Conflicts of interest plague the next international manual of mental disorders

March 13, 2012, Public Library of Science

There are concerns that the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM—an internationally recognised classification of mental disorders produced by the American Psychiatric Association), scheduled for publication in May 2013, has been unduly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry despite the APA's instigating a policy of disclosing all financial conflicts of interest.

Writing in this week's PLoS Medicine, Lisa Cosgrove from Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts and Sheldon Krimsky from Tufts University in Boston, USA state that the new disclosure policy has not been accompanied by a reduction in the financial conflicts of interest of DSM panel members. They argue: "Transparency alone cannot mitigate bias. Because relationships can create a ''pro-industry habit of thought'', having financial ties to industry such as honoraria, consultation, or grant funding is as pernicious a problem as speaker's bureau participation."

If the DSM is to be unbiased and evidence-based, the authors recommend that all DSM task force members should be free of financial conflicts of interests.

The authors argue: "Individuals who have participated on pharmaceutical companies' Speakers Bureaus should be prohibited from DSM panel membership." They continue: "When no independent individuals with the requisite expertise are available, individuals with associations to industry could consult to the DSM panels, but they would not have decision-making authority on revisions or inclusion of new disorders."

The authors conclude: "These changes would accommodate the participation of needed experts as well as provide more stringent safeguards to protect the revision process from either the reality of or the perception of undue industry influence."

(No specific funding was received for writing this article.)

Explore further: DSM-5 proposed criteria for autism spectrum disorder diagnosis

More information: Cosgrove L, Krimsky S (2012) A Comparison of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Panel Members' Financial Associations with Industry: A Pernicious Problem Persists. PLoS Med 9(3): e1001190. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001190

Related Stories

DSM-5 proposed criteria for autism spectrum disorder diagnosis

January 23, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has proposed new diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) for autism. While final decisions ...

Study looks more closely at personality disorders

September 21, 2011
A newly published paper from Rhode Island Hospital argues against the proposed changes to redefine the number of personality disorders in the upcoming Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 5th edition (DSM-5). In their study, the ...

Autism redefined: Yale researchers study impact of proposed diagnostic criteria

January 20, 2012
Getting an autism diagnosis could be more difficult in 2013 when a revised diagnostic definition goes into effect. The proposed changes may affect the proportion of individuals who qualify for a diagnosis of autism spectrum ...

The impact of deleting 5 personality disorders in the new DSM-5

January 24, 2012
A newly published paper from Rhode Island Hospital reports on the impact to patients if five personality disorders are removed from the upcoming revision to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition (DSM-5). Based ...

New framework proposed for manual of mental disorders

May 5, 2011
The American Psychiatric Association today released the organizational framework proposed for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This restructuring of the DSM’s chapters ...

Recommended for you

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

Tracking the impact of early abuse and neglect

January 17, 2018
Children who experience abuse and neglect early in life are more likely to have problems in social relationships and underachieve academically as adults.

Study: No evidence to support link between violent video games and behaviour

January 16, 2018
Researchers at the University of York have found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent.

Can psychedelic drugs 'reconnect' depressed patients with their emotions?

January 15, 2018
Imperial research suggests psilocybin can help relieve the symptoms of depression, without the 'dulling' of emotions linked with antidepressants.

Study listens in on speech development in early childhood

January 15, 2018
If you've ever listened in on two toddlers at play, you might have wondered how much of their babbling might get lost in translation. A new study from the University of Toronto provides surprising insights into how much children ...

Study suggests people dislike you more for humblebragging than for regular boasting

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers from Harvard University and UNC-Chapel Hill has conducted a study regarding humblebragging—in which a person boasts about an achievement but tries to make it sound less boastful by minimizing it—and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.