Archive for January, 2008

Watchdog Says Deadly Chemical Restraint of Elderly Must End

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

US Falling Behind Britain in Addressing this Harmful Practice

SAINT LOUIS: With more than 25% of US seniors in the Medicare program being prescribed antipsychotic drugs documented to increase the risk of death, diabetes and weight gain, the mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is demanding an end to the government funding of this harmful practice. CCHR says that Medicare, as well as Medicaid—which spent $5.4 billion on antipsychotics in 2005—should adopt firm policies preventing financial reimbursement for the administration of these drugs to the elderly and follow the UK’s lead in launching an investigation into the widespread use of these drugs on the elderly.

In December 2007, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia (APGP) in the UK launched an inquiry into the use of antipsychotics in nursing homes due to serious concerns about the drugs’ risks and complaints that the UK’s National Health Service is wasting £80 million ($157 million) on prescribing these drugs to the elderly. The Alzheimer’s Society, run in partnership with the APGP, is calling for an end to what it calls “prescribing unnecessary sedative drug treatments.” UK Member of Parliament Jeremy Wright stated, “It is right to investigate a practice that may be putting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities at risk.” The next month, the UK medical journal The Lancet, published a study reinforcing these concerns, which found that the drugs were less effective at lessening aggression than placebos.

In the US, the drugs have increasingly come under fire:

  • In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked six antipsychotic manufacturers to add a caution to the labeling warning of the potential risk of diabetes and blood sugar abnormalities.
  • In 2005, the FDA warned that the drugs increase the death rate in elderly.

 Beginning in Oct. 2004, states began to file lawsuits against antipsychotic makers to recoup money spent on these drugs, alleging that they were fraudulently marketed and caused damaging side effects. Arkansas became the most recent state to file such a lawsuit in November 2007.

  • As of the most recent settlements in June 2007, drug manufacturer Eli Lilly has paid out more than $1.2 billion in settlements to more than 30,000 individuals who suffered serious side effects from the antipsychotic Zyprexa.

Despite these risks, through heavy marketing, antipsychotic sales raked in $11.5 billion in US sales in 2006, up from $6.6 billion in 2002.

The “chemical abuse” of elderly with powerful, dangerous drugs has not escaped notice—generating much controversy recently, including national exposés in Wall Street Journal (“Nursing Homes Struggle to Kick Drug Habit,” Dec. 20) and BBC News (“Please Look After Dad,” Dec. 3). The Wall Street Journal reports, “The widespread use of antipsychotics among the elderly has begun to draw criticism from regulators, researchers, lawmakers and some in the nursing-home industry. Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, this month asked several drug manufacturers for records on how they may have marketed these drugs for use in geriatric patients. He also has asked the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate use of the drugs in nursing homes.”

Due to the life-threatening side effects of antipsychotics, CCHR says that the government must not continue to fund this dangerous chemical restraint of the elderly. According to CCHR, the public should also be warned that the drugs are prescribed based on subjective diagnoses, which are literally voted into existence by psychiatrists, many of whom have financial ties to drug companies. So-called “mental disorders” cannot be validated by any physical tests, such as blood tests, brain scans or X-rays, yet the diagnoses are used to create consumers for a multi-billion dollar psycho-pharmaceutical industry.

For more information on the dangers of psychiatric drugs, read CCHR’s publication, The Report on the Escalating International Warnings on Psychiatric Drugs. To learn more about financial ties between psychiatrists and drug manufacturers, read Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual Link to Drug Manufacturers.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. Contact CCHR St. Louis at 314-727-8307 or CCHRSTL@CCHRSTL.org.

New Report Confirms Psychiatric Drug Risks Kept Buried by Vested Interests

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

SAINT LOUIS: After decades of warning the public that vested interests were burying psychiatric drug risks, vehemently denied by the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industries, the mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) says new research published Jan 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine vindicates their demands for full public disclosure.

CCHR has filed Freedom of Information requests to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adverse reactions reports of antidepressants, helped to orchestrate FDA hearings into the suicidal side effects of antidepressants and filed complaints to government officials and agencies about the conflicts of interest of FDA advisory committee members ignoring the drugs’ side effects. In addition, CCHR has issued numerous publications about the cover-up of psychiatric drug side effects and has filed complaints worldwide with licensing boards and other agencies on behalf of people harmed by psychiatric drugs including stimulants, antidepressants and antipsychotics.

