Is Your ADHD Support Group a Front Organization for the Pharmaceutical Industry?

September 8th, 2008 | News Archive

By Richard DeGrandpre, Ph.D.

On May 18, 1999, the New York Times reported that “social phobia ranks today as the third most prevalent psychiatric disorder in the United States……….affecting an estimated 19 million Americans, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Many are to bashful even to talk to therapists.” In the same week, the Boston Globe reported that “Epidemiological studies have found that acute social anxiety is the third most common psychiatric disorder in the United States………. affecting up to 13 percent of Americans. Jerilyn Ross, president of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America……she hopes a publicity blitz planned by………..SmithKline Beecham will raise awareness of social anxiety disorder and lead more people to seek help, which could include psychotherapy instead of drugs.” Why were the Boston Globe and the New York Times both writing about “social phobia disorder” in the same week, and why would a drug company spend its money to “raise awareness” of a mental-health disorder? The answer: the FDA had just approved a drug for the treatment of social phobia. As the Boston Globe put it, SmithKline Beecham makes the drug Paxil, which was “the first drug approved by the FDA specifically for treating social anxiety disorder.”

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'Shut Up and Pass the Prozac' – Top Psychiatrist, Pro-Family Advocates Left Out of National Debate on Mental Health

July 18th, 2008 | News Archive

By Debbie Thurman, Christian Communication Network

MONROE, Va., July 18 /Christian Wire Service/– “Shut up and pass the Prozac.” That is the consensus of the media in the most volatile round of psycho trash talk in recent memory. Since Tom Cruise kicked it up a notch on the “Today” show with Matt Lauer, all manner of “experts” have weighed in on both sides of the debate.

One of the most articulate and credentialed critics of current psychiatric practices was notably absent, however. Dr. Peter Breggin of The International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, was essentially shut out of the debate by the media, at one point being forced to watch a 90-minute-long exchange between Jane Pauley and CNBC’s Donny Deutche, which he was invited to join by link-up, but to which he was never asked to contribute a comment.

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Arianna's Call For Drug-Violence Investigation Never More Timely

July 14th, 2008 | News Archive

By Kelly Preston

Kirstie Alley and I recently supported 20 doctors from various health care fields, including family physicians, pediatricians, psychiatrists, researchers, nutritionists and surgeons in a letter to the FDA calling on it to strengthen its warnings on stimulants and antidepressants, especially when prescribed to children.

This was in response to the FDA’s recent warning that not only do antidepressants cause hostility and suicidal behavior in children, but also stimulant drugs [June 28 FDA advisory]. The doctors’ letter states: “We can no longer sit back and let the clock tick, waiting for more deaths, suicides or people driven to violent acts by psychotropic drugs. The FDA must continue to be vigilant, to root out other substances that have — one way or the other — slipped under the radar screen, and are now wreaking havoc with the nation’s youth.”

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AstraZeneca Drug Raises Diabetes Risk, Doctor Says

January 16th, 2008 | News Archive

Bloomberg News
By Sophia Pearson and Doris Bloodsworth
Jan. 16, 2008

AstraZeneca Plc’s antipsychotic drug Seroquel raised by almost 400 percent the risk of developing diabetes when compared with first-generation medications in its class, a doctor testified in a court case against the drugmaker.

A 2004 article published in Psychiatric Services, a journal of the American Psychiatric Association, reported the increased risk in males who were exposed to Seroquel for at least 60 days. The study, which involved 1,629 patients, compared the exposure of a newer class of antipsychotics including clozapine and Seroquel with an older class of drugs, Jennifer Marks, a Miami- based endocrinologist, said during a pre-trial hearing yesterday in federal court in Orlando, Florida.

“Seroquel is a substantial factor in diabetes and weight gain,” Marks said, noting the 389 percent rise.

AstraZeneca, the U.K.’s second-largest drugmaker, faces about 9,000 lawsuits in the U.S. over claims Seroquel causes diabetes and other health problems. Seroquel, which generated sales of $4.03 billion in 2007, is the London-based company’s second-biggest seller after the ulcer treatment Nexium. Marks testified on behalf of former Seroquel user Linda Guinn, the first case to come to trial over the drug.

