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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Australian Psychiatrist Ian Hickie's Lancet Paper Heavily Criticised

Prof Ian Hickie

Things have gone belly-up down under, it seems.

Psychiatrist Graham Burrows has recently been in the news for prescribing unapproved drugs to his patients, resulting in a class action lawsuit against him.

Yesterday an article appeared on the subscription based online website The Australian Doctor. Professor Ian Hickie had co-authored a review that appeared in The Lancet, a review that has been heavily criticised for failing to reveal Hickie's ties with Valdoxan [agomelatine] manufacturer, Servier.

Hickie has also been accused of down playing the side effects of  Valdoxan, an antidepressant marketed for the treatment of major depressive disorder.

So far six letters, in response to the Hickie review, have been published in The Lancet, all of which are critical. Hickie and his co-author Naomi Rogers have both replied to the criticism.

It comes as no surprise, to me at least, that Hickie is seen promoting the use of a psychiatric medication, he is after all part of the DeLorean Mob [EPPIC], a psychiatric service that can jump into the future to see what lays in store for the patients [adolescents] they treat. In a nutshell [pardon the pun], EPPIC can predict if a child may fall foul of psychosis. No prizes for guessing the kind of treatments used for psychosis these days.

Critics slammed Hickie for not revealing his ties [conflict of interests] in the review, something which he has since changed with his response to the critics. One has to question why he never shared this when he and Rogers submitted the review to The Lancet.

I find it difficult to understand how anyone could take his review seriously after reading the disclaimer at the foot of his latest response. Even more so that the disclaimer has only appeared after he was pulled up about it by the critiques.

IBH [Hickie] was previously Chief Executive Officer and Clinical Adviser of beyondblue, an Australian National Depression Initiative. He has led projects for health professionals and the community supported by governmental, community agency, and drug industry partners (Wyeth, Eli Lily, Servier, Pfizer, AstraZeneca) for the identification and management of depression and anxiety. He has served on advisory boards convened by the drug industry in relation to specific antidepressants, including nefazodone, duloxetine, and desvenlafaxine, and has participated in a multicentre clinical trial of agomelatine effects on sleep architecture in depression. IBH is also supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Medical Research Fellowship. He is a participant in a family-practice-based audit of sleep disturbance and major depression, supported by Servier, the manufacturers of agomelatine. NLR [Rogers] has received grant support from Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Servier, Pfizer, and Cephalon, and has received honoraria for lectures from Pfizer, CSL Biotherapies, and Servier. She has previously received research funding from Vanda Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of tasimelteon. She has also received an unrestricted educational grant from Servier. Research studies done by IBH and NLR are mainly funded by NHMRC project and programme grants.

Here's just two letters sent to The Lancet in response the Hickie's review, the other four are similar in content. [1]  [2]

Last year I wrote about Hickie regarding his connections to former Australian of the year and psychiatrist Patrick McGorry - Hickierie Dickory Doc - McGorry Turns Back the Clock

Also - The Defence of Prof. Ian Hickie

"If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit." - Dr. Emmett Brown [Back To The Future 1985]