When it comes to conflict of interest among new members of the DSM-V committee, the glass is half empty or half full, depending how you look at it. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders is the encyclopedia of treatment guidelines put out by the American Psychiatric Association once every so often (the last one was in 2000).
According to the Integrity in Science watch (from Center for Science in the Public Interest), it’s half full – of conflict. To be more precise, 14 of 28 committee members have some financial conflict with the pharmaceutical industry – ranging from the Conflicted to the Whoa (“William Carpenter, Jr., director of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center at the University of Maryland, who over the past last five years worked as a consultant for 13 drug companies, including Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Wyeth, Merck, Astra Zeneca, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.”)
As they say, it’s all about perspective. Perhaps for APA President Carolyn Robinowitz, this means the committee is emptier of conflict than before – after all, among the 170 DSM-IV creators, 56 percent had conflicts.
But when Robinowitz pledged to make “every effort” to eliminate conflict in its development in the news release about the DSM-V workgroup, seems the folks at CSPI were underwhelmed – as we were – by a straight-down-the-middle 50 percent.