The "institutional corruption" of Psychiatry: A discussion with the authors of 'Psychiatry Under the Influence'

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What does psychiatry have in common with the US Congress? "Institutional corruption," concludes Psychiatry Under the Influence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), which investigates how drug company money and psychiatry's own guild interests have corrupted psychiatry during the past 35 years. Coauthored by investigative reporter Robert Whitaker and psychologist Lisa Cosgrove, the foreword for Psychiatry Under the Influence is written by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, who helped create Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics' lab on institutional corruption (where both Whitaker and Cosgrove served as fellows). Whitaker and Cosgrove - as does Lessig - distinguish between "individual" versus "institutional" corruption, between a "bad apple" versus a "bad barrel." In individual corruption, a politician takes an illegal bribe. But in institutional corruption, nothing illegal may be occurring when, for example, politicians raise campaign money via special interest political action committees (PACS). And just as elected officials develop dependency on special interests and become beholden to these funders instead of the citizenry, Whitaker and Cosgrove conclude, the same thing has occurred in psychiatry, which has had its social mission subverted by drug companies as well as by the psychiatry guild's self-preservation and expansionism needs.
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