Objectives To examine the under-reporting of pharmaceutical company payments to patient organisations by donors and recipients.
Design Comparative descriptive analysis of payments disclosed on drug company and charity regulator websites.
Participants 87 donors (drug companies) and 425 recipients (patient organisations) reporting payments in 2012–2016.
Main outcome measures Number and value of payments reported by donors and recipients; differences in reported payments from/to the same donors and recipients; payments reported in either dataset but not the other one; agreement between donor–recipient ties established by payments; overlap between donor and recipient lists and, respectively, industry and patient organisation data.
Results Of 87 donors, 63 (72.4%) reported payments but 84 (96.6%) were mentioned by recipients. Although donors listed 425 recipients, only 200 (47.1%) reported payments. The number and value of payments reported by donors were 259.8% and 163.7% greater than those reported by recipients, respectively. The number of donors with matching payment numbers and values in both datasets were 3.4% and 0.0%, respectively; for recipients these figures were 7.8% and 1.9%. There were 24 and 3 donors missing from industry and patient organisation data during the entire study period, representing 38.1% and 3.6% of those in the respective datasets. The share of donor–recipient ties in which industry and patient organisation data agreed about donors and recipients was 38.9% and 68.4% in each dataset, respectively. Of 63 donors reporting payments, only 3 (4.8%) had their recipient lists fully overlapping with patient organisation data. Of 200 recipients reporting industry funding, 102 (51.0%) had their donor lists fully overlapping with industry data.
Conclusions Both donors and recipients under-reported payments. Existing donor and recipient disclosure systems cannot manage potential conflicts of interest associated with industry payments. Increased standardisation could limit the under-reporting by each side but only an integrated donor–recipient database could eliminate it.
I am the mother of four, but addiction is my ever-present extra child. My grandparents died of alcoholism. My father-in-law did, too. My 43-year-old brother died of a heroin overdose in May. He became addicted after taking prescribed OxyContin following an appendectomy.
When my 13-year-old daughter needed hernia surgery as my brother was hitting rock bottom, it wasn’t the operation I feared. It was the opiates that would be part of her recovery. A 2018 study in the journal Pediatrics reported “persistent” opiate use by nearly 5 percent of patients age 13 to 21 following surgery, as compared to 0.1 percent in the nonsurgical group.
I wanted to figure out a way to help my daughter through the pain without resorting to using opiates.
In 2019, a literature review indicated that more than half of people who try to come off antidepressants experience withdrawal effects. Both the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence and the Royal College of Psychiatrists updated their positions in line with that review, and Public Health England published a 152-page report called Dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines: an evidence review. The report made several recommendations relevant to general practice.
In order to facilitate implementation of these recommendations, an online survey was designed to explore United Kingdom general practitioner (GP) experiences, opinions, knowledge and needs in relation to depression, ADs and withdrawal. A total of 66 GPs had completed the survey when COVID-19 occurred.
In keeping with previous findings, this small sample of GPs had a predominantly psycho-social perspective on the causes of, and treatments for, depression. They broadly considered ADs effective for moderate/severe depression and ineffective for minimal/mild depression, for which they preferred psychological therapies and social prescribing. There was a marked lack of consistency in GPs’ knowledge about the incidence and duration of withdrawal effects. Only a minority (29%) felt their knowledge about withdrawal was ‘adequate’ and fewer (17%) believed this about their ‘Ability to distinguish between withdrawal effects and return of the original problem (e.g. depression)’. Two-thirds (68%) would like more training on these matters.
It is hoped that even this small sample will be helpful when designing, and seeking funding for, GP training programmes, and when implementing the PHE recommendations for support services, based in the primary care system, for the millions of people contemplating or initiating withdrawal from ADs every year in the UK.
In the largest newspaper in the world this week, one of the largest problems in the world was proposed as having a very simple solution.
There are few problems more heartbreaking and excruciating than the growing epidemic of youth (and adults) taking their own precious lives. And so, it’s understandable that great attention continues to go towards solutions that can make a difference.
In response to this urgent challenge, psychiatrist Richard A. Friedman asked in a New York Times op-ed: “How is it possible that so many of our young people are suffering from depression and killing themselves when we know perfectly well how to treat this illness?”
Do we? That’s certainly a widely shared perception among many in the general public today. But is the answer really this clear?Read More
I recently submitted a recommendation to Oregon’s mental health officials as they consider revising their clinical standards. My recommendation for these clinical practice standards has to do with providing true informed consent for prescribing psychotropic medications. If it were adopted, it would threaten to bring down a kind of “house of cards” that is the centerpiece of the mental health system.
