Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A worthy penitent

The Boston Globe's Carey Goldberg tells the story of Dr.Daniel Carlat, a psychiatrist who is a self-described former drug company whore. Yup, he took the speaking fees and the fancy dinners and all that to promote psych meds -- then he was blinded by a brilliant light, fell to his knees, and was changed.

Now he publishes the monthly Carlat Report, a newsletter intended for his colleagues in psychiatry that is, miraculously, free of all drug company advertising and, he hopes, influence. (Since Dr. Carlat still inhabits in a world saturated with drug company influence, he may still be less pure than he thinks, but he's definitely trying.) He's not against psych meds, he just thinks they are overhyped, overused, understudied for safety and often too expensive, i.e. the companies push expensive pills with market exclusivity where less expensive alternatives would be just as good.

The newsletter is by subscription -- and sure, he has to pay for it and he isn't taking ads -- but he does offer a lot of information free, including some that will be of interest to consumers. I haven't had time to do my own in-depth evaluation of what he's offering, but the principle is certainly the right one, so do check it out.

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