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


 

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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.

 

 

 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Emergency Suspension-Florida Psychiatrist Steven L. Kaplan

 

 Denis

Denis Maltez and mother, Martha

 

Health News Florida
'Emergency' action took 4 yrs.

By Carol Gentry

May 10, 2010

Four years ago, the Department of Health was warned that psychiatrist Steven L. Kaplan was dangerously overmedicating children, state records show. DOH got around to filing an "emergency" suspension of Kaplan last week, three years too late for one little boy.

The emergency suspension order by State Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros released late Friday makes no reference to the warnings about Kaplan that it received from the Agency for Health Care Administration's Medicaid unit in May 2006. The order says it received a complaint about Kaplan in November 2009 and began its investigation at that time.

The DOH's emergency order does not name the patient beyond his initials, but the circumstances make clear it was Denis Maltez, an autistic boy who lived in a state-licensed group home for foster children called Rainbow Ranch. He was Kaplan's patient for a year before dying at age 12.

As the Miami Herald reported last month, three agencies - AHCA, the Department of Children and Families, and the Agency for Persons With Disabilities - all voiced concerns about Kaplan's prescribing practices for years but no action took place as Kaplan continued to prescribe for hundreds of children in foster care.

The state Medicaid program acted only after the Herald report, removing Kaplan as a provider effective next week.

The Herald report, based on documents that became public in a lawsuit, indicates that DOH knew about Kaplan in 2008 but didn't act. It turns out that DOH knew about Kaplan much sooner than that - a year before Denis died.

Records provided by AHCA show that the Medicaid Program Integrity Office notified the DOH Division of Medical Quality Assurance in writing on May 12, 2006 about problems with Kaplan's "prescribing habits" as they pertained to "antipsychotic medications for Medicaid recipients/patients."

A low-level staffer at DOH wrote back on May 26, 2006 asking for medical records, consultants' reports and any other documents that would be helpful.

Tiffany Vause, a spokeswoman for AHCA, told Health News Florida last week that those records and reports were provided at the time.

However, it was a full year later -only a few days before Denis died, in fact - that a medical malpractice investigator for DOH notified AHCA that an investigation had been initiated.

The complaint was dismissed a year later, apparently, although none of that is mentioned in the emergency order.

DOH does not discuss complaints in which no "probable cause" is found by a committee of the Board of Medicine. Officials at DOH say the law does not permit them to do so.

A phone call to Kaplan's office upon the release of the suspension order was not returned. Health News Florida has asked DOH to explain how the agency will justify issuing an "emergency" suspension order on events that occurred in 2006.

 

Bizarre Psych News - Antigay Psychologist took a trip to Europe with a gay male prostitute

The state of Florida recently paid him about $120,000 (not $60,000) to be an expert witness against gay adoption.

 

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Psychologist George A. Rekers

 

Miami Herald
Antigay activist took trip with male ‘assistant’

An antigay psychologist who testified for Florida in the state’s gay adoption case took a trip to Europe with a gay male prostitute from Miami but says no illegal behavior or sex occurred.
BY STEVE ROTHAUS

May 6th, 2010

A nationally known antigay psychologist who testified for the state in its defense of Florida’s gay-adoption ban recently took a trip to Europe with a gay male prostitute from Miami who advertised himself online.

George A. Rekers — an officer of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and a retired University of South Carolina professor — hired the young escort known as Geo on Rentboy.com , a gay-sex website.

The Miami New Times website reported the story Monday, and it quickly went viral on the Internet. By Wednesday, Rekers had taken down his Facebook page and Geo had removed his Rentboy profile.

Both Rekers and Geo, who declined to give his real name, deny they had a sexual relationship during their 10-day journey to Spain and England.

“In all honesty, I did go on the trip with him,” Geo, 20, told The Miami Herald on Wednesday. “He was setting me up as a companion. In all honesty, he’s a very kind, family-values man.”

Rekers, 61, said via e-mail that he hired Geo as “an assistant to lift his luggage in his travels because of an ongoing condition following surgery.”

