Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Parents Drugging Their Children for Money

4-Part series in the Boston Globe

by Patricia Wen

 

A legacy of unintended side effects

A Globe investigation has found that this Supplemental Security Income program - created by

Congress primarily to aid indigent children with severe physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy,

Down syndrome, and blindness - now largely serves children with relatively common mental, learning

and behavioral disorders such as ADHD. It has also created, for many needy parents, a financial

motive to seek prescriptions for powerful drugs for their children.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/12/12/with_ssi_program_a_legacy_of_unintended_side_effects/

 

A coveted benefit, a failure to follow up

Government data show that Social Security officials have, over the past decade, fallen far short
when it comes to conducting the regular case reviews required by statute. A typical SSI

disability case is supposed to get a full medical review every three years, but from 2000 to 2008

the agency examined, on average, only 10 percent of the children on SSI.

Read the full article here: http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2010/12/13/follow_up_process_lacking_in_ssi_disability_program/?page=full

 

A cruel dilemma for those on the cusp of adult life

Many teenage recipients of federal disability benefits say they feel pressure to avoid work,

not wanting to raise doubts about their status and jeopardize vital family income.

http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2010/12/14/teenagers_in_ssi_program_face_a_cruel_dilemma/?page=full

 

Brown calls for hearings on disability program

US Senator Scott Brown called yesterday for Senate hearings to examine a $10 billion federal
disability program for indigent children, a response to a three-part Globe series published this

week that alleged troubling incentives that pose risks to children.

http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2010/12/18/brown_calls_for_hearings_on_disability_program/

 

 

 

Friday, November 05, 2010

Alienist Investigation Continues

 

It started with the high prescribing Miami alienist* (see end) who wrote 284,908 prescriptions over the past six years which cost

Florida taxpayers $43 million.  See here: http://www.cchrflorida.org/blog/tag/dr-fernando-mendez-villamil/

 

Newspapers in other states are now publishing articles on high prescribers in their own zone.   (See below links for stories)

 

Now an Alabama newspaper is calling for their new Governor to force Alabama Medicaid to release psych drug data.

Quotes: "It is important because, as it turns out, some doctors are writing far more prescriptions for psychiatric drugs than are their colleagues. Not only does this add to the strain on Medicaid and Medicare, but it may indicate that some patients are being over-medicated. …Grassley, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, wrote to state Medicaid agencies earlier this year, asking them

to list their top 10 prescribers of eight drugs commonly used in psychiatry."

 

Alabama - Why are doctors writing so many prescriptions?

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20101105/NEWS/101109818/1012?p=1&tc=pg

 

Connecticut

http://blogs.courant.com/connecticut_insurance/2010/11/senator-grassley-cites-connect.html

 

Pennsylvania

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/regional/s_706831.html

 

Arizona

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/article_fd365674-cb88-5b00-95ba-a2f9b2961883.html

 

West Virginia:

http://www.herald-dispatch.com/opinions/x1769794505/Senator-asks-good-questions-about-prescription-drugs

 

Minnesota:

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/105576013.html?elr=KArks:DCiUHc3E7_V_nDaycUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUbPi87EK_g:D_vqnH_nchO7DU

 

 

*Alienist - psychiatrist; derivation: mid-19th century < French aliƩniste < Latin alienare "estrange, make irrational"

 (Encarta World English Dictionary)

 

 

Monday, November 01, 2010

Psychobabble

Millions of people around the world will crack a smile today as they watch the 33 Chilean miners finally being hoisted back to life. But Those Who Know Better, the overlords of the therapy industry, see something different: not a happy ending to a two-month nightmare, but the start of an even longer nightmare of ill-health, craziness and PTSD for these unfortunate creatures from the dark. According to the experts, what we’re really witnessing in Chile today is a volcanic eruption of human instability, as 33 ticking timebombs of emotional frailty are raised to the surface.

One psycho-expert, echoing an army of others, told Fox News that the rescue of the men will release a ‘cauldron of emotions’; apparently ‘molten, churning reservoirs of emotion are about to emerge from that mine’. And there’s no telling what this geyser of two months worth of repressed feelings will give rise to. Fox’s fortune-teller says it could spawn ‘divorces, violence, terrible despondency, panic attacks, plays for celebrity that fall short and lead to suicide, addiction to alcohol and illicit drugs and gambling, and wild allegations levelled by one miner against another’. For the mental-health lobby, it seems, every silver lining has a cloud.

How will these men who coped remarkably well in a 32 degrees Celsius underground cavern for more than two months now cope with the temptation to descend into a drug-addled world of violence and backstabbing? On this question, the experts are unanimous: as one of them sums it up, the freed 33 will require ‘all the skill of the very best mental-health professionalsavailable’. Is it just me or does this look like a brazen job-creation scheme? At a time of recession and cutbacks, I guess even the mental-health lobby has to find ways to earn a crust - even if that means cynically re-presenting 33 fairly hard, robust miners as men on the verge of a nervous breakdown who will need professional help for the rest of their lives.

