National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

The David Healy Affair:
One Example of the Clash Between
Drug Money & Academic Freedom


From Survivorlink.org:

Dr. Healy's lecture, "Psychopharmacology and the Government of the Self," gained considerable attention when, shortly after delivering this lecture, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto withdrew an employment offer which Dr. Healy had already accepted. Very shortly after delivering the lecture, David Goldbloom, Physician-in-Chief at CAMH, told Dr. Healy that people only remember three things from a talk and that what they would remember from Dr. Healy's lecture were the claims that Prozac could cause suicide, that Lilly knew about this (which Dr. Healy did not say in his lecture), and that high dose antipsychotics cause brain damage. In early December of 2000, Dr. Healy received an e-mail from David Goldbloom stating "we believe that it is not a good fit between you and the role as leader of an academic program...This view was solidified by your recent appearance at the Centre in the context of an academic lecture..." CAMH was rescinding the position.

This incident has raised serious concerns about academic freedom at CAMH and the University of Toronto. Since Eli Lilly, maker of Prozac, is a major contributor to CAMH, there has been speculation about a possible connection between the rescinding of the offer and the substantial funding which Lilly has provided to CAMH (http://www.prospect.org/print/V12/17/elliott-c.html). It has been documented that Lilly withdrew funding from New York's Hastings Center in response to a Hastings publication which was critical of Prozac, adding credibility to this speculation.

Several newspapers and the prestigious journal, Nature Medicine, provided coverage of the CAMH affair. Details of this story are widely available via Internet. A search at Google on the terms, "David Healy" CAMH Toronto, yields nearly 300 results. Visit http://www.counterpunch.com/prozacsuicide.html to read an interview of Dr. Healy and for links to some original source material concerning the CAMH affair.


There has been international media coverage of the events surrounding the University of Toronto's withdrawal of a formal job offer to the psychiatrist David Healy. Interest has been aroused because of the suggestion that the job withdrawal was a consequence of the clash of interest between academic freedom and the commercial interests of pharmaceutical companies. Indeed, these specific events have raised much more general concerns about the possible influence of large corporations on intellectual debate in Western democracies.

In view of the potential importance of this affair, this web site makes available some of the primary source documentation :- Dr Healy's lecture in Toronto which immediately preceded the withdrawal of the job offer, transcripts of e-mail correspondence following the talk, and the transcript of a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary on the topic.

These documents were circulated to Dr Bruce Charlton by Dr David Healy. They are already in the public domain, but most have not previously been conveniently or freely accessible.


Bruce Charlton  e-mail info@pharmapolitics.com