Thursday, April 30, 2009

Psychologists behind torture program

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=7471217&page=1

As the secrets about the CIA's interrogation techniques continue to come out, there's new information about the frequency and severity of their use, contradicting an 2007 ABC News report, and a new focus on two private contractors who were apparently directing the brutal sessions that President Obama calls torture.

According to current and former government officials, the CIA's secret waterboarding program was designed and assured to be safe by two well-paid psychologists now working out of an unmarked office building in Spokane, Washington.

and...

But it turns out neither Mitchell nor Jessen had any experience in conducting actual interrogations before the CIA hired them.

"They went to two individuals who had no interrogation experience," said Col. Kleinman. "They are not interrogators."

The new documents show the CIA later came to learn that the two psychologists' waterboarding "expertise" was probably "misrepresented" and thus, there was no reason to believe it was "medically safe" or effective. The waterboarding used on al Qaeda detainees was far more intense than the brief sessions used on U.S. military personnel in the training classes.

 

 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Georgia Settles with Lilly over Zyprexa

 

Georgia settles with drug company for $6M

Other states seek more with lawsuits over potential side effects of Zyprexa

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Georgia has decided to enter into a multimillion-dollar settlement with Eli Lilly and Co. over the pharmaceutical giant’s off-label promotion of the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.

The state will get more than $6 million from the deal. Even so, lawyers familiar with the case wonder if Georgia is missing out on a much larger payday.

A dozen other states have decided not to settle. They have filed their own lawsuits seeking massive damage awards. The suits seek, in part, reimbursement for Medicaid payments for unwarranted Zyprexa prescriptions.

The suits contend Lilly misled patients and their physicians about Zyprexa’s potential side effects — diabetes, hyperglycemia and excessive weight gain. Lilly has denied wrongdoing in these civil cases.

Georgia has joined 30 other states in taking the settlement, a Lilly spokeswoman said.

Mark Zamora, an Atlanta lawyer who represents clients with Zyprexa claims, said Georgia should take on Lilly in court.

“At the end of the day, Georgia citizens would be better served by taking their chances with 12 fair jurors,” he said. “You have to hold the company accountable here, and there’s already admitted criminal wrongdoing.”

State Attorney General Thurbert Baker believes it is a good deal for state taxpayers.

The attorney general’s office looked at the anticipated Medicaid losses and calculated the payout would be about double what Georgia’s claims would have been, said Russ Willard, a Baker spokesman. The entire settlement for Georgia is more than $15 million, with $9 million reimbursing the federal share of state Medicaid claims, he said.

“Given the issues raised as well as the parameters of the settlement, Attorney General Baker thought this was a beneficial settlement for the taxpayers of Georgia,” Willard said.

Zyprexa has Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Yet lawsuits contend that Lilly’s marketing campaign targeted patients with dementia, even though the company lacked FDA approval to do so. The drug was Lilly’s best seller for years, bringing in billions of dollars.

In January, Lilly pleaded guilty to illegally marketing Zyprexa. It agreed to pay $1.42 billion to resolve lawsuits and end the criminal investigation.

This included $800 million to settle civil cases, with $438 million going to the federal government and $362 million to states. Lilly did not admit wrongdoing in the civil litigation.

There is always risk when a lawsuit is filed, said Edward Sherman, a Tulane University law professor and expert in civil litigation. Lilly could prevail and, if the state wins, the case could take years to play out, he said.

Also, states pursuing such demanding cases must hire trial lawyers who work for contingency fees. This can have political repercussions, he said.

But states taking on Lilly in court could win big verdicts or get larger settlements, Sherman said. “There’s the potential for a good deal more money than what’s being offered now.”

Alaska took such an approach.

In March 2008, three weeks into trial, the state and Lilly agreed on a $15 million settlement. Although Alaska had sought far more, the settlement was sizable given the state’s population of 670,000. Georgia has about 9.5 million residents.

Fletch Trammell, a Houston lawyer whose firm represents several states in the Zyprexa litigation, said the risk to bringing suit is diminished because Lilly entered a guilty plea.

“States participating in this settlement instead of litigating their claims,” he said, “are sending the message to Lilly and companies like them, ‘You can steal all the money you can for as long as you can, as long as at the end of the day, you’re willing to settle with us for pennies on the dollar.’ “

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gabriel Myers - Foster kids - guinea pigs in a vast, public-financed drug experiment

Miami Herald

Child's death was anything but a suicide
By FRED GRIMM

April 27, 2009

 

Calling the death of Gabriel Myers a ''suicide'' lets his killers off the hook.

The 7-year-old was propelled by a vast conspiracy of abuse and neglect and malpractice. The boy only finished the job on April 15, when he locked himself in the bathroom of his Margate foster home and coiled a shower hose around his neck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

We know that his mother, currently in jail in Ohio, her parental rights severed by the courts, seemed to be preoccupied with other matters, including drugs.

AN ALARMING PATHOLOGY

And we know that something awful in his short, sad life had triggered an alarming pathology of aggressive sexual behaviors. This stuff doesn't occur spontaneously. Someone, reportedly an older child, inflicted this kind of learned behavior on a small child. Gabriel was abused.

''Kids act out like this because someone hurt them,'' said Andrea Moore, the longtime child advocate in Broward County and director of Florida's Children First. ``And they are trying to tell us they're hurt.''

Gabriel was a child of obvious and urgent needs. He needed help, attention and therapy. What he got was Lexapro, Zyprexa and Symbyax (a combination of Zyprexa and Prozac). None of the three powerful psychotropic drugs doled out to Gabriel while he was a foster child was approved for children. All three drugs were known to raise the risk of ''suicidal tendencies'' in children.

And Moore points out that none of these anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs had a damn thing to do with repairing Gabriel's underlying problems. ``Give me a break. There is no drug that cures the pain of childhood sexual abuse.''

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS

The drugs, which come with a long and sobering list of possible side effects in children, have been doled out to troublesome kids to make them more manageable. Eli Lilly was fined $1.4 billion -- that's billion with a B -- in March for nefariously marketing the unauthorized use of Zyprexa for children, despite the known risks. A big chunk of those kids, like Gabriel, were foster kids, whose lives by definition were inflicted with the kind of trauma apt to cause unruly behavior.

State officials across the country seemed happy to pay $25 a pill to keep their unruly wards quiet. Eli Lilly also targeted elderly Medicaid patients. The federal lawsuit cited a ``thinly veiled marketing of Zyprexa as an effective chemical restraint for demanding, vulnerable and needy patients.''

Foster kids were essentially guinea pigs in a vast, public-financed drug experiment.

Of course, safeguards supposedly protected foster kids. Florida requires so-called ''informed consent'' before some doctor pumps a kid up with psychotropics. Parents are asked first -- though most foster children would hardly be foster children if it wasn't for lousy decisions by irresponsible parents.\

Absent a parent, a judge must give the OK for psychotropics. But the courts and case workers from the Department of Children & Families are all too overwhelmed by caseloads and beset by budget cuts to spend time contesting a doctor's judgment.

''No one was looking out for Gabriel,'' Moore said.

What Gabriel got, instead of real help, were powerful adult drugs laden with dangerous side effects. His cause of death was listed as suicide. It was just another misdiagnosis.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Harvard Students Rebel re Big Pharma

Harvard Medical Students Rebel Against Big Pharma Ties

Two hundred Harvard Medical School students are confronting
the school's administration, demanding an end to pharmaceutical industry
influence in the classroom.

