Anti-depressants prescribed too easily, doctor says


A professor of psychology has said doctors fail patients by prescribing anti-depressant tablets too easily.

Dr David Healy told BBC Radio Cymru GPs are "all but forcing" pills on patients who do not believe they should have them.

He said doctors should demand more information from the pharmaceutical industry about anti-depressant tablets.

"If you ask me who's really failing people I think it's doctors like me," Dr Healy told Post Cyntaf.

"These days when people go along to their doctor, they're hoping they'll get a pill to cure an infection and they're told 'no we don't hand out antibiotics, these are tricky pills, things could go wrong'.

"But in the case of the anti-depressants it's just the opposite. These are even trickier pills likely to cause much more harm."

Image copyright All Wales Medicines Strategy Group
Image caption A graph from the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group shows an increase in anti-depressant prescribing across Wales

Dr Healy, director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine, said doctors should not be afraid to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry.

"If I give you an anti-depressant for instance and things go wrong, I can always blame it on your illness rather than on the pill or anything that I've done," he said.

"We're well-paid people and you'd expect us to be able to stand up to a little bit of pressure that we get from industry if we say 'wait a minute here, we want the real data on these pills', but we haven't done that."

More on this story