Pharma Corruption of Healthcare

I’ve been reading another great book:  Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How big pharma has corrupted healthcare, by Peter C. Gotzsche [Radcliffe Publishing, 2013].

The book is an exposé of pharma’s fraudulent research and marketing.  The author is a Danish physician who has been involved in clinical trials of drugs, and in drug regulatory matters.  He is a professor at the University of Copenhagen.  He has published more than 50 papers, including papers in the BMJ, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Most of the book is concerned with pharma corruption in general medicine.  But there are two chapters that deal with pharma and psychiatry: Chapters 17 and 18.

Here are the subheadings for these chapters:

17.  Psychiatry, the drug industry’s paradise

  • Are we all crazy or what?
  • Psychiatrists as drug pushers
  • The chemical imbalance hoax
  • Screening for psychiatric disorders
  • Unhappy pills
  • Prozac, a terrible Eli Lilly drug turned into a blockbuster
  • Exercise is a good intervention
  • Further lies about happy pills

18.  Pushing children into suicide with happy pills

  • Glaxo study 329
  • Concealing suicides and suicide attempts in clinical trials
  • Lundbeck’s evergreening of citalopram
  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Zyprexa, another terrible Eli Lilly drug turned into a blockbuster
  • The bottom line of psychotropic drugs

Here are some quotes:

“Psychiatry is the drug industry’s paradise as definitions of psychiatric disorders are vague and easy to manipulate.” (p 191)

“Few psychiatrists are willing to admit that their specialty is out of control and they will continue to tell you that many patients are underdiagnosed.” (p 193)

“The psychiatrists are running amok.” (p 195)

“Leading psychiatrists are often highly effective drug pushers.” (p 197)

“…the sure way of making us all crazy is to screen for mental disorders.” (p 201)

“It is abundantly clear that suicides, suicidality and violence caused by SSRIs are grossly underestimated, and we also know the reasons.  First, there is outright fraud.  Second, many suicidal events have been coded as something else.  Third, the drug industry has taken great care to bias its trials by only recruiting people at very low risk of committing suicide.” (p 223)

“The drug companies have caused tremendous harm by their widespread illegal and aggressive promotion of the drugs for off-label use…” (p 229)

“Like for the SSRIs, there are many perverse trials supporting antipsychotics for virtually everything.” (p 230)

“I therefore estimate that 200,000 of the 20 million patients treated with Zyprexa have been killed because of the drug’s harms.” (p 232)

Anyone who has any lingering doubts as to the flawed and destructive nature of psychiatry might usefully take a look at this book.


Disclosure:  I have no financial interest in this book or in any books that I recommend on this website.