APA Institute
Drug-Company Marketing Tactics Grist for Institute Debate on Ethics
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 15 page 23-23

The role of pharmaceutical companies in psychiatry is being hotly debated within our profession. No issue raises more passion than that of the propriety of these companies attempting to influence our clinical decision making. Also of concern is the perception of those outside the profession of psychiatry that drug companies can influence psychiatrists with presents, dinners, and free samples.

This issue appears frequently on the American Association of Community Psychiatrists (AACP) list serve. Lately, the discussions have had a degree of intensity that seems to mirror the growing ambivalence regarding pharmaceutical companies.

In an effort to bring some depth and wisdom to that discussion, the Scientific Program Committee of APA’s Institute on Psychiatric Services offers the debate "Resolved: It Is Unethical for Psychiatrists to Invite Sales Representatives to Market Products Through Such Methods as Educational Materials, Samples, and Gifts in Clinical Settings."

The participants in this debate are, on the affirmative, Charles Goldman, M.D., director of public psychiatry training in the department of neuropsychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of South Carolina; and, on the negative, Michael Silver, M.D., of the Providence Center and a member of the clinical faculty at Brown University in Rhode Island and a former AACP president. David Moltz, M.D., co-chair of the AACP’s Ethics Committee, will be the moderator.

Both Drs. Goldman and Silver are thoughtful leaders in community psychiatry and are passionate about ethical issues in our profession. It will be a treat hearing this affect-filled subject dealt with by two such wise and gracious colleagues. ▪

Dr. Huffine is a member of the Scientific Program Committee of the 2003 Institute on Psychiatric Services.

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