The students worry that pharmaceutical industry scandals in recent years,
including criminal convictions, billions of dollars in fines, proof of bias
in research and publishing and false marketing claims, have cast a bad light
on the medical profession. The students have criticized Harvard as being less
vigilant than other leading medical schools in monitoring potential financial
conflicts by faculty members.

Harvard received the lowest possible grade, an "F," from the American Medical
Student Association, a national group that rates how well medical schools
monitor and control drug industry money.

The students were joined by Dr. Marcia Angell, a faculty member and former
editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, who has vigorously
advocated for an end to liaisons between academia and Big Pharma.

Sources:

  Alliance for Human Research Protection March 3, 2009


Dr. Mercola''s Comments         

Medical schools' image as unbiased sources of education is increasingly being
tarnished as the truth comes out about their heavy ties to the drug industry.
Even Harvard Medical School, one of the most prestigious in the United
States, recently earned an F for its policies regarding accepting money and
gifts from drug companies.

The grade came from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), which
ranked 150 medical schools according to their ties to industry. The more
money and other incentives a school was receiving from the pharmaceutical
industry, the worse grade they got.

Harvard earned the lowest grade possible, so kudos to these medical students
who decided to confront the school's administration for some much-needed
change. According to AMSA:

• Out of Harvard's 8,900 professors and lecturers, 1,600 admit that they or a
family member have ties to drug companies that could bias their teaching or
research.
• The pharmaceutical industry contributed more than $11.5 million to Harvard
in 2008 for "research and continuing education classes."

The issue has only gotten more heated since the New York Times ran this
article, featuring the story of Matt Zerden, then a first-year Harvard
medical student, who became suspicious after one of his professors promoted
the benefits of cholesterol drugs, and even went so far as to belittle a
student who asked about side effects.

Turns out the professor was not only a member of Harvard's medical faculty,
but also was a paid consultant to 10 drug companies, including five makers of
cholesterol treatments.

"I felt really violated," Mr. Zerden, now a fourth-year student, said in the
New York Times. "Here we have 160 open minds trying to learn the basics in a
protected space, and the information he was giving wasn't as pure as I think
it should be."

And that really sums up the issue in a nutshell.

How can medical professors teach unbiased, truthful information to their
students when they're being essentially paid off by drug companies?

Well, they really can't, and that's the problem.

Impressionable medical students are being indoctrinated into the drug-based
model of disease care as we speak. It goes on all the time, and I can vouch
for this personally as I, too, was brainwashed in medical school to favor the
drug paradigm.

In the mid '80s, I was actually a paid speaker for the drug companies. They
would fly me to various physician education events around the country and pay
me a very generous stipend to lecture to these groups. That was more than two
decades ago, before I was able to remove myself from their very powerful
brainwashing techniques -- and I was finally able to understand the truth of
what they were doing.

A Long History of Corruption

In the 19th century, most Americans thrived on more natural approaches like
homeopathic medicine.

Then, in 1847, along came the American Medical Association (AMA). Most people
didn't trust this new conglomeration, so to gain the power, money and control
they were after, they kept all homeopathic physicians out of their "club,"
and proceeded to call all related remedies "quackery."

If you didn't want to pay to join the club (by advertising in their medical
journal, JAMA), anything you recommended would also be criticized.

From that point on, the AMA turned into a medical monopoly, taking control of
medical schools and essentially medical students as well. To put it simply,
when the AMA took control of the medical schools, they made it so that only
those who graduated from one of them could practice medicine.

And since they controlled the schools, guess what was largely taught? How to
use prescription drugs.

This intertwining of the drug industry and medical schools is still going
strong today, with the end result being a medical model that relies heavily
on drugs, surgery and hospital stays, instead of teaching true healing
practices.

What Happens When Industry Gets a Hold of Doctors?

It's old news that drug companies use aggressive sales tactics to influence
doctors' prescribing habits, but what may surprise you is how well these
tactics work.

A study a few years back found that drug companies were the greatest influence
on doctors' decisions of which drugs to prescribe. Further, about 70 percent
of doctors regarded drug representatives as an efficient way to obtain new
drug information!

Of course, they start their pitches even before the doctors are practicing,
while they're still in medical school.

Drug reps must target doctors, and doctors in training, because  a physician
is required for the consumer to purchase their product. Although in the
United States they have also ramped up their direct-to-consumer ads on
television and in magazines, their real "meat and potatoes" comes from their
marketing directly to physicians.

This is one of the primary reasons why drug companies spend $4 billion each
year on direct-to-consumer ads in the United States, but 400% more, a massive
$16 billion, to influence your doctor. That is $10,000 for every single
doctor in the United States.

Change is Underway

Fortunately there is a generation of bright medical students entering the
field, and many of them are taking steps to help clean up their medical
education.

Already, AMSA has succeeded in securing a requirement at Harvard that all
professors and lecturers disclose their industry ties in class (one
professor's disclosure list had 47 company affiliations!).

Amidst all of the bad press, Harvard's dean also announced that a 19-member
committee will be re-examining the school's conflict-of-interest policies.

The inundation of drug companies into the medical field as a whole did not
happen overnight, and it won't get solved that way either. But step by step,
changes are being made in the right direction.

If you are a student in medical school right now, or planning to enter soon,
please become familiar with AMSA's PharmFree campaign. Aside from being a
great source of information, their site offers guides and kits to help you
make positive changes, including major policy reforms, at your own school.

Details emerge in Middletown family murder-suicide

Originally published April 22, 2009
By Gina Gallucci-White
News-Post Staff

Wood, 34, also suffered from depression and anxiety and had been prescribed
four anti-depressant medications, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said during a Tuesday
afternoon press conference.

More:
http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?storyID=89289

Mothers Act Article / Antidepressants & Murder / Harvard Students Rebel re Big Pharma

Mothers Act: Bad Movie Rerun
The promotion of the Mother's Act is like a rewind of a bad movie dating
back to the 1960's when rock stars were singing songs about "mother's little
helpers."

More: http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/04/mothers-act-bad-movie-rerun/

Friday, April 24, 2009

Florida child's suicide raises questions about psychiatric drugs


Miami Herald

Broward child's suicide raises questions about medication
A Broward foster child who killed himself last week had been prescribed powerful psychiatric drugs, some of which the FDA does not approve for children.

BY CAROL MARBIN MILLER
April 21, 2009

 

Gabriel Myers, the 7-year-old Broward boy who hanged himself in the shower of his foster home
Gabriel Myers, the 7-year-old Broward boy who hanged himself in the shower of his foster home

Weeks before his death, Gabriel Myers, the 7-year-old Broward boy who hanged himself in the shower of his foster home, had been prescribed a powerful mind-altering drug linked by federal regulators to an increased risk of suicide in children.

In all, Gabriel had been prescribed four psychiatric drugs, two or three of which he was taking at the time of his death, said Jack Moss, Broward chief of the state Department of Children & Families. Moss said he is not sure which medications the boy was taking because Margate police took the foster home's medication log as part of an investigation into Gabriel's death last week.