More here: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601202&sid=av_Gg66oOeWA&refer=healthcare

28,093 Signatures Against TeenScreen. Petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/TScreen/petition.html
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfU9puZQKBY

Lawmaker Calls for Registry of Drug Firms Paying Doctors

August 7th, 2007 | News Archive

New York Times

By GARDINER HARRIS
Published: August 4, 2007

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 — An influential Republican senator says he will propose legislation requiring drug makers to disclose the payments they make to doctors for services like consulting, lectures and attendance at seminars.

The lawmaker, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, cited as an example the case of a prominent child psychiatrist, who he said made $180,000 over just two years from the maker of an antipsychotic drug now widely prescribed for children.

Mr. Grassley is one of several lawmakers to propose a federal registry of such payments. Minnesota, Vermont and Maine already have similar registries, and other states are considering them.

The proposals are a response to growing concerns that payments from drug makers can affect doctors’ prescribing habits, increase the cost of health care and, in some cases, endanger patients’ health.

The drug industry opposes such registries, saying they would discourage doctors from receiving needed education. John Bentivoglio, a lawyer in Washington who represents drug makers, said the registries would be a burden for the companies and might be misinterpreted.

“One of the concerns is that these payments are seen as bribes,” Mr. Bentivoglio said. “That’s not the case. The vast majority are lawful payments for services.”

In a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, Mr. Grassley said he had started an investigation into these practices. Noting that most universities require academic researchers to disclose such payments, he said, “I have sent letters to a handful of universities to understand how well such a reporting system actually works.”

These letters have uncovered several problems, Mr. Grassley said. First, universities do not verify the information filed by their professors, so “the only person who knows if the reported income is accurate and complete is the doctor who is receiving the money.”

Also, the universities generally keep this information secret from patients, who have no way of knowing whether their doctor is on a drug maker’s payroll, he said.“So if there is a doctor getting thousands of dollars from a drug company — payments that might be affecting his or her objectivity — the only people outside the pharmaceutical industry who will probably ever know about this are the people at that very university,” he said.

Mr. Grassley said that he had asked how much the child psychiatrist, Dr. Melissa DelBello at the University of Cincinnati, made from AstraZeneca, the London-based drug giant that manufactures the antipsychotic Seroquel.

Dr. DelBello’s studies of Seroquel in children have helped to fuel the widespread pediatric use of antipsychotic medicines. Those studies were inconclusive, but she has described them as demonstrating that Seroquel is effective in some children.

Asked in a past newspaper interview how much she was paid by AstraZeneca to help market Seroquel, she had said, “Trust me, I don’t make very much.” Mr. Grassley said this week that her disclosure forms at the University of Cincinnati show she received $100,000 from AstraZeneca in 2003 and $80,000 in 2004. Dr. DelBello consults for seven other drug makers as well. She did not respond to requests for comment this week.

Richard Puff, a university spokesman, said he did not know how much Dr. DelBello made in combined payments from all eight drug makers. Asked if the institution did anything to verify its professors’ financial disclosures, he replied, “We do trust our faculty when they’re making these disclosures.”

Mr. Grassley said he would propose that drug makers make public any payments made to doctors who bill the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, which would include nearly all doctors.

Noting that voters can easily look up the contributions made to elected officials, he asked, “Shouldn’t we hold doctors to similar standards?”

Lawmaker Calls for Registry of Drug Firms Paying Doctors

August 4th, 2007 | News Archive

New York Times, by Gardiner Harris

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 — An influential Republican senator says he will propose legislation requiring drug makers to disclose the payments they make to doctors for services like consulting, lectures and attendance at seminars.

The lawmaker, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, cited as an example the case of a prominent child psychiatrist, who he said made $180,000 over just two years from the maker of an antipsychotic drug now widely prescribed for children.

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St. Petersburg Times, Letters to the Editor

August 4th, 2007 | News Archive

I am the mother of a 16-year-old autistic son. First, autism is not a mental illness. There are physical situations that precede the condition. The best definition I ever heard came from Bob Doman, the founder of the National Association for Child Development, when he told me he referred to autism as “brain toxicity.”

