Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another Tragic Case of Big Pharma Targeting Poor Children

Another Tragic Case of Big Pharma Targeting Poor Children

I usually start here with my personal commentary, and then let you read the article to draw your own personal conclusions. This time around, I'm am going to interject my opinions into the article itself with a different purple colored font. You can leave comment if you wish, and tell me what you think of this type commentary format.

From the New York Times:

New York Times Reports - Big Pharma Targeting Poor Children

Poor Children Likelier to Get Antipsychotics

Published: December 11, 2009

New federally financed drug research reveals a stark disparity: children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts, the data shows.

This is fertile and very profitable territory for Big Pharma and the Mental Health Industry; They receive hefty reimbursements at the tax payers expense; while marketing and main streaming dangerous and powerful drugs to all children with absurd and dangerously suspect diagnostic criteria and medication oriented treatments.

Dr. Derek H. Suite, a psychiatrist in the Bronx, says he sees many children on antipsychotic drugs who do not need them.

Yet, this horrible problem continues to gain corporate acceptance in the main steam with little concrete avenues of "CHANGE" or "accountability" in real life terms coming toward us any time in the near future. Knowledge and acknowledging a serious problem is one thing; but solid solutions and resolute results are what these crimes against children and society demand with fervent expediency now.

Those findings, by a team from Rutgers and Columbia, are almost certain to add fuel to a long-running debate. Do too many children from poor families receive powerful psychiatric drugs not because they actually need them — but because it is deemed the most efficient and cost-effective way to control problems that may be handled much differently for middle-class children?

When it comes to Pharmaceutical Corporates; it is all about the MONEY after all.

The questions go beyond the psychological impact on Medicaid children, serious as that may be. Antipsychotic drugs can also have severe physical side effects, causing drastic weight gain and metabolic changes resulting in lifelong physical problems.

They mention in this articles here the lifelong physical problems, but have not mentioned the life long psychological effects of being labeled Mentally Ill and/or the direct results these drugs can have upon children in actually creating much more severe mental health conditions.

Either way, creating life long physical or mental conditions or both; creates a virtual "Gold Mine" for Big Pharma into the foreseeable future. You would think government and the People would at least be starting to get a glimpse of this ugly criminal picture; but it appears those masterful blinders Pharma has created through the investment of hundreds of billions of dollars in major advertising campaigns and in funding advocate front groups has really paid off in this area.

On Tuesday, a pediatric advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration met to discuss the health risks for all children who take antipsychotics. The panel will consider recommending new label warnings for the drugs, which are now used by an estimated 300,000 people under age 18 in this country, counting both Medicaid patients and those with private insurance.

Oh really, such shocking news considering the FDA is rubber stamping these drugs for use in children over and over again in recent weeks. Lots of smoke and mirrors coming from a regulitory body that is pretty much controlled by the pharmaceutical industry.

Meanwhile, a group of Medicaid medical directors from 16 states, under a project they call Too Many, Too Much, Too Young, has been experimenting with ways to reduce prescriptions of antipsychotic drugs among Medicaid children.

Lots of half measures with half truths equaling very little change. Do you actually believe our government or their proxy's will give justice and proper compensation to those poor kids that have been grievously harmed.

If they really wanted to stop this outrageous criminal activity; they would have to publicly question and debunk a medication modality they themselves help create through major financial and influential power brokering Pharma holds in academia, medicine, and research just to touch the surface of this monolith ice berg moving through the waters of our society.

They plan to publish a report early next year.

The Rutgers-Columbia study will also be published early next year, in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs. But the findings have already been posted on the Web, setting off discussion among experts who treat and study troubled young people.

We have children being misdiagnosed and being force fed virtual poisons, and they say we are going to get together and seriously talk about this! I'm sorry, but that is just good old fashioned horse shit that only bureaucrats and academia could pull off, to be completely candid.

Some experts say they are stunned by the disparity in prescribing patterns. But others say it reinforces previous indications, and their own experience, that children with diagnoses of mental or emotional problems in low-income families are more likely to be given drugs than receive family counseling or psychotherapy.

Part of the reason is insurance reimbursements, as Medicaid often pays much less for counseling and therapy than private insurers do. Part of it may have to do with the challenges that families in poverty may have in consistently attending counseling or therapy sessions, even when such help is available.

Part of the reason is insurance reimbursements, as Medicaid often pays much less for counseling and therapy than private insurers, and who do you think help set those political policies in place? Do you need three guesses, or are you starting to smell the stench of rot seeping under you front door.

