Saturday, October 30, 2010

Drugging Children - The Lost Generations in America

Drugging Children - The Lost Generations

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AstraZeneca - Seroquel - The Torrid Story of "Pills for Pussy" Continues

AstraZeneca - Seroquel - The Torrid Story of "Pills for Pussy" continues

This is a must read over at the always brilliant and funny Pharma Giles - Pharma @ its Best today Pussy For Pills - The Movie....

In this particular case a single picture is worth more than mere words, then course a few pictures can really accent this nasty little story of Sex, Drugs, & Corporate Espionage....So below I have posted just a few of the many funnies you can mull over depicting AZ's Wayne MacFadden hard @ work. (anyone with a real recent photo of Wayne, please pass it along to us)

Will the real Wayne MacFadden Please come forth & accept your dubious accolades!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Johnson and Johnson Risperdal - Next Drug Cartel Member to pull an AstraZeneca - Seroquel

Johnson and Johnson (Risperdal) Next Drug Cartel Member to pull an AstraZeneca (Seroquel)

This is just another in the endless secession of the Big Players in the Pharmaceutical Drug Cartel getting caught illegally profiteering off the suffering of others. Once again for off label marketing and lying about their dangerous drugs with a myriad of life long horrific negative health consequences targeting the poor, elderly, and children. Do we even have to mention here J&J's Motrin phantom recall scandal, or the recent Child Tylenol recalls, or those fibs they told when appearing before Congress.

We now have more than enough evidence that our federal government is so internally conflicted taking Big Pharma corporate money, that our Government and their representatives are standing by doing almost nothing with their hands firmly planted in their pockets while our citizens health and lives are being handed over to these criminal corporations virtually unchecked. This time it took the State of Louisiana to bring a very small bit of justice forth.

The reported 258 million dollar figure is but mere pocket change to these criminals organizations after all; but if we were to expand these fines out to all 50 states it could put a significant wrinkle in the pharmaceutical corporate business as usual model now being employed with great profitable success.

Of course you can bet on appeals and years of legal wrangling before Big Pharma parts with any of their ill gotten bounty while continuing to pimp these very same profitable drugs at the tune of countless billions in profit per year. We also know by now that in that federal courts Big Pharma has much more influence and clout when we have a puppet government crying out that their political benefactors are just to big to fail.

The cold reality and hard facts speak a completely different truth: these criminal enterprises are just to big and corrupt not to fail in the end. It's really just a matter or the question of time when we the people decide we are not willing to be sold out to criminal corporations that are rubber stamped and protected by our sworn and elected servants.

What these fines do not include when reported in the news far to seldom, is the damage being done to citizens that can not be fixed by these criminals just writing a fat check. Your neighbors and community have been assaulted with serious health conditions including death caused directly by these criminal actions that will be with us for many many decades to come. The countless victims (including kids) lives that are destroyed are not being represented by our government or the criminal justice system. There is absolutely no price tag that can be placed upon those lives lost and the futures stolen.

They, like you are the forgotten ones, the throw away people that will never receive justice. If that is not enough to make you want to speak up and demand action, then I fear nothing will ever motivate you to do so. Enough said.

Via Pharmalot And pharmagossip

J&J To Pay $258 Million For Risperdal Marketing

A Louisiana state court jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $257.7 million for making misleading claims about the safety and superiority of its Risperdal antipsychotic and, consequently, defrauding the state’s Medicaid system, Bloomberg News writes.

The case centered on claims made by J&J and its Ortho-McNeil Janssen unit in letters sent in November 2003 to 700,000 doctors that touted Risperdal as safer than rival antipsychotics. The FDA then issued a warning letter that J&J made false and misleading claims minimizing potentially fatal risks of diabetes and overstated superiority. As a result, the jury found 35,542 violations of the state’s Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law - comprising letters and phone calls to docs - and imposed a penalty of $7,250 for each, Bloomberg adds. The state sought a total of $351 million in damages.

This is the second trial loss for the health care giant in a state lawsuit brought over Risperdal marketing. A West Virginia judge in a non-jury trial last year awarded $4 million, which J&J is appealing. This past June, however, J&J won dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the state of Pennsylvania that charged side effect risks were hidden and state officials were fooled into paying millions more than they should have for the medicine


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

AstraZeneca & Novartis Paid Chicago Doctor of Death to Illegally promote Seroquel & Trileptal

Dr. Michael Jay Reinstein

AstraZeneca & Novartis Paid Chicago Doctor of Death to Illegally promote Seroquel & Trileptal

Updated Oct. 12, 2010:

The Doctor of Death is back in the news @BNET today. So I though I would bring an disturbing old post back to the top, & add in this important article by Jim Edwards @ BNET as more confirmation of how criminal and corrupt the pharmaceutical industry has become with absolutely no substantive oversight or accountability being brought by our government, the DOJ, or FDA regulators.


Novartis Paid Doc Who Urged Use of Seizure Meds on Bipolar Kids

By Jim Edwards October 11, 2010 -

Novartis (NVS) gave research funds to a doctor who advocated using the anti-seizure drug Trileptal as an anti-bipolar depression treatment in children — an unapproved use of that drug — the company confirmed to BNET. The doctor, Michael Jay Reinstein, once told a newsletter for parents with bipolar children that “high enough” doses of Trileptal were useful in quelling aggression in bipolar children. Novartis spokesperson Anna Fradle said: "He has done clinical studies on Trileptal on our behalf.

She declined to detail how much money Novartis had paid Reinstein over the years. The use of antidepressants and other pyschiatric drugs in children is controversial. It is not well-established that conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or mania exist in children, or that if they do the appropriate treatment is a seizure medicine like Trileptal. Yet Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Shire (SHPGY) and AstraZeneca (AZN) have all funded research by doctors who advocate antidepressants for kids, and so didForest Labs(FRX).

The admission illustrates how a small group of doctors can end up on the payroll of multiple drug companies, triggering illegal “off-label” sales.

Novartis agreed to pay $422 million to end Department of Justice allegations that the company promoted Trileptal for unapproved uses and paid kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to prescribe the drug.

Novartis also instructed its sales representatives to carry “Medical Request Forms” on their sales calls to psychiatrists and use them to “prompt” the psychiatrists to “ask” for information on Trileptal’s off-label uses. While a physician is free to inquire about off-label uses of a drug, a sales representative may not initiate that communication or use a Medical Request Form for such a purpose

…In many cases, the Novartis sales representative even filled out the Medical Request Form in advance of the sales call. They then explained to the psychiatrist that in response to the doctor’s “request,” the company would provide him or her with all the medical data and studies regarding the off-label use. As it turns out, decision-makers at Novartis’ corporate headquarters decided to select out certain positive information in response to the purported requests (consisting mostly of “chart reviews” and single patient or small group studies) and to conceal the negative data and studies suggesting Trileptal is neither safe, nor effective in the treatment of bipolar.

