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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Psychiatrists, children and drug industry's role

Doctors maintain that payments from drug companies do not influence what they prescribe for patients, according to a story in today's New York Times.

But the intersection of money and medicine, and its effect on the well-being of patients, has become one of the most contentious issues in health care, the story says. Nowhere is that more true than in psychiatry, where increasing payments to doctors have coincided with the growing use in children of a relatively new class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics.

hyman 100.bmpDr. Steven E. Hyman (left), the provost of Harvard University and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told the Times the growing use of atypicals in children is the most troubling example of this. The Times story was based on an analysis of records in Minnesota, which tracks drug company payments to doctors.

"Thereís an irony that psychiatrists ask patients to have insights into themselves, but we donít connect the wires in our own lives about how money is affecting our profession and putting our patients at risk," he said.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:50 AM
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