“It’s easier for patients, and it’s easier for docs,” said Dr. Derek H. Suite, a psychiatrist in the Bronx whose pediatric cases include children and adolescents covered by Medicaid and who sometimes prescribes antipsychotics. “But the question is, ‘What are you prescribing it for?’ That’s where it gets a little fuzzy.”

Let me get this right, we use dangerous drugs on poor children because its easier. then to take it one step further for a home-run hitting out of the ballpark insanity, we have "fuzzy" and different diagnostic criteria for the poor. Don't worry middle class and rich America; once they have ingrained this drugging modality among the poor, they are coming for your children. Greed unfortunately doesn't stop at the upper status gates for Corporations.

Too often, Dr. Suite said, he sees young Medicaid patients to whom other doctors have given antipsychotics that the patients do not seem to need. Recently, for example, he met with a 15-year-old girl. She had stopped taking the antipsychotic medication that had been prescribed for her after a single examination, paid for by Medicaid, at a clinic where she received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Why did she stop? Dr. Suite asked. “I can control my moods,” the girl said softly.

After evaluating her, Dr. Suite decided she was right. The girl had arguments with her mother and stepfather and some insomnia. But she was a good student and certainly not bipolar, in Dr. Suite’s opinion.

“Normal teenager,” Dr. Suite said, nodding. “No scrips for you.”

Pretty scary that a very few Ethical Doctors have the job of cleaning up a massive problem and mess their own profession is helping foster for nothing more than MONEY.

Because there can be long waits to see the psychiatrists accepting Medicaid, it is often a pediatrician or family doctor who prescribes an antipsychotic to a Medicaid patient — whether because the parent wants it or the doctor believes there are few other options.

This is another example of corporate pharmaceutical corporations and their sales representatives dream coming true; those family doctors all ready to hear about the latest ghost written study published in some medical journal that just happens to comes along with some great perks, including even some expert paid propaganda speaking engagements which fills not only their bank accounts, but is a nice professional ego boost.

They may even receive volume financial kickbacks for prescribing these drugs to children. We know of just one doctor in the Chicago area that was worth an estimated 500 millions dollars in sales for AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical Corporate in elderly care alone. Just ask the doctor of death: Psychiatrist Dr. Micheal Reinstein

Some experts even say Medicaid may provide better care for children than many covered by private insurance because the drugs — which can cost $400 a month — are provided free to patients, and families do not have to worry about the co-payments and other insurance restrictions.

“Maybe Medicaid kids are getting better treatment,” said Dr. Gabrielle Carlson, a child psychiatrist and professor at the Stony Brook School of Medicine. “If it helps keep them in school, maybe it’s not so bad.”

When you hear FREE! We should all hold on to our wallets tightly. This is not free by any stretch of the imagination. What they are not saying is; we the People and working stiffs in America are paying for every last cent of this supposed FREE CARE that is rolling into Pharma and medical industry's pockets.

In any case, as Congress works on health care legislation that could expand the nation’s Medicaid rolls by 15 million people — a 43 percent increase — the scope of the antipsychotics problem, and the expense, could grow in coming years.

That is the Pharmaceutical Corporate vision for America; to get everyone from cradle to coffin on their products at a very steep cost for everyone of us. Nice to see they are using this millions and upon millions of dollars funneled into lobbying efforts directed at elected representatives wisely.

Even though the drugs are typically cheaper than long-term therapy, they are the single biggest drug expenditure for Medicaid, costing the program $7.9 billion in 2006, the most recent year for which the data is available.

The Rutgers-Columbia research, based on millions of Medicaid and private insurance claims, is the most extensive analysis of its type yet on children’s antipsychotic drug use. It examined records for children in seven big states — including New York, Texas and California — selected to be representative of the nation’s Medicaid population, for the years 2001 and 2004.

Expensive, ineffective, and damaging! keep those words in your pocket for your next trip to the race track. Smells like a sure corporate winner to so many.

The data indicated that more than 4 percent of patients ages 6 to 17 in Medicaid fee-for-service programs received antipsychotic drugs, compared with less than 1 percent of privately insured children and adolescents. More recent data through 2007 indicates that the disparity has remained, said Stephen Crystal, a Rutgers professor who led the study. Experts generally agree that some characteristics of the Medicaid population may contribute to psychological problems or psychiatric disorders. They include the stresses of poverty, single-parent homes, poorer schools, lack of access to preventive care and the fact that the Medicaid rolls include many adults who are themselves mentally ill.