He added: “Dr. Rekers found his recent travel assistant by interviewing acquaintances. There was nothing inappropriate with this relationship. Professor Rekers was not involved in any illegal or sexual behavior with his travel assistant.”

Geo says Rekers — the father of three grown sons — hired him to carry luggage, be a companion and to translate Spanish to English during their time in Spain.

“Nor did he pay me enough” for sex, Geo said.

“I was getting about $75 a day,” Geo said, adding that he and his friends usually charge $300 to $500 a day for sex.

Geo said he is a Miami Dade College student who became a prostitute to pay his bills. “I was just trying to get through school,” he said. “I think I’m going to have drop my classes.”

Geo’s parents know he’s gay, but not that he’s an escort. “Who the hell wants to tell them I was doing this stuff?” he said. “I come from a very conservative Spanish family.”

Rekers, a founder of the conservative Family Research Council who believes homosexuality is a sin, is well-known for his antigay stance. In 1989, he and Jerry Regier — later secretary of the Florida Department of Children & Families — co-wrote an essay entitled The Christian World View of the Family, which railed against abortion and gay couples forming families, and emphasized that husbands have “final say in any family dispute.”

The state of Florida recently paid him about $60,000 to be an expert witness against gay adoption in the case of Frank Gill, a gay foster parent seeking to adopt two young brothers. Florida is the only state that bans all gay people from adopting.

In November 2008, Miami-Dade Judge Cindy Lederman awarded custody of the two boys to Gill. In her final judgment, Lederman wrote:

“Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court can not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.”

The Florida Attorney General’s Office has appealed Lederman’s ruling, and a decision is expected anytime.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum would not comment about Reker. A NARTH office worker also declined to speak.

Gay activists seized the opportunity, though.

Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, a national group that opposes the ex-gay movement, said it doesn’t matter whether Rekers and Geo had a sexual relationship.

“Who cares? It’s even creepier if they didn’t have sex,” said Besen, who grew up in Fort Lauderdale. “If you go to Rentboy.com to have the company of a sex worker and not have sex, I think that shows a pattern of repression and delusion. That’s just not normal behavior.

“Rekers is driving the story right now with his comical denial. He could have just as easily given someone a big tip to carry his bags, like everyone else does.”

 

Friday, May 07, 2010

Psych Drugs Again in Spotlight - Another Florida Kid

How many children must die before the world wakes up?

 

http://www.psychsearch.net/psych_news/wp-content/uploads/emilio.png

Emilio Villamar died of a heart attack at 16. His mother said she was shocked

when she heard the same psychiatrist was treating 7-year old Gabriel Myers.

She claims her son was given a cocktail of drugs, some that were not approved

for children. “He was like a zombie, my son was like a zombie all the time.”


Miami Herald

Drug's use again in spotlight

The mother of a Broward teen who died in 2003 believes it was because of an anti-psychotic drug he should not have been prescribed.
BY NIRVI SHAH
May 1, 2010

A Broward doctor reprimanded by the Food and Drug Administration for his drug-prescribing practices is facing accusations in a civil suit that he caused the death of a Weston teen after prescribing an anti-psychotic drug not approved for use in adolescents.

Norma Tringali of Tamarac believes the drug Seroquel, which Dr. Sohail Punjwani prescribed to her son Emilio, played a role in his death seven years ago. Punjwani is the same physician who was treating 7-year-old foster child Gabriel Myers before he committed suicide last year.

Earlier this week, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca agreed to pay state and federal government agencies $520 million to settle an investigation into the company’s marketing practices, which the Department of Justice said encouraged doctors to use Seroquel for young and elderly people for indications not approved by the FDA.

The settlement will yield about $8.5 million for Florida, split between the state’s Medicaid program, general revenue fund and a reward program for reporting Medicaid fraud.

Tringali’s case against Punjwani is expected to go to trial later this year.

All the other doctors and institutions named in the suit have settled with Emilio’s family, said her lawyer, Michael Freedland.

In the meantime, for Tringali, the civil penalty AstraZeneca has said it will pay provides some resolution.

“That is the thing — that is the answer,” Tringali said, through tears. “Emilio was taking something recommended for adults, not kids.”