The most startling thing about the various psycho-pronouncements being made about the miners is not their undiluted miserabilism, their ability to see future suicides where most of us see a moment of joy, but their ignorance of the facts of the past two months. Because the inconvenient truth is that the 33 miners survived underground not as a result of psychological advice and intervention but by sometimesrebelling against the psychologists who kept a watchful eye on their every move. The real story of the Chilean miners, for anyone who cares to look, is that the interventions of the various wings of the trauma industry often make things worse rather than better, and people are mostly happier and healthier without them.

The on-site psychology team at the San Jose mine treated the trapped men with extraordinary mean-spiritedness. Driven by the conviction that they, as one headline put it, ‘know best’, and backed up by the dime-a-dozen profferings of every headline-hungry psychologist and therapist around the globe, the psychologists saw it as their duty to police the men’s thoughts and even to censor letters from their families in case they triggered ‘problematic emotions’. Such petty authoritarianism is the end result of the deep-rooted idea that life is way too hard and complicated to be negotiated without the words of wisdom of the therapy lobby.

One of the medical experts at San Jose - part of a team of 300 people that oversaw the men’s health and needs - said there was a ‘daily arm wrestle’ between the miners and the psychology team. That isn’t surprising. The mental-health experts overground used a system of ‘prizes and punishments’ to try to control the men’s behaviour - for their own good, of course. So when the men assented to hour-long phone calls with the mental-health team, as they did when they were first found to be alive 17 days after getting trapped, they were rewarded with prizes such as access to TV shows. But when they refused to talk to the psychologists, as they started to do in mid-September when their health and body weight were improving as a result of sent-down food and they insisted that ‘we are well’, the psychology team would deprive them of luxuries. As one on-site doctor put it: ‘We have to say, “OK, you don’t want to speak with psychologists? Perfect. That day you get no TV, there is no music - because we administer these things.”’

 

More: http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9785/

 

Blame Anna Nicole's death on her psychiatrist

Anna Nicole Smith's psychiatrist was convicted of conspiring to fake names on prescriptions. Psychiatrist Dr. Khristine Eroshevich was convicted of conspiring with Howard K. Stern to fraudulently prescribe Vicodin. 

 

http://www.sacbee.com/2010/10/28/3140863/jury-acquits-smiths-doctor-in.html

GlaxoSmithKline criminal charges

GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay an eye-popping $750 million and will plead guilty to a criminal charge to settle a U.S. government investigation of manufacturing deficiencies at a former plant in Puerto Rico. The investigation largely concerned the manufacture of defective pills including the Paxil antidepressant at Glaxo’s plant in Cidra, Puerto Rico, between 2001 and 2005. U.S. authorities found that some tablets could split apart or had inappropriate amounts of active ingredient, posing safety risks. 

[http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/10/27/gsk-to-pay-750m-to-settle-charges-over-adulterated-drugs/?blog_id=14&post_id=35066]

 

Significant portion of children received antipsychotic for conditions that have no published evidence supporting their use

A significant proportion of children younger than 18 years in at least 1 state Medicaid population received a second-generation antipsychotic for conditions that have no published evidence supporting their use. "Clearly, behavioural problems, including oppositional and conduct disorders and hyperkinetic-hyperactivity symptoms, were frequently seen among the children treated with second-generation antipsychotics," the investigators write. [http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/717544]

 

atypical antipsychotics (AAPs) increases the risk of significant weight gain

More research appears to confirm recent results of a large, prospective cohort study that the use of atypical antipsychotics (AAPs) increases the risk of significant weight gain and varied metabolic changes in children and adolescents with mental illness and behavioral disturbances. According to Dr. Panagiotopoulos, a growing body of evidence in adults demonstrating that AAPs cause significant weight gain, hyperlipidemia, and insulin resistance has raised concerns among the medical community in general, and the psychiatric community in particular, about whether these drugs may increase the risk of premature cardiovascular disease in children and adolescents. [http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/712079]

 

antipsychotic use in children and adolescents is associated with rapid and significant weight gain

October 29, 2009 — First-time, second-generation antipsychotic use in children and adolescents is associated with rapid and significant weight gain as well as varied adverse metabolic changes, new research shows. "These medications are not benign and can have side effects that can have potential long-term complications that are associated with endocrine and cardiovascular illness," said principal investigator Christoph U. Correll, MD.[http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/711526]

 

Friday, October 22, 2010

TeenScreen Petiition, Sign Here

 
Please take 4 minutes and watch this.  Then, sign the petition.  Thanks.

 

 

TeenScreen Petition sign
              here

 

Note:  The Rutherford Institute known as "one of the nation's premier civil liberties organizations" provides legal services to people whose human rights have been threatened or violated.  The Rutherford Institute took a stand against the use of TeenScreen without parental consent by representing parents Teresa and Michael Rhoades of Indiana in federal court.  You can see a video of Teresa Rhoades here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6AFRhVe8aE   The school where their daughter was screened dropped TeenScreen and the lawsuit was settled.  