One of the responses Novartis provided to such requests was a summary of research into the use of Trileptal for mania, bipolar and aggression disorders. It mentions a study by “Reinstein et al” in 2002 of patients aged “11-83 years” and another study by Reinstein et al from 2001 in 47 adults. At about that time, Reinstein published a third study of 57 patients on Trileptal vs. patients taking divalproex sodium. And, according to The Bipolar Child, a medical newsletter, Reinstein presented a fourth set of data in 2001 on Trileptal vs. Depakote to the American Psychiatric Association Conference in New Orleans. The Bipolar Child newsletter asked Reinstein about using Trileptal in children. He replied:When the dose gets high enough, the aggression tends to subside.

Reinstein is a controversial figure in psychiatry. He was the subject of Propublica investigation that found he received nearly $500,000 from AstraZeneca (AZN) and became one of the company’s top prescribers of Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug that’s associated with weight gain: “If he is in fact worth half a billion dollars to (AstraZeneca),” the company’s U.S. sales chief wrote in 2001, “we need to put him in a different category.” To avoid scaring Reinstein away, he said, the firm should answer “his every query and satisfy any of his quirky behaviors.”Putting aside its concerns, AstraZeneca would continue its relationship with Reinstein, paying him $490,000 over a decade to travel the nation promoting its best-selling antipsychotic drug, Seroquel. In return, Reinstein provided the company a vast customer base: thousands of mentally ill residents in Chicago-area nursing homes.Reinstein has been criticized for writing prescriptions for an improbably large number of patients.

In 2007 he prescribed various medications to 4,141 Medicaid patients, including more prescriptions for clozapine than were written by all the doctors in Texas put together, Medicaid records show.

Reinstein did not return three messages left for comment at two phone numbers or an email address associated with him.


The following is from a prior post here dated Nov. 11, 2009

This is a another story about old disturbing news, becoming even more disturbing new news.

I would like to credit soulful sepulcher and Furious Seasons for bringing this information to light once again.

This, as with other deeply disturbing stories of profiteering, fraud, and medical malpractice which have become far too numerous to even fathom for most average citizens; that do not follow the antics of this modality and industry regularly.

This should be highlighted on every national network news outlet with the Headline "AZ sponsors Doctors of Death in the drugging of America"

This doctor has ties to that big scandal of the AZ sex and corporate espionage fame Wayne McFadden "AZ chief of deception", who worked covering up the side effects of seroquel through ghost writers and burying studies.

This Chicago psychiatrist was featured on advertising pamphlets and spoke to countless doctors as a paid promoter for AZ.

I have to wonder when a billion dollars in legal wrangling will stop protecting AZ from the nasty whole truth being exposed. You might also ask when will the US Attorney General step to the plate and bring criminal charges (with real prison time attached) against these evil entities.
From the Chicago Tribune:

Doctor-drugmaker ties: Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Reinstein received nearly $500,000 from antipsychotic drug's manufacturer--Chicago Tribune:

the Chicago Tribune article, here.

Doctor gives risky drugs at high rate

"In 2007 he prescribed various medications to 4,141 Medicaid patients, including more prescriptions for clozapine than were written by all the doctors in Texas put together, Medicaid records show."

"Records also show he is getting government reimbursement for seeing an improbably large number of patients. Documents filled out by Reinstein suggest that if each of his patient visits lasts 10 minutes, he would have to work 21 hours a day, seven days a week. Reinstein sees 60 patients each day, he wrote in an audit report in 2007."

"Working from a strip-mall office in Uptown, Reinstein says he is psychiatric medical director at 13 nursing facilities, seeing patients with chronic mental illness whom few doctors will accept. Those include people with schizophrenia, who make up the bulk of his practice."

"In written statements to ProPublica and the Tribune, Reinstein said he works long hours seven days a week, as do his four partners, who separately also prescribe clozapine. State records overstate his workload"

"The most gratifying part of my day," he wrote, "(is) when patients reach this level and come to the office!!!"

"Autopsy and court records show that three patients under Reinstein's care died of clozapine intoxication. Alvin Essary died at age 50 at the Somerset Place nursing home on the North Side in 1999. Medical records show that when he died his blood contained five times the toxic level of clozapine."

"Essary's sister, Shirley Palmer, said she can't believe he is still practicing."

"There's nothing that's been done to this doctor who's caused all these problems," Palmer said. "It makes me mad that this keeps going on."

"Reinstein said he completes the FDA-mandated blood tests for patients on clozapine but calls them "excessive and severe." Although other psychiatrists said it is crucial to discuss the numerous risks of clozapine with patients, Reinstein said he gives them the product insert -- and hopes they read it."

"Reinstein's troubles were perhaps most dramatic at Maxwell Manor, a South Side nursing home. The Illinois State Police and the U.S. Postal Service began investigating Reinstein in 2000 amid accusations of billing fraud, according to documents obtained through public records requests.

Included in those documents is the account of a Maxwell Manor psychiatric supervisor who said Reinstein heavily promoted Clozaril, the original brand name for clozapine. Deborah Grier told state police investigators that Reinstein had handed out glossy fliers to staff and prescribed the drug to nearly all of his patients.

Grier, who has since died, said Reinstein persuaded some patients to take Clozaril by offering passes to leave the home."

"Another Maxwell Manor worker, Engoyama Fela, told investigators that Reinstein "would not spend more than one minute" with a patient during his rounds, according to a summary of the interview. "Many patients became agitated and rebellious because they knew they needed care and they wanted to talk to Reinstein but were not allowed to," he said.

Fela said Maxwell Manor security staffers were assigned to guard Reinstein when he came to update medical records."

"Barry Miller, the prosecutor overseeing the criminal inquiry, declined to comment. Case records say the matter was referred to Medicare to recover any overpayments. Agency officials declined to comment. Reinstein said he was not sanctioned by Medicare and did not have to reimburse the agency.

Retired state investigator Ray Lewis was unhappy to see the criminal case closed. In a recent interview, he said that if there were one Medicaid fraud case he could revisit, Reinstein's would be it. "I'd investigate it for free," Lewis said.

The agency responsible for investigating physician conduct, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, does not reveal to the public the number of complaints filed against doctors"

Doctor-drugmaker ties: Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Reinstein received nearly $500,000 from antipsychotic drug's manufacturer

"Executives inside pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca faced a high-stakes dilemma.