Now, a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled, “Selective Publication of Antidepressant Trials and Its Influence on Apparent Efficacy,” has revealed that negative studies on antidepressants are either not being published, or are skewed in a way that makes them appear positive. (See stories running on Fox National News, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal)  CCHR says the psychiatric-pharmaceutical cartel is not only misleading the public about the drugs, but also about the disorders for which they are prescribed.

Just this month, U.S. News and World Report confirmed that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) failed to fully disclose the substantial pharmaceutical ties of its task force members, charged with updating and expanding psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, comprised of subjective checklists of symptoms which are then used to categorize new “mental disorders” and bill insurance companies. Even high-ranking psychiatrists such as Steven Sharfstein, former president of the APA, have pointed out the financial corruption in their field. In 2006, Sharfstein admitted, “We have allowed ourselves to be corrupted in this marketplace with lucrative consulting to industry, speaker panels, boards of directors and visits from industry representatives bearing gifts.”

For more information on the financial ties between psychiatrists and drug manufacturers, read CCHR’s publication, Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual Link to Drug Manufacturers.

Toxicology Tests Confirm Two More Shooters Under the Influence of Psychiatric Drugs

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

 With 53 Dead and 94 Wounded from Recent Drug Induced Murders, Watchdog Demands Investigation

SAINT LOUIS: The mental health watchdog group Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) says the federal government must launch a formal investigation into the psychiatric drug/violence connection following autopsy reports confirming two recent shooters were under the influence of psychiatric drugs documented to cause violence, psychosis and suicide.

19-year-old Nebraska mall shooter Robert Hawkins and 24-year-old Colorado church shooter Matthew Murray were both taking “anti-anxiety” drugs when they went on killing rampages in December within four days of each other. These massacres follow ten recent psychiatric drug induced school shootings, including Eric Harris at Columbine, Colorado and Jeff Weise at Red Lake, Minnesota, bringing the total to 53 dead and 94 wounded in these shootings.

Clinical psychopharmacologist and psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin wrote in his book, Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry (1997) that “benzodiazepines [a class of drugs that includes Valium and Xanax] can produce a wide variety of abnormal mental responses and hazardous behavioral abnormalities, including rebound anxiety and insomnia, psychosis, paranoia, violence, antisocial acts, depression, and suicide.”

A staggering $265,000 in state funds was spent on Robert Hawkins’ behavior and addiction “treatment.” This expensive state “care” included four years in and out of treatment centers, psych evaluations, regular therapy and extensive prescriptions for powerful drugs including Zoloft, Adderall and Effexor, warned to cause “homicidal ideation.” This case clearly refutes the mental health industry’s standard negation of psychiatric drug induced violence—the claim the patient did not get enough treatment, used to clamor for increased funding.

CCHR, concerned that most parents and consumers are unaware of the risk of homicide and suicide connected with these drugs, has launched a striking series of three Public Service Announcements (PSAs) warning of these side effects. The PSAs can be viewed at www.cchr.org/psas/. CCHR hopes that these PSAs serve to inform the public about the dangers of these drugs and encourage support for a federal investigation into the link between these drugs and senseless violence.

STATE-OF-THE-ART TOURING EXHIBIT TARGETS PSYCHIATRY AS AN “INDUSTRY OF DEATH”

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

With public distrust of psychiatry mounting—and government agency warnings about psychiatric drugs at an all-time high—a new exhibit in St. Louis shows that it could get much worse.

St. Louis – Denouncing the fact that internationally more than 100,000 patients die each year in psychiatric institutions and an estimated 15,000 American children have died as a consequence of taking psychiatric drugs, the St. Louis Chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) launched a “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death” exhibition today in University City (7900 Olive Blvd., Westover Shopping Center). Mary “One” Johnson helped open the exhibit which features 15 display panels that incorporate audio-visual presentations depicting human rights abuses by psychiatry and carry statements from health professionals, academics, legal and human rights experts, and victims of psychiatric brutalities. The exhibit also addresses a federal plan that would screen the state’s children for “mental illness” that could lead to a threefold increase in the number of children being subjected to the devastating effects of psychotropic drugs.

