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I was treating our responses as more of a conversation, but Robert Whitaker has authored two books, Mad in America, and Under the Influence. Whitaker is one of the people who have exposed how psychiatrists have been hired by drug companies and given huge salaries with many perks to promote their drugs at psychiatric conferences, conventions, and psychiatric offices. I believe these practices have been reigned in somewhat due to Whitaker’s expose. I believe you would like both of these books.

In terms of my opinion about health care professionals using big pharma as a scapegoat for their own mis-prescribing or over-prescribing, I have been clear my opinion is simply my opinion. After weighing the evidence, I still hold the opinion that doctors and psychiatrists, regardless of how intimidating or persuasive a drug rep is, still have to do their homework and that the buck must stop with them.

The study you linked said nothing more than doctors are influenced by drug reps. This, to me, is a typical psychological study. A lot of money is spent to state the obvious. I already knew doctors were impacted by sales reps. Humans are impacted continuously every time they interact with new information, whether that information is delivered by another human, a book, a video, or direct experience. Of course a doctor is impacted by someone trying to influence him one way or another. Who isn’t?

But if a doctor can be intimidated by data presented by a drug rep to the extent he makes bad decisions about the drugs he ultimately prescribes, he or she should not be a doctor. Doctors make tough decisions all day, often under unbelievable pressure, so I don’t accept the idea they are victims of the drug company sales reps. To be clear, this is my opinion, not anything I read from a study.

I am most worried about doctors and psychiatrists who receive some sort of kickback from drug companies and the lack of transparency for where money for health care education and research on our college campuses is coming from.

One of my daughters just graduated from Harvard. I was amazed when visiting the campus how many new buildings were going up. I was told many of them were funded by drug companies so I did a little digging. It turns out, there is reason for us all to be worried.

In fact, so many Harvard medical students were outraged by the number of their professors with ties to drug company money, they started a group called AMSA, American Medical Student Association. NYT did an article on them in March of 2009.

The AMSA, according to the NYT article, “is intent on exposing and curtailing the industry influence in their classrooms and laboratories, as well as in Harvard’s 17 affiliated teaching hospitals and institutes.

AMSA, among other things, found at the time, “Of Harvard’s 8,900 professors and lecturers, 1,600 admit that either they or a family member have had some kind of business link to drug companies — sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — that could bias their teaching or research. Additionally, pharma contributed more than $11.5 million to the school last year for research and continuing-education classes.”

The AMSA has been pushing hard to make all colleges more transparent about how they are using pharmaceutical money and where they are using it.

This is a small amount of the data I have relied upon to formulate my opinions. My passion, at the end of the day, is to protect our children from unnecessary psychiatric medications and damaging psychological practices.

I am not anti-drugs by any stretch. In my 30 years as a parent and educator, I have seen a handful of children’s lives improve dramatically with the help of medications. I have also seen way more than a handful become anxiety ridden to the point of extreme withdrawal or aggression due to psychiatric drugs and psychological practices doing way more harm than good. That is anecdotal, but data about how many children are prescribed psychiatric drugs is easy to look up and it is stomach turning, in my opinion.

Thanks for the conversation.