On one hand, Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Michael Reinstein was bringing the company a small fortune in sales and was conducting research that made one of its most promising drugs look spectacular.

On the other, some worried that his research findings might be too good to be true.

As Reinstein grew irritated with what he perceived as the company's slights, a top executive outlined the scenario in an e-mail to colleagues.

"If he is in fact worth half a billion dollars to (AstraZeneca)," the company's U.S. sales chief wrote in 2001, "we need to put him in a different category." To avoid scaring Reinstein away, he said, the firm should answer "his every query and satisfy any of his quirky behaviors."

Putting aside its concerns, AstraZeneca would continue its relationship with Reinstein, paying him $490,000 over a decade to travel the nation promoting its best-selling antipsychotic drug, Seroquel. In return, Reinstein provided the company a vast customer base: thousands of mentally ill residents in Chicago-area nursing homes.

During that period, Reinstein also faced accusations that he overmedicated and neglected patients who took a variety of drugs. But his research and promotional work went on, including studies and presentations examining many of the antipsychotics he prescribed on his daily rounds.

The AstraZeneca payments, filed as exhibits in a federal lawsuit, highlight the extent to which a leading drug company helped sustain one of the busiest psychiatrists working in local nursing facilities."

Health professionals who have encountered Reinstein have had similar concerns. When he gave promotional presentations about various medications at Grasmere Place nursing home in Chicago, case manager Staci Burton recalled that she was pleased to get free lunches. But she said she wondered why Reinstein put his patients on twice as many drugs as other psychiatrists who treated residents.

"I was thinking, 'Why are you using so many medications?' " Burton, who worked at the facility from 2004 to 2006, said in an interview. "(His patients) would have symptoms, they'd have all these side effects, and their doctor was not listening."

Psychotropics to lose weight?Chanile Hayes, a South Side resident, says she came under Reinstein's care at a psychiatric hospital after she suffered a nervous breakdown nearly 10 years ago. She found it odd, she said, when Reinstein told her that taking Seroquel would help her lose weight.

"I couldn't understand why he wasn't taking it because he was a plus-sized man himself," said Hayes, now 37. She is one of thousands of people nationwide suing AstraZeneca on allegations it concealed Seroquel's links to weight gain and diabetes.

While she is a plaintiff in New York state, a federal suit is playing out in Orlando, Fla. Reinstein is not a defendant in either case, but Orlando plaintiffs have cast him as a key figure: an influential promoter of Seroquel who was financially backed by AstraZeneca. They allege that Reinstein has claimed that the antipsychotic drug helps patients lose weight.

Hayes said she went from 140 pounds to nearly 300 within two years of taking the drug and later developed diabetes.

Reinstein has done studies, funded by AstraZeneca and two other drugmakers, that found that various medications, including Seroquel, carry an unexpected yet welcome side effect: They help some patients shed pounds.

That claim runs counter to established research that links so-called atypical antipsychotic drugs, such as Seroquel, to considerable weight gain. Drugs in this class, approved for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can have other serious side effects that include spastic movement disorders and seizures and can cause premature death among the elderly.

A Seroquel flier dated 1999 features a photograph of Reinstein on the cover. Inside, Reinstein describes one patient losing weight and no longer needing insulin shots because his diabetes had improved so much.

In a 2001 promotional telecast to 5,000 physicians nationwide, Reinstein said he had "jokingly kind of suggested to AstraZeneca" that the drug could be used for "taking away excessive appetite."

"There's actually some nurses in some of our facilities who have actually requested (Seroquel) because they noticed it really did suppress the appetite, and they wanted to lose weight themselves," Reinstein said, according to a transcript of the speech, sponsored by AstraZeneca and broadcast from Somerset Place, a Chicago nursing home.

Two years after the speech, the Food and Drug Administration, armed with mounting research, asked AstraZeneca to warn patients of Seroquel's diabetes risk. The drug's label now cautions that the medication is linked to diabetes and weight gain -- with nearly four times more patients gaining weight on Seroquel than on a placebo.

In his response to reporters, Reinstein characterized Seroquel as "generally weight neutral, although some patients gain weight and others lose weight."

"I would never recommend" that patients take antipsychotics "to lose weight," he wrote.

AstraZeneca spokesman Tony Jewell said plaintiffs have not proved that Seroquel was responsible for their injuries. He said the company, based in London, provided appropriate safety data about Seroquel to the FDA.

Chanile Hayes, who said she saw Reinstein during visits to his office, questioned why he prescribed her the drug: "How could you tell me that it would help me lose weight if it doesn't help (people) lose weight?"

At AstraZeneca, early doubtsIn the corporate halls of AstraZeneca, the company's scientific staff also questioned Reinstein's work.

I encourage everyone to go read both of these articles in entirety at the Chicago Tribune


For further reading and in-depth analysis please check out these links below:


clozapine/seroquel 1999 abstract

AZ paid-illinois-psychiatrist

March 2, 2009, Furious Seasons"Seroquel Documents: "Buried" Studies And A Psychiatrist Who Claimed Patients Lost Weight On The Drug"

Saturday, October 10, 2009, Study 15, silence was not golden: Seroquel: you got fat for a reason.

Abstract,Clozaril-Seroquel 1999-Dr. Michael Reinstein. -November 11, 2009

AstraZeneca's Internal Documents at Furious Seasons-March 2009

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our Government Censored Robert Whitaker author of " Anatomy of an Epidemic" after all. BIG BROTHER GOVERNMENT AT WORK

Our Government Censored Robert Whitaker author of " Anatomy of an Epidemic" after all. BIG BROTHER GOVERNMENT AT WORK

Robert Whitaker Author of "Mad in America", Anatomy of an Epidemic" and award winning journalist was actually censored by our government @ the Alternatives Conference 2010 in California.

So why is our government so afraid of other sharing the truth, documented science, or alternative opinions? We know now without a single doubt that those who are the harshest critics happened to be from or tied too the very same organizations that take the majority of their funding from who else but BIG PHARMA. (no conflict of interest there right?)

NAMI, DBSA, CABF, TAC and those like front advocacy groups and their carefully selected spokespersons are in all reality just a lame one trick pony that see all emotional turmoil and alterations in our human constitution/condition as a biological disease/defect that can only be treated with powerful psychotropic drugs and the loss of self direction, choice, rights, and freedoms for life.

It's a one way street with no stop lights with this crowd. The Big Pharma Funded Crowd have a mission and huge stake in creating a subhuman population that must submit to their every whim ( check into modern history books while drawing you own correlations). Yet when held to the very basic standards of science and medicine they can not produce any proof of this supposed chemical imbalance, faulty gene or genes, and the coined disease actually existing.