Three of the psychotropic drugs carry U.S. Food and Drug Administration ''black box'' label warnings for children's safety, the strongest advisory the federal agency issues. Three of the medications are not approved for use with young children, though they are widely prescribed to youngsters ''off label'' -- meaning doctors can prescribe the drug even if not formally approved for that use.

In 2005 -- reacting to a series of stories in The Miami Herald that as many as one in four foster children were prescribed potentially dangerous mind-altering drugs -- state lawmakers approved a law aimed at curbing their use. Children's advocates now question whether the law is being ignored.

Gabriel was being treated by a Broward psychiatrist who is on a list of Florida doctors that the state Agency for Health Care Administration red-flagged as having ''problematic'' prescribing practices, said Robert Constantine, director of AHCA's Medicaid Drug Therapy Management Program, which tracks prescribing of psychiatric drugs to children.

The list flags doctors with a high volume of prescriptions of mental-health drugs or potentially dangerous combinations of the medications.

Dr. Sohail Punjwani has been on the list every quarter in which regulators have monitored the prescribing of psychotropic drugs since the program was created in 2006, said Constantine, a professor at the University of South Florida's Mental Health Institute. The practices of about 17,000 Florida doctors who prescribe medications to children on Medicaid are studied every quarter, and about 300 to 450 end up red-flagged on the list.

And though Florida law requires that either a parent or judge consent to the use of psychotropic drugs on foster children, a source with knowledge of the boy's case said Gabriel already had been taking a three-drug cocktail when Broward Circuit Judge Lisa Porter was informed at a March 11 hearing. The judge approved the medications over the objection of a court-appointed guardian, the source said.

''We are devastated,'' said Jon Myers, the boy's maternal uncle, who cared for him from June through October 2008. ``Gabriel's problems could not be solved by a pharmacy.''

Four feet tall and 67 pounds, with short-cropped brown hair, Gabriel was a bright, charming and often sweet little boy, those who knew him say.

But he already had a sad past hinting at a troubling future. Records obtained by The Miami Herald show Gabriel may have been molested by an older boy while he was living with grandparents in Ohio, while his mother was in jail.

On Thursday, Gabriel locked himself in a bathroom and hanged himself with a detachable shower head after arguing with the 19-year-old son of his foster dad about his lunch, Moss said.

DCF petitioned a judge on Tuesday to unseal the boy's records in response to requests from The Herald and other media, spokeswoman Leslie Mann said.

Punjwani told The Miami Herald that he is board certified as a child psychiatrist. He did not recall Gabriel, but Punjwani said he was part of a ''huge'' group practice and may have been one of many clinicians to treat the boy.

Punjwani defended the use of psychiatric drugs on children, even if they are not approved for such use, saying the lack of approval stems from the reluctance of drug makers and the medical establishment to launch clinical trials on children.

The anti-psychotic drugs, he added, are used routinely to treat mood instability and insomnia among children.

Gabriel originally had been prescribed Vyvanse, an attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder drug approved for kids aged 6 through 12, Lexapro, an anti-depressant which is not approved for children, and Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic drug that also is not approved for kids, said Moss.

Both Punjwani and Moss said they think the Lexapro and Zyprexa were discontinued in recent weeks, and that a drug called Symbyax -- which contains the medication in Zyprexa along with another antidepressant -- was substituted.

Symbyax, recently approved for severe depression, is among a group of commonly prescribed anti-depressants, such as Prozac and Paxil, that the FDA warned in 2003 were linked to an increase in ''suicidal thoughts or behaviors'' among children. Symbyax is not approved by the FDA for use on children.

Dr. David L. Katz, professor of public health at Yale University's medical school, called the use of such drugs on youngsters ''extremely risky,'' He questioned whether the boy needed to be taking such powerful medications absent a diagnosis of schizophrenia. ''These are medications that are potent and potentially dangerous,'' Katz said. ``They certainly are powerful drugs for anybody, let alone a 7-year-old boy.''

Jon Myers, the uncle who cared for Gabriel after abuse investigators found him in a car in a Denny's parking lot after his mother had passed out, questions whether Gabriel needed such potent medications to begin with.

Myers said the boy's pediatrician had discontinued all psychotropic drugs while Gabriel lived with him, and the boy did well, earning A's and B's at the Hollywood Christian Academy.

''We did not have any issues with him having tantrums,'' Myers said. ``He would get upset, like little boys do.''

A week or two before Gabriel died, his grandfather in Ohio expressed concerns that the boy sounded overmedicated. ''My father said that the last conversation he had a couple of weeks ago Gabriel sounded like he was too drugged,'' Myers said.

``He sounded like he was doped up.''

 

Luvox-Columbine antidepressant-gets more warnings

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/590815

Additional Agents Implicated in SSRI-Related Risk for Serotonin Syndrome

On February 24, the FDA approved class labeling changes for fluvoxamine maleate tablets and extended-release capsules (Luvox and Luvox CR, Jazz Pharmaceuticals) to provide updated information regarding drug interactions that increase the risk for serotonin-related adverse events in patients receiving treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluvoxamine. This information also applies to selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.

The agency previously warned of the risk for potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome in patients receiving 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists (triptans) in conjunction with SSRIs.

An expanded section of the monograph now warns that serotonin syndrome or neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)-like reactions can occur with use of SSRIs alone but are more likely with concomitant use of serotonergic drugs (including triptans), agents that impair serotonin metabolism (including monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs]), or antipsychotics and other dopamine antagonists.

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include mental status changes (eg, agitation, hallucinations, and coma); autonomic instability (eg, tachycardia, labile blood pressure, and hyperthermia); neuromuscular aberrations (eg, hyperreflexia and incoordination); and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (eg, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea). Severe cases can resemble NMS, which includes hyperthermia, muscle rigidity, autonomic instability with possible rapid fluctuation of vital signs, and mental status changes. Patients should be monitored for the emergence of serotonin syndrome or NMS-like signs and symptoms.

Clinicians are reminded that concomitant treatment of depression with MAOIs and SSRIs is contraindicated. SSRI-treated patients receiving triptans should be followed up closely, particularly during initiation of therapy, dose increases, or the addition of another serotonergic drug.

Concomitant use of SSRIs with serotonin precursors (eg, tryptophan) is not recommended. Treatment with SSRIs and any concomitant serotonergic or antidopaminergic agents, including antipsychotics, should be discontinued immediately in patients who develop symptoms of serotonin syndrome.

Fluvoxamine tablets and controlled-release capsules are indicated for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder; the capsules can also be used to treat social anxiety disorder.

 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Are VA Protocols Behind Iraq Soldier Suicides?

Are VA Protocols Behind Iraq Soldier Suicides?

(Best Syndication News) Why are suicides among Iraq war soldiers twice that of other wars?

One reason could be that 80 percent of troops with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are given drugs that didn't exist during other wars.

Antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Celexa (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs) and Cymbalta and Effexor (Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors or SRNIs) that are so closely associated with suicide they carry suicide warnings.

660 people have killed themselves on SSRIs and SNRIs since 1988 according to published newspaper reports including at least 17 Iraq war veterans. Many more have attempted suicide and committed felonies, self-harm, police stand-offs, murders, murder/suicides and mass murders with high powered weapons.

Yet what does the US Department of Veterans Affairs suggest as a treatment for PTSD?

