No Free Pens But Pharma Influence Still Felt at Psychiatric Meeting
It was 95 degrees with 99 percent humidity. The Gulf had the biggest oil spill in US history. And attendees to this week’s American Psychiatric Convention (APA) annual meeting in New Orleans had to brave 200 protestors chanting “no drugging kids for money” and “no conflicts of interest” to get into the convention hall.
Since 2008 when Congress investigated some APA psychiatrists for alleged pharma conflicts of interest, more light has shone between the two groups, historically almost indistinguishable.
Participants at this year’s meeting, estimated at 14,000, saw conflict of interest slides before presentations and in their 240-page program book, fewer pharma funded classes and entertainment and no gifts or free meals at the 5-day event.
“They used to wine us and dine us,” said one participant, a veteran of decades of annual meetings, ruefully.
“An SSRI maker flew my entire group to a Caribbean island,” remembered a doctor from the East coast who did not want to be identified. Anymore.