The STAR*D Scandal: Scientific Misconduct on a Grand Scale


The American Journal of Psychiatry Needs to Retract Study That Reported Fraudulent Results

By Robert Whitaker, published by Mad in America on September 9, 2023

Stories of corruption in research are not unusual. Sometimes these make the news, and sometimes people pay attention; often they don’t. If an issue doesn’t hit home, it doesn’t usually garner much attention. When public understanding and population health are as heavily influenced as they are by research conducted on pharmaceuticals, it makes sense to wake up and pay attention when possible scientific misconduct is called out.

Given the increasingly high number of people in most western nations who are taking psychiatric drugs, any discovery of possible research misconduct happening in this sector of science should be viewed as the equivalent of a multiple-alarm fire.

A quick Google search on the STAR*D study gets many hits, with the first several of these being popular and ‘respected’ players in the world of biomedically oriented psychiatry and the scientific communities that support it. Psychiatric Services (run by the American Psychiatric Association), The National Institutes of Mental Health, BMJ Open, Sage Journals, are just a few of the research world’s heavy hitters that come up when STAR*D is googled.

Robert Whitaker’s recently published investigative journalism piece on the STAR*D study exposes a mind-blowing case of fraudulent reporting by one of the research world’s rock stars.


From Whitaker’s MIA post …. “When the STAR*D study was launched more than two decades ago, the NIMH investigators promised that the results would be rapidly disseminated and used to guide clinical care. This was the “largest and longest study ever done to evaluate depression treatment,” the NIMH noted, and most important, it would be conducted in “real-world” patients. Various studies had found that 60% to 90% of real-world patients couldn’t participate in industry trials of antidepressants because of exclusionary criteria.”

Read the whole article here.