‘Pharma-enmeshed’ Psychiatry and the ‘ad hominem’
Introduction (14th January): Dr Samei Huda, who features in the second half of this piece, has claimed to be a ‘nobody’, but in May he is publishing a book (which appears to include substantial discussion of psychiatric drugs) with the internationally prestigious Oxford University Press. Dr Huda initially suggested that to question possible links
between the publication of his book and the pharmaceutical industry (Pharma – see the 5th link below) would be conspiracy theorising. A day later he acknowledged such questioning is valid (see postscript below).
3rd January piece:
Criticisms of doctors and other health professionals who receive money from Pharma are sometimes said to be invalid because they are ‘ad hominem’. This latin phrase sounds impressive and technical but all it literally means is ‘to the person’.
Unlike pharmaceutical companies, doctors are supposed to act in accordance with specific ethical principles. The GMC states that ‘If patients are at risk because of inadequate…policies or systems, you should put the matter right if that is possible. You must raise your concern in line with our guidance…’.
There is substantial evidence that patients are ‘at risk’ from ‘inadequate policies and systems’ covering relations between health professionals and Pharma. Some doctors and many others have ‘raised concerns’ but those concerns have been largely ignored.
Given the refusal of ‘Pharma-enmeshed’ professionals to engage in discussion and debate, it is therefore reasonable (and arguably an ethical duty) to draw attention to these concerns using any proportionate means, including ‘ad hominem’ mockery and satire, that are not merely permitted, but have substantial protections in law as free speech or ‘fair comment’.
As I outlined in September 2018 (last five paragraphs), Dr Peter Gordon is an NHS consultant psychiatrist who has been attempting to raise concerns about psychiatric Pharma-enmeshment for over five years. Following the GMC’s Duties of a Doctor he has recently turned to using his visual design skills to create gently mocking and satirical images.
These images seem to have some effect. When I tweeted one a few weeks ago it led to a leading social media psychiatrist blocking me on Twitter:
Yes, Dr Gordon’s images are not ‘respectful’: that is exactly the point of mockery and satire. But I suggest to Dr Huda that if Pharma-enmeshed professionals were themselves ‘respectful’ of those seeking to raise concerns then such images would not be necessary.
There were other factors involved in Dr Huda’s blocking me, and readers can look at the threads on Twitter to make up their own minds as to the importance of the ‘ad hominem’ image. I felt that ‘their reasoning is rubbish’ in this tweet was very dismissive and I re-tweeted it:
Dr Huda accused me of ‘inciting trolling’ and that was supposedly the specific reason he blocked me. But no such ‘trolling’ occurred, and Dr Huda knows very well that I have discouraged abuse and threats on social media (he previously retweeted this):
In fact it is Pharma-enmeshed psychiatrists who have often been abusive to concerned professionals and patients: see paragraphs 7, 9 and 10 of my ‘manifesto’. I have repeatedly pointed this out to Dr Huda and others.
And Dr Huda has published ‘ad hominem’ mockery himself. Of Peter Kinderman (‘Pk’) for example:
So while he has disengaged from discussing and debating with me, perhaps he will reflect on the consistency of his own ‘Good Medical Practice’:
Postscript (14th January):
I have been a great admirer of Dr Huda’s work on recognising, analysing and countering anti-diagnosis purism. It seems very unfortunate to me that the parts of his new book outlining his well thought out and pragmatic defence of diagnosis in mental health may be overshadowed by parts which fail to address Pharma influence on treatments.
He has also convincingly pointed out that white ‘Critical’ psychologists and psychiatrists are often careless about racism, which further undermines their credibility, especially when they appropriate the metaphor of people with mental health problems being ‘colonised’ by psychiatry.
Shortly after publishing the above piece I found this Tweet: it is further evidence of his double standards:
Dr Huda responded with the ad hominem (and satirical) suggestion that my questioning of links between Pharma and establishment psychiatry is based on conspiracy theory. And he initially encouraged others to adopt this view, rather than address the facts and reasoning in my Blog pieces on Pharma-enmeshment:
A day later, Dr Huda withdrew his conspiracy theory allegation:
And he has now begun, with great reluctance, to provide details.
(See also a later piece on Dr Huda and other establishment psychiatrists.)