Dr. Daniel Carlat founded his original CME newsletter, The Carlat Psychiatry Report (TCPR) in January of 2003 as an alternative to existing journals and newsletters that receive pharmaceutical industry funding. It is now the flagship newsletter of Carlat Publishing. Dr. Carlat also publishes The Carlat Child Psychiatry Report (CCPR) and The Carlat Addiction Treatment Report (CATR).

In 2002, Dr. Carlat, a practicing psychiatrist and a writer of psychiatric textbooks, was doing what many of his colleagues were doing in order to make extra money—giving promotional talks for drug companies. At $1000 per engagement, it was easy money, and for a time he was able to convince himself that his talks were completely objective, and were not biased in favor of the funding companies.

One day, however, a regional manager for a major drug company visited Dr. Carlat in his office, saying, “One of my drug reps called me and said that you didn’t seem as enthusiastic about our product as usual at the last lunch. I told him that even Dr. Carlat can’t hit a home run for us every time. Have you been sick?” At that moment, he realized that he had become little more than a glorified pharmaceutical representative. He resigned from all speaker’s bureaus, and started publishing The Carlat Psychiatry Report within six months.

Dr. Carlat started Carlat Publishing, LLC (then called Clearview Publishing, LLC) with $20,000 of his own money. He single-handedly wrote and produced the first few issues during the Tuesdays that he took off from his private practice. Learning about the publishing business on the fly, he mailed out promotional issues by hand, hoping that the idea of an unbiased alternative would gain some traction. Just as his initial capital was running out, subscription checks started flooding in, allowing him to continue printing monthly issues and to gradually hire others to help him with production and writing.

From the beginning, TCPR adopted a skeptical attitude toward many of the marketing claims accompanying new drug launches by pharmaceutical firms. In the January 2004 issue, this approach nearly resulted in the newsletter’s untimely demise. The article in question, entitled “Cymbalta: Double the reuptake, triple the hype,” was critical of some of the statements of efficacy made by Eli Lilly researchers. Soon after the issue was printed, an Eli Lilly attorney contacted the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), which was at that time the CME accreditor for the publication. The attorney maintained that the article was unfair and biased, and was therefore out of compliance with ACCME standards for CME programs. MMS ordered the newsletter to cease its CME program pending a formal investigation of the complaint.

Fortunately, Dr. Carlat knew an editor at Lippincott Williams and Wilkins (LWW) who helped facilitate a transfer of the CME program to Wolters Kluwer Health, the parent company of LWW. Thus, the newsletter was able to continue publishing. Dr. Carlat invited Eli Lilly to write a rebuttal to the newsletter’s article on Cymbalta, which was published on the web site. The company did not pursue any legal action against the newsletter, and Dr. Carlat continued to produce unbiased newsletters for clinicians.

In 2007, Dr. Carlat wrote an influential article in the New York Times Magazine entitled “Dr. Drug Rep” describing the experiences that lead to the creation of Carlat Publishing. He continued to lend his voice to efforts promoting unbiased medical education throughout the debate that lead up to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. The new legislation was designed to increase transparency regarding financial relationships between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry. As a result of the law, the public now has access to payments made to doctors by pharmaceutical companies through the Open Payments Program.

At the request of readers, Dr. Carlat worked with Caroline Fisher, MD, PhD, to launch a newsletter focused on child psychiatry called The Carlat Child Psychiatry Report.

In 2012, Dr. Carlat embarked on a two-year position as the director of the Pew Prescription Project in Washington DC, where he pulled together a group of experts to review conflict of interest recommendations, and worked with various partner organizations (AMSA, Community Catalyst, and the National Physician’s Alliance) to disseminate these recommendations to medical schools and teaching hospitals throughout the U.S.

Dr, Carlat resumed leadership of Carlat Publishing in 2014, and kicked off a new era in resource development for clinicians by partnering with co-author Talia Puzantian, PhD, BCPP on The Medication Fact Book for Psychiatric Practice. The volume compiled easy-to-use drug fact sheets that Dr. Carlat had developed over years of practice and had been creating for his own use. It quickly became a reader favorite, and Drs. Puzantian and Carlat have continued updating and improving it in subsequent editions since then.

Dr. Carlat again responded to reader interest to launch The Carlat Addiction Treatment Report in 2015. The new publication addresses the growing need for addiction treatment resources in the face of an ongoing opioid crisis.

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