Punjwani and his attorneys did not return several phone calls seeking comment.

After a year in Punjwani’s care, Emilio, who played water polo, had a heart attack and died. He was a junior at Piper High School in Sunrise. The lawsuit alleges that Punjwani’s care “deviated and departed from the prevailing professional standard of care exercised” by most doctors.

It goes on to say that Punjwani failed to monitor the effects of a combination of anti-psychotic drugs on Emilio’s heart, failed to perform regular cardiac testing and failed to consult with a cardiologist or other doctor with more experience with the heart-related side effects of anti-psychotic drugs, among other things.

But it is not certain whether the settlement will have a direct effect on the suit against Punjwani, said Tringali’s lawyer, Weston attorney Michael Freedland.

“She was always convinced that these drugs caused his death,” Freedland said of Emilio’s mother. “For her this settlement was some kind of vindication in a sense. It doesn’t necessarily relate to the exact same issue.”

Freedland’s office was simultaneously working on Tringali’s case and the whistleblower case that led to this week’s settlement with AstraZeneca. But rules about whistleblower suits meant they could not share anything about that case with Tringali until the settlement became public this week.

Punjwani was reprimanded by the FDA because he failed “to protect the rights, safety and welfare” of children enrolled in clinical drug trials.

“Your failure to conduct the requisite safety measures contributed to the unnecessary exposure of pediatric subjects to significant overdoses, which jeopardized the subjects’ rights, safety and welfare,” the FDA wrote.

Early last year, drugmaker Eli Lilly pleaded guilty to illegally marketing the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa for unapproved uses. Freedland’s firm also worked on that case, which netted a $1.42 billion settlement.

“The issue relates to these drugs,” Freedland said. “The way Dr. Punjwani treated Emilio Villamar and the manner in which these drugs were prescribed is a picture of everything that’s wrong with this industry and the relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies.”

The settlement says that AstraZeneca targeted its illegal marketing of Seroquel at doctors who do not typically treat schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, including physicians who treat older patients, young patients and primary care doctors and to psychiatrists and other physicians for uses that were not approved by the FDA as safe and effective.

The civil penalty will repay Medicaid, Medicare and other programs that were billed for the drug, although it was being prescribed incorrectly.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said under the agreement, it still denies the allegations.

However, the international company, with U.S. headquarters in Delaware, entered into a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that will last for five years.

 

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Florida Psychiatrist now involved in Dosing Scandal

When is this pig going to be thrown out of the profession?

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Florida Psychiatrist Sohail Punjwani

 

    

Pharmalot
The Pfizer Geodon Trial And Physician Mishaps

By Ed Silverman
April 28, 2010

 

Earlier this month, the FDA sent Pfizer a warning letter for failing to properly monitor pediatric clinical trials in which at least 13 children with bipolar disorder experienced overdosing that led to restless legs, tremors, involuntary facial movements and a serious skin disorder.

 

This is a big problem for the drugmaker, since Pfizer hopes to receive an extra six months of marketing exclusivity in return for having conducted the pediatric trials. But the dosing scandal could prompt the FDA to request further trials, which would require so much additional time that exclusivity would likely be lost, since the basic Geodon patent expires in 2012. This would also delay pediatric approval, which would expand the possibilities for a drug that generated $1.1 billion in sales last year.

 

But who were some of the doctors involved? …

 

…there was Sohail Punjwani, who was cited for numerous instances in which the wrong dosage was given children. Punjwani ran one of three sites that were responsible for 40 patients receiving incorrect doses, or 16 percent of the kids involved, and half of them were given more than the maximum tolerated dose for the trial…

 

Punjwani has made headlines in Florida, where he is based, for treating 7-year-old Gabriel Myers, who hanged himself with a shower cord in a foster home. The boy’s death prompted a probe by a Department of Children & Families task force and proposed legislation before the Florida Senate. He did not respond to messages.

 

+++

 

Note: The FDA warning letter to Pfizer states that informed consent was not obtained in these clinical trials. See letter here: http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/ucm208976.htm