"We recommend SSRIs as first line medications for PTSD pharmacotherapy in men and women with military-related PTSD," says the VA's National Center for PSTD's Iraq War Clinician Guide, 2nd Edition. "Findings from subsequent large-scale trials with paroxetine [Paxil] have demonstrated that SSRI treatment is clearly effective both for men in general and for combat veterans suffering with PTSD."

In fact 89 percent of veterans with PTSD were given antidepressants and 34 percent antipsychotics according to an article in the June 2008 Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

While scientific studies continue to confirm the danger of SSRI use in young and/or bipolar patients--a January 2009 Journal of Affective Disorders article by VA authors recommends "close monitoring" for suicide for 12 weeks "following antidepressant starts" when risk greatly rises--another voice says it's not what it looks like.

"Suicide attempt rates were lower among patients who were treated with antidepressants than among those who were not," says an article in the July 2007 American Journal of Psychiatry [Relationship Between Antidepressants and Suicide Attempts: An Analysis of the Veterans Health Administration Data Sets] by Robert Gibbons, director of the Center for Health Statistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "These findings suggest that SSRI treatment has a protective effect in all adult age groups. They do not support the hypothesis that SSRI treatment places patients at greater risk of suicide."

This is not the only time Gibbons have gone to bat for the controversial antidepressants.

In an article called "Early Evidence on the Effects of Regulators' Suicidality Warnings on SSRI Prescriptions and Suicide in Children and Adolescents," in the September 2007 American Journal of Psychiatry, he indicted "black box" suicide warnings that the FDA mandated in 2004 for a national rise in young peoples' suicides. Why? Because the warnings discouraged doctors from prescribing SSRIs!

Of course the "SSRI deficiency" argument is as insipid as blaming the obesity epidemic on the unavailability of fen phen. But many joined Gibbons in the round of big pharma "I-Told-You-Sos" including Charles Nemeroff of Emory University School of Medicine who was later disgraced for undisclosed pharma conflict of interests.

Unfortunately Gibbons was wrong. The suicide stats he analyzed did not yet reflect the effect of the black box warnings and he ended up having to tell the New York Times the "early evidence" was actually not evidence at all but "suggestive." Oops.

Worse, Zoloft maker Pfizer contributed $30,000 to the article bellyflop writes Alison Bass, author of Side Effects: A Best-selling Drug on Trial, in the Boston Globe. Not much Return on Investment there.

Of course it should come as no surprise--except to journal editors-- that Gibbons is financially linked to Effexor maker Wyeth, now Pfizer and that his second author John Mann is linked to Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.

A bigger surprise is that Gibbons is rolling in tax payer funded grants from the National Institute of Mental Health including some to study antidepressants and suicide.

What firewalls are in place to keep pharma "science" from becoming government science, promoting deadly pills?

What protects US tax payers, public health monies--and most importantly our veterans?

By Martha Rosenberg
Martha is a writer and cartoonist from the Chicago Area

I.Q. Harmed by Epilepsy Drug in Utero - Depakote - Valproate

This is a common drug used in psychiatry.
 
 
April 16, 2009

I.Q. Harmed by Epilepsy Drug in Utero

Pregnant women who took a popular epilepsy drug, also widely used to treat migraines, pain and psychiatric disorders, had children whose I.Q. scores were significantly lower than those whose mothers took a different antiseizure medication, a new study has found.

The drug, valproate, sold generically and under the brand name Depakote, remains the second-most-popular antiseizure medication used for epilepsy, but earlier studies found that use during pregnancy also increased the risk of developmental delays and major malformations.

The risks that other epilepsy drugs may pose are not clear, experts say. While some are likely to be safer than others, there have not been enough studies to guide patients and their doctors. About half of the women who take valproate are not epileptics.

The new study is to be published on Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Three-year-olds whose mothers had taken valproate during pregnancy had I.Q. scores that were nine points lower on average than children whose mothers had taken a different antiseizure medication, lamotrigine. The I.Q. scores of toddlers whose mothers took valproate were also lower than scores of children whose mothers took two other antiseizure medications, phenytoin and carbamazepine.

Physicians involved in the study warned that valproate should never be the first choice for use in women of childbearing age, though exceptions may be made if a woman’s epileptic seizures cannot be controlled with other available medications.

“My thought is that if I make a mistake and the patient has a breakthrough seizure, I can change the medication and switch the patient to valproate,” said Dr. Kimford J. Meador, professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and first author of the new report. “If I put the patient on valproate as a first choice and the baby has cognitive impairment or a malformation, I can’t repair that.”

Dr. Meador and his colleagues enrolled 303 pregnant women who were each using an antiepileptic drug and were treated at 25 epilepsy centers in the United States and Britain from October 1999 to February 2004.

Cognitive assessments were conducted in 258 2- and 3-year-olds born to 252 mothers, of whom 53 had taken valproate.

Over all, children’s I.Q. scores were strongly related to mothers’ I.Q. scores, except among the children of mothers treated with valproate, the study found.

At age 3, children exposed to valproate in utero had a mean I.Q. of 92, compared with 101 for children exposed to lamotrigine, 99 for those exposed to phenytoin, and 98 for those exposed to carbamazepine, the study found.

Some 13,000 to 21,000 babies each year are born to women with epilepsy, and the vast majority are healthy, researchers and advocates emphasized.

Experts warned that women should not stop taking valproate without talking to their doctors.

“It’s important to stress to readers that if they become frightened, they should not simply stop taking the drug, because that can be even more dangerous,” said Eric Hargis, president of the Epilepsy Foundation in Washington.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Vt. doctors get $2.9M cash, gifts from drugmakers

http://www.boston.com/business/healthcare/articles/2009/04/16/vt_doctors_get_29m_cash_gifts_from_drugmakers/

Vt. doctors get $2.9M cash, gifts from drugmakers

MONTPELIER, Vt. --The nation's pharmaceutical makers spent more than $2.9 million on Vermont's doctors, hospitals and universities to market their products in the last fiscal year, according to a report issued Wednesday by the state attorney general's office.

That's down slightly from the previous year, but Attorney General William Sorrell says he's not sure if the drug companies are tightening their belts or if they want to avoid public scrutiny for the payments, whose recipients aren't identified.

The report shows 78 companies spent the money in the year ending July 1, 2008. By law, the companies have to report their spending on consulting and speakers' fees, travel expenses, gifts and other payments to or for physicians, hospitals, universities and others authorized to prescribe drugs.

The cash payments are made directly to health care providers, Sorrell said.

"It's `I pay you money to give me feedback on how your patients react to my drugs,' `I give you free samples that you can prescribe to your patients,' `I'll pay you a consulting fee or take you to dinner or pay for you to take a trip someplace to hear lectures or presentations on how this drug works or how effective it is for various conditions,'" Sorrell said.

The Pharmaceutical Marketing Disclosure Law, adopted in 2002, requires drugmakers to report their spending by Dec. 1 and the attorney general to issue a report summarizing them. At least four other states have such disclosure laws, but the report released Wednesday dealt only with Vermont. The disclosures don't include money spent on advertising.

The industry says that the money helps pay for education programs about drugs for doctors and patients and that the drug companies develop some of their medicines using feedback from prescribers and users.

Among the findings of the report released Wednesday:

--Eli Lilly and Co., Pfizer Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., Merck & Co. and Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc. were the biggest spenders.

