There are many critics of the profession of medicine/psychiatry, and many critics of the pharmaceutical industry, and often they are the same people. They seem especially common on blogs and in books, less so in scientific journals, and, one suspects, around kitchen tables. A common claim of these critics is that medicine/psychiatry is bought, corrupted by the money of the pharmaceutical industry; where there is money, there is corruption; where more money, more corruption; like good Marxists (though usually unconsciously so), they privilege economics above all else: follow the money, they say.
I had an experience which demonstrates the limits of this economistic orthodoxy. A few years ago, a researcher colleague asked me to join him to be second author on a major clinical trial by a major pharmaceutical company of a drug for mania. Having not participated in the study, either in its design or execution, I declined. Three years passed. Apparently, a law firm that specializes in class action suits against the pharmaceutical industry started a confidential process against that company with the US District Attorney in a major American city. In the course of discovery, the lawyers came across internal memos documenting my interaction with my colleague. Intrigued, they called me. Will you consult with us about the activities of the pharmaceutical industry? Certainly, I replied. I am critical of some of their activities, and I support any legitimate investigation of potentially harmful activities that would be in the interest of public health. They sent me a consulting check, and we scheduled a phone call, along with the district attorney. I explained that I turned down the specific request because I had not participated in the study; I had by then become aware of the practice of ghost authorship, and I did not want to be party to it. I expected to give them more detail about the general practices of ghost authorship, matters which are by now well published in various places (ranging from popular books to medical journals like JAMA). But I found they were not interested in the policy problem of ghost authorship, they wanted more specific details about my colleague, and his involvement with that company, and who else was involved with that company, and so on. They wanted to make my experience part of their case.