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Science, Profit and Politics in the Conduct of Clinical Trials

Science, Profit and Politics in the Conduct of Clinical Trials

Chapter:
(p.185) 8 Science, Profit and Politics in the Conduct of Clinical Trials
Source:
Doctoring the Mind
Author(s):
Richard P. Bentall
Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814791486.003.0008

This chapter offers an explanation for the ineffectiveness of psychiatric services. Some psychiatric treatments that are widely used today are not nearly as effective as is commonly supposed; their potency has been systematically exaggerated by the pharmaceutical industry's manipulation of the clinical trial data. Critics of the pharmaceutical industry have included advocates of ECT, who have complained that the opportunity for independent assessment about the efficacy and safety of psychoactive drugs has been eliminated. However, when ECT patients have been followed up, relapse rates sometimes exceed 80 percent and have remained high even after the addition of drug treatment, an observation that calls into question its value as a psychiatric treatment. The chapter states that very little of the evidence on medical treatments for mental illness can be trusted, and more importantly, an accurate assessment can only be reached after examining the evidence in detail and with a skeptical eye.

Keywords:   psychiatric services, clinical trials, pharmaceutical industry, ECT, psychoactive drugs, mental illness

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