--25 doctors and nurses each got more than $20,000 in cash or benefits from the companies, 10 got more than $50,000 and one psychiatrist took in $112,000.

In the year ending July 1, 2007, 84 companies had reported spending $3.1 million, following a larger trend in which the number of companies spending the money increases but the overall amount decreases. From 2004 to 2008, the number of manufacturers reporting climbed 40 percent but the amount they spent dropped by 30 percent.

The report doesn't identify the recipients of the money, an exemption at the heart of a bill before the state legislature. The bill would eliminate the drug companies' ability to claim "trade secret" in providing the information to the state but barring the state from releasing it to the public.

Sorrell said more than 80 percent of the expenditures analyzed for the report claimed the trade secret designation. He said consumers would be better off if that weren't an option so people would know if a health care provider recommending a drug had been paid by its manufacturer.

"If I was a patient or one of my kids was a patient, and my doctor was telling me, `You ought to try drug X,' I would like to know that my doctor received $40,000 from the company that manufactures and markets this drug," he said.

The Vermont Medical Society, a physician advocacy group, and the Vermont Psychiatric Association, an organization of psychiatrists, endorse the bill. They say it would improve patient confidence if the information were public.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents drug companies, says much of the money goes toward helping doctors know when to prescribe a certain medication.

"An individual who's prescribing, particularly a new medication, needs to know when it should be used, what patient populations it should be used for, for what conditions and when it should not be used," said Marjorie Powell, senior assistant general counsel for the group, a trade association.

The group opposes elimination of the exemption, saying it would allow competitors to know their trade secrets.

"The amount I'm spending on how to improve a product would be valuable information to a company that's considering making a competing product," Powell said.

She said the reason for the trade secret designation wasn't to hide anything from patients.

--------

On the Net:

Pharmaceutical Marketing Disclosures report: http://www.atg.state.vt.us/upload/1239813108--2009--Pharam--Report.pdf

 
 

On the Texas Mental Health System and Legislature - John Breeding PhD


http://discoverandrecover.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/john-breeding-phd-texas-mental-health-system-and-legislature/

 

On the Texas Mental Health System and Legislature

 

I am a psychologist deeply at odds with my own profession. To a great extent, our mental health system—institutionalized psychiatry—is a colossal failure and a harbinger of hopelessness. It is believed, despite the utter lack of scientific validation and any sort of independent objective indicators in diagnosis, that “mentally ill” people suffer from an incurable brain disease—a chemical imbalance—that can at best be kept under control with psychotropic drugs. That these drugs are toxic, addictive, and brain-disabling is considered a regrettable, but necessary inconvenience. The backup treatment is electroshock. For the “treated” millions, there is no cure. Long-term psychiatric patients die on average 25 years younger than their fellow citizens.

 

Psychiatry touts a pseudoscientific belief system as if it were validated science. As if this ethical disgrace is not bad enough, the mental health industry is rife with other major overt ethical failures. Most obvious are the massive conflicts of interest currently being revealed in the press, in large part due to the investigative work of Iowa Senator Charles Grassley and his staff. Many prominent researchers and industry spokespersons are now fighting for their professional lives as the hidden monies they received from Big Pharma are revealed. Psychiatry department chairs Charles Nemeroff  ($1 million from GlaxoSmithKline alone) of Emory University, Martin Keller of Brown University (associated with a severely compromised drug trial), and Alan Shatzberg of Stanford (who was principal investigator on a drug developed by a company in which he owned $6 million of stock) have all recently resigned their positions as a result of Grassley’s investigation. Joseph Biederman of Harvard (largely responsible for the explosive 4000% increase in the number of children diagnosed and treated as “bipolar,” usually with the most damaging of all psychiatric drugs, the antipsychotics) received at least $1.6 million from Big Pharma in the first several years of this 21st century. Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed him and two of his Harvard colleagues.

 

Texas is infamous regarding mental health system scandals—the work of state Senators Mike Moncrief and Judith Zaffirini in the early ‘90’s exposed and held accountable National Medical Enterprises for their headhunting and fraud. In the first half of this decade, Representative Susanna Hupp and Comptroller Carole Strayhorn did great work exposing and challenging the fact that a very large percentage of our state’s foster children are being drugged with cocktails of various damaging psychotropic drugs. Austin television investigative journalist Nanci Wilson gets credit for exposing perhaps the most notorious ongoing scandal, the Texas Medication Algorithm Project, known as TMAP. She showed the connection between drug company contributions to the state and the placement of their most profitable drug products in the resultant formulary mandated for state use. TDMHMR medical director Steven Shon was forced to resign his position due to his own conflicts of interests in this project. Several other prominent doctors in the University of Texas system—John Rush, Lynn Crismon, Graham Emslie and Karen Wagner to name just a few—have been shown to have severe financial conflicts of interest from monies received via Big Pharma. The state attorney general is continuing to investigate.

 

The drug companies continue to amass huge profits despite billions of dollars in class action settlements. Children are targeted more and more; the latest is a big spike in the number of children forced to take the so-called atypical antipsychotics like Risperdal and Zyprexa. These drugs cause permanent neurological and metabolic damage in a large percentage of people who take them for very long. A person taking Zyprexa gains an average of 26 pounds a year, and often ends up with Diabetes; some people die. And we are giving these poisons to Texas children as young as 1-year-old!

 

My twofold current complaint is that most of my own mental health profession remains silent about this pharmacaust, and that the Texas legislature is largely unwilling to confront this state of affairs. Efforts to put small controls on the rampant prescription of the antipsychotics to children, sponsored as HB 2163 by Representative Sylvester Turner, are met with ferocious psychiatry lobbying, and legislators are for the most part unwilling to protect our children, unwilling to face the simple truth that our children are being poisoned for profit.

 

Senators Eddie Lucio (SB553) and Royce West (SB296) have sponsored bills that would require transparency of all drug company monies given to doctors and researchers. This is a simple, powerful step, but it appears as if it is more important to the legislature to protect the hidden influences of Big Pharma and those they pay off then the rest of us citizens. The Senators’ bills are being held without a hearing by committee Chairs Jane Nelson and Robert Duncan, respectively.

 

Finally, another ugly face of the mental health system is that the prisons are having to deal with many people considered mentally ill. So it is understandable that judges and prison administrators are pressuring the legislature to remove these people. Senator Whitmire is pushing forward SB1505, which allows a judge to order a prisoner into inpatient or outpatient treatment, including forced long-term residency at a psychiatric facility, without even the minimal due process generally accorded citizens in a commitment or forced drugging hearing. This negation of fundamental American liberty and due process rights for the sake of institutional expediency is an egregious violation of human rights. Furthermore, the first rational action should be to ask why are so many supposedly mentally ill people crowding our jails? Given that  the state has been spending money to expand psychiatric emergency services, why is it not working? What is going wrong? Could it be that the ethically conflicted and scientifically void practice of using only drugs (and electroshock as backup) to deal with social and psychological problems is a failure? As a psychologist, I know there are much better ways. Could it be that the drugs, during use and during withdrawal, might actually exacerbate perturbations of behavior and criminality? The evidence says they do. Given the current mental health system, expanding or pushing citizens into psychiatric services—especially by coercion—is wrong. The only rational thing for the legislature to do is to investigate and rein in the damages.

