Archive for July, 2011

Forest Labs’ CEO Faces Exile

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Forest Labs’ CEO Faces Exile

The Forest Laboratories CEO, Howard Solomon, who built his company’s fortune on the antidepressants Celexa and Lexapro, faces exile from the health-care industry.

On Apr. 12, Solomon learned that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) which handles the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s efforts to fight waste and fraud in government health programs, is considering “excluding” him. Technically, this means exclusion from doing business with federal health programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Affairs Department. Functionally, it means a ban from the entire health-care industry.

Forest’s troubles began in 2001, when Joseph Piacentile, a non-practicing physician in N.J., filed an action alleging that Forest was providing kickbacks to doctors who prescribed Celexa. In 2003, Christopher Gobble, a salesman who had been fired in 2002 by Forest Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary, filed a whistleblower suit in federal court in Boston alleging that the company was illegally pushing doctors to prescribe its antidepressants to children.

In September 2010, more than seven years after Gobble filed his suit, Forest Pharmaceuticals pleaded guilty to three criminal charges and settled civil claims filed by the Justice Department with a $313 million fine. Forest admitted it obstructed the FDA by concealing information, distributed an unapproved thyroid drug, and illegally promoted Celexa for use by children and adolescents.

In March, Lewis Morris, chief counsel to the inspector general, testified to Congress that “we are concerned that the providers that engage in health-care fraud may consider civil penalties and criminal fines a cost of doing business” and said that the government is forced to allow major pharmaceutical makers that have been convicted of crimes and have paid millions in fines to continue to participate in health-care programs because of the “potential patient harm that could result from an exclusion” of an entire company.

Hence, the move currently under consideration by the OIG to hold the CEO accountable by excluding him personally from participating in federal health programs, and thus forcing him out of the company.

Read the full article in the July 18 Bloomberg Businessweek and send an email to the author, Dune Lawrence, thanking him for a fine job of reporting.

Write the OIG (paffairs@oig.hhs.gov; hhstips@oig.hhs.gov) and let them know you think excluding Solomon is a necessary action. It may not hurt to mention that Celexa and Lexapro manufactured by Forest are addictive and harmful psychotropic drugs prescribed for fraudulent mental disorders. There are no physical tests or scientific evidence to substantiate the theory that a chemical imbalance in the brain causes depression or any mental disorder. SSRI’s such as Celexa and Lexapro are no more effective than placebo, and can cause violence and suicide.

Click here for more information about the side effects of these drugs.

Loughner Medicated Again

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Jared Loughner pleaded not guilty to 49 charges in the January 8 shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. He has been at the Springfield, Missouri federal prison since May 27 after a federal judge concluded that he was mentally unfit to help in his legal defense.

Loughner was forcibly medicated between June 21 and July 1. He was given twice-daily doses of risperidone, an antipsychotic also called a major tranquilizer or neuroleptic.

Prison officials stopped doing that on July 2 after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted his lawyers’ request for a temporary stay of involuntary medication.

While being examined on July 8, Loughner said he was depressed and he was put on a suicide watch. The federal appeals court reversed itself and refused to bar prison officials from forcibly administering psychotropic drugs to Loughner, which they promptly resumed.

What are they not telling us?

It could be dangerous to immediately cease taking psychiatric drugs because of potential significant withdrawal side effects. Sudden withdrawal from risperidone specifically has the side effects of depression, hostility, violence, mood changes, unusual behavior, and suicidal thoughts.

Psychiatrists then blame these drug withdrawal side effects on some fraudulent mental disorder requiring treatment by more psychiatric drugs.

Notwithstanding the fact that Loughner is charged with serious crimes for which he should be held accountable if found guilty, there is still a serious violation of medical ethics and human rights in forcibly drugging a person with addictive, psychotropic drugs that have the same behavioral results for which the person is ostensibly being “treated.”

The rehabilitation of criminals is a long-forgotten dream. We build more prisons and pass even tougher laws in the belief that these will act as a deterrent. Meanwhile, honest people are losing faith in justice itself as they see vicious criminals avoid conviction through the use of bizarre and incomprehensible defense tactics. The hidden influence of psychiatry and psychiatrists in our courts and justice system has betrayed us.

Click here for more information about psychiatry subverting the courts.

The Chantix Fraud

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

The Chantix Fraud

A study published July 4, 2011 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal concluded that smokers who take Chantix, a smoking cessation drug, could increase their risk of heart problems.

The study found that there are “safety concerns about the potential for an increased risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events associated with the use of varenicline among tobacco users.”

The heart problems are the latest in a growing list of concerns raised by patient reports, lawsuits and studies since the drug’s approval in 2006.

The drug could cause changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions, according to its warning label. Chantix carries a boxed warning — the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s most restrictive safety labeling — because of the risk of psychological events.