Very few would deny there are those with some deep emotional problems which manifest them selves with breaks from our societies deemed normal or accepted behaviors/functioning. Yet this ingrained & corrupted tunnel vision that has gained power in the name of bad medicine, junk science, and the never ending lust for profits has not shown us the results that would diminish us looking with great earnest for other alternatives that show greater potential for humane treatment, better results, and real fruitful recovery.

Of course our elected officials are greasing their coffers from this same one trick pony also. Just look into where your elected representives get their money to run 100 million dollar election campaigns, then please ask yourself who spends the most to have their voices heard over yours in our Government. We all should ask who is really dictating legislation and influencing our justice system with their specially selected cronies with a conflicted one sided agenda that does not serve well the people of America.

These ongoing action by SAMHSA a tax payer funded entity with it's deep political ties to corruption is written plainly enough by now for all to see. Of course these continued actions and censorship by our government come as no surprise to anyone that really wanted to look at the truth and start weighing the evidence.

We have all seen how corrupted and inept the FDA/DOJ functions while allowing Corporations to dictate policy, approval, enforcement, and safety standards in regards to drugs and devices approved for use and being heavily marketed fraudulently to the citizens of this country. The continued actions of our leaders and these corrupted tax funded institutions is nothing short of high treason being sanctioned and supported by our elected leaders against the People of America who they are sworn to serve.

This again shows us all where are Government really stands (both in the Democrat and Republican Party's) when it's come to your health, safety, freedoms, and best interest. They stand behind the Huge Multinational Corporations with their very deep pockets and endless influence. Our Government has become one of elitist self service and greed.

They have cast our nation and it's people to the hungry wolves of endless greed, and upon demons with an unquenchable lust for power. We no longer live in graces of our treasured constitutional democracy with those time honored principles of individual freedom and choice. We have blindly crossed over to being indentured servants surviving on the mere scraps of which those selected few with power wish to provide us. We are in mounting reality being lead around collared with the ever tightening leash of deceit and propaganda.

Our once proud, honored, and much envied Constitutional Republic has turned into just another Corporate State of Tyranny not unlike the many that have risen and fallen before it; where only the very few and deemed privileged receive their own special form justice, a real voice, and protected rights.

This recent censoring is just a very small grain of sand example compared to what is happening behind closed doors in our Capitals and Corporate board rooms throughout the world everyday.

You will think as they tell you to think, act as they deem you are allowed to act, and believe what they tell you to believe, or they will make sure you are labeled mentally deficient, made out as a criminal, or even labeled a terrorist to be silenced by ridicule, chemical restraints, locked internment or any means they select.

OK, I'll step off my soap box for now, and let you read how the our BIG BROTHER GOVERNMENT Censors go about their kill the messenger dirty work jobs.


SAMHSA, the Alternatives Conference, and the Story of an Opportunity Lost
live link -

The Medication Taboo in the Land of Free Speech

In the last chapter of my book Anatomy of an Epidemic, I noted that if our society is going to stem the epidemic of disabling mental illness that has erupted during the past twenty years, then it needs to have an honest discussion about what is truly known about the biological causes of psychiatric disorders, and an honest discussion about how the medications affect the long-term course of those disorders. The illuminating powers of science could work their usual magic. But that is a discussion that many in our society don't want to have, and my recent experience at the Alternatives conference in Anaheim illustrates that point, and reveals too why this is such a loss.

The Background to the "Controversy"

In Anatomy of an Epidemic, I basically followed a tried-and-true journalistic path. I followed the evidence. I looked at how the chemical imbalance theory of mental disorders arose, how it was investigated, and how it never panned out. As Kenneth Kendler, coeditor in chief of Psychological Medicine wrote in 2005, "We have hunted for big simple neurochemical explanations for psychiatric disorders and have not found them." Then I investigated how psychiatric medications affect the long-term course of four major mental disorders (schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and bipolar illness), and that involves doing an exhaustive survey of studies conducted (or funded) by the National Institute of Mental Health, the World Health Organization, and foreign governments for the past 50 years.

In July, the National Empowerment Center, which is a peer-run advocacy organization, invited me to be a keynote speaker at the Alternatives Conference. The National Empowerment Center is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and SAMHSA, I was told, had signed off on having me speak. However, once the National Empowerment Center announced that I would be speaking at the conference, SAMHSA quickly rescinded the invitation. In response, MindFreedom, which is an activist group, organized a protest via the Internet, asking people to contact both SAMSHA and the White House, and within 36 hours, I had been publicly re-invited to speak.

What people following this "controversy" didn't know was that my re-invitation came with considerable strings attached. I had originally been scheduled to give a workshop in addition to a keynote, but the workshop was still cancelled. (I had planned to speak about a Finnish program for treating psychotic patients that was producing excellent results, and the prescribing of exercise as a treatment for depression, which is now being done in Britain.) The other condition was this: The National Empowerment Center was required to recruit a psychiatrist, from a list of names provided by SAMHSA, to "rebut" my keynote. And I would not be given an opportunity to respond to that rebuttal.

Now, if SAMSHA had wanted to organize a debate following my talk, that would have been terrific. But this was a setup that SAMHSA seemed to have torn from the pages of a 25-year old Soviet Union handbook: invite dissident speaker and then denounce him! Normally, I wouldn't have accepted such an arrangement, but I had been quite moved and humbled by the protest that had led to my "reinvitation," and so I figured, what the heck. It wasn't every day that you got to sit in a ballroom with more than 1,000 people and hear your work denounced.

As the conference approached, a new controversy reared its head. Will Hall, who many years ago was given a diagnosis of "schizoaffective disorder/schizophrenia," and who today works as a therapist (having been off psychiatric medications for 17 years), had planned to give a workshop that included discussing a "harm-reduction" approach to withdrawing from psychiatric medications. Several years ago, Hall had written a book on the subject, which had been published by two advocacy groups, The Freedom Center and the Icarus Project, and given that there are few books written by professionals on the circuit, his had proven to be quite popular. But a few days before the conference began, Hall was told that the printed description of his workshop in the conference brochure had been changed to remove any mention about "coming off drugs." Hall announced that he couldn't accept such censorship, a new protest erupted, and then he was told that the offending words could in fact be mentioned in an updated description that would be added to the conference brochure.

And all this occurred before an alternatives conference.