Safe Harbor Links to doctors who help people get off psychiatric drugs & treat people without psychiatric drugs

http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/


Thousands of people around the world have recovered from mental disorders and now enjoy the simple pleasures of a drug-free life. Most were told this was impossible. Yet we hear from these individuals regularly. 

Many others have been able to significantly reduce their dependency on psychiatric medication. Commonly these people find that underlying their "mental" disorders are medical problems, allergies, toxic conditions, nutritional imbalances, poor diets, lack of exercise, or other treatable physical conditions.

Our site has testimonials, over 100 articles, and the Web's only directory of alternative mental health practitioners. You can also get information from our bookstore, support groups, email lists, and our free monthly newsletter.

Valium users worse drivers than drunks

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/valium-users-worse-drivers-than-drunks-20101019-16sl7.html

 

Valium users worse drivers than drunks

Kate Benson HEALTH

October 20, 2010

PEOPLE who take sleeping pills or anti-anxiety medications are more dangerous on the roads than drunk drivers, researchers have found.

The study, to be presented tomorrow at the Australasian Sleep Conference in Christchurch, found that drivers who take benzodiazepines, such as Valium or Temazepam, were more likely to veer out of lanes, drive off the road or crash into other drivers than those with an illegal blood alcohol limit of 0.08.

 

New Scientist - When Big Pharma Breaks the Law, Prosecute the CEO

Patient safety will remain at risk until big pharma's top executives are brought to book for their companies' actions, says Paul Thacker

THERE have been so many stories about pharmaceutical companies promoting the misuse or abuse of their drugs that the names seem to merge - Zyprexa, Seroquel, Paxil and more.

The latest case concerns GlaxoSmithKline's Avandia (rosiglitazone), an anti-diabetes drug linked to heart attacks. Last month, the European Medicines Agency recommended its suspension from the market, while the US Food and Drug Administration made it all but impossible for doctors to write prescriptions for the drug.

 

More here:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827826.900-when-big-pharma-breaks-the-law-prosecute-the-ceo.html

High Prescribing Florida Psychiatrist Sparks Federal Investigation

 

drugs

 

Comments can be made here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/10/21/1883536/another-volley-in-rx-probe.html

 

Miami Herald

Another volley in Rx probe

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa continues his investigation into doctors who prescribe large numbers of drugs -- a move sparked by a Miami psychiatrist.

BY MAR CABRA AND JOHN DORSCHNER

October 21, 2010

Based on the huge numbers of prescriptions written by a Miami psychiatrist, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is continuing to pressure federal officials to investigate why some doctors write stunning numbers of scripts for tax-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs.

In his latest volley, a letter sent Wednesday to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Grassley demanded exact answers to three pointed questions about what her department is doing to address the problem.

"The federal government has an obligation to figure out what's going on here,'' Grassley said in a statement e-mailed to The Miami Herald Wednesday. "The taxpayers are footing the bill, and Medicare and Medicaid are already strained to the limit. These programs can't spare a dollar for prescription drugs that aren't properly prescribed. The conclusion might be that there isn't any fraud, but it's important to reach a conclusion one way or the other and fix whatever is broken.''

In the Sebelius letter, Grassley said his concern was triggered by a "Florida provider who wrote 96,685 prescriptions for mental health drugs in a 21-month period.'' The letter did not identify the provider, but state records confirm that it is Fernando Mendez-Villamil, a psychiatrist with an office on Coral Way.

State Medicaid records independently obtained by The Herald show that over a two-year period Mendez-Villamil wrote almost twice as many prescriptions for mental health drugs as the No. 2 Medicaid prescriber in the state.

Robert N. Pelier, attorney for Mendez-Villamil, said Wednesday he and his client learned about the letter only after receiving a call from The Miami Herald. He said the psychiatrist tried to reach Grassley's office when his prescription numbers were made public to give the proper context to the doctor's prescription patterns and "why he is an intricate part in the community.'' Pelier said he had not received a response from Grassley.

"What my client believes is that he's been a victim of this healthcare debate,'' the attorney said. ``The majority of his prescriptions are expensive because they're cutting-edge pharmaceuticals.''

Pelier said Mendez-Villamil has been recently terminated from the Medicaid program and is now seeing some patients for free. ``We are pursuing legal action against AHCA [Agency for Health Care Administration] for the improper termination of doctor Mendez-Villamil from Medicaid,'' he said. The suit was filed in July.

Meanwhile Ryan Wiggins, spokesman for the Florida Office of the Attorney General, confirmed there is an ongoing investigation into Mendez-Villamil that involves "complicated issues of medical necessity. . . . We cannot comment further at this time.''

Last December, Grassley's office calculated Mendez-Villamil's numbers meant "this physician wrote approximately 153 prescriptions each and every day, assuming he did not take vacations.''

Earlier this year, Mendez-Villamil told The Herald that he works long hours and often gives each patient four or five prescriptions, accounting for the large numbers.

