In the September 5 Psychiatric News, I described APA's
response to Sen. Charles Grassley's request for information about every
kind of revenue that APA has received from the pharmaceutical industry, and I
asked for your opinions. (Unfortunately, the APA members-only Web site link to
the cover letter that accompanied the 50-page report to Sen. Grassley, which
outlines the issues and the contents, was not functional at the time of that
column; you can read that letter now at<http://psych.org/MainMenu/Newsroom/APAMemberDBSAResources/GrassleyLetter.aspx>.
I heard from many of you. This is not a random sample; probably those with the
strongest feelings took the time to write. Nevertheless, the messages reflect
the wide range of attitudes among our members. I thought I would give you a
sampling from those messages. Although these were not confidential
communications, members were not advised that their messages might be printed,
and therefore I have omitted their names. I have also corrected the occasional
A few members expressed indignation over what they considered to be
prejudicial and unwarranted criticism of psychiatrists and APA.
The predominant view is reflected in the following quotes:
"I am dismayed that so many colleagues I know rely on 'free' CME
courses, feel entitled to gifts from industry, continue to believe they
prescribe without bias....
"Let's go back to training ourselves.... The ties to industry
were the most important reason why I did not belong to the APA for almost 20
years ... and I joined back up when I saw that the APA was moving away from
Several members urged moderation. For example, two messages reminded us to
One message asserted that the profit motive is part of human nature, that
physicians are not immune, and that medicine's relationships with pharma
can be beneficial.
Another writer saw the situation as an opportunity to broaden, or perhaps
refresh, our vision:
Thanks to everyone who wrote. I am proud, but not surprised, that every
message focused on the welfare of our patients. I am heartened that many of
you think APA is heading in the right direction. Our healthy self-examination
preceded any inquiry from outside. As one member proclaimed: