Drug Firms, the Codification of Diagnostic Categories, and Bias in Clinical Guidelines

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 41 (3):644-653 (2013)
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The possibility that industry is exerting an undue influence on the culture of medicine has profound implications for the profession's public health mission. Policy analysts, investigative journalists, researchers, and clinicians have questioned whether academic-industry relationships have had a corrupting effect on evidence-based medicine. Psychiatry has been at the heart of this epistemic and ethical crisis in medicine. This article examines how commercial entities, such as pharmaceutical companies, influence psychiatric taxonomy and treatment guidelines. Using the conceptual framework of institutional corruption, we show that organized psychiatry's dependence on drug firms has led to a distortion of science. We describe the current dependency corruption and argue that transparency alone is not a solution. We conclude by taking the position that the corruption of the evidence base in diagnostic and practice guidelines has compromised the informed consent process, and we suggest strategies to address this problem



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