In April, Grassley wrote to all state Medicaid agencies requesting data about certain mental health drugs. On Wednesday, Grassley's office said the Florida provider identified by The Herald as Mendez-Villamil had the second-highest number of prescriptions in the nation for the generic form of Xanax in the data they analyzed.

The Wednesday letter also noted that the top Zyprexa provider in Florida wrote 1,356 prescriptions for 309 individuals in 2008 and 1,238 for 236 in 2009. The Herald independently verified from state data that this provider was Mendez-Villamil, and he wrote more than twice as many Zyprexa prescriptions as the No. 2 provider in the state.

"I want to be clear that none of the information provided suggests any illegal or wrongful behavior,'' Grassley wrote. But such huge numbers ``might also suggest overutilization or even healthcare fraud. The only way to determine veracity is through appropriate oversight by [Health and Human Services] and continued monitoring by the Congress and the [Senate Finance] committee.''

 

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Drug Makers actually make lemons, not medicines

Drug Makers Actually Make Lemons not Medicines!
The lemon, of course, is a metaphor and is not a pretty one. But Donald Light, a sociologist and professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, contends that the spate of instances in which drugmakers hid or downplayed info about serious side effects - or overstated benefits - has transformed the market for medicines into one for lemons.

"The basic idea is simple but arresting: just as there are hidden dangers and flaws in used cars, so there are in drugs. And just as used car salesmen have an incentive to profit from not disclosing risks the consumer cannot see under the shiny exterior, so drug companies and their reps have an incentive to profit from not disclosing risks the physician and patient cannot see inside a shiny new pill. In a number of ways, however, drug markets differ from used car markets. One way is that bad drugs do not drive good drugs out of the market, as Akerlof famously predicted in the article that helped him win the Nobel Prize. Rather, they stay in, mixed with higher risk drugs," Light tells us, after presenting a paper on the subject at the American Sociological Association annual meeting last week.

More here:

http://www.pharmalot.com/2010/08/drugmakers-actually-make-lemons-not-medicines/

Zoloft Spoof

http://www.cchrint.org/videos/videos-we-like/mad_zoloft/
Zoloft Spoof!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jailed psychiatrist pleads guilty - CNBC

Jailed psychiatrist pleads guilty - CNBC

Psychiatrist doing clinical drug trials for Glaxo pleads guilty in fraud regarding clinical trials of Paxil on kids, "with intent to defraud and mislead in connection with those clinical trials" and sentenced to 13 months in prison. THAT sentence runs concurrent with her current 87-month prison term for health care fraud.

 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Prescription Pill Popping - Leading Killer in Florida

 

Description: cid:image003.jpg@01CB19BE.C8A7EC80

 

FlaglerLive

Prescription Pill-Popping By Far a Leading Killer as Florida’s Drug Deaths Spike 20%

July 1, 2010

Oxycodone, the addictive prescription pain-killer also known by its Purdue Pharma brand name OxyContin, directly caused more deaths in Florida in 2009 than cocaine, heroin and morphine combined. Prescription drugs as a whole are killing far more Floridians than illegal drugs, with some 8,600 deaths last year involving at least one prescription drug, according to an annual report released today by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission.

That’s 5 percent of all deaths in Florida in 2009, when 171,300 people died in the state.

The number of people killed by prescription drugs is a significant 20 percent increase over last year’s 6,200 deaths attributed to overdoses. Much of the increase is due to a spike in oxycodone addiction. The increase in prescription-drug addiction continues a trend that began in Florida 10 years ago, when prescription drugs overtook illegal drugs as leading causes of drug-related deaths.

Alcohol is also included in the examiners’ analysis, and it leads the way of all drug-related deaths, with 4,046.

The annual report is a stark look at the effects of legalized drug addiction and over-prescription of drugs, both of which affect a far larger segment of the population than recreational or illegal narcotics.

For the first time in 2009, the commission tracked deaths by region. In Flagler County’s district, which includes St. Johns and Putnam counties, 22 deaths were attributed to oxycodone (the fourth lowest number in the state’s 23 districts), with 13 of those deaths directly attributed to the drug, and nine cited as being present among other drugs that contributed to death.

Hydrocodone claimed 16 lives in the district. Cocaine contributed to 19 deaths in the Flagler district, though only four cases were directly attributed to the drug. In 15 cases, cocaine was present in the body in conjunction with other drugs that proved lethal. Overall in Florida, cocaine-related deaths (including the majority of cases where cocaine wasn’t directly the factor but was present in the body at the time of death), have fallen from a peak of 2,179 in 2007 to 1,462 in 2009. (Again, cocaine was the direct result of death in 529 cases out of those).

Ken Kramer, a researcher with the Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida, says the numbers underestimate the extent of the problem, because medical examiners do not track deaths attributed to antipsychotic drugs or to antidepressants, both of which carry black-box or black-label warnings. The warnings on antidepressants, required by the Food and Drug Administration, state that the drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents and young adults up to age 24. (Antidepressants include Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Lexapro and Celexa.)