Chantix has been banned by the Federal Aviation Administration for pilots and air-traffic controllers because it may cause loss of consciousness and blackouts. Truck and bus drivers are also not allowed to take the drug.

Among all this is the apparently deliberate attempt to mislead the public regarding the true nature of Pfizer’s Chantix. What are they not saying?

Guess what? Chantix is an addictive benzodiazepine-based psychotropic anti-anxiety drug.

That’s a mouthful.

Just don’t put it in your mouth.

It might just stop you from smoking – permanently.

Click here for more information about the side effects of psychiatric drugs.

How Big Pharma got Americans hooked on anti-psychotic drugs

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

How Big Pharma got Americans hooked on anti-psychotic drugs

A recent opinion article in Al Jazeera English is an interesting read (“Mass psychosis in the US” by James Ridgeway, a senior Washington correspondent with Mother Jones Magazine.)

The article starts with, “Has America become a nation of psychotics? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of antipsychotic medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux,”

and ends with “Stop Big Pharma and the parasitic shrink community from wantonly pushing these pills across the population.”

This reminds us about one of the truly abhorrent uses of psychotropic drugs, and the role of psychiatry in international terrorism.

Terrorism is created; it is not human nature. Suicide bombers are made, not born. Ultimately, terrorism is the result of madmen bent on destruction, and these madmen are typically the result of psychiatric or psychological techniques aimed at mind and behavioral control.

Suicide bombers are not rational—they are weak and pliant individuals psychologically indoctrinated to murder innocent people without compassion, with no concern for the value of their own lives. They are manufactured assassins. Part of that process involves the use of mind–altering psychiatric drugs.

For more information, go to http://www.cchrstl.org/terrorism.shtml.

Federal Court Rules Against Loughner’s Forced Medication

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Federal Court Rules Against Loughner’s Forced Medication

Jared Lee Loughner — who was accused of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 more people in Tucson, Ariz., in January — can continue to reject psychotropic drug treatment, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the prison’s interest in protecting other inmates from Loughner does not override Loughner’s “strong personal interest in not being forced to suffer the indignity and risk of bodily injury” resulting from forced medication, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The court order goes on to say, “Because Loughner hasn’t been convicted of a crime, he is presumptively innocent and is therefore entitled to greater constitutional protections than a convicted inmate.”

Although we cannot presume that our newletter of July 5th about the human rights abuse of involuntary commitment and enforced psychiatric drugging was a decisive factor in the court’s ruling, we are pleased to see a federal appeals court agree with us. However, we must also note that involuntary commitment and enforced psychiatric drugging are human rights abuses regardless of the criminal conviction status of an individual.

The court order to temporarily halt the forced medication of Mr. Loughner by officials at the Missouri federal prison where he is being held calls for a further hearing the week of August 29 to fully consider the medication issue. You may express your opinions regarding enforced psychiatric drugging to the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s office at USAAZ.ComplaintAtty@usdoj.gov.

For more information download and read the CCHR information letter, “Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment – A Crack In The Door Of Constitutional Freedoms.”

Costs of Health Care

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

An article in The Economist (25 June 2011, “Mass observation”) discussing the 2006 health care reform legislation in Massachusetts, and on which the current federal health care legislation was based in part, makes the point that, although the percent of those lacking health insurance in Massachusetts dropped from 6.4% to 1.9%, the costs of health care and health care insurance have increased, and according to The Economist these costs are “unsustainable.”

Costs for MassHealth rose 40% between 2006 and 2010, and costs for the subsidized health program for adults was 32% more than expected in 2008 and 11% more than expected in 2009. Also, uninsured hospital visits in 2010 were 14% above the level in 2009. Insurance premiums rose 12% between 2006 and 2008.

There are so many ifs, ands and buts about these figures that it is hard to make generalizations. However, one thing we can say for sure is that there is a general unwillingness to acknowledge and confront the contribution of fraud to the rising costs of health care and health care insurance, in particular the amount of patient abuse and fraud in the mental health industry.

Mental health practitioners perpetrate more fraud than any other sector of medicine. The U.S. loses about $100 billion to health care fraud each year, and up to $40 billion of this is due to fraudulent practices in the mental health industry.

The mental health monopoly has practically zero accountability and zero liability for its failures. This has allowed psychiatrists and psychologists to commit far more than just financial fraud. The roster of crimes committed by these “professionals” ranges from fraud, drug offenses, rape and sexual abuse to child molestation, assault, manslaughter and murder.

With mental health care insurance coverage being mandated in the U.S. through state and federal legislation, levels of fraud and abuse can be expected to continue to escalate, in spite of health care reform legislation.

What is the alternative? Provide funding and insurance coverage only for proven, workable treatments that verifiably and dramatically improve or cure mental health problems.

