We Need a Thorough Investigation of the STAR*D Scandal

“This is a story of scientific fraud …”

This article by Robert Whitaker in the May 2011 edition of Psychology Today is well worth reading, despite it being published over seven years ago. Subtitled “Should reports from the NIMH’s STAR*D trial be retracted?”, it begins:

“For some time now, the medical community – and to a certain extent, the general public – has understood that the reports in the medical literature of industry-funded trials of psychiatric drugs do not provide an accurate representation of the drugs’ merits. The trials of the second-generation psychotropics were often biased by design; published results were spun; adverse events were minimized; negative studies went unpublished. The studies published in the medical literature really tell of a marketing exercise, as opposed to a scientific one.

However, the medical community and the public have long thought — or at least hoped — that psychiatric drug studies funded by the [American] National Institute of Mental Health are not similarly tainted. Here, at least, the published reports would tell of studies that were not biased by design, with the results honestly reported. At least that is the expectation. And this is why the NIMH’s STAR*D study is such a disappointment, and why it is so important that the full details of that scandal be made known.

Maryland psychologist Ed Pigott has spent more than five years investigating the details of this study. He has authored or co-authored three journal articles about it, and is now posting new findings, along with supporting documents, on a blog. In his latest post, Pigott tells of how he requested that two journals, the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology and Psychological Medicine, retract two STAR*D articles they published …”

Read more here.

We Need a Thorough Investigation of the STAR*D Scandal
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