Anti-psychotic drugs carry a variety of black label warnings of increased mortality in elderly patients (including a death rate almost twice as high for people taking Risperdal, for example). Those drugs, prescribed and often overprescribed in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, include Abilify, Clozaril, Geodon, Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa.

“Certainly, the actual number of prescription drug deaths is higher than the annual report states,” Kramer said. “It is unknown just how much higher because the Medical Examiners Commission does not track these classes of drugs.”

Two years ago Kramer got his concern heard by the commission following an email exchange with a commissioner in which he argued that antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs’ contributions to mortality should be part of the annual report. He was rebuffed. One examiner said he had not seen “more than the occasional death caused by these types of drugs,” according to the minutes of the Aug. 13, 2008 meeting of the commission.  [Note: audio here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJrpaxNOU-k ]

Other findings in the 2009 report, which can be read in its entirety here:

  • Prescription drugs tracked in the report account for 79 percent of all drug occurrences in deaths when alcohol is excluded.
  • Deaths directly attributed to Oxycodone increased by 25.9 percent over 2008.
  • Cocaine occurrences decreased by 18.4 percent over 2004.
  • 5,275 individuals, or 7.1 percent more than in 2008, died with one or more prescription drugs in their system. The drugs in those cases were identified as both the cause of death and present in the deceased person.
  • Overall, 171,300 deaths occurred in Florida in 2009.

The report specifies that the “state’s medical examiners were asked to distinguish between the drugs being the ’cause’ of death or merely ‘present’ in the body at the time of death. A drug is only indicated as the cause of death when, after examining all evidence and the autopsy and toxicology results, the medical examiner determines the drug played a causal role in the death.”

 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New info shows anti-depressants & pilots are a dangerous mix


 
http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/07/ssris-render-unfriendly-skies/

SSRIs Render Unfriendly Skies

by Evelyn Pringle / July 15th, 2010

The SSRI antidepressant makers are desperate to find new customers, so they  recently have been focusing on capturing groups for which the drugs were usually considered off limits. The latest marketing coup managed to open up sales to  roughly 614,000 American pilots.

Under a new policy announced on April 5, 2010, pilots diagnosed with depression can seek permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to take one of four SSRIs, including Eli Lilly’s Prozac, Pfizer’s Zoloft, and Forest Laboratories’ Celexa and Lexapro.

“The FAA should reverse its ruling before it’s too late and hundreds of lives are lost when a pilot becomes impulsive, suicidal or violent — or just loses his sharpness — under the influence of antidepressant medication,” said SSRI expert, Dr Peter Breggin, in an April 19, 2010 Huffington Post commentary.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is also calling on the FAA to rethink allowing pilots to take SSRI in light of a new report issued last month by the National Transportation Safety Board, on a February 1, 2008 plane crash in North Carolina, by a crazy acting pilot on Zoloft, that killed all six persons on board

The report said the pilot failed to maintain control of the plane during instrument flying conditions and “deliberately descended below the minimum descent altitude.” The plane stalled and crashed while circling after an aborted landing.

“Review of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) audio revealed that the pilot had displayed some non-professional behavior before initiating the approach,” the NTSB reported.

The CVR recorded the pilot singing: “Save my life I’m going down for the last time,” before beginning a commentary in which he told passengers: “If anybody back there believes in the good Lord, I believe now would be a good time to hit your knees.”

A review of medical records documented that “from December 4, 2006 through December 31, 2007, the pilot had filled 6 prescriptions for 30 tablets of 50 mg sertraline (Zoloft),” the report said.

The records indicated that he had been treated previously with two other antidepressant medications for “anxiety and depression” and a history of “impatience” and “compulsiveness,” the NTSB noted.

An investigation of another plane crash, resulting in two fatalities in Kingsport, Tennessee, in August 2003, found Zoloft in the blood and liver of a private flight instructor, according to an accident report by the NTSB.

In the policy statement published in the Federal Register, the FAA seems to justify the use of these drugs via the fully debunked “chemical imbalance in the brain” theory when writing: “All these medications are SSRIs, antidepressants that help restore the balance of serotonin, a naturally occurring chemical substance found in the brain.”

“Increasingly accepted and prevalently used, these four antidepressants may be used safely in appropriate cases with proper oversight and have fewer side effects than previous generations of antidepressants,” the FAA wrote, with no citation to any scientific paper to back up this assertion.

In fact, the current labels on SSRIs warn that “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients treated for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric.”

“Even when not severe, these reactions impair judgment and increase the likelihood of accidents and violence,” according to Dr Breggin.

CCHR has set up a great website with a one-of-a-kind search engine that allows the public and officials to access the database on side effects reported to the FDA on SSRIs, and every other psychiatric drug. The site also has a search engine to access all the International warnings and studies on psychiatric drugs which have been summarized so they are easy to understand, even to a lay person

Input Only From the Choir

On April 6, 2010, Bob Fiddaman, author of the long-running popular website and blog, “Seroxat Sufferers,” sent a request to the FAA, under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking information on the change in policy.

