InfoMail for February 18b, 2002

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News Stories on Human ResearchProtection and
Commentary by Vera Hassner Sharav

February 18b, 2002 

FYI

New Research Finding Threatens SleepingPill Sales

The Washington Post reports that an NIH funded study,conducted by Daniel Kripke, a professor of psychiatry at the University ofCalifornia at San Diego, overturns the advice given by many sleep doctors. Thestudy tracked the sleeping habits of 1.1 million Americans for six years,finding those who slept less, lived longer. The finding is controversial becauseit threatens sleeping pill sales.

Dr. James Walsh, president of the National SleepFoundation (NSF), who disagrees with the study findings acknowledged in TheWashington Post (below) that "most researchers in the field have acceptedconsulting fees from the companies, because "99 percent of the funding tosupport this type of research is from pharmaceutical companies."

Dr. Kripke’s study was funded with federal tax dollars,not drug manufacturers. Dr. Kripke suggested that "doctors’ recommendationsthat everyone get eight hours of sleep a night may have been influenced partlyby companies that make sleeping pills." He pointed to a report showing thatNSF received funding form a pill manufacturer for the purpose of alert peopleabout an insomnia "public health crisis" as part of a marketingcampaign.

If NIH would fund more studies untainted by industryinfluence, we are likely to find out that other "disorders" are notvalid either. That could lead to substantial savings in prescription drug costs.

Archives of Gen. Psych: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11825133&dopt=Abstract