OK, just stop beating around the bush and say it! They believe poor people are inferior and much more likely to have mental disease. Does that sound just a wee bit like that debunked eugenics movement we fought from the early 1900's until after defeating the NAZI eugenics movement in World War 2.

As a result, studies have found that children in low-income families may have a higher rate of mental health problems — perhaps two to one — compared with children in better-off families. But that still does not explain the four-to-one disparity in prescribing antipsychotics.

Here we go, 2 to 1 odds against the poor, treated with 4 to 1 dangerous medication prescribing. Does anyone else see a problem here?

Professor Crystal, who is the director of the Center for Pharmacotherapy at Rutgers, says his team’s data also indicates that poorer children are more likely to receive antipsychotics for less serious conditions than would typically prompt a prescription for a middle-class child.

Yes, mere breathing a serious condition for those less people, they should be double medicated just to be on the safe side correct.

But Professor Crystal said he did not have clear evidence to form an opinion on whether or not children on Medicaid were being overtreated.

What more evidence is needed exactly, before they sit down to spend time maybe discussing options to address this serious problem in another committee meeting scheduled for 6 months from now. Rubber Boots Time Here!

“Medicaid kids are subject to a lot of stresses that lead to behavior issues which can be hard to distinguish from more serious psychiatric conditions,” he said. “It’s very hard to pin down.”

Yes indeed, it's become so difficult to really distinguish the difference between psychiatric conditions and just being poor. In all actaullity it has been very hard for them "psychiatry" to tell the difference between normal young boys behavioral traits and mental illness .

In fact, I'm quite sure the new improved pharmaceutical profit manual DSM-V will address this problem and start billing and medicating for both; while charging an extra fee for poverty and mental health issues combined.

I mean if they were not mentally deficient, why would any one in their right mind be poor. Some pretty twisted and sickening methodology going on here in medical circles you must admit.

And yet Dr. Mark Olfson, a psychiatry professor at Columbia and a co-author of the study, said at least one thing was clear: “A lot of these kids are not getting other mental health services.”

This is a nice way of saying; there is a huge untapped market out there just sitting ready to be plucked clean.

The F.D.A. has approved antipsychotic drugs for children specifically to treat schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder. But they are more frequently prescribed to children for other, less extreme conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, aggression, persistent defiance or other so-called conduct disorders — especially when the children are covered by Medicaid, the new study shows.

I believe by now, the American Public trust what the FDA approves about as much as they would trust their weekly trash man with important medical advice.

You probably don't believe that last statement correct. Then please conduct your own unbiased poll and tell me how it went.

Although doctors may legally prescribe the drugs for these “off label” uses, there have been no long-term studies of their effects when used for such conditions.

Legally prescribe; Pharmaceutical corporations have been marketing these drugs directly to doctors for decades for every condition under the great blue sky off label. "Off Label" is just another way Pharma expands the profitability of already very profitable drugs.

Those patents do have limits; so buying up generic drug maker competition and cheating the system by extending patents by adding "a drop of this and pinch of that" can only last so long after-all.

The Rutgers-Columbia study found that Medicaid children were more likely than those with private insurance to be given the drugs for off-label uses like A.D.H.D. and conduct disorders. The privately insured children, in turn, were more likely than their Medicaid counterparts to receive the drugs for F.D.A.-approved uses like bipolar disorder.

Even if parents enrolled in Medicaid may be reluctant to put their children on drugs, some come to rely on them as the only thing that helps.

“They say it’s impossible to stop now,” Evelyn Torres, 48, of the Bronx, said of her son’s use of antipsychotics since he received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder at age 3. Seven years later, the boy is now also afflicted with weight and heart problems. But Ms. Torres credits Medicaid for making the boy’s mental and physical conditions manageable. “They’re helping with everything,” she said.

This must stop, but who will stop it? Our government appears to be sitting on it's hands, FDA is a nothing body holding a paid for rubber stamp, and the DOJ "department of justice" only makes sweet heart deals with huge mega corporations that commit crimes.

I guess we either accept that we are being targeting as are the children; or we hold them accountable by any means we can including refusing to use their products or frequenting doctors that prescribe them. Either way you choose in this case, poses a grave risk to your Health.


The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune have been doing some excellent work in this area of news reporting as of late. I personally encourage them to continue shining a very bright spot light upon this vitally important topic.

I would suggest you read the comment section of this post; it shines further light upon the expert person's used in this report; that will surely have you humming "conflict of interest carols" all the way to your next holiday bash.

Another good link and thoughtful article about Big Pharma targeting our kids, elderly, and adults - US Kids Represent Psychiatric Drug Goldmine


Stephany said...