In the Federal Register, the FAA claims it came to its decision after “careful consideration.” However, in the 58 pages of documents sent to Fiddaman on June 9, 2010 (and kindly shared with this author), there is no mention of consultations with any of the prominent SSRI experts who may have offered a contrary view.  Like Peter Breggin, for instance.

The FAA’s response to Fiddaman shows the agency has been discussing the policy change since at least 2008. In response to a request for “minutes of meetings where the change in the policy was on the agenda,” as well as a list of “members present and a declaration of interests of each of the members,” the FAA sent a copy of a July 18, 2008, Memorandum, with a summary from one consultants’ meeting. Three outside experts attended but there were no declarations of interests, or lack thereof, by anyone at the meeting.

The summary noted that the consultants “unanimously agreed that the concept of allowing certain airmen taking antidepressant medication was reasonable and safe.” But the  “unanimous consensus” was that only Prozac and Zoloft “were appropriate medications due to the longevity of their use and overall safety.”

“They also felt that only these two should be considered initially, and no other medications considered at this time,” the summary reported.

In responding to the question of whether the new policy would apply to Air Traffic Controllers, the FAA said the “new policy does not presently apply to Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS) because the administrative details of the monitoring and follow-up of these employees are yet to be determined. The plan is that ATCSs will eventually be included in a program of this type.”

In response to a request for any information “given to FAA from outside parties that relate to the FAA’S recent change in policy regarding pilots on antidepressant medication,” the FAA sent copies of documents received from the Aerospace Medical Association, the Airline Pilots Association Aeromedical Office, the International Airline Pilots Association, and the United States Army.

“In developing the new policy, the FAA also utilized a variety of medical research literature available in the public domain,” the response said. “We used internet sites such as, but not limited to: The National Library of Medicine PubMed site and the FDA Medwatch.”

The documents Fiddaman received show consideration of a 2003 study of aviation accidents that found SSRIs in 61 pilot fatalities between 1990-2001, in which the psychological condition and/or the drug use was determined to be the cause, or a factor in 16 of the accidents, or 31%.

However, there was no mention of a later November 2006 study titled, “Pilot Medical History and Medications Found in Post Mortem Specimens for Aviation Accidents,” led by Dennis Canfield, from the FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, in the Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine journal.

For this study, toxicological evaluations were performed on 4,143 pilots involved in fatal aviation accidents during the period between January 1, 1993, through December 31, 2003, to identify all pilots found positive for medications used to treat cardiovascular, psychological, or neurological conditions.

The evaluations found one-hundred dead pilots with SSRIs in their systems including forty with Prozac, twenty-six with Zoloft, twenty-one with Paxil, and thirteen with Celexa.

Less than a month after the new policy was announced, in Aviation International News, on May 1, 2010, Matt Thurber reported that in a review of 127 accidents in the NTSB database since 1991, containing the word “antidepressant,” only three were nonfatal.

“In 124 of those accidents, 211 people were killed,” Thurber said. “In accident after accident, antidepressants … were found in the tissues of dead pilots, and the pilots had falsified their medical certificate applications to show that they had never been treated for psychiatric problems.”

Drug Free For All

No doubt in large part to Fiddaman’s multi-year non-stop campaign to inform the world about the dangers of Paxil, pilots will still not be allowed to use it.

However, some of the people who submitted comments to the FAA on the new policy thought the agency should open up the friendly skies to more psychotropic drug use. For instance, on June 16, 2010, a person commenting under the name, Anonymous, told the FAA:  “This review should be expanded to include ADHD medications.”

“Many pilots are diagnosed as having ADHD and take medication to assist them. Many of the medications used today to assist adults are derivatives of drugs issued to military pilots to remain alert during missions,” Anonymous said. “I strongly encourage the FAA to review the use of ADHD medication so the pilots using medications to manage their symptoms can finally come out of the shadows.”

On June 23, Gregorio Guillen wrote and asked: “How about those pilots wanting to take prescription low dose Sertraline to treat premature ejaculation and not necessarily depression?”

Gregorio wants to know whether they “are going to be affected by this rule?”

A pilot named Paul Reed, asked the FAA to: “Please consider allowing migraine treatments with anti-depressants to be included in this rule,” on June 17.

But on the other hand, on June 17, Patric Barry wrote: “If the pilot population is permitted to use such medication, the temptation to increase the dose when a pilot is feeling “a little off” is too great a risk — to amend the rules to allow an inch, some pilots will feel compelled to take a mile.”

“That is simply an unacceptable risk to the general population and passengers relying on the stability of the pilot group to safeguard and protect public safety,” he told the FAA.

Dr Jeffrey Welker also believes it is “a bad idea to allow individuals being treated for depression with medications to hold a current valid medical,” and “we should be looking very close at these individuals after treatment for mental stability.”