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Skyrocketing Numbers of Kids Are Prescribed Powerful Antipsychotic Drugs. Is It Safe? Nobody Knows.

July 29th, 2007 | News Archive

The ‘atypical’ dilemma

By Robert Farley, Times Staff Writer

More and more, parents at wit’s end are begging doctors to help them calm their aggressive children or control their kids with ADHD. More and more, doctors are prescribing powerful antipsychotic drugs.

In the past seven years, the number of Florida children prescribed such drugs has increased some 250 percent. Last year, more than 18,000 state kids on Medicaid were given prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs.

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The New Face Of Antidepressants?

April 18th, 2007 | News Archive

By Ed Silverman

For the past three years, the controversy over antidepressants has largely centered on exploring links between the pills and suicidal behavior, particularly in youngsters. But there has also been considerable chatter about homicidal thoughts.

Several killings around the country have prompted defense lawyers to blame an antidepressant for a killing. Most famously, this occurred in South Carolina, where 12-year-old Chris Pittman claimed Pfizer’s Zoloft prompted him to kill his grandparents. And one of the Columbine killers was prescribed Luvox.

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GRASSLEY SEEKS MARKETING AND SAFETY DOCUMENTS FROM MAJOR DRUG MAKER

April 4th, 2007 | News Archive

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking the drug maker, Eli Lilly and Company, for information related to the risks and marketing of the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.

Grassley made this request in response to allegations that the company downplayed safety risks and engaged in other improper marketing practices that may be jeopardizing patients’ health. The text of Grassley’s letter follows here.

April 4, 2007
Via Electronic Transmission
Sidney Taurel
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly Corporate Center
Indianapolis , IN 46285

Dear Mr. Taurel:

As a senior member of the United States Senate and as Ranking Member of
the Committee on Finance (Committee), I have an obligation to ensure that the public’s money is properly spent to provide safe and effective treatments to the vulnerable populations that are beneficiaries of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

I am aware of several pending products liability actions regarding Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic drug manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company (Eli Lilly). Specifically, questions have been raised regarding safety information and marketing practices relating to that drug. Furthermore, I understand that Eli Lilly produced certain documents in the course of these litigations that shed light on issues of interest to the Committee.

On December 20, 2006, I wrote to Dr. David Egilman, a plaintiffs’ expert, to request information and documents related to Zyprexa. Dr. Egilman did not provide any confidential Eli Lilly documents regarding Zyprexa. Instead, Dr. Egilman responded to my request by providing the Committee with a copy of a discovery order, dated December 15, 2006, instructing him to return Eli Lilly documents in his possession to Richard D. Meadow of the Lanier Law Firm. Eli Lilly had alleged that some of its confidential documents had been disseminated without the company’s authorization. Although no one affiliated with the Committee was a party to that dispute, I decided to suspend efforts to obtain the relevant documents until that dispute was resolved.

On February 14, 2007, Judge Jack Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a decision regarding the confidential Eli Lilly documents. The court enjoined several individuals from further disseminating the protected documents and ordered them to return any such documents and copies still in their possession or control. Contrary to what was reported in Judge Weinstein’s decision, the Committee’s Chief Investigative Counsel, Emilia DiSanto, did not receive any protected documents related to Zyprexa from Mr. James Gottstein or Dr. Egilman. Nor did Mr. Gottstein or Dr. Egilman provide any protected documents related to Zyprexa to other Committee staff.

As the dispute regarding the dissemination of the documents is now resolved, I believe the time is now right for the Committee to pursue its request for the documents. I am writing to request your cooperation with the Committee’s inquiry. In that regard please provide to the Committee all documents and materials, including, but not limited to, emails, letters, reports, and memoranda, that were made available to the court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee I and II pursuant to pretrial discovery in In re Zyprexa Prods. Liab. Litig.

Thank you in advance for assisting the Committee. I would appreciate receiving the requested documents in an electronic and searchable format by no later than April 25, 2007.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
United States Senator
Ranking Member, Committee on Finance

http://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=3917

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