us each

Eternal peace without the pills.


Thank you again Hector for giving me this opportunity!


Barry Blackwell

September 29, 2016