I read my August 15 Psychiatric News. An important contribution is
Dr. Nada Stotland's column, "From the President," in which
she describes her experience at the annual meeting, without pharmaceutical
company support, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London.
In the same issue is coverage of APA President-elect Alan Schatzberg,
M.D.'s happenings, describing point by point Stanford University's
responses to Sen. Charles Grassley's congressional charges and to
questions from Psychiatric News. Stanford's removal of Dr.
Schatzberg as principal investigator is not reported. I accept the reportage
as accurate and clarifying about these events and about relationships our
federal statutes encourage.
In my recent posting to APA's Member-to-Member Listserv, I called for
Dr. Schatzberg to step aside [as president-elect]. My comment has triggered
considerable discussion, as I had intended. If Dr. Schatzberg disclosed these
events during the APA election, I missed it and apologize. His responses to
Psychiatric News—"I don't relish the
publicity" and "I have nothing to hide"—need to be
augmented by a statement from him describing these events as he sees them to
the membership. With his impending assumption of the presidency, it is still
It is past time that APA begins to move toward self-reliance in its
activities. It is clear that others as well as I have been uncomfortable with
the symbiotic nature of our relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. Our
statement of ethics cautions against doing business with our patients; we also
need a statement of ethics about our relationships with patient-related
industry. Many actions that are not against the law and some that are
sanctioned by the law do not serve well our profession or our patients.
I appreciate and congratulate Dr. Stotland's description of the Royal
College's self-financed meeting. I call on her and the president-elect to
provide leadership to APA to move to a similar clarification and exploration
of self-reliance of the organization and its members.