The state is asking for feedback on what they call administrative rules for behavioral health. These rules provide the practice standards required of service providers.Read More
This Continues the Spotlight on the Suicides series. Astonished by the conclusion of Stephen O’Neill’s inquest, I wrote to Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, copied to the Ministers of Health in Ireland, Simon Harris, in Wales Vaughan Gething, and in England Matt Hancock, along with the Danish MEP, Margrete Auken, the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly and Martina Anderson, a Northern Irish MEP.
Michelle O’Neill MLA
Deputy First Minister
Coalisland Sinn Fein Office
Co Tyrone BT71 4LN
Dear Michelle O’Neill
Re: Stephen O’Neill
I testified recently at Stephen O’Neill’s inquest. Concerned about the conclusion, I have since liaised with several lawyers, one of them a coroner, to explore what might be done to prevent an unfortunate inquest compounding an unnecessary death.
The options available to anyone unhappy with an inquest, primarily review whether there has been a breach of legal process. It is clear to the O’Neill family, and to me, there hasn’t been a breach of legal process, and even a judicial review at this point would be unlikely to contribute to the public safety in the manner the family had hoped for from an inquest.
This leaves the family in a situation resembling that of the relatives of those who died on the recent Boeing 737 Max flights. Had these deaths not been so public, a coroner would likely have concluded they were an unavoidable accident and his/her brief was just to record a death by plane crash. This verdict would have been supported on judicial review.
I am writing to you because there have been thousands of deaths like Stephen O’Neill’s and almost certainly will be thousands more – hundreds of Boeings – and, if a decent coroner like Mr McGurgan cannot see a way to make a difference, no-one will do anything to forestall these further deaths. The situation calls for a political rather than a judicial response.Read More
A few years ago when I was directing a Medicaid mental health managed care organization, the irascible senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, got a burr under his saddle, as they say in the Midwest, about what the federal government was paying out for psychiatric medications in Medicaid expenditures. And he was able to connect the cost information to individual prescribers.
The two highest prescribing billers were in my area in Oregon. I was shocked for several reasons.
The first was that I had no idea what these figures were because they weren’t in my Medicaid budget. The second was that the highest prescriber was in my area. In one year alone, he had billed $457,000 of psychiatric medications, mostly Abilify. The third—and this was an extremely dismaying shocker—was that he was a child psychiatrist, and so he had been prescribing Abilify and these other drugs to children and adolescents.Read More
I am in love. I’m in love with this way of working. And I won’t stop. Open Dialogue Washington began in 2018 upon my graduation/commencement from Jaakko Seikkula’s dialogic approaches to couple and family therapy trainer/supervisor training, in collaboration with Dialogic Partners and the University of Jyväskylä.
In 2016, I embarked to partake in the best training course I had ever experienced as a family therapist. The embodiment I experienced working with my Open Dialogue colleagues felt like the missing key in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Something intangible, yet what I knew all along. Something ineffable, yet also a shared language. Something deeply and autonomically human, yet unrepeatable and fleeting. It led me onto a moment-by-moment path where everything I learned in my 27-year long career about systemic family therapy and emergency psychiatric protocols ebbed, and the present moment of love flowed, neither the ebbing knowledge nor the cresting wisdom having any lesser value than the other. The complete work we do in mental health care is this ocean of love.
We are in constant change when we are in crisis. Timelessness sets in. Growth is happening. We don’t exactly know what we need. That is what mental health work is, sitting with this human happening. In the in-between space something happens, and we don’t know what will. This is the paradox. We are navigating the ebb and flow of incoming knowledge we have from research and the ebb and flow in each patient and family’s difficulties (the meanings they make of them.)
“It cannot be taught, but it needs a teacher.”
(RxISK.org) – It is commonly recognized that certain medications should not be administered with some others. What is not well known is that several over the counter (OTC) medications and herbal supplements can be lethal if taken with SSRIs.
I have a patient who was taking fluoxetine and, experiencing some difficulty with sleep, decided to take one tab of melatonin. He woke up with a red and burning face, headache and blood pressure of 230/180. He was in a full serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome symptoms often begin within hours of taking a new medication that affects serotonin levels or excessively increasing the dose of one you are already taking. Symptoms may include: Confusion, agitation or restlessness, dilated pupils, headache, changes in blood pressure and/or temperature, nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, tremor, loss of muscle coordination or twitching muscles, shivering and goose bumps, heavy sweating.
This syndrome may develop within hours to days of increasing a serotonergic dose or adding a serotonergic agent to a drug regimen already containing a serotonergic medication. Symptoms range from mild and chronic, to others that progress quickly to death. My patient is lucky to be alive.Read More
This post helps make sense of the mountain of bipolar drug research. It distills into an infographic the pros and cons of five classes of bipolar drugs and gives observations on what it means for people who face choices on bipolar care.
(The infographic is kept fresh as research evolves. The latest version with footnotes is always here.)
A few key perspectives behind this infographic deserve attention:Read More