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The Barry Manilow Effect and University Psychiatry

In a recent interview, Christopher Hitchens explains that he almost never watches television, because the spectacle it presents, hour after hour, show after show, is so repellent:

“It’s… the Barry Manilow effect, when you see Barry Manilow and you think, ‘There are people who want to hear this, and they want more of it.’ Clearly there’s something I’ve missed.”

UD has struggled with a variant of the Barry Manilow Effect through all the years of her coverage, on this blog, of academic psychiatry at some of America’s most esteemed (Stanford, Harvard, Minnesota, Brown) universities. Although she recognizes the importance of the subject of campus medical research for any blog calling itself University Diaries, UD is always tempted to avert her eyes from the steaming piles of Conflict of Interest, irresponsibly recruited subjects, non-operating oversight boards, and ineptly designed studies that litter this activity.

And not only are there people who want to sponsor this work – people at the National Institutes of Health – but NIH is taxpayer funded; so, whether or not we like the tune these researchers are singing, we’re compelled by the government to hear more of it.

Which really makes us dupes, doesn’t it? We pay for bad studies that might put dangerous drugs on the market, and then we’re damaged by said drugs… said very expensive drugs…

Hard to think of a more thorough fucking-over than that.


UD‘s thinking about this because of yet another sordid revelation from the academy…

Margaret Soltan, January 14, 2011 4:42AM
Posted in: conflict of interest, screwed

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One Response to “The Barry Manilow Effect and University Psychiatry”

  1. Mr Punch Says:

    Well, yeah, sort of; but it’s my impression that the great bulk of the research that’s causing the problems is funded by drug companies, not NIH or other public sources, for the purpose of promoting the use of specific pharmaceuticals.

    Since we need (some) such clinical research, and since the public is not in fact going to pay for it, it’s slippery slope all the way unless somebody imposes some rules – as the medical schools have very belatedly begun to do.

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