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price tag


DSM-5 has announced its price, an incredible $199 (and the paperback is also no bargain at a hefty $149).

Compare this to $25 for a DSM III in 1980; $65 for a DSM IV in 1994; and $84 for a DSM-IV-TR in 2000. The price tag on a copy of DSM is escalating at more than twice the rate of inflation.

No one outside the closed APA circle will ever really know for sure, but clearly the astounding price jump is not fueled by Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” – the powerful interaction of supply and demand that guides any free market.

The supply of DSM-5 is unlimited while the demand is likely to be quite limited (due to all the mistrust that has been generated by DSM-5’s flawed process and reckless product).

The price tag on a copy of DSM-5 is escalating at more than twice the rate of inflation

The price tag on a copy of DSM-5 is escalating at more than twice the rate of inflation

So if supply is great and demand is small, why is the price of DSM-5 jumping up so rapidly instead of sticking to inflation or retreating? Three reasons:

1. APA has sunk more than $25 million into DSM-5 and wants to recoup as much of its investment as it can. God only knows where the money went. DSM-IV cost one fifth as much – just $5 million – of which half came from external grants.

2. APA is in deficit and is rapidly losing membership dues and drug company funding. It desperately needs all the publishing profits it can pull from DSM-5 to bridge its budgetary gap. If DSM-5 sales are projected to be much less than originally expected, the APA strategy may be to raise prices sky-high in order to make up the difference.

3. APA is probably counting on having captive buyers who are forced to pay its price, however exorbitant it may be. That’s exactly how monopolies take advantage of markets that are not free- rigging the prices to bring in all the profits the helpless traffic will bear.

Previous systems (DSM-III, DSM-IIIR, DSM-IV) were far from perfect, but they were good enough to provide a widely accepted common language for communication. The gross incompetence of DSM-5 will likely return us to a Babel of many languages – different people using different methods of diagnoses.