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A new analysis finds that a notable portion of treatment guidelines issued in recent years by medical societies and government agencies for combating mild depression were compiled by individuals with financial conflicts of interest or lacked other safeguards to ensure impartiality.

Of 172 people who participated in 14 guidelines committees, 18 percent had ties to drug makers that sell antidepressants, and some had connections to more than one company. Five guidelines, meanwhile, recommended antidepressants as a first-line treatment for mild depression, and four of those — or 80 percent — had panelists with some type of financial connection, according to the analysis in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.


Meanwhile, none of the organizations that recommended antidepressants had a methodologist or research analyst involved. But seven of nine — or 78 percent — of those that did not recommend antidepressants did include such experts, who should be used to bring inter-disciplinary scrutiny to the guideline process, according to recommendations issued several years ago by the National Academy of Medicine, a non-profit that provides advice on health issues.

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