“I base this opinion on my professional and personal observations of 25 years in practice,” he said in a comment on June 25.

All of the comments submitted can be found by going to the FAA’s Regulations and Policies Web page.

SSRIs Impair Roadways

It makes no sense to put planes full of people at risk by allowing pilots to fly on SSRIs when a study as far back as December 2006, in the “Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,” reported that about seven out of every ten people who take antidepressants have impaired driving ability in a car, and 16% have severe motor impairments.

In addition, “reckless driving is one of the most commonly reported adverse effects of antidepressants,” Dr Breggin reports.

After taking antidepressants, disinhibited, agitated or angry drivers find themselves exploding into road rage or using their cars as instruments of suicide,” he says. “This is one of the first antidepressants reactions that clinicians like myself began noticing soon after Prozac hit the marketplace.

In his book, Medication Madness, Dr Breggin describes how an ordinarily calm, model citizen became suicidal on Paxil and drove his car into a helpless policeman in order to knock him over and get his gun so the man could kill himself with it. Although the man seriously injured the cop, he failed to get the gun.

In another case, a man described as kind and gentle turned psychotic while on Zoloft and drove his automobile into a barrier in attempt to kill his passenger wife because he believed her body was harboring an alien beast that wanted to destroy him and all of humanity.

“The other part of this story that the FAA seems to be missing is that for all but the most extreme cases of depression, antidepressant drugs have been scientifically proven — through multiple clinical trials — to work no better than placebo,” says Mike Adams in the April 5, 2010 report, “Medicated in the Cockpit.”

“These pilots would do just as well taking capsules filled with olive oil as they do on patented, monopoly-priced SSRI drugs,” he points out.

The current price of the four SSRIs at DrugStore.com, for 90 pills at a middles dose, is $600 for Prozac, $365 for Zoloft, $320 for Celexa, and $270 for Lexapro.  Much to the delight of the SSRI makers, the FAA’s new policy will likely encourage pilots to keep paying for their useless drugs forever.

Evelyn Pringle is an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government and corporate America. She can be reached at: evelyn-pringle@sbcglobal.net. Read other articles by Evelyn, or visit Evelyn's website.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

20 Million Children Drugged


 
Click here for 2 minute video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR4EWSbXLWA

Please take a moment to watch CCHR's latest video - its only 2 minutes long but contains many facts about the psychiatric drugging of children, and also directs people/parents where
to go to get the FACTS about psychiatric drugs - CCHR's new, one of a kind, psychiatric drug database.

Pass this message along to your friends.


Drugging Our Children: Side Effects


Click here to visit CCHR's Psychiatric Drug Database/Search Engine: http://www.cchrint.org/psychdrugdangers/

Friday, May 28, 2010

Psychiatrist gets 16 years

 

 

The story on the Florida psychiatrist (sentenced to 16 years yesterday) so far appears on over 130 newspaper sites and also in Canada, Austrailia, Tawain, Korea and the Phillipines.

Haley 

 

Psychiatrist Jerome Feldman

 

The Post-Standard
Former doctor imprisoned 16 years for phony organ transplant scam

By John O'Brien

May 27th, 2010

A former psychiatrist was sent to prison for 16 years today for duping seriously ill people out of $400,000 with false promises of organ transplants in the Philippines.

U.S. District Judge David Hurd sentenced Jerome Feldman to 15 years and 8 months in prison and ordered him to repay $2 million to the victims of the phony organ-transplant scheme and an earlier Medicare fraud in Florida.

Feldman Feldman pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud charges for luring five people to the Philippines for life-saving organ transplants. He'd set up a web site where patients sought quick access to transplants because they were desperate for a life-saving organ transplant.

Feldman, 69, whose estranged wife lives in Baldwinsville, apologized in court as he stood in an orange jail uniform and handcuffs.

"I'm sorry I didn't return - didn't make refunds," Feldman said.

His lawyer, federal Public Defender James Greenwald, told the judge that Feldman did help three of the five victims get organ transplants in the Philippines. Greenwald acknowledged that Feldman falsely represented his relationship with the doctors there and overcharged the patients.

"He's not the monster or ogre the government makes him out to be," Greenwald said in court.

Those patients who did get transplants did so only because they made their own arrangements in the Philippines when they arrived and realized Feldman was a fraud using an alias, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carla Freedman said. They had wired thousands of dollars to Feldman's bank account then flew to Manila only to realize he'd made no arrangements for the transplants, Freedman said.

One of the patients who got an organ "is alive today in spite of the defendant," Freedman said. She said the patient went to a surgeon's office on his own and Feldman went with him. Feldman then asked the secretary if the surgeon could take the patient, Freedman said.

The patients had to pay legitimate medical expenses for the transplants on top of the amounts they'd paid to Feldman, she said.

Another patient, Erwin Benke of Edmonton, Canada, flew to the Philippines in 2008 after paying $70,000 to Feldman in a last-ditch effort for a liver transplant. Benke waited six months before he died there without a transplant, Freedman said. His common-law wife, Victoria Langier, was not with him.

