Books by David Healy
In his books The Antidepressant Era (1997), The Creation of Psychopharmacology (2002), Let Them Eat Prozac (2004), Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder (2008), and Pharmaggedon (2013), the psychiatrist and historian David Healy has critically examined the collusion between medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in the domain of mental health, with depression as a major case (see also Bentall 2009, Greenberg 2010, Kirsch 2009).
Healy and others have demonstrated how extensively the production of evidence in psychiatry has been co-opted by economic and marketing considerations. Pharmaceutical companies largely draw on biased ghostwriting, make sure that only positive results are published while reframing or concealing the negative outcomes of clinical trials, and exaggerate the effectiveness of medications (Angel 2004; Dumit 2012; Goldacre 2013; Gupta 2014; Healy 2004, 2008; Kirmayer and Raikhel 2009). Insofar as the drug-based approach has fueled the expansion of mental illness to its current epidemic proportions, the system sustains itself (Whitaker 2010).
The pharma-psych drive is not merely a matter of economics and medicine but also of professional ethics. The pharmaceutical industry’s funding of biomedical research and education generates conflicts of interest that medical doctors and researchers frequently prefer not to disclose.
This situation has led to a significant weakening of public trust and to intense discussions about how best to regulate this area of the medical profession (Grande 2010).