- John Breeding, PhD

  

Big Pharma Psychs Out the Shrinks

 

Big Pharma Psychs Out the Shrinks

Just about everyone by now knows how the drug industry works to poison the minds of American doctors—not that many of them have resisted drinking the Kool-Aid, which comes in the form of ego-tripping awards, junkets, dinners, research funding, and cash in exchange for endorsing or prescribing the most lucrative drugs. But even against this backdrop of sleaze, the latest news on the ties between Big Pharma and Big Psych could take your breath away.

It turns out that not just some, but most of the shrinks who wrote the American Psychiatric Association’s most recent clinical guidelines for treating depression, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia—which together account for $25 billion in prescription drug sales annually—had financial ties to drug companies, according a study to be published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, as reported in the Boston Globe.

Summarizing the findings, which were compiled by researchers largely from public records, the Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report states:

According to the study, 18 of the 20 authors of the guidelines had at least one financial tie to drug companies. Twelve authors had ties in at least three categories, such as consulting, research grants, speaking fees or stock ownership, the study found. In addition, the study found that all of the authors of schizophrenia and bipolar guidelines had relationships with the drug industry, while 60% of the authors of the depression guidelines had such connections. According to the study, more than 75% of the authors received funding for research from drug companies. In addition, one-third of the authors served on the speakers’ bureaus of drug companies, the study shows.

 
 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hey California - Do you know about this?

What is federally mandated mental health screening and treatment ?

 

 

 

Press-Enterprise

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

 

 

The money would go to programs the state typically pays for out of its cash-strapped general fund. Prop. 1D would provide funding for a variety of children's services, while Prop. 1E money would go to a federally mandated mental health screening and treatment program.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Petitioners denounce scholar for labelling 99% of them insane - China

http://www.tibetanreview.net/news.php?cat=2&&id=2982

Petitioners denounce scholar for labelling 99% of them insane

 

(TibetanReview.net, Apr 11, 2009) — A prominent Chinese psychiatrist has blurted out the probable reason why petitioners in China are regularly harassed, beaten and otherwise punished, with their grievances being very rarely, if ever, addressed. Sun Dongdong, the head of Peking university's judicial expertise center, raised public outrage by suggesting that 99 percent of people who repeatedly petitioned the government were mentally ill. His comment was significant because the center helps judicial authorities evaluate a person's mental health, reported Reuters Apr 8.

On Apr 8, angry petitioners descended on the university. The report said at least 100 middle-aged and old petitioners demonstrated at the prestigious university, shouting out complaints against Sun and publicizing their own grievances. It quoted one petition as saying, "They (corrupt officials) beat me and left me disabled, and knocked out four of my teeth. … And now Sun Dongdong says that we petitioners are mentally ill."

China’s detention of petitioners and protesters in psychiatric hospitals has attracted criticism from rights activists and international psychiatric groups for many years.

Following the outburst of outrage, Sun has maintained that he had been misunderstood by the public and quoted out of context by the media, although his explanation is not very convincing. The official China Daily newspaper said Apr 7 that it had received a statement from Sun, explaining that he did not say 99 percent of all "professional petitioners" in the country were mentally ill – only 99 percent of "those whom he had met." And he was quoted as saying, "I extend my sincere, deep apology to those people whose feelings are hurt."

Earlier, in his comments published in the Mar 23 issue of China Newsweek, Sun had, reportedly, said, "99 percent of professional petitioners are mentally ill, most of them paranoid, and could be forcibly detained in mental hospitals" because they were disturbing public order.

 

Last updated on Apr 11, 2009 17:45:07

 

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

HEY Hey hey! - DOWN Down down!- 75% DOWN!!!

Wooohoooooo!!!  This is wonderful news.  
3 minute video.
 
 

Monday, April 06, 2009

Alaska Admits It Is Incapable of Protecting Children and Youth inIt's Care from Harmful Psychiatric Drugging

 
NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2009

CONTACT:
Jim Gottstein                                                                                                                                        
907-274-7686                                                                                                                              
jim.gottstein@psychrights.org                                                                                                         

Alaska Admits It Is Incapable of Protecting Children and Youth in Its Care from Harmful Psychiatric Drugging

Today, responding to the State of Alaska's admission in PsychRights v. Alaska that it was incapable of protecting the children and youth in its care from improper and harmful psychiatric drugging, the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights®) told the court it must step in.

PsychRights v. Alaska was filed last Fall to halt the State of Alaska's practice of administering and paying for psychiatric drugs being given children and youth without safeguards being in place to make sure proper decision making occurs.  In trying to get PsychRights v. Alaska "thrown out of court" the State admitted it was incapable of protecting the children and youth in its care as follows:

A reading of the Complaint makes obvious that the true subject of plaintiff's grievances is not the Department, but prescribers of psychotropic pharmaceuticals, the pharmaceutical companies which produce and market them, and the overall culture of pediatric psychiatry. The implication that the Department possesses meaningful authority and control over these matters-or is in any realistic position to administer the relief requested even if the court were to order it-is a fiction.

"The point is the State has the responsibility to properly care for the children and youth in its care regardless of the 'culture of pediatric psychiatry,'" according Mr. Gottstein.   Today's court filing tells the court, "It is shameful the State is abdicating its responsibility when it should be working to correct the problem."

In the absence of the State being willing to address the problem without court intervention, the lawsuit seeks to solve it by obtaining a court order prohibiting the psychiatric drugging of children and youth by the State unless and until

(i)     evidence-based psychosocial interventions have been exhausted,

(ii)    rationally anticipated benefits of psychotropic drug treatment outweigh the risks,

(iii)  the person or entity authorizing administration of the drug(s) is fully informed of the risks and potential benefits, and

(iv)   close monitoring of, and appropriate means of responding to, treatment emergent effects are in place.

Practically every day brings revelations that pediatric psychopharmacology is the result of illegal drug company actions to improperly influence psychiatrists to prescribe extremely harmful drugs to children and youth, in spite of there being no real evidence of their efficacy. "Rather than meeting its mandate to properly care for and protect these children and youth from harm, the actions of the State are reprehensible," Mr. Gottstein declared, adding "The State is also trying to hide its complicity by stopping the discovery process."

The defendants in the lawsuit are the State of Alaska, its Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), and responsible officials, Sarah Palin, Governor, William Hogan, Commissioner of DHSS, Tammy Sandoval, Director of the Office of Children's Services (OCS), Steve McComb, Director of the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Melissa Stone, Director of the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH), Ron Adler, CEO of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API), and William Streur Deputy Commissioner and Director of Medicaid.  All of the substantive filings in the lawsuit are available on the Internet at http://psychrights.org/States/Alaska/PsychRightsvAlaska.htm.

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of unwarranted forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock. PsychRights is further dedicated to exposing the truth about psychiatric interventions and the courts being misled into ordering people subjected to these brain and body damaging drugs against their will. Extensive information about these dangers, and about the tragic damage caused by electroshock, is available on the PsychRights web site: http://psychrights.org/.

#  #  #




--


James B. (Jim) Gottstein, Esq.
President/CEO

Law Project for Psychiatric Rights
406 G Street, Suite 206
Anchorage, Alaska  99501
USA
Phone: (907) 274-7686)  Fax: (907) 274-9493
jim.gottstein[[at]]psychrights.org
http://psychrights.org/

 PsychRights®
            Law Project for
       Psychiatric Rights

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of forced psychiatric drugging.  We are further dedicated to exposing the truth about these drugs and the courts being misled into ordering people to be drugged and subjected to other brain and body damaging interventions against their will.  Extensive information about this is available on our web site, http://psychrights.org/. Please donate generously.  Our work is fueled with your IRS 501(c) tax deductible donations.  Thank you for your ongoing help and support.

