Citizens Commission on Human Rights says American Psychiatric Association’s unwillingness to provide full disclosure of pharmaceutical companies’ payments to psychiatrists involved in developing the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders prevented public scrutiny of industry influence.
Psychiatrists who worked on the latest edition of the so-called “bible of psychiatric disorders” received more than $14 million in industry payments from pharmaceutical or medical device companies, but until now that information was kept from public scrutiny. The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR) in 2022, chose not to publicly disclose the industry-related financial conflicts of interest.
To collect and analyze that information, a team of researchers turned to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Open Payments database, which contains data on payments made by drug and medical device companies to physicians and teaching hospitals. Data from Open Payments can be used to assess how physicians may be influenced by industry compensation. For their study, the researchers examined industry payments made from 2016 to 2019 to those who subsequently worked on the DSM-5-TR.
They found that 60% of the psychiatrists who served in some capacity in the preparation of the DSM-5-TR received industry compensation, mostly for travel and consulting. But more than one in three received income for other reasons, such as for their research or for speaking on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. The latter is widely recognized as an especially egregious conflict of interest because the speakers are basically marketing pharmaceutical companies’ drugs.
By dollar amount, 71% of the funds paid by pharmaceutical and medical device companies to DSM-5-TR psychiatrists was funding or payments for their research, a clear financial conflict of interest.
“Conflicts of interest among panel members of DSM-5-TR were prevalent,” the researchers concluded. They pointed out that the impact of pharmaceutical company payments on physicians’ behavior and prescribing practices can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of patients.
“Additionally, it is important to emphasize that the problem of overdiagnosis is not limited to the inclusion of new disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” they wrote. “Even seemingly small changes to the manual (e.g., to [symptoms] of previously included disorders) can have a substantial impact on increasing the number of people who would receive a diagnosis and increasing the number of people prescribed drugs.” The study was published January 10 in The BMJ.
More fundamentally, the DSM has long been under attack for the lack of scientific basis for its “mental disorders,” which psychiatrists voted into existence in an attempt to imitate the biomedical model used in the field of medicine.
In 2013, psychiatrist Thomas Insel, M.D., then-director of the National Institute of Mental Health, publicly stated that there is no objective basis for psychiatry’s mental disorders and that “the weakness of the [DSM] is its lack of validity.” In other words, there is no way to precisely identify or “diagnose” any psychiatric disorder.
Nevertheless, without any scientific validity, the DSM’s subjective “mental disorders” continue to be used to “diagnose” patients and prescribe powerful psychotropic drugs as treatment. Some 77 million Americans are currently taking psychiatric drugs.
Hundreds of research studies and warnings from international drug regulatory agencies have warned about the risks of serious side effects when taking or stopping psychotropic drugs.
Beyond the adverse effects of the drugs, a recent study found that psychiatric diagnoses and treatment with psychiatric drugs were linked to negative outcomes in patients’ lives, including lower income, increased unemployment, and a greater likelihood of being single and living alone.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights calls out the American Psychiatric Association for its unwillingness to provide the public with full disclosure of the extent of pharmaceutical companies’ payments to psychiatrists involved in the development of the DSM-5-TR – a disclosure that magnifies the DSM’s true function as providing cover for the unscientific labeling of patients with fake “mental disorders” in order to treat them, all too often with psychotropic drugs that may harm them.
WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue or change the dose of a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a physician because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.