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Ablechild acknowledges the recent conviction of former Gov. John G. Rowland, but equally must acknowledge his courageous actions in 2001 when he championed and signed legislation (Public Act 01-124), An Act concerning recommendations for and refusal of the use of psychotropic drugs by children and utilization review determinations related to mental and nervous conditions, effective on October 1, 2001, the Governor signed the bill on June 28, 2001.
The Connecticut public act was the first of its kind throughout the country and spurred a 2003 federal bill, The Child Medication Safety Act 2003, to protect children and their parents from being coerced into administering a controlled substance in order to attend school, and for other purposes.
Governor Rowland also was responsible for the 2003 administrative action that prohibited the prescribing of the antidepressant, Paxil, for a six-month review period, for use with foster care children. This followed the October, 2003, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuance of a suicide warning on Paxil and other antidepressants causing suicidal ideation in children. Since then the FDA has placed “black box” warnings (the most serious drug warning) on all antidepressants due to the increased risk of suicidality in children.
Most importantly, Governor Rowland instructed Theodore S. Sergi, the Commissioner of Education to issue a letter to Ablechild on May 21, 2001 that states, “the State Department of education does not endorse any checklist nor recommend treatment of services for ADHD.”
Prior to Governor Rowland’s signature on this landmark legislation, workshops were held in New Haven, Connecticut, sponsored by Yale Child Study Center among other Yale divisions and Pfizer, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth-Lederle, entitled, “Workshop on Strategies for Drug Development and Trials in Children” May 19-21, 1997.
The Conference Workshop Summary, simply put:, “by overlooking pediatric markets and disease, the pharmaceutical industry is disregarding an important long-term source of revenue, missing opportunities for therapeutic cures and for creating long-term product loyalty. Most important however is that the therapeutic dividend of the Human Genome Project, which has fueled much of the pharmaceutical biotechnology boon since 1993, will not be realized in pediatric patients.”
“The sessions will be devoted to the new FDA regulations concerning drug testing in children. In addition, the workshop will address two issues traditionally seen as the major roadblocks to developing drugs for children identification of pediatric markets and therapeutic trials.”
Despite former Governor Rowland’s recent conviction, Ablechild cannot help but acknowledge his courage and commitment at a time when the well-being of so many of the state’s children hung in the balance and still does. We thank Governor Rowland for protecting informed consent when it comes to what the sponsors of the workshop term “roadblocks”- in more basic terms – “labeling and drugging” our children.
We wish him well through his journey in the Connecticut justice system; Ablechild has been there in defense of parents and children trapped within the powerful psychiatric and drug industry’s well-financed grip in all three branches of our government.