Legislation requires doctors to get state permission before prescribing psychiatric drugs for kids on Medicaid

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-psychdrugs_01tex.ART0.State.Edition2.4ac00bc.html

Legislation requires doctors to get state permission before prescribing psychiatric drugs for kids on Medicaid

12:00 AM CDT on Wednesday, April 1, 2009

By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News
eramshaw@dallasnews.com

AUSTIN – The number of poor Texas children on powerful psychiatric drugs could drop dramatically under a bill lawmakers are considering to halt unwarranted prescriptions.

Rep. Sylvester Turner's bill would prohibit doctors from prescribing anti-psychotic drugs to children younger than 11 who are covered by Medicaid unless they get special permission from the state.

Drug companies and medical professionals fear the measure would take control out of the hands of doctors and parents.

Thousands of Texas children under 2 years old have been prescribed anti-psychotics like Seroquel and Risperdal, Turner said – drugs that treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but can produce harmful side effects in children. His measure would force state health officials to review individual prescriptions, considering a child's diagnosis and whether a drug has federal approval for use in juveniles before approving the prescription.

"I'm not here to disparage drug companies, but as the guardian of these children we need to be careful in allowing these drugs to be given to kids unless there are some sort of basic minimum standards," said Turner, D-Houston. "All I ask is that ... we're not giving them drugs at a higher level than what they should be receiving."

The drug industry, medical professionals, and mental health organizations staunchly oppose Turner's bill. They say it strips oversight and expertise from parents and doctors and adds a layer of bureaucracy that could prevent poor children from getting mental health treatment.

The bill "interferes with the practice of medicine and the actions of parents out there who have taken care of their kids," said Steve Bresnen, lobbyist for the Federation of Texas Psychiatry.

Some question whether the state can afford the manpower to review so many prescriptions, but lawmakers predict the measure will save the state money overall by reducing the number of expensive prescriptions filled.

Hattie McGill didn't want her 8-year-old on anti-psychotic drugs. But when his psychological problems got so severe that he wouldn't sleep and she couldn't work, the Waco single mom took him to a doctor that accepted Medicaid.

Over the next four years, her son was found to have bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, seizure disorder and anxiety disorder and prescribed Abilify, Ritalin, Concerta, and Seroquel. Now 12, McGill's son weighs 240 pounds, a side effect of the anti-psychotic drugs that makes him even more depressed.

"I look at what they've done to him," said McGill, who has slowly weaned her son off all of the drugs but Seroquel. "But on the other hand, if you have a sick son and he needs the help, will it be available?"

According to state data, roughly 13 percent of the 2.1 million children on Medicaid received a psychotropic drug in fiscal 2007. Nearly 190,000 of those kids were younger than 11.

Turner said he knows some children benefit from these drugs, and he isn't trying to hamstring families. Nor does his bill ban off-label prescribing of drugs not federally approved for children – of which Seroquel is one. He said he's trying to make doctors think twice before prescribing powerful drugs to very young children.

A House committee is considering Turner's measure, and members seemed to embrace the idea in a recent hearing.

A 2008 Dallas Morning News study found one in three Texas foster children was found to have mental illness and prescribed psychiatric drugs, including some not federally approved for juveniles. The News found dozens of physicians treating children in state custody supplement their salaries with tens of thousands of dollars in consulting and speakers' fees, raising questions about motivations to prescribe psychotropic drugs.

"I'm not a doctor. I'm not here to say these medications should not be given," Turner said. "I just want to make sure we're not in a situation where we're providing them because it's expedient to provide them."

Lynn Lasky Clark, president of the nonprofit Mental Health America of Texas, said Turner's measure would unfairly force people with mental disorders to jump through hoops to be treated.

"It interferes with a parent's right to choose what kind of medication their children will take," she said. "Families and doctors will have a terrible time trying to access needed medications for children who are very ill."

Last year, Florida health officials began requiring state approval for Medicaid recipients younger than 6. Since then, the number of antipsychotic prescriptions written for preschoolers in the state dropped by nearly 75 percent, and 200 doctors stopped prescribing to them all together. Health officials believe the program has been a great success, but some doctors have said their patients are suffering or have had refills delayed.

Rep. Veronica Gonzales, D-McAllen, said at a committee hearing last week that she fears Texas health officials won't have enough staff to perform individual assessments on every child on Medicaid that needs an anti-psychotic drug.

"I just worry we're going to have people not getting the medication they do need because the department doesn't have the time or resources," she said.

 
 

Ritalin suicide in UK

 

Lesson to be learnt from hanged teenager

Lessons will be learnt from the fatal hanging of a 15-year-old boy seen by 250 professionals.

That is the conclusion of a serious case review into the death of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) sufferer - referred to only as 'child B' - after he was found suspended from his bedroom door with a t-shirt around his neck.

Having been affected by domestic violence, physical and emotional abuse, mental health issues and bullying, he was placed on the child protection register several times.

The independent review, commissioned by the Safeguarding Children Board, is the first relating to a child from a Milton Keynes school in the last decade.
It says: 'The family's repeated failure to engage should have been seen as a cause for raised concerns. Instead there was not a coherent multi-agency response.'

The review required reports by the council's social care, education and housing services, the health authority, police and charity The Children's Society.

It mentions the fact that Child B was 'very unhappy at school' and had a morbid interest in death, at least once saying he wanted to kill himself.

Since 2005, Child B attended the school - which is not named - where children were locked in classrooms and inappropriately restrained.

The review says: 'The school had no anti-bullying policy and there was no evidence of a child protection procedure being in place.'

The author infers 'there was a culture of bullying and deceit within the school, perpetuated by the head downwards. It therefore seems extremely likely that B and other vulnerable young people were allowed to be bullied as part of the school regime.'

The purpose is not to lay blame, but to find lessons that can be learned, and his death 'must be seen as another factor in the world of a young man noted for his impulsive and dangerous behaviours'.

At his inquest the coroner said he could not be sure whether the boy, who took Ritalin, intended to kill himself.

The review adds that the boy's headteacher withheld evidence during the inquiry into his death and appears to have been dishonest during the boy's inquest.
Now each agency involved with B must make an action plan.

Concerns raised about Ofsted's involvement and the fact the lack of verbatim notes from the inquest will be passed on to the Government.

Chairman of the Safeguarding Children's Board, Vivien Salisbury, said: “This child’s death is a tragic event and our sympathies are with all those close to him. The review helps us to identify areas where local agencies can improve and indeed where they have worked well together. An action plan for each agency is in place to ensure the lessons learnt from this case are taken on board and acted on."

Sharon Scott, director of children’s services, said: “This young man’s death was a tragic event. Both the inquest and the serious case review concluded that his death could not have been predicted nor easily prevented by public services.

“However, we see there is opportunity to learn from this review and to continue to improve practice for the future, including taking action to address the review recommendations."
 
