The recently published study questioning the efficacy of antidepressants has produced some fascinating reactions on other blogs. One of the most striking was from The Last Psychiatrist who argues that the study’s timing is no accident. Apparently it’s all part of Big Pharma’s plan to kick-start the prescription of their new drugs:
“People are completely missing the point of this paper and all the other recent re-investigations, the true social and clinical consequences of them. For example: they’re saying antidepressants are no good. Ok. What do you think doctors are going to use instead? Psychoanalysis? Nothing? They’re going to prescribe antipsychotics. Are you listening to me? I’m not even saying this is clinically wrong to do, but do you not see the setup?”
Ben Goldacre at Badscience, meanwhile, like some of the commenters here on PsyBlog, pointed out it didn’t tell us much we didn’t already know. But the real target of Ben’s article is the failure to successfully regulate Big Pharma:
“This new study – published, ironically, in an open access journal – tells a fascinating story of buried data, and of our collective failure, as a society, over half a century, to adequately regulate the colossal $550bn pharmaceutical industry.”
He also pointed out several errors in the reporting of the study, one of which I made myself by talking about SSRI antidepressants. In fact two of the drugs included were nefazodone and venlafaxine, neither of which are SSRIs. I made the mistake of trusting the ‘editor’s summary’ that is published with the article in PLoS Medicine.
Finally for an international perspective on this story, Furious Seasons points out the near-silence on this study in the US:
“I am stunned that in Seattle–the most depressed city in America–that neither of the daily newspapers ran so much as an AP wire account of the study–at least as far as I know. That’s weird. But then the New York Times has been mum to date as well. That’s even weirder.”
Published: 28 February 2008