Friday, October 1

On Friday morning, I was given about 45 minutes to speak, and after I gave a brief overview of Anatomy of an Epidemic, I spoke at greater length about this question: Is it true that people diagnosed with schizophrenia (or other psychotic disorders) need to be on antipsychotic medication all their lives? There is a fairly long line of studies dating back to the 1960s that bear on this question, and the conclusion to be drawn is this: If psychiatry wants to maximize long-term outcomes, it needs to use antipsychotic medications in a selective, limited manner. Time and time again, the studies showed that there is a large subgroup of patients that would fare better if they were never put on the drugs in the first place, or if they were maintained on the drugs for only a short while.

The beauty of this particular story of science is that it concludes with a description of how western Lapland, in northern Finland, started using antipsychotic medications in this manner in 1992, and today their psychotic patients enjoy the best long-term outcomes in the western world. Five years after a first psychotic episode, eighty percent of their patients are either back in school or working. About one-third of the patients have been exposed to antipsychotics during this period, and about twenty percent end up taking the medication regularly. And what I like most about this success story is that it cannot be viewed, in any way, as an "anti-medication" story. It's a "best-practices" story.

Most of the audience understood this to be a "good news" tale, with science telling us of a therapeutic path that led to high recovery rates. And imagine if the program, at this national conference, had been structured to have psychiatrists (or other providers) discuss the talk I had just given. We could have spoken about whether a similar therapeutic approach could ever be tried here, and with representatives from SAMHSA there, perhaps this possibility could even have leapt onto a national agenda. This could have been a moment for transformative change in the treatment of first-episode psychosis in this country, a change designed to put young people back onto a path of real recovery, rather than down a path that led all too often to chronicity and disability. But unfortunately, in that Hyatt Regency ballroom, a much different process was underway. Several SAMHSA officials were nervously huddled with the psychiatrist, Mark Ragins, who had been selected to rebut my talk, apparently with a sense of urgency that he effectively counter what I had said. No good news allowed!

When Dr. Ragins took the stage at lunchtime, he was remarkably candid. He was here because SAMHSA wouldn't let me speak unless a psychiatrist had a chance to rebut what I had said. This, of course, was startling news to most in the audience, as few had ever been to a conference where a second keynote speaker was brought in to discredit the first.

There was, however, no real discussion by Dr. Ragins of the talk I had given, or the issues brought up in Anatomy of an Epidemic. Instead, Dr. Ragins used this metaphor to criticize Anatomy: In the book, he said, I had provided readers with a "compelling picture" of a "close-up of a car accident," but "we have to widen our view to decide if freeways should be torn down." Dr. Ragins then discussed other factors besides medication that might be causing the astonishing rise in the number of disabled mentally ill in our society, such as the fact that once people are on SSI or SSDI, there is a financial disincentive to return to work (which I agree is a factor.) Finally, in apparent reference to the many studies I cited in the book that had found that medicated patients have worse long-term outcomes than the off-medication group, he said:

"Medical interventions are always correlated with worse (long-term) problems . . . It is likely that all interventions ‘done to' someone to give them help or take care of them will have short-term benefits that wane over time and may well become long-term negatives."

I still am not quite sure how that was supposed to be a "rebuttal" to Anatomy of an Epidemic. But that is how it was being pitched, and then when Dr. Ragins detailed some of his thoughts on what promoted long-term recovery -- "Love other people, family, partners, kids" was one of the things he advised -- I could only think: Am I supposed to be against this? Indeed, I had the feeling that if Dr. Ragins and I had been on a panel together, we would have found much common ground, and that he might have thought that there was considerable merit to the Western Lapland approach. But the chance to have that productive discussion had been lost.

A Postscript

During the conference, D. J. Jaffe, who has close ties to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, having served on its national board of directors, wrote a blog about the conference for The Huffington Post, describing it as a waste of taxpayer money. My presence there, he argued, was evidence of why this was so. The keynote speaker, Jaffe said, had written that "antipsychotic drugs do not fix any known brain abnormality nor do they put brain chemistry back into balance," and readers were left to understand that, given that everybody knew that mental disorders were caused by chemical imbalances, I was a bit of a loony-tune.

So what was the real purpose of this blog? NAMI is a powerful political group, heavily funded by pharmaceutical companies, and in my opinion, Jaffe was delivering a warning. He was telling the National Empowerment Center and other consumer groups that they risked losing their funding if they did not, in the future, march in lockstep with psychiatry's official story, which is that mental disorders are known brain illnesses, and that the drugs are like "insulin for diabetes." No more invitation by the National Empowerment Center to speakers who would say otherwise.

At such moments, I have to confess that I begin to lose all hope. It seems quite impossible that our society will ever be able to have a thoughtful, honest discussion about what is truly known about mental disorders, and about the merits of psychiatric medications. The forces lined up against such a discussion are simply too great.


A side note on the Doctor chosen to rebut Robert Whitaker's key note address:

Dr Mark Ragins-the SAMHSA psychiatrist

Eli Lilly, maker of Zyprexa (antipsychotic)

FUNDED the Village data of quality of life outcome

"The Village Integrated Service Agency has pioneered the use of quality of life outcome data for people with severe and persistent mental illness in Los Angeles county. In 1995, MHALA, through a grant jointly funded by the Robert Ellis Simon Foundation and the Eli Lilly Corporation, implemented the MHALA Outcome System for measuring the quality of life of all the consumers in the Partners programs. Data collection began on August 1, 1996 and we now have more than 3 years of data on the 1600 + consumers of the Partners programs. MHALA continues to coordinate the monthly aggregation of data across the programs and to produce the county’s monthly report card."

Wherever you look, pharma $$$ is connected with mental health in America and our Government.

Related Links:

Robert Whitaker:the speech that had strings attached by the government: Alternatives Mental Health Conference 2010: psychiatrist to rebut

Bruce Levine confronts bigotry @ Huffington Post..

Pete Earley pushes ignorance, stigma, & intolerance message on blog - read comment section

By DJ Jaffe: " is US Gov't is teaching seriously mentally ill individuals how to go off meds. WTF?!"

DJ Jaffe is the TheRealMrMe on Twitter

Now Jaffe is trying to muddy the watering of his own documented bigotry by trying to imply mindfreedom the patient advocacy and psychiatric survivor group is affiliated with "Scientology" (quite laughable and a tired old finger pointing trick that holds little credence any longer).

DJ Jaffe ( with Fuller Torrey) is co-founder of the fear and hate mongering organization TAC, with an expressed mission to paint those labeled mentally ill as inherently dangerous who must be force medicated with powerful drugs for their own good. They relentlessly push for more intrusive forced treatment legislation across America.

Mr Jaffe has shown once again he'll go to any lengths with his messages of hate and intolerance. It appears this time he's being called out & confronted directly by a broad coalition of true advocates/community/journalist leaders which will continue to further marginalize Jaffe, his message, and those of groups he has worked for in leadership positions like NAMI, & TAC.

