In the course of communications with Professor Sir Simon Wessely [when he was President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists] I mentioned to him that he had recently said on BBC Radio 4 that “he had never worked for Pharma” and that this statement may have misled those who were listening to the broadcast.
The year before this broadcast Professor Sir Simon Wessely [as one of those involved in the IQ Squared debate of 12th November 2014] made this statement “I don’t work for Pharma. Never have.”
15th April 2015: my reply several to e-mails from Professor Sir Simon Wessely:
“I have tried to explain the background of my interest in transparency. Unfortunately it has been my experience across the board that discussing this issue generates a huge amount of defensiveness. I would hope that you share my view that those who lead our profession should set the best example in this area that they possibly can. I would welcome some acknowledgement from you and the Royal College of Psychiatrists that there have been close relationships between British psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry and a clear indication that, to ensure public trust and the integrity of science, we must now do our very best to be transparent. I am pleased that the College is making efforts to address this but my view is that there is a lot of work still to be done. One outstanding issue is the culture within healthcare (psychiatry is certainly not alone in this) that somehow discounts the evidence that involvement with the pharmaceutical industry influences practice. This happens to be covered in this week’s BMJ: Forever indebted to pharma—doctors must take control of our own education“
Professor Sir Simon Wessely responded: “If you look at my 750 publications you will see that I just don’t do pharma work . . .”
[and in a separate e-mail]:
“If you look at my papers, which you haven’t, you will see that most of my recent work is in the military sector, and I routinely and tediously deStressclare my grant support from MOD, various charities, that I am advisor to MOD and a trustee of a military charity, so I don’t need any lecturing about COIs.”
It is possible that you may have failed, like I have, to find this publication included in Professor Sir Simon Wessely’s list of publications. Perhaps I am a doddery old fool?