April 29

Grassley Probe: Pharma Provides 81% of NAMI Income

For years NAMI (the National Alliance of Mental Illness) refused to dislcose it sources of income. But thanks to Senator Charles Grassley’s probe, the dollar amounts–"fees for services rendered," one might call them–reveal the truth about who wields the greatest influence on NAMI policies–and whose interests are being served by NAMI. 

In October, 2009, Sen. Grassley revealed that between 2006–2008 NAMI garnered 3/4 of its income from pharmaceutical companies–$23 million

NAMI’s wheel of fortune is graphically shown a PharmaMarketingBlog
In 2009,  NAMI’s total intake from contributions above $5,000 totaled $4,737,610.00. 
cash haul from manufacturers of psychotropic drugs amounted to $3,836,750.00–that’s 81% of the intake. 

From Pharmalot we learn that in a letter to NAMI ( April 26, 2010), Sen. Grassley reveals the fact that NAMI state chapters are also "on the take"–heavily financed by key psychotropic drug manufacturers. 

Between 2005–2009, the following NAMI chapters reported their pharmaceutical intake:

NAMI-California received $632,000 from drug companies;
NAMI-Ohio received $623,000;
NAMI-New York received $448,000;
NAMI-Florida received $414,000;
NAMI-Indiana received $356,000;
NAMI-Massachusetts received $308,000;
NAMI-Minnesota received $291,000;
NAMI-Delaware received $269,000
and NAMI-Pennsylvania and NAMI-North Carolina each received $250,000.

NAMI-Alabama; NAMI-Arizona; NAMI-Connecticut and NAMI-Hawaii have yet to respond to Sen. Grassley’s request.

The companies that bankrolled NAMI chapters:
Eli Lilly provided  $2,200,000; AstraZeneca provided $1,600,000; BristolMyersSquibb provided $1,300,000; Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) provided $470,000 and GlaxoSmithKline provided $305,000.

It is difficult to say, who are the most culpable in betraying the trust and best interests of people with mental illness--psychiatrists whose prescribing practice is entirely governed by  commercial interests? Or, NAMI, whose mission as a family advocacy organization on behalf of people with mental illness has been betrayed when it joined forces with drug manufacturers.

What’s more, both psychiatry and NAMI have actively lobbied for public health policies that negatively impact on the lives and welfare of both people with mental illness and healthy youngsters.

NAMI and organized psychiatry have aggressively promoted dubious screening check lists for supposed hidden mental illness in healthy children, teens, and even pregnant women!

Psychiatry and NAMI have demanded parity and taxpayer reimbursement for the worst drugs in pharmacopaeia–antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-convulsants– for off-label uses and in lethal untested combinations– "drug cocktails" that result in sudden deaths.

The drugs promoted by NAMI and prescribed by psychiatrists, demonstrably undermine the physical and mental health of those who ingest them–in some cases, young children have died–even from short-term exposure.

Vera Hassner Sharav

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