NIMH chief wants psychiatry to 'clean up'

Is the new Journal of the American Medical Association a special issue on reform? It doesn't stop with its demands for new publication standards (see related article). It's also showcasing a rallying cry from National Institute of Mental Health Director Dr. Thomas Insel, who calls on his fellow psychiatrists to "clean up our act."

In Insel's estimation, psychiatry has grown too close to drugmakers. All the money flowing from pharma to psychiatrists and psychiatric researchers has created a "culture of influence," he says, and psychiatrists need to rise above all that. He wants all financial ties between drugmakers and psychiatry to be disclosed, and for psychiatrists to take a step back from branded meds in favor of generic drugs and non-drug treatments such as talk therapy.

This is far from the first call for change in psychiatry. Over the past three years, congressional probes have repeatedly highlighted influential psychiatrists' financial relationships with industry. In some cases, payments from drugmakers went undisclosed even though researchers were obliged to report them to their universities.

- read the JAMA extract