Feb 15, 2012

Ian Hickie: on Twitter, The Lancet and my critics

It’s not uncommon in my world to be engaged in very lively academic debates, like the risk versus benefits associated with new antidepressant drugs, writes Professor Ian Hickie.

It’s not uncommon in my world to be engaged in very lively academic debates, like the risk versus benefits associated with new antidepressant drugs.  Similarly, I have been widely attacked by a variety of vested health interests, particularly when I have argued for the clear cost-benefits associated with the range of new health initiatives.


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22 thoughts on “Ian Hickie: on Twitter, The Lancet and my critics

  1. ravenm

    Professor Hickie, even if your argument for not disclosing your Servier promotional activities in your 2011 review article – that they occurred too late in the publication process – was valid (which it is not), it would not explain your non-disclosure of those activities in your 2012 authors’ reply Your co-author disclosed honoraria for lecture(s) from Servier. Why didn’t you disclose your educational/media activities for Servier in your authors’ reply?

  2. Red Dahlia

    Professor Hickie, you are very much the ‘darling’ of Australia’s media, therefore it is not surprising, when asked to answer very legitimate questions about your Conflicts of Interests, you choose to run to the media claiming “victimisation” rather than face the music. Anyone who takes money from pharmaceutical companies and claims to have “challenged the mental health establishment” does, quite frankly, have a case to answer.

    You point to an organised campaign against you when in reality you have merely attracted a lot of criticism, from a wide range of people, for misrepresentation. You fail to mention that many of the people who have criticised you, have absolutely NO vested interest in Australian mental health reform what-so-ever. They include American psychiatrist Allen Frances, Italian psychiatrists Corrado Barbui and Andrea Ciprian, Robert Howland (Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), Celia Lloret-Linares, Jean-François Bergmann and Stéphane Mouly (who work in a variety of hospitals in Paris), Bernard Carroll (Pacific Behavioural Research Foundation in California), and Mark Serfaty & Peter Raven (Mental Health Sciences Unit, University College London). As well as the editor of The Lancet, Richard Horton, whom you mention above.

    The fact that you are “one of Australia’s leading thinkers in mental health … who advises government on mental health reform” is precisely why your Conflicts of Interest matter. This has far reaching implications for all Australians, not just whether your ego has been stroked or not.

    Alison Fairleigh

  3. davoid

    Prof Hickie. Just to clear things up, would you like to report how much, if anything, Servier paid you for your educational activities on their behalf? With hindsight, would you have informed the journal of these activities? It’s OK to admit to honest mistakes. it would be a pity for your good work to be lessened by a loss of reputation, as seems to be occurring.

  4. Yolande Lucire

    Truth and public interest are complete defences to defamation in Australia.
    Professor Ian Hickie is partly responsible for Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Depression, endorsed the Royal Australian And New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
    Summary of guideline for the treatment of depression by Pete M. Ellis, Ian B. Hickie and Don A. R. Smith (2003) opens with this assertion:
    Depression is common, serious and treatable. It affects 1 in 25 people in any 1 month
    Guideline goes on to recommend high dose Effexor (relative risk of suicidality is 12) or nefazadone that had already been withdrawn by its maker in 2003 because it caused fatal liver damage.
    Guidelines say nothing about major catastrophic about catastrophic “psychiatric” side effects of the drugs they promote which include worsening depression, suicidality, hallucinations, delusions, akathisia, violence and homicide nor do they accommodate information in Public Health advisories put out by the data rich US FDA. These advisories can be accessed from here.
    Graphics in guidelines have been created by persons who have no understanding or concept of the “therapeutic window of opportunity” within which a drug might be effective, below which it is ineffective and above which it is toxic, a level at which it endangers life and may cause permanent neuroleptic brain injury which predisposes to further episodes of organic psychosis caused by brain damage. Graphics in Australian guidelines resemble those in the fraudulent TMAP.
    They contain information that is dangerous to life and health because augmenting (with more ineffective drugs) causes serious, even catastrophic, drug-drug interactions, synergies, (two akathisia inducers used together) and gene based drug-drug interactions even as they known in 2003. Pharmacogenetics is dismissed as “an interesting website”
    Guidelines are prepared under the auspices of the National Health and Medical Research Council, which does not take responsibility for them.

  5. Salamander

    The issue here concerning drug company sponsorship of research seems to me to be more about whether there has been full and frank disclosure of such funding, rather than the ethics of accepting the funding.

  6. Yolande Lucire

    still waiting moderation, do you wnt to see raw data? Yola

  7. shepherdmarilyn

    Since when do sleep disorders count as a mental health problem anyway. Professor I think you are a trifle paranoid.

  8. Lori Bryenton

    Ahhh Mr. Hickie, you hit the nail right on the head.

    You say “Sadly, tweeting has not only replaced the academic journal itself as the major source of credible information — the new social media is perceived to be the place where people say what they really believe. Any allegation in cyberspace is instantly assumed to be true and relayed extensively throughout the social network that is modern media.”

    Mr. Hickie, the new social media has cast some much needed light on the shenanigans you and your cronies have been up to.

    Most people on the social network have no vested interest…..unlike some people.

    With a bad taste in my mouth I remain,

    Yours truly,

    Lori Farquhar-Bryenton

  9. michael

    As a Twitter user and follower of Dr Horton’s tweets I would strongly disagree with the claim that “Any allegation in cyberspace is instantly assumed to be true”. Quite the opposite, if anything. Does anyone believe that a tweet is the final word on anything? On the contrary, they are suggestions, links, questions and throwaway commentary/thoughts.
    It’s great to see journal editors active in this way on Twitter – it brings them out of the ivory tower, and makes them accessible and answerable to all – just the opposite of the image of someone pontificating from armchair in central London.

  10. Smith John

    Defamation threat over comments made on social media? I suggest you acquaint yourself with the terms ‘#MTRsues’ and ‘Barbra Streisand effect’.

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