The nation’s top psychiatrist is calling on others in the profession to “transform what has become a culture of influence” surrounding financial relationships between physicians and drug companies.
In a commentary in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, the head of the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Thomas Insel, tackles head-on the perception that psychiatrists are tainted by their relationships with pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Insel says psychiatrists have a “bias in prescribing practices,” preferring brand name over generic drugs. Further, he says they too often tend to overlook treatment methods like cognitive-behavioral therapy that do not involve medication.
While not calling for an end to relationships between doctors and drug makers, Insel says psychiatrists have an opportunity to improve public trust through improved transparency.
In recent years, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, accused several psychiatrists of not disclosing potential conflicts of interest in their research, leading to questions about influence in the field.