Conflicts of interest plague the next international manual of mental disorders

March 13, 2012

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

Researchers crack the smile, describing three types by muscle movement

July 27, 2017
The smile may be the most common and flexible expression, used to reveal some emotions, cover others and manage social interactions that have kept communities secure and organized for millennia.

Ketamine for depression encouraging, but questions remain around long-term use

July 27, 2017
A world-first systematic review into the safety of ketamine as a treatment for depression, published in the prestigious Lancet Psychiatry, shows the risks of long-term ketamine treatment remain unclear.

Even babies can tell who's the boss, UW research says

July 27, 2017
The charismatic colleague, the natural leader, the life of the party - all are personal qualities that adults recognize instinctively. These socially dominant types, according to repeated studies, also tend to accomplish ...

DREAMers at greater risk for mental health distress

July 27, 2017
Immigrants who came to the United States illegally as small children and who meet the requirements of the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, more commonly known as DREAMers, are at risk for mental health ...

Negativity, be gone—new online tool can retrain your brain

July 27, 2017
Anxiety and depression can have devastating effects on people's lives. In some cases, the mental disorders lead to isolation, poverty and poor physical health, things that often cascade to future generations.

Research aims to shape more precise treatments for depression in women

July 27, 2017
Among women in the United States, depression is at epidemic levels: Approximately 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year, and more than 12 percent of women can expect to experience depression ...

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.