DJ Jaffe: "Consumer tries 2 bully other consumer into withdrawing post on alleged MindFreedom Scientology conection? Wat Do U thnk"

Jaffe is using the PR equivalent of a personal smear campaign in a futile losing effort to salvage his fast shrinking standing and voice in the public sector.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Robert Whitaker - "Anatomy of an Epidemic" - book review from outside mental health *Update*: Video - Whitaker speaking @ Alternitives Conference 2010

Robert Whitaker - "Anatomy of an Epidemic" - book review from outside mental health

I came across this thoughtfully written review of Robert Whitaker's Book "Anatomy of an Epidemic" I thought was well worth posting here since it comes from a source outside of the mental health world.

Link to Medical Center blog diabetes news A "Must Read" Book | medical center

A Must Read Book:

October 5, 2010 · Posted in Diabetes news

Though it isn’t about diabetes, I came across a book last week that I believe is essential reading for anyone with any interest in health-related topics.The book is Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker.

Warning, this is not easy reading, because the story Whitaker makes–and documents–so convincingly is downright horrifying. And it makes the poor medical treatment and drug company malfeasance we in the diabetes community have come to take for granted look downright benign.

Because what Whitaker proves, quite convincingly, is that the drugs that doctors have been prescribing to people for transient, basically normal, episodes of mental imbalance are damaging their brains in ways that make them permanently mentally ill.

I knew from my own researches that the popular argument that people with depression have a “chemical imbalance that means they have to take psychiatric drugs just like people with diabetes need insulin” was utter hogwash. In fact, normal people and people who are depressed have identical amounts of serotonin in their brains, nor do the SSRIs actually raise the amount of serotonin long term.

But Whitaker documents that the psychiatrists who prescribe these drugs have also known this was untrue for decades, but continue to tell it to patients because it sounds convincing.

What I didn′t know, was that what all the psychiatric drugs do is downregulate receptors for neurotransmitters, which results in the brain growing MORE receptors for these neurotransimitters in an attempt to maintain homeostasis.

What this means is that, when a person who now has an abnormal distribution of neurotransmitters in their brain stops taking the psychiatric drug, the many new receptors in their brain regain sensitivity to the neurotransmitter. This causes the person to experience overloads of neurotransmitter signals that result in what is in fact an extreme state that is very much “mental illness.” But it isn’t the underlying condition causing the mental illness, it’s the warping of the brain structure caused by the drug.

What is even more tragic is this: Whitaker documents that after a very brief honeymoon period, these psychiatric drugs do NOT improve symptoms. In fact, the main thing they do is cloud the mind and decrease cognition.

He gives the frightening statistics showing how millions of people who take these drugs are unable to hold jobs, which contrasts with what used to be the case before these drugs were in widespread use.

Statistically reliable studies prove conclusively that in the pre-drug era and even today, people who do not take psychiatric drugs for depression or certain kinds of psychosis are far more likely to recover completely than those who take the drugs–by a huge percentage.

Even more significantly, far more people who don′t take the drugs, whatever their diagnosis, are able to keep on working productively, whereas those who take the drugs end up, overwhelmingly unemployed on disability, for life.

I had always wondered why the diagnosis of “Manic depression” a.k.a. “Bipolar″ which was extremely rare back in my youth had become so common now. My father was a clinical psychologist who headed the Psychology Department at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and specialized in the use of diagnostic tests. So I grew up listening each night at the dinner table to long talks about psychiatric illnesses and their manifestations. Manic depression was considered a fascinating oddity, because it was very rare. Now it is so common you will find someone with it in any room containing fifty people.

Whitaker had an explanation for the surge in “bipolar” diagnoses, too. It turns out that cycling up and down, though mostly down, is another side effect caused by the commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs.

It turrns out that most people are not diagnosed as “bipolar” until AFTER they have been given an antidepressant for what is all too often the normal sadness everyone experiences as part of the process of growing up and living through the tough things that happen in life.

In the course of his book Whitaker demonstrates, with sickeningly convincing documentation, that the same pharmaceutical companies who brought you Avandia et al, hid the data that showed what their psychiatric drugs really do and how they worsen patient outcomes long term. Every time the psychiatric community has roused itself to question the usefulness of these drugs, the drug companies have done what they do best.

They’ve paid “thought leaders” huge consulting fees to promote their drugs to peers. They’ve made sure researchers avoided doing research that could kill their golden geese by making it clear that studies that damage their market will result in institutions losing the huge amount of “research” dollars the drug companies provide.

And of course, as they do in diabetes, they’ve put most of their efforts into marketing to the overburdened family doctor, who has no background in psychiatry but is the person who prescribes most psychiatric drugs to the average person.

Whitaker devotes a lot of room to the surging trend of putting children on these brain damaging drugs, and frankly, I found this section so painful to read I avoided completing it. To face the fact that doctors and schools are putting children on drugs that permanently damage the structure of the maturing brain in ways that ruin lives was like reading about the holocaust.

I know too much from my diabetes studies about how effective drug company marketing is in keeping doctors from knowing the truth about effective, non drug treatments for common conditions to be very hopeful that this terrible epidemic of drug-caused brain damage can be halted.

But as is the case with diabetes, people willing to read and study the facts can protect themselves and their friends and lovesd ones. And that is better than nothing.

So read this book.

Talk about its findings to your friends in the community. Get across to them what psychiatrists all used to know in the 1960s:

It’s normal for people to go through periods where they feel depressed but that the overwhelming majority of people who experience episodes of depression lasting a few months will recover completely with short term support and go on to live normal happy lives.

There is not an iota of proof that mental illness of any type is caused by “chemical imbalance.” The drugs prescribed for mental illness do not supply missing chemicals, they change the sensitivity and distribution of receptors and over time they shrink brain tissue in ways that look a lot like early dementia.

I worried that reading this book might prove too terrifying for those of you who have already been trapped by them, since I know that many people with diabetes developed their diabetes after taking one of them.

(Whitaker doesn’t go into this in depth, but I document on my site that SSRIs and atypical antipsychotics like Zyprexa are known to cause insulin resistance and outright diabetes in people who did not have them before taking them. Details HERE and HERE)

So I contacted the author and asked for resources for people who need support to confront these frightening facts.

He sent me this link:

The Icarus Project: Harm Reduction Guide To Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs & Withdrawal

If you are currently taking a dangerous psychiatric drug, read the link above. Do not attempt to get off these dangerous drugs before studying this information and providing yourself with a support system.

Recovery is possible, but stopping the drugs cold turkey can cause acute episodes of mental illness. Learn the safe way to recover your mental health and reverse the damage that has been done to your brain.

