still watching…

Posted on Sunday 6 July 2014

It has been eight months since this apology was published in JAMA Psychiatry. After over a decade of Dr. Kupfer self-righteously swatting away accusations that his DSM-5 Task Force was riddled with members who had conflicts of interest, he was forced to acknowledge that he had a whopper of a conflict of his own – a company poised to capitalize on his wished-for "dimensional diagnoses" as a screening device:
by Robert D. Gibbons, PhD, David J.Weiss, PhD, Paul A. Pilkonis, PhD, Ellen Frank, PhD, and David J. Kupfer,MD.
JAMA Psychiatry. Published Online: November 20, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.3888

To the Editor: We apologize to the editors and readers of JAMA Psychiatry for our failure to fully disclose our financial interests in an article1 that reported a diagnostic tool, the Computerized Adaptive Test for Depression [CAT-DI]. Following acceptance of the paper, we disclosed that “The CAT-DI will ultimately be made available for routine administration, and its development as a commercial product is under consideration.” The company that owns the rights to CAT-DI and several related tests is Psychiatric Assessments, Inc [PAI], which uses the trade name of Adaptive Testing Technologies [ATT] on a website describing these tests. Lead author Robert D. Gibbons, PhD, is the president and founder of PAI,which was incorporated in Delaware in late 2011, then registered to do business in Illinois in January 2012. Dr Gibbons awarded “founder’s shares in PAI” to us, yet all 5 of us failed to report our financial interests in connection with our article and again in a Reply to Letters to the Editor regarding the article. Neither PAI nor ATT has released the CAT-DI test [or any other test] for commercial or professional use, but our ownership interests were relevant to the research article and Reply we submitted and should have been disclosed to the editors. Our submitted disclosure lacked transparency, and we regret our omission.
The APA investigated and said everything was fine. You may or may not have noticed that my letter to the APA and Timeline went unacknowledged [open letter to the APA…]. Since then, we’ve heard little to nothing from Dr. Kupfer, Dr. Gibbons, or their other partners in Adaptive Testing Technologies. This post is just a marker to remind them that we’re still watching…
    Bernard Carroll
    July 6, 2014 | 5:29 PM

    You’re right, Dr. Mickey… it’s like there has been a news blackout for the Gibbons-Kupfer testing corporation. About all that has happened is a new publication in American Journal of Psychiatry describing an anxiety scale. That article was accompanied by an ill-considered editorial in the journal, which also published a critical letter from yours truly – to which the authors didn’t respond.

    There are some changes on the corporate website… the original gang of five now have their own page labeled Founders. Another page lists a Team of 5 individuals, but they all seem to have day jobs so it isn’t clear who is doing the heavy lifting for the corporation.

    They don’t completely have their act together on the corporate website. At one point they say a new scale for mania/hypomania is available, then a few paragraphs later they say the mania/hypomania scale will soon be validated. Go figure. Anyway, that claim removes any doubt about the expansive intentions of the Founders. Look for more to come – an adaptive Mini-Mental State test, anybody?

    Needless to say, they have answered none of the substantive objections to their premature commercial activity.

    July 6, 2014 | 7:01 PM

    Not a smidgen of corruption going on here. Oh, we have heard that already, and what has that situation come to reveal?

    When does corruption become plain evil?

    James O'Brien, M.D.
    July 7, 2014 | 1:03 PM

    Having the APA investigate it’s own corruption is like asking Holder to investigate Obama or John Mitchell to investigate Nixon. Of course, it will be whitewashed and labelled a fake scandal…

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