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Letters to the Editor
Turn the Tables
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 24 page 33-33

I was meeting with an internist yesterday on one of those" drug-company-pays-mea-zillion-dollars-to-talk-to-an-internist lunches," and we were talking about how much the drug companies had insinuated themselves into the lives of M.D.s (to the discomfort of my drug company handler). We were also talking about how neither of us ever went to dinner/drug meetings, as they had little utility and we have families. We came up with a fun and potentially useful idea, especially in light of the recent discussion concerning the need for a public clinical trials registry:

How about yearly APA-sponsored debates among drug company representatives (M.D.s), with one representative invited from each major maker of an agent targeting the disease state of the evening (depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety, and so on) and actively involving the audience with some debate rules so as to avoid degeneration into chaos or grandstanding?

Such debates mighty actually be interesting, and as one company's representatives would probably know the weaknesses in the others' data, the discourse might add some integrity to the current Sodom and Gomorrah situation.

I think it would be hard for the drug companies not to send a representative (their companies would fear not being part of it more than the risk of participating). We could even have the participants wear little beanie hats if their respective companies had not received FDA approval for an indication under discussion (OK, maybe that's going too far).

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