Saturday, August 29, 2009

What's wrong with the pharmaceutical industry going bust?

Sarah Boseley has written a Guardian article about a Compass report "A bitter pill to swallow". The subtitle of the report is "Drugs for people, not just for profit".

The report tends to blame the neo-liberal market economics of Thatcher and Reagan for "why the drug companies are getting away with it". There are political changes that could be made, such as that all phase 3 trials be carried out independent from the industry. As the report says, this could be funded through an industry levy as initially put forward by John Abraham and Helen Lawton Smith in their book Regulation of the Pharmaceutical Industry. Doctors' education needs to be through public funding rather than relying on the pharmaceutical industry.

However, things won't really change until it's recognised how much doctors are merely agents of the pharmaceutical industry, rather than independent practitioners in the interests of patients.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More on disparaging postpsychiatry

Nice to have an oldfashioned radical like Rob Poole wading into the debate about postpsychiatry (see the e-letter from Robert Higgo and him in response to Pat Bracken and Phil Thomas's article in Psychiatric Bulletin - see also my previous post). And congratulations on his appointment as professor of psychiatry at Glyndwr University, Wrexham, which is a university that's obviously going somewhere.

I think what Rob and Robert are saying is that their books, Clinical skills in psychiatric treatment and Psychiatric interviewing and assessment are better than Pat and Phil's Postpsychiatry, but there's no need surely to be quite so rude about Pat and Phil's book. I will look at Rob and Robert's books and I'm sure there's something good in them, although I doubt whether they have the same "attitude of provisional scepticism" as Pat and Phil. Still, it's important to recognise the psychosocial emphasis of psychiatrists like Rob and Robert - they at least emphasise the link between mental health problems and poverty.

Let's try and elucidate the similarities and differences amongst psychiatrists that can look beyond a narrow biomedical model rather than get into a slanging match about postmodernism.

Monday, August 24, 2009

International Critical Mental Health Movement

Following the last Critical Psychiatry Network conference held in Norwich (conference website) there has been talk about setting up an International Critical Mental Health Movement. This is not an initiative of the Critical Psychiatry Network, which is a group of psychiatrists, mostly from the UK. It is important that the International Movement is widely based and inclusive.

Please post your comments. Expressions of interest and ideas about how to develop the movement would be welcome. It is envisaged that the International Movement would be open both to individuals and groups, so comments on behalf of organisations will be particularly welcome.

Please circulate interested people and organisations about this posting, so that they can also add their comments.