The 185-foot, state-of-the-art exhibit exposes psychiatry as an industry driven entirely by profit. It traces the origins of psychiatry, the role psychiatrists have played in the oppression of blacks and minorities, the roots of their eugenics programs and the pivotal part they played in the Holocaust. It also reveals how psychiatric drugs are behind gun-toting teens today going on shooting sprees, and how millions of federal dollars allocated to screen all 52 million American schoolchildren could increase both child deaths and acts of school violence. People touring the exhibit today signed a petition opposing funding and implementation of mental health screening in schools.

“The touring exhibit shows psychiatry’s deadly ‘treatments’ in graphic detail,” warns CCHR St. Louis chapter spokesperson, Moritz Farbstein, who listed out psychosurgery, shock treatment, deadly restraint and the prevalent inhumane conditions of psychiatric facilities, and the forced drugging of children as young as six months old. “Most importantly, though, this exhibit provides practical guidance for lawmakers, educators, doctors, human rights advocates and private citizens so they can take action in their own spheres to bring psychiatry to account for their abuses.”

The touring “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death” exhibit theme is patterned after a recently opened museum by the same name at the Los Angeles headquarters of Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a psychiatric watchdog group with 300 chapters worldwide. Co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, CCHR investigates and exposes psychiatric violations of human rights.

Mr. Farbstein said, “Our exhibit shows very clearly how, in the name of ‘help,’ psychiatry, in fact, destroys lives.”

A sampling of current statistics and facts shown in the exhibit bears this out:

·        20 million children worldwide are taking psychiatric drugs, including 10 million in the United States, which can cause suicide, hostility, violence, mania, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes and death. 

·        Antipsychotic drug prescriptions for children increased fivefold between 1993 and 2002 in the United States, during which time 45 children died from the drugs.

·        In recent years, stimulant drugs have caused 19 child deaths, although as only 1% to 10% of drug adverse reactions are reported, the death toll from children taking antipsychotic drugs, stimulants and antidepressants could be as high as 15,000.

·        10% of American teens (2.3 million) are abusing psychiatric stimulants.

·        More than 100,000 patients die each year in psychiatric institutions around the world.

·        Psychiatrists are using electroshock, drugs and other barbaric means to torture political dissidents.

·        Internationally, psychiatrists kill up to 10,000 people each year with their use of electroshock—460 volts of electricity sent searing through the brain.  Three-quarters of all electroshock victims are women.

·        Psychiatrists and psychologists have raped 250,000 women.  Studies show that 10 to 25 percent of psychiatrists sexually assault their patients; of every 20 of these victims one is likely to be a minor.

Public interested in touring the exhibit (daily through January 19) can contact CCHR by phone at (314) 727-8307, by e-mail at CCHRSTL@CCHRSTL.org or visit www.CCHRSTL.org.

American Psychiatric Association (APA) Under Fire Again For Pharma Ties

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Watchdog Releases More Damning Evidence Against APA With Undercover Footage from Psychiatrists’ Offices

 

SAINT LOUIS: Documents obtained by U.S. News and World Report confirm that the American Psychiatric Association failed to fully disclose the substantial pharmaceutical ties of its task force members, charged with updating and expanding psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), comprised of subjective checklists of symptoms which are then used to categorize new “mental disorders” and bill insurance companies.

 

The psychiatric watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), says the scandals relating to the DSM, long considered the cash cow of disease mongering, go much deeper than conflicts of interest or failure to disclose pharmaceutical ties, and the group has released a new video (http://cchr.org/dsm/) featuring undercover footage of psychiatrists using the DSM to randomly dole out powerful and dangerous drugs to unsuspecting patients.

 

The video, including interviews with experts explaining how the DSM lacks any scientific basis, also contains footage of psychiatrists attending the annual American Psychiatric Association convention admitting that psychiatry has no physical tests to diagnose psychiatric disorders, no chemical imbalance tests, and no idea how to cure anyone.

 

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. Contact CCHR St. Louis at 314-727-8307 or CCHRSTL@cchrstl.org.