For more information download and read the CCHR booklet, “Massive Fraud — Psychiatry’s Corrupt Industry — Report and recommendations on the criminal mental health monopoly.”

Pharmacogenetics

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

An article in Science News Daily (April 11, 2011, “Pharmacogenetics Testing Offers Way to Reduce Deaths from Drug Toxicity”) discusses the field of pharmacogenetics (also called pharmacogenomics,) the study of an individual’s variation in DNA sequence related to drug response.

Putting a foreign substance such as a psychotropic drug into the body disrupts the body’s normal biochemistry, and can be considered as the introduction of an unnatural and toxic substance into the body. These drugs “work” by changing the normal functions of the body: they speed them up, slow them down, dam them up or overwhelm them. This is why there are side effects with psychiatric drugs.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Yolande Lucire (in her paper “Psychotropic Medication and Cytochromes“) makes these statements:

“Since 1994, a substantial number of papers have been published in major refereed medical journals on Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs). The ballpark estimate is that each year 2.2 million Americans are hospitalised for ADRs and over 100,000 die from them. These are simply adverse reactions to drugs, which are often but not always, unpredictable, and appear only in the fine print of prescribing information.

“Psychiatric drugs have hardly rated a mention, as psychiatric side effects in psychiatric patients have been routinely missed or dismissed by the pharmaceutical companies with ‘It’s the disease, not the drug, doctor.’

“With the drugs used in psychiatry, (and this is very general,) many are metabolised in the liver by an enzyme system called cytochrome P450 (and other cytochrome systems). There are genetic, biological differences between individuals, some of whom do not produce certain cytochromes at all. In practice this means that somewhere between 12 and 20% of Caucasians cannot metabolise certain drugs, for example, SSRIs, at all or they do it slowly. [Cytochrome means “cellular pigment” and is a protein found in blood cells.]

“The following drugs are only a few of the scores that use the cytochrome P450 system for their metabolism: alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, amphetamines, Amitriptyline, Celebrex, Cipramil, Lexapro, Codeine, Valium, Warfarin, Dilantin, Efexor, Feldene, Brufen, grapefruit, Luvox, Aropax, Prednisone, Prozac, Serzone, Risperdal, Tegretol, Voltaren, Zoloft and Zyprexa.”

One of the possible conclusions to be drawn from this emerging area of research is that the toxic effects (side effects) of psychiatric drugs in the body can be significantly multiplied in a large proportion of individuals who lack this ability to effectively metabolize and deal with these toxins.

Dr. Lucire’s research points to the result that persons with abnormal P450 metabolism who are given psychiatric drugs may reach a level of toxicity within hours or days which correlates with the onset of intense and harmful side effects.

The psychopharmaceutical industry has expanded its influence far beyond its ability to be effective, if indeed it ever was. One must also always keep in mind that while these drugs have been repeatedly shown to be not only ineffective but also harmful, the real underlying problem is that psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose life’s problems as an “illness”, and stigmatize unwanted behavior or study problems as “diseases,” combined with the profit-motives of pharmaceutical companies vying for a piece of the resultant psychiatric “treatment.” Psychiatry’s stigmatizing labels, programs and treatments are harmful junk science; their diagnoses of “mental disorders” are a hoax – unscientific, fraudulent and harmful. All psychiatric treatments, not just psychiatric drugs, are dangerous.

[Thanks to Eileen Dannemann, Director of the National Coalition of Organized Women, for acquainting us with this information.]

Miami-Area Psychiatrist Pleads Guilty for Role in $200 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 30, 2011
http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-crm-871.html

WASHINGTON – A Miami-area psychiatrist pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Miami for his part in a fraud scheme that resulted in the submission of more than $200 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare, the Department of Justice, FBI and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced.

Dr. Alan Gumer, 64, of Tamarac, Fla., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.   Gumer was charged on Feb. 15, 2011, with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud.

According to court documents, Gumer was a psychiatrist at American Therapeutic Corporation (ATC), a Florida corporation headquartered in Miami.   ATC purported to operate partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) in seven different locations throughout South Florida and Orlando.  A PHP is a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness.

Gumer admitted that he signed evaluations, notes and other documents in medical files for patients who did not need the treatment for which ATC billed Medicare.   Specifically, as a psychiatrist, Gumer knew that the patients attending ATC did not need intensive mental health treatment, and that the treatments offered by ATC were not the type of intensive treatments a PHP should provide.   Gumer admitted that he signed these files without examining the patients, or writing and reading the statements he was signing.

Gumer also admitted to writing prescriptions for psychiatric medications for patients who did not need them in order to make it appear to Medicare that the patients qualified for PHP treatment.   According to court documents, Gumer also referred hundreds of ATC patients to a related company, the American Sleep Institute (ASI), for unnecessary diagnostic sleep disorder testing.