Story First Published: 31/03/2009 19:28:42
 
 

First, Do No Harm A Survey

 

First, Do No Harm A Survey

 

By Richard A. Warner

 

Doctors of Deception

By Linda Andre

Rutgers University Press, 2009

 

 

Earlier this year, Marcia Angell, writing in The New York Review of Books, lamented, “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” [1]   Angell’s review laid out the many ways in which the medical field, particularly psychiatry (where diagnosis is based upon subjective and arbitrary criteria, not objective lab testing), has allowed itself to be thoroughly corrupted by its extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry. 

 

For a doctor with Angell’s credentials to say, in essence, “Don’t trust what your doctors tell you,” is certainly eye-opening.  Yet for every in-depth report that confirms Angell’s verdict, there are ten million drug ads and marketing lies published by the profit-driven media that drown out the measured voice of medical science.  Recent ads for the antipsychotic drug Abilify, which advertise a two-thirds failure rate for antidepressants (hence the need to amplify treatment with Abilify), demonstrate just how thoroughly stupefying the indoctrination has been.  The message from doctors and drug companies to the public is clear:  “Don’t expect to get well.  Illness is a lifelong affair (or, for psychiatry, life is an illness) so expect to see us often, take multiple medications, and muddle through.  It’s the best you can hope for.”   

 

So far the public is, quite literally, buying it. 

 

It is dismaying to see how casually the psychiatric/pharmaceutical complex showcases its failures to achieve success. It knows that even commercials featuring long lists of troubling side effects will not stop a pill-popping nation from taking its advice to “consult with your doctor.”  The doctors, of course, “consult” with, and are trained by, drug companies. [1, 2]

 

The only tonic for such programmed madness is the truth and it’s prescribed in megadoses in Linda Andre’s new book, Doctors of Deception.  In this case the doctors are psychiatrists who use and promote shock treatment, also known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).   Andre shows us how they have for decades buried evidence, falsified reports, and employed a “new and improved” public relations mantra to sell a brain damaging procedure.

 

Not surprisingly, all the elements of corruption reported by Angell are also present in the shock industry.  Just as the pharmaceutical industry steers research to predetermined “findings” [1], prevents negative studies from being published [1, 3], enervates FDA oversight [4], and even crafts diagnostic criteria to create a market for drugs [5], so for decades a small group of psychiatrists, many with financial interests in shock machine manufacturers, has controlled the principal source of funds for ECT research, the National Institute of Mental Health, thereby insuring that studies which could demonstrate the extent of shock’s devastating memory, attention and learning effects (about which well over a third of those who receive shock complain) were never undertaken.[6]  Those same gatekeepers wrote the American Psychiatric Association (APA) task force reports on electroconvulsive therapy so that negative findings regarding shock would never reach a broader audience. The reports, which first appeared in 1978 and were updated in 1990 and 2001, were created to serve as public relations documents and psychiatrists have cited them regularly before federal and state governmental bodies as proof that shock is safe and effective in the absence of any real proof that it is.

 

In Doctors of Deception the case against shock is presented as part of a narrative history of the industry’s efforts to cover up that case.  The key conclusions of studies that psychiatry would rather no one knew existed are integrated into the fascinating story of how victims of ECT and advocates for informed consent have battled the shock establishment.  The result is a work which is both compelling and enormously informative.

 

Andre reveals that there was ample research in the 1940’s and 50’s to conclude that shock dramatically impaired memory and cognitive functioning, resulting in the experience of a shattered self. [7]   Shock profiteers responded with a sales pitch that to this day dominates media coverage of ECT:  Shock is effective and prevents suicide, and new techniques - oxygenation, anesthesia, less electricity, and different electrode placements – make the “new” shock safe.  The fact that there is not a shred of medical evidence that any of this is true – and much to prove it false - has not prevented the message from being repeated endlessly.  

 

By lying about the true risk/benefit picture of shock, the APA, says Andre, has “subtly redefined the very meaning of words like ‘informed consent’” and “the ECT industry has found a foolproof way to get around laws protecting patients’ rights to full disclosure and to refuse treatment.”

Fraud and criminality within the psychiatric drug industry is so egregious that it can no longer be overlooked and well respected voices like Angell are beginning to be heard.  Prior to Andre’s book, however, there was a dearth of information about the covert machinations of the shock industry.  Doctors of Deception goes a long way towards remedying that scarcity. 

 

Psychiatry will, of course, fight back with more PR campaigns.  The “stigma of mental illness,” created by psychiatry and perpetuated via its expanding diagnostic manual and Orwellian “anti-stigma” campaigns, will be put to full use to dehumanize and dismiss those who speak out against shock treatment’s brutal effects. But Andre’s book now gives those who care about human rights in the mental health field a powerful weapon with which to battle the Doctors of Deception.

 

 

References

 

1. Marcia Angell, “Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption,” The New York Review of Books, Volume 56, Number 1, January 15, 2009.

2.  Daniel Carlat, “Diagnosis” Conflict of Interest,” The New York Times, June 13, 2007.  Carlat, a professor at Tufts Medical School, referred to  “ …the transformation of continuing medical education into an enterprise for drug marketing. The chore of teaching doctors how to practice medicine has been handed to the pharmaceutical industry.”

 

3. Erick H. Turner et al., "Selective Publication of Antidepressant Trials and Its Influence on Apparent Efficacy," The New England Journal of Medicine, January 17, 2008.

 

4.  Members of the 1991 FDA panel that investigated SSRI antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc) and concluded they did not pose an increased risk of suicidality had extensive financial ties to drug companies that made SSRIs.  One, in fact, the University of Washington’s David Dunner, had $200,000 in pending grants from Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of Prozac, as he sat on the committee.  In 2004 the FDA finally ordered antidepressant manufacturers to place a black box warning on the drugs stating, “Antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders.”  This warning was later extended to anyone under 25 years of age.  See Peter and Ginger Breggin, Talking Back to Prozac, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1994, pp. 172-173.

5.  As Angell notes, all of the experts who wrote the diagnostic criteria for psychiatric mood disorders (e.g., depressive and anxiety disorders) had financial ties to drug companies.  (See Lisa Cosgrove et al., "Financial Ties Between DSM-IV Panel Members and the Pharmaceutical Industry," Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Vol. 75, No. 3 (2006).  Also, Judith Graham, “Study Finds Ethical Conflicts,” Chicago Tribune, April 20, 2006; Benedict Carey, “Study Finds a Link of Drug Makers to Psychiatrists,” The New York Times, April 20, 2006.

6. In a January 2007 study, renowned shock researcher Harold Sackeim confessed, “Despite ongoing controversy, there has never been a large-scale, prospective study of the cognitive effects of electroconvulsive therapy.” (See Sackeim, H.A., Prudic, J., Fuller R., et al., “The Cognitive Effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Community Settings,” Neuropsychopharmacology, 32: 244-254, 2007, p. 244.

7. Those who have undergone shock describe the destruction of identity in unmistakable terms. First person accounts at the website, ect.org, contain such statements as, “I do not know who I am any more [record 57]”; “It left me as a shell.  I still have no real identity [record 71]”; “Everything I do remember feels like it belongs to someone else [record 207]”; “I feel like I’ve lost my soul [record 261].”).  In an appendix to her book, Andre has included selections from the hundreds of letters that were submitted by victims of ECT to the FDA committee that investigated ECT’s risks and benefits.  Their statements are nothing short of horrifying.