InfoMail for February 19a, 2002

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Commentary by Vera Hassner Sharav

February 19a, 2002 

INSANE PSYCHIATRY: AProfession Run Amok

FYI

Nicholas Regush is an award winning reporter on medicaland scientific issues. For 6 years he was the medical features producer forABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

The focus of his column this week is the consequences ofpsychiatry’s unholy alliance with the pharmaceutical industry: "They havebought the opinion leaders. They have bought the journals, the editors andreviewers and they have bought the science. They have made peer review a joke.The companies know that these drones will come out of hiding at the drop of adollar bill and defend the product unequivocally and also attack those who havethe nerve to raise fundamental questions about prescribing habits."

RedFlagsWeekly.com is a website that confrontscontroversial issues in medicine and health care, bringing such issues to publicattention.

http://www.redflagsweekly.com/regushcrazy.html

INSANE PSYCHIATRY: A Profession Run Amok

By Nicholas Regush

February 16, 2002 – There is no drug that can cure modernpsychiatry. This is a profession that is close to routinely practicing medicalterrorism by shamelessly over-prescribing drugs to people of all ages, often forphantom diseases and for purposes that have no rational basis in science.

What’s needed is something akin to a War Crimes Tribunalto investigate psychiatry’s relationship to major pharmaceutical companies.Haul all the big product champions and psychiatry associations in and determinetheir involvement with money-grubbing schemes and the abuse of patients. And letme re-emphasize this point: this is a medical specialty that is second to nonein ripping off and abusing patients.

The situation has long been out-of-control. It is nolonger a matter of a few bad apples screwing everyone left and right. It’sbecome a full-scale assault on humanity.

The sad part of this story is that some people withmoderate problems can be helped – however scattershot the effects of variousdrugs on the brain are – when thoughtful doctors truly prescribe carefully andconservatively and cut back or stop the medication at the first signs that thereare problems brewing. But that’s not how she blows. Psychiatric drugprescription has become a free-for-all.

The companies are very bold about their products becausethey know they have a sizeable portion of the so-called "profession"on the take. They have bought the opinion leaders. They have bought thejournals, the editors and reviewers and they have bought the science. They havemade peer review a joke. The companies know that these drones will come out ofhiding at the drop of a dollar bill and defend the product unequivocally andalso attack those who have the nerve to raise fundamental questions aboutprescribing habits.

Which brings to mind an incident that occurred when Dr.Joseph Glenmullen, wrote a book a couple of years ago called Prozac Backlash.Not a bought physician, Glenmullen raised some important issues about Prozac,including the fact that the numerous side-effects of Prozac and the otherantidepressants are very poorly tracked. In other words, pepper patients withdrugs and then forget about what may be happening to them.

I got interested in the book because I have, over theyears, found so few doctors willing to raise issues, particularly those thatchallenge drug companies.

Eli Lilly and company, Prozac’s manufacturer, denouncedthe book as loaded with "omissions," "half-truths," and"anecdotes."

I contacted Eli Lilly about their claims and they referredme to several "impartial" doctors who could comment on Glenmullen’sclaims. One of them told me that there were "gross exaggerations" inthe book, although after hitting him with some direct questions, he fessed upthat he had only skimmed about 70 of the 386 pages. This "bought" bozowas obviously shilling for Eli Lilly. And so were the other two drones who Iinterviewed.

On the subject of Eli Lilly, I once received a call from acompany bigwig after I produced a piece on Prozac for World News Tonight WithPeter Jennings. The report essentially indicated that much of Prozac’s actioncould be explained away as being no more stirring than what could be expectedfrom a placebo. The caller tried to intimidate me. You know, Mr. Offended. MyDrug Company I Live For Thee. I told him that if he had contrary data that heshould ship it to us at World News immediately. That had pretty much the sameeffect as telling him to take a hike.

This is what it has come to: a huge marketing enterprisethat tries to control the reality surrounding what little science there is toprove its product claims. Add to the recipe all the "professional"sycophants and movers-and-groovers with their grubby little hands held out fortheir next perks, and that’s modern psychiatry.

Back in the 70s, there was indeed a sign of hope that this"profession" could make great progress. Moderately-effective drugsbegan to appear on the market. But unfortunately, the brain, thatextraordinarily complex communications system, in our skull has proved to bemuch more protective of its secrets, and remains poorly understood.

At a time when it appeared that brain science wouldrapidly begin to unlock some of those secrets, psychiatry got bold and becameco-opted by a drug industry that behaved as though some of the mysteries hadactually been solved. And that co-optation is at the heart of psychiatry’sgrand collapse. It opted for filthy bucks and lies, and the inevitable explosionof drug prescriptions, rather than slow and careful progress.

Is it any surprise that the "profession" hasgone full-tilt at children? The vast overprescription of Ritalin and other minddrugs to kids, even babies, is an obvious indication of just how far thecorruption has festered in psychiatry. Children with problems that often may berelated to bad home environments and rotten teaching are now being criminallyabused with Ritalin. Given half a chance, modern psychiatry will have 50 percent or more of school kids on attention deficit disorder-type drugs beforelong. In one recent report from the National Institute of Environmental HealthResources, as merely one example, "more than 15 per cent of boys in gradesone through five had been diagnosed with ADHD and about 10 per cent (ortwo-thirds of those diagnosed) were taking medication.

The American Psychiatric Association, a whorish group withhuge ties to industry, has been claiming that three to four percent of thosekids were diagnosed as ADHD.

In fact, bring on a War Crimes Tribunal, first for theabusive prescription of Ritalin and then let’s work our way through theabusive prescription of antidepressants.

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