C. Lindsay DeVane, a Professor of Psychiatry and an author of an ACCME-accredited article published in the journal CNS Spectrums has termed his article a “piece of commercial crap,” and said he had not read the final version before it was published, according to an e-mail he sent to this writer (read his e-mail here).
DeVane, who is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Vice Chair for Research at the Medical University of South Carolina, is one of three authors listed for an “Expert Roundtable Supplement” published with the May 2007 issue of CNS Spectrums. The supplement was accredited and produced by i3 CME, a medical education company owned by Ingenix, and was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Responding in an e-mail to questions I had about the accuracy of the article (read this e-mail here), Dr. DeVane said that he had originally been approached by Dr. Charles Nemeroff to participate in a videotaped discussion to be held at a psychiatric meeting in Hawaii. The discussion was to be funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which recently released the antidepressant patch, EMSAM. DeVane initially declined Dr. Nemeroff’s invitation, saying that he did not want to participate in a “circus debate for the sake of selling CME time.” However, he eventually changed his mind and participated in a discussion of antidepressant drug-drug interactions with Nemeroff and Sheldon Preskorn, another high-profile academician who often consults and speaks for drug companies.
After the broadcast, the CME company, i3 CME, presented DeVane with an article based on the discussion, apparently ghost-written by a medical writer hired by the company. DeVane called this a “ridicuous text… parts of it were inaccurate, simplistic, and [contained] over-generalizations.” It is not clear whether DeVane insisted that editorial changes be made. He had not read the final version, and advised that the article be ignored “for purposes of interpreting my research and views.”
The controversy involves a seemingly arcane topic in psychopharmacology, the issue of how drugs interact with other drugs in the bloodstream. In an earlier article in a different journal, published without pharmaceutical funding, Dr. DeVane had argued that these drug-drug interactions were rarely significant when prescribing antidepressants. According to DeVane’s e-mail, that article “represents my summary of the field and opinions.”
The CNS Spectrums article, however, claims that these interactions are often significant when certain antidepressants are used. The article also points out that EMSAM, the drug made by the article’s sponsor, has the advantage of not sharing these drug interaction liabilities. If DeVane’s earlier statements had been used as the basis for the article, then EMSAM could not have been claimed to have this competitive advantage.
In response to inquiries about the discrepancies in DeVane’s earlier article and the newer article, CNS Spectrums and i3 CME did not comment on specifics, but denied any irregularities regarding the planning or writing of the article. According to their written statement, “the faculty [referring to Nemeroff, Preskorn, and DeVane] remains comfortable with the positions they have taken in this CME activity….”
File article under: Corruption in High Places