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Drug Companies fund nearly one-third of the APA's budget and underwrite "poor" doctors

If you were thinking that the American Psychological Association might help police drug manufacturers, think again.  The APA's $62.5 million budget is about 30 percent funded by drug manufacturers, according to a story in the July 12 New York Times.  Republican Senator Charles Grassley apparently uncovered these numbers in 2006 filings by the APA and also pointed out that the association's President-elect, Alan Schatzberg, has 4.8 million dollars in stock holdings in a drug development company.

Apologists for the psychiatrists point out that they are the lowest-paid medical specialists in the United States, earning "only" $198,653 in median compensation.  This is less than half what is earned by diagnostic radiologists ($464,420) and only slightly more than doctors who practice internal medicine, generally ($190,547).

If they are poor, these psychiatrists are at least clever:  when the New York Times reported that Dr. Melissa DelBello of the University of Cincinnati had a lucrative arrangement with the drug manufacturing industry, Senator Grassley asked her university to disclose the extent of her non-teaching drug compensation.   She told University officials that from 2005 through 2007 she had earned $100,000.00 in outside income and has disclosed in scientific journals that she has financial ties with 8 separate drug manufacturers.

When Grassley pressured Astr Zeneca, the maker of Seroquel, for numbers, it disclosed payments totaling $238,000 made to Dr. DelBello during the same period.  The doctor did not disclose these payments in full to her university because they were made to MSZ Associates, an Ohio Corporation DelBello created for "personal financial purposes".  

Oh, by the way, previous studies have shown that doctors who receive at least $5,000.00 in compensation from drug companies prescribe about three times as many drugs to children as doctors who receive nothing or less than five thousand dollars.

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