Controversy: The Role of Big Pharma

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Psychology controversy for discussion deals with the role of Big Pharmaceutical companies in the field of mental health and mental health care.

Before working on this discussion, please read the article by Shulz (2004), watch the Generation RX: Resisting the Culture of Overmedication video, and review the information in the textbook regarding psychotropic medication as well as any relevant Instructor Guidance.

For this discussion, you will enter into yet another conversation on an ongoing controversy and contemporary issue regarding the role of “big pharma” (i.e., major pharmaceutical companies that determine the ways in which health care issues are researched and publicized) in the diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology?

It is absolutely essential to read the article by Shulz (2004) and watch the Generation RX video because they provide insights into how issues regarding psychotropic medication are depicted in popular media.

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Your goals this week is to answer the following prompts:

· Given the historical information you reviewed regarding big pharma’s impact and influence within abnormal psychology, relate this historical background to the current ethical, clinical, and social implications when considering the use of psychotropic medication for the treatment of psychiatric disorders
(e.g., What are the ethical and clinical implications for referring a client with severe depression to medical provider for anti-depressant medication evaluation when he/she states that “medications do not work.” Could it be unethical to continue to treat this individual without medication management given that it is the standard of care to do so? Are there psychotherapy options that equate to medication in such a case?)

· Interpret specific symptoms and syndromes from big pharma’s advertising campaigns
(e.g., Anti-depressant ads do not seem to mention psychotherapy as a treatment option. Is this ethical in your opinion?

· Critically evaluate and comment upon the necessity of these medications for the indicated psychiatric disorders
(e.g., Suicidality, severe depression and anxiety, psychosis, Bipolar Disorder, are commonly considered disorders that require medication management in order to treat appropriately given the severity and risk issues associated with these conditions. However medications come with their own side effects and level or risk/uncertainly. Who is responsible for deciding the best course of treatment for the client/patient in such case?

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