Robert Whitaker speaking @ the Alternatives conference 2010 in Anaheim California Video 1-4

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Novartis pulls the Latest AstraZeneca as the profitable pharmaceutical corporate crime wave continues unchecked by DOJ and Our Government

Novartis pulls the latest AstraZeneca as the profitable pharmaceutical corporate crime wave continues unchecked by the DOJ and Our Government

In the ominous spirit of our Government rewarding and actually financing corporate crime with your tax dollars as with the never ending secession of corporate bail outs we have seen over the past few decades. There is little doubt now that the next huge criminal scandal coming down the Washington DC belt way has made it's way directly into your medicine cabinet, doctors office, and even your child's mind and body.

This time around it's Swiss drug giant Novartis Pharmaceuticals that pulls an AstraZeneca - and once again the DOJ and our Government gives a patented "get out of jail free card" for the ongoing egregious corporate crimes that pay, and they pay so very well that there is no reason to stop running the drug cartel business as usual.

It's just another sunny day in pharmaceutical corporate America as another drugmaker agrees to settle their well planned & calculated crimes with the federal government using the profitable business as usual model. This time, Novartis will pay $422.5 million for illegally promoting its Trileptal epilepsy med for unapproved uses, such as bipolar disorder and neuropathic pain, along with five other drugs - Diovan, Zelnorm, Sandostatin, Exforge and Tekturna.

The fine includes roughly $237 million to settle four lawsuits brought by whistleblowers (Which gets divided up between the lawyers and former drug cartel employees) , while $185 million goes toward criminal penalties ( which may get funneled back to different states in smaller sums, that then will go right back into the pool that buys thier drugs from the very same corporations that committed the crimes in the first place. It's more like a sophisticated carnival shell game than it is a deterrent for corporate crime. Just for some laughs, this is the guilty plea).

This is the latest in a river of settlements involving the big pharmaceutical drug cartel.

Allergan paid $600 million for illegally marketing Botox

Forest Laboratories paid $313 million for improperly promoting drugs.

Pfizer, which paid a $2.3 billion fine for similar crimes

Eli Lilly paid $1.4 billion for ditto crimes

AstraZeneca paid $520 million more huge crimes

Bristol-Myers Squibb paid $515 million. as just more criminals

Johnson & Johnson - How much for tainted children medicines & pain relievers while lying to the FDA & Congress????

All of these fines came with new CIA (Corporate Integrity Agreement), while most offending Corporation are repeat criminal offenders. These fines are actually so low in comparison to the profits made by these illegal practices and drugs falsely marketed, that it would be very much like someone receiving a mere parking ticket for committing first degree mass murder.

Consequently, these recent deals are fueling cries to have individual executives held accountable for marketing fraud. But don't hold your breath about any meaningful legislation passing anytime soon, since these very corporations committing these hideous crimes also happen to have the largest lobby in Washington DC & are some of the biggest $ givers/influence peddlers of campaign contributions/slush funds to individual Representatives and to each of the main political parties.

The House passed a bill that would ban corporate execs from doing business with Medicare and Medicaid if their companies were convicted of fraud (yet we already have the laws that would ban corporations from medicare and Medicaid that have never been enforced).

  • If we actually wanted to change this criminal culture, we would charge the CEO's with criminal penalties & send them to prison.
  • Expire corporate patents & allow those cheaper generics to come to market in their place.
  • Put these criminal corporations out of business & sell them off in bits/pieces.
  • Ban Corporations under CIA's or repeated/multiple offenses from both DTC (direct to consumer) Advertising & all promotions to doctors
  • Make fines match or go beyond profits earned by the criminals activities.
  • Our Government and the DOJ should also being going after these corporations and thier upper management with criminal charges for the damage and deaths caused by their illegal criminal acts.
Our Government and the DOJ could end this ongoing criminal culture tomorrow if they had the will to do so. But those sitting at the top snubbing their noses down upon us commoners don't hold their like kind special friends by the same standards of law and accountability.

You would Just have glance at Wall Street, Our Banking, Mortgage, Insurance system, or all those other corporate elites that were able to walk away from their huge monumental crimes while being rewarded with literally billions upon billions of your tax dollars for their blatant criminal acts.

In this case, Novartis signed a five-year meaningless Corporate Integrity Agreement that stipulates the drug maker can be excluded from federal health care programs, including Medicare and Medicaid; which will never happen no matter how horrible their violations might be. CIA's make great press releases and are the bread & butter of PR propaganda campaigns ran by these corporations in renewing their tainted public image. But the cold reality is that they are not enforced or is there any future intentions by these corporations to follow the commitments they make on paper, when breaking the law and subverting justice are so much more profitable.

The CIA also requires the Novartis board to annually review compliance with the help of an outside expert and certify its effectiveness and certain senior execs annually certify their departments are compliant. Novartis must also post on its website info about payments to doctors, such as honoraria, travel or lodging.

“These are not always a victimless crime that’s just about money. These companies are engaged in actions in which there are times that result in people killing themselves or hurting others,” says Patrick Burns of Taxpayers Against Fraud, a non-profit that supports whistleblower lawsuits. “We need to start excluding executives from the programs. what you need to do is make it personal for the people who planned, ignored or green lit fraud. we’ve got to change the way people do business. health care is not a game. its not just about marketing.”

REPEAT OFFENDER: The Novartis settlement is not surprising in the least. Last January, the drug maker pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor to resolve criminal allegations for improperly promoting Trileptal.

Since 2005, the US Attorney in Phildelphia wa pursuing civil and criminal investigations into off-label marketing and increased its reserves to cover civil claims relating to the Trileptal investigations to $397 million (see this).

So you might be asking yourself, when do we finally lower the hammer on these corporate criminals and stop this insanity in it's tracks. You might look no further than those corrupted clowns of both parties you elected to represent you? Do you really have to ask who they really work for anymore?

Novartis is a repeat offender. A year ago, the drugmaker paid a $72.5 million fine to resolve federal civil claims and state Medicaid claims after a probe by the US Attorney in San Francisco into off-label marketing of TOBI, a cystic fibrosis treatment. And in 2005, a Novartis unit called OPI Properties paid $45 million for fraudulently marketing nutritional products.

So what value does your Government place on the health and well being of their citizens? It appears not nearly the value they place on from huge contributors and pals in world wide corporate cartel network.


Came across this interesting article in NYTimes Business Section which is an interesting read. I'll just cherry pick a few of the highlights and you can go read this long article for yourself.

