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The interface between publicly funded and industry-funded research in pediatric psychopharmacology: opportunities for integration and collaboration

      Abstract

      Pediatric psychopharmacology research is undergoing a major expansion consequent to increasing use of psychotropic medications in children and recent legislative incentives to industry. In this rapidly changing context, the interface between publicly and privately funded research needs to be reconsidered to integrate activities and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. Once, by default, the almost exclusive domain of public research, child research is now increasingly funded by industry. There are, however, important issues unlikely to be addressed through private funding for which public support is needed, such as direct comparisons between active medications, between pharmacological and psychosocial interventions, or between combined and single treatment modalities; development of effective treatment strategies for patients unresponsive to first-line treatments; development of better research methods to assess efficacy and safety; identification of moderators and mechanisms of treatment response; and impact of treatment on illness course and prognosis. Industry-sponsored research is limited by the restricted access to proprietary databases, which impedes independent analyses and meta-analyses. Translation of basic neuroscience discoveries into treatment applications for children with mental illness is a critical area of inquiry that can benefit from integration of efforts and collaborations among academia, government, and industry.

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