"She will never be able to live with the fact that she wasn't with her husband in the last six months of his life," Freedman said.

Feldman's fraud unraveled in July 2008 when Langier called the DeWitt Police Department to report that her husband was dying in the Philippines while waiting for a liver transplant. She told DeWitt police that she'd wired the $70,000 to a DeWitt bank for the surgery.

 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Florida Tightening Psych Drug Rules


 

http://www.psychsearch.net/psych_news/wp-content/uploads/george_sheldon-300x300.jpg

George Sheldon - Secretary of the Florida Department

of Children and Families

Daytona Beach News Journal
DCF tightening medicine rules

By DEBORAH CIRCELLI
May 14, 2010

DAYTONA BEACH — A bill that would have ensured tighter controls on administering psychotropic drugs to foster children failed to pass this legislative session, but the head of the state Department of Children & Families is moving forward with rules he says will ensure children are safe.

George Sheldon, secretary for the state Department of Children & Families, who was in town Thursday afternoon to attend community meetings on the department’s future strategic plan, said the bill not passing was a “major failure” on the part of the Legislature.

A work group made 90 recommendations following the April 2009 death of a South Florida foster child, Gabriel Myers, 7, who was prescribed several mind-altering drugs and hanged himself in his foster home.

Some of the recommendations included hiring a chief medical officer to monitor the prescribing of such medications, which Sheldon plans to move forward with using other funds.

By July 1, he said, operating procedures also will be in place to ensure every child on psychotropic medications has a guardian; to prohibit any foster child from being a part of any clinical trials; and to make sure every child is informed of the side effects, to name a few.

Psychotropic medications are drugs used for psychiatric reasons such as mood stabilizers, stimulants and drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

A database also will be in place to allow DCF to monitor any “red flag” cases where a child is on more than two psychotropic medications at the same time, he said.

“I’m unwilling to have Gabriel Myers’ death be in vain,” Sheldon said in an interview Thursday.

Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, who was honored at a community meeting Thursday for her work over the years for social services, said she was “very disappointed” the bill did not pass and that it “is an issue that must be dealt with in our state.”

The work group criticized DCF in the review of Gabriel’s death and raised concerns in some cases that the drugs have been used to control foster children’s behaviors.

Statewide as of May 7, according to DCF records, 14.6 percent or 2,724 foster children are on one or more prescriptions for psychotropic medications, with 122 or 14.8 percent locally.

Bill Babiez, CEO of Community Partnership for Children, the local foster care agency for the state, said local initiatives include hiring a specialist to make sure parental consents are in place when a doctor prescribes psychotropic medications.

“We don’t want to miss a beat on this issue. It is too critical to the life of a child,” Babiez said.

 
 

 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Florida Tightening Psych Drug Rules

 

Header

George Sheldon - Secretary of the Florida Department

of Children and Families

 

Daytona Beach News Journal
DCF tightening medicine rules

By DEBORAH CIRCELLI
May 14, 2010

DAYTONA BEACH - A bill that would have ensured tighter controls on administering psychotropic drugs to foster children failed to pass this legislative session, but the head of the state Department of Children & Families is moving forward with rules he says will ensure children are safe.

George Sheldon, secretary for the state Department of Children & Families, who was in town Thursday afternoon to attend community meetings on the department's future strategic plan, said the bill not passing was a "major failure" on the part of the Legislature.

A work group made 90 recommendations following the April 2009 death of a South Florida foster child, Gabriel Myers, 7, who was prescribed several mind-altering drugs and hanged himself in his foster home.

Some of the recommendations included hiring a chief medical officer to monitor the prescribing of such medications, which Sheldon plans to move forward with using other funds.

By July 1, he said, operating procedures also will be in place to ensure every child on psychotropic medications has a guardian; to prohibit any foster child from being a part of any clinical trials; and to make sure every child is informed of the side effects, to name a few.

Psychotropic medications are drugs used for psychiatric reasons such as mood stabilizers, stimulants and drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

A database also will be in place to allow DCF to monitor any "red flag" cases where a child is on more than two psychotropic medications at the same time, he said.

"I'm unwilling to have Gabriel Myers' death be in vain," Sheldon said in an interview Thursday.

Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, who was honored at a community meeting Thursday for her work over the years for social services, said she was "very disappointed" the bill did not pass and that it "is an issue that must be dealt with in our state."

The work group criticized DCF in the review of Gabriel's death and raised concerns in some cases that the drugs have been used to control foster children's behaviors.

Statewide as of May 7, according to DCF records, 14.6 percent or 2,724 foster children are on one or more prescriptions for psychotropic medications, with 122 or 14.8 percent locally.

Bill Babiez, CEO of Community Partnership for Children, the local foster care agency for the state, said local initiatives include hiring a specialist to make sure parental consents are in place when a doctor prescribes psychotropic medications.

"We don't want to miss a beat on this issue. It is too critical to the life of a child," Babiez said.