Side Effects May Include Lawsuits

Published: October 2, 2010

FOR decades, antipsychotic drugs were a niche product. Today, they’re the top-selling class of pharmaceuticals in America, generating annual revenue of about $14.6 billion and surpassing sales of even blockbusters like heart-protective statins.

While the effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs in some patients remains a matter of great debate, how these drugs became so ubiquitous and profitable is not. Big Pharma got behind them in the 1990s, when they were still seen as treatments for the most serious mental illnesses, like hallucinatory schizophrenia, and recast them for much broader uses, according to previously confidential industry documents that have been produced in a variety of court cases.

more than a half-million youths take antipsychotic drugs, and fully one-quarter of nursing-home residents have used them. Yet recent government warnings say the drugs may be fatal to some older patients and have unknown effects on children.

Every major company selling the drugs — Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson — has either settled recent government cases for hundreds of millions of dollars or is currently under investigation for possible health care fraud.

“It’s the money,” says Dr. Jerome L. Avorn, a Harvard medical professor and researcher. “When you’re selling $1 billion a year or more of a drug, it’s very tempting for a company to just ignore the traffic ticket and keep speeding.”

Contentions that the new drugs are superior have been “greatly exaggerated,” says Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, chairman of the psychiatry department at Columbia University. Such assertions, he says, “may have been encouraged by an overly expectant community of clinicians and patients eager to believe in the power of new medications.”

“At the same time,” he adds, “the aggressive marketing of these drugs may have contributed to this enhanced perception of their effectiveness in the absence of empirical evidence.”

Others agree. “They sold the story they’re more safe, when they aren’t,” says Robert Whitaker, a journalist who has written two books about psychiatric medicines. “They had to cover up the problems. Right from the start, we got this false story.”

Such marketing, according to analysts and court documents, included payments, gifts, meals and trips for doctors, biased studies, ghostwritten medical journal articles, promotional conference appearances, and payments for postgraduate medical education that encourages a pro-drug outlook among doctors. All of these are tools that federal investigators say companies have used to exaggerate benefits, play down risks and promote off-label uses, meaning those the F.D.A. hasn’t approved.

Lawyers suing AstraZeneca say documents they have unearthed show that the company tried to hide the risks of diabetes and weight gain associated with the new drugs. Positive studies were hyped, the documents show; negative ones were filed away.

According to company e-mails unsealed in civil lawsuits, AstraZeneca “buried” — a manager’s term — a 1997 study showing that users of Seroquel, then a new antipsychotic, gained 11 pounds a year, while the company publicized a study that asserted they lost weight. Company e-mail messages also refer to doing a “great smoke-and-mirrors job” on an unfavorable study.

“The larger issue is how do we face the outside world when they begin to criticize us for suppressing data,” John Tumas, then AstraZeneca’s publications manager, wrote in a 1999 e-mail. “We must find a way to diminish the negative findings,” he added. “But, in my opinion, we cannot hide them.”

Slides for one new antipsychotic drug contended that it had no neurological side effects. “They made it all up,” Dr. Kruszewski said. “It was never true.”

While drug companies are prohibited from promoting drugs for conditions for which they have not been proved safe and effective, their paid consultants, researchers and educators may do that for them verbally and in company-sponsored studies.

“They can give a small hint, and people will take the bait,” says Dr. Robert Rosenheck, a professor of psychiatry and public health at the Yale School of Medicine, who has received research support from drug makers and federal agencies. “Psychiatric disorders are vaguely defined enough that you can stretch definitions,” he says. “So many treatments are completely ineffective, people are willing to try anything.”

Analysts said that given the profits that were to be made, the murkiness of mental disorders, and holes in the regulatory regime, marketing excesses were bound to occur.

“If you have a lot of money on the table and you have clinical uncertainty over mental health conditions, where you don’t have a blood test or objective test for it, you see it’s kind of a combustible mixture,” says Dr. Mark Olfson, a Columbia University psychiatry professor and researcher.

DOCUMENTS produced in recent litigation and in Congressional investigations show that some leading academic doctors have worked closely with corporate benefactors to expand the use of antipsychotics.

The most well-known is Joseph Biederman, a Harvard medical professor and Massachusetts General Hospital researcher. His studies, examining prevalence of bipolar psychological disorders in children, helped expand practice standards, leading to a fortyfold increase in such diagnoses from 1994 to 2003. The increase was reported in a 2007 study by the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Between 2000 and 2007, he also got $1.6 million in speaking and consulting fees — some of them undisclosed to Harvard — from companies including makers of antipsychotic drugs prescribed for some children who might have bipolar disorder, a Senate investigation found in 2008.

ACCORDING to the Justice Department, drug companies trained sales reps to rebut valid medical concerns about unproved uses of antipsychotics. For example, the department says, Lilly produced a video called “The Myth of Diabetes” to sell Zyprexa, which became its all-time best-selling drug, even though evidence showed that Zyprexa could cause diabetes, as well as other metabolic problems.

Lilly salespeople also promoted a “5 at 5” drug regimen in nursing homes — 5 milligrams of Zyprexa at 5 p.m. to settle down agitated older patients for the night. A Lilly spokesman declined to say when those sales campaigns occurred. But in 2005, after a new analysis of 15 previous studies, the F.D.A. issued a public health advisory saying the use of antipsychotics to calm older dementia patients would increase risk of death from heart failure or pneumonia. The F.D.A. asked drug makers to add a special warning about that on packaging.

In its suit against AstraZeneca, the government produced documents showing that the company paid a Chicago psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Reinstein, nearly $500,000 over a decade to do research, travel and speak for it — even as he led a Medicaid practice he had described to the company as one of “the largest prescribers of Seroquel in the world.”

Lew Morris, chief counsel for the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, says he is serious about bolstering government efforts to reform or punish drug makers for illegal sales of antipsychotics.

Mr. Morris says some companies are “too big to debar” from government contracts, since doing so would just hurt patients needing medicine. But he says discussions are under way about forcing one health care company to sell off a subsidiary accused of fraud. And directors who ignore information may face more risk of shareholder suits, he says.

But more than 1,000 False Claims Act lawsuits are still under way, most of them focused on health care and many on lucrative antipsychotic drugs. For that reason alone, critics say they think the industry still hasn’t gone far enough to change questionable practices.

“The drug industry still rewards sales,” says Stephen A. Sheller, a lawyer who has represented whistle-blowers in the Lilly and AstraZeneca cases. “And it’s still easy to market these drugs to doctors who are rushed.”


I encourage you to read the entire article, but I also ask you become involved and make your voice heard. To this point the only voice really being heard is the one of MONEY talking. That's needs to change, before it's to late to change course from the serious damage and unimaginable number of deaths lurking so ever close upon our civilization's horizon.

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