PLoS Medicine: A Comparison of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Panel Members’ Financial Associations with Industry: A Pernicious Problem Persists

A Comparison of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Panel Members’ Financial Associations with Industry: A Pernicious Problem Persists

Lisa Cosgrove, Sheldon Krimsky

vía PLoS Medicine: A Comparison of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Panel Members’ Financial Associations with Industry: A Pernicious Problem Persists.

In 2006 we analyzed all DSM-IV panel members’ financial associations with industry [24]. We have undertaken a similar analysis for DSM-5 panels, which allowed us to compare the proportions of DSM-IV and -5 panel members who have industry ties. There are 141 panel members on the 13 DSM-5 panels and 29 task force members. The members of these 13 panels are responsible for revisions to diagnostic categories and for inclusion of new disorders within a diagnostic category.

Three-fourths of the work groups (Figure 1; [2],[4][6],[8],[10][12]) continue to have a majority of their members with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. It is also noteworthy that, as with the DSM-IV, the most conflicted panels are those for which pharmacological treatment is the first-line intervention.

Conclusion

The DSM-5 will be published in about 14 months, enough time for the APA to institute important changes that would allow the organization to achieve its stated goal of a “… transparent process of development for the DSM, and …an unbiased, evidence-based DSM, free from any conflicts of interest” [emphasis added] [31]. Toward that goal we believe it is essential that:

  1. As an eventual gold standard and because of their actual and perceived influence, all DSM task force members should be free of FCOIs.
  2. Individuals who have participated on pharmaceutical companies’ Speakers Bureaus should be prohibited from DSM panel membership.
  3. There should be a rebuttable presumption of prohibiting FCOIs among the DSM work groups. 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.

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.

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