Training: Wellesley College
Medical school: Cornell University Medical School
Medicine internship: Jewish Hospital – St. Louis.
Psychiatry: Washington University – dept. of psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health.
Child Psychiatry: University of California, LA, Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Treatment Specialties: Second opinion evaluations of child/adolescent.

Emotional and behavioral problems.

Mood/Bipolar disorder in children and adolescents, ADHD.

Research Interests: Bipolar Disorder in children and adolescents, child psychopharmacology.

Carlson was heard from before in Feb 2007 in an article in the NYTimes about REBECCA RILEY, who was found DEAD with these drugs in her system:

"Rebecca was taking Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug; Depakote, an equally powerful mood medication; and Clonidine, a blood pressure drug often prescribed to calm children."

"Bipolar is absolutely being overdiagnosed in children, and the major downside is that people then think they have a solution and are not amenable to listening to alternatives,” which may not include drugs, said Dr. Gabrielle Carlson, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine on Long Island."

2010 Psychopharmacology Update Institute

Gabrielle A. Carlson, M.D.
Advisor/Consultant: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Eli Lilly and Company, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., Validus

Honorarium and Travel Expenses: American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Shire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Research Funding: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.

Spouse Advisor/Consultant: Eli Lilly and Company, H. Lundbeck A/S

Gabrielle A. Carlson, M.D.
Advisor/Consultant: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Eli Lilly and Company, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., Validus

Honorarium and Travel Expenses: American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Shire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Research Funding: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.

Spouse Advisor/Consultant: Eli Lilly and Company, H. Lundbeck A/S

In this recent article she is quoted as saying:

""'Maybe Medicaid kids are getting better treatment,' said Dr. Gabrielle Carlson, a child psychiatrist and professor at the Stony Brook School of Medicine. 'If it helps keep them in school, maybe it’s not so bad.'"

AACAP 2009 January Psychopharmacology Update Institute: Evidence-Based Treatments in Child Psychiatry

The AACAP's 2009 Psychopharmacology Update Institute, Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology

"Children with serious psychiatric disorders are increasingly complex. The experts convened for this Institute have as their goal not only a review of the evidence base of important conditions, but also how to approach situations where the evidence-based treatments don't work," says Institute Chair Dr. Gabrielle Carlson.

Stephany said...


The AACAP 2009 January Psychopharmacology Update Institute faculty includes:

Gabrielle A. Carlson, M.D., Chair, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics and Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Stony Brook University School of Medicine

Boris Birmaher, M.D., Endowed Chair in Early Onset Bipolar Disease and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Scientific Advisory Council, CABF

Boris Birmaher, M.D.

Professor of Psychiatry
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
Pittsburgh, PA

Gabrielle Carlson, M.D.

Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Stonybrook State University of New York

I am sure she is happy to give those medicaid kids their school education, yes indeed! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Hanging out with the Top Gun himself Joseph Biederman

Stan said...

The pharmaceutical industry spends an estimated 90 billion dollars a year marketing their drugs.

"In 2004, drug makers spent, on average, nearly one-third (32 percent) of their revenues on marketing, administration and advertising, compared with less than half as much (14 percent) on all R&D. With total industry revenue approaching an estimated $285 billion, that means more than $90 billion a year is spent on marketing, compared to about $40 billion is spent on R&D. And even some of the expenses they count as R&D are payments to doctors to conduct unnecessary clinical trials that are aimed not at research findings, but getting more patients on the latest more expensive medicines before they are FDA approved."

So here's a great Health Care Reform solution for America: completely ban pharma drug advertising and marketing: then sir charge/tax them a 33% tax on all income with no loop holes or deductions.

This would pretty much cover every dime of any "Health Care Reform bill" while covering every single American Citizen with a basic health care package.

Harry Magnet said...

Did anyone notice the concluding paragraph of the article?

“They say it’s impossible to stop now,” Evelyn Torres, 48, of the Bronx, said of her son’s use of antipsychotics since he received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder at age 3. Seven years later, the boy is now also afflicted with weight and heart problems. But Ms. Torres credits Medicaid for making the boy’s mental and physical conditions manageable. “They’re helping with everything,”
she said.

Bipolar disorder at age 3? I'm sure the kid had behavioral issues, but how can you diagnose someone that young with bipolar disorder? His mom seems happy, although the kid has weight and heart problems. His mom doesn't know, however, nor does anyone know, what he would be like at age 10 without having taken antipsychotics. Even more important, what's he going to be like by age 20? Before we prescribe these drugs on toddlers, we should do controlled longitudinal studies to answer these questions.

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