An Independent Audit of Pharma Influence in Public Mental Health Trusts in England

“The majority of NHS mental health Trusts have …. failed to draw an effective boundary between themselves and the pharmaceutical industry. Most Trusts (59%) permitted two or more drug company-sponsored activities, most commonly: industry-sponsored training events (51%), talks to mental health staff by drug company personnel (40%) and drug company advice/information leaflets (37%).” 

The abstract of a research article authored by Chris Harrop, John Read, Jim Geekie and Julia Renton – and published in Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry (Volume 20, Issue 3) – says:

“Without data, many people may think pharmaceutical companies’ influence over mental health services is negligible. We audited the marketing activities of, and payments to, drug companies in relation to public mental health services in England.

Forty-three of 53 [Mental Health] Trusts responded to Freedom-of-Information-Act requests.

Trusts’ policies varied in covering seven activities: from 86% (gifts) to 37% (leaflets). In practice, industry-sponsored training events (51%) and direct talks (40%) were common (averaging 36 events or talks per Trust annually).

Only 22% of Trusts produced legally required Conflicts-of-Interests registers; and 14% had none. All 22 Trusts that reported which company received the largest share of their drug expenditure named the same company.

On average, Trusts spent 44% of their drugs budget on long-acting injectable antipsychotics (13% to 77%) and 32% on brand name drugs (5%–74%).

Five Trusts ban the Pharma marketing activities investigated.

Independent post-qualification medical education, and marketing-bans, are needed to avoid over-medicalized practice …”

You can find out more – and/or view the entire research pdf – from here.

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