According to court filings, Gumer’s co-defendants and ATC’s owners and operators paid kickbacks to owners and operators of assisted living facilities (ALFs) and halfway houses and to patient brokers in exchange for delivering ineligible patients to ATC and ASI.  In some cases, the patients received a portion of those kickbacks.  Throughout the course of the ATC and ASI conspiracy, millions of dollars in kickbacks were paid in exchange for Medicare beneficiaries, who did not qualify for PHP services, to attend treatment programs that were not legitimate PHP programs so that ATC and ASI could bill Medicare for more than $200 million in medically unnecessary services.

According to the plea agreement, Gumer’s participation in the fraud resulted in $19.3 million in fraudulent billing to the Medicare program.   Sentencing for Gumer is scheduled for Jan 19, 2012.  Gumer faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

ATC, its management company Medlink Professional Management Group Inc., and the owners and lead manager of ATC, Medlink and ASI, were charged with various health care fraud, money laundering and other offenses in a separate superseding indictment unsealed on Feb. 15, 2011.   Two of the three owners and the lead manager, as well as both ATC and Medlink, have pleaded guilty and have admitted to the fraudulent scheme and that more than $200 million in billings were submitted to the Medicare program as a part of the scheme.   They are scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 14, 2011, by U.S. District Court Judge James Lawrence King.   The trial of the third owner charged in the separate superseding indictment is scheduled to begin on Aug. 15, 2011.

The remaining 17 co-defendants named in the indictment in which Gumer was charged are scheduled to stand trial on Nov. 7, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz.

An indictment is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Today’s guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Miami field office; and Special Agent-in-Charge Christopher Dennis of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami office.

The criminal case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jennifer L. Saulino of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.  The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,000 defendants that collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion.  In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to:  www.stopmedicarefraud.gov .

Judge rules prison can forcibly medicate Loughner

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

“A federal judge on Wednesday June 29 refused to order prison officials to stop forcibly medicating Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner with anti-psychotic drugs.

“U.S. District Judge Larry Burns rejected a request by defense attorneys for Loughner, 22, to halt the procedure at a federal prisoners’ hospital in Missouri.

“Last month Loughner was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial on charges he killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, during a January 8 shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

“His defense team filed an emergency petition arguing the U.S. Bureau of Prisons had decided, without the permission of the court, to “involuntarily and forcibly medicate him on the grounds that he is a danger to others.”

“In response, prosecutors said that after Loughner had declined to take medication, the Bureau of Prisons determined at an administrative hearing that he should be involuntarily medicated.”

[http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/29/us-shooting-loughner-medication-idUSTRE75S85P20110629]

Without becoming involved in the legal case for or against Loughner, one can still remark on the subject of involuntary commitment and enforced drugging.

Knowing what we know about psychiatric treatment and psychiatric drugs [and if you are not familiar with the truth about this, we recommend you review the material on our web site,] we cannot help but observe and decry the inhumanity of involuntary commitment and enforced drugging.

Can this really happen in America today? Can this happen in a country where even criminals are set free if they are not given their rights, where the strongest Constitution in man’s history guarantees the individual his liberties? It not only can, but it does. The fact is, every 1¼ minutes, someone in the U.S. becomes the next victim of involuntary incarceration in a psychiatric hospital. And there’s nothing they can do about it.

While involuntary commitment laws enrich the psychiatric industry, they not only deprive individuals of their freedom of choice, but milk millions of health insurance dollars annually from private, state, national and military health plans. And while psychiatrists and psychiatric hospitals are today being investigated nationally and in state hearings for insurance fraud, mistreatment of patients, sexual violations and other crimes, the crux of their power—involuntary commitment laws—receives no focused attention.

The undeniable fact is that basic human rights granted even to killers or terrorists are denied people labeled mentally disordered. Restraints, imprisonment and other violations of civil liberties are the least people have to fear from involuntary admission into psychiatric institutions. A far worse fate is treatment, especially enforced drugging.

The common thread of all these procedures is the incapacitation in some manner of the individual. And when one considers that most psychiatric cases address those who indulge in behavior not approved of by others, this form of control becomes a logical and even acceptable goal—to those who seek such control.

The fact that these actions are couched in such Orwellian doublespeak as “for his own good,” “to prevent him from committing harm,” etc., is unfortunate, for it obfuscates this evil intention.

The dangerous person who is violent must be dealt with independent of psychiatrists. In his book, The Therapeutic State, Dr. Thomas Szasz wrote, “To be sure some people are dangerous. We in America—especially if we live in the big cities—need hardly be reminded of this painful fact. But in American law, dangerousness is not supposed to be an abstract psychological condition attributed to a person; instead, it is supposed to be an inference drawn from the fact that a person has committed a violent act that is illegal, has been charged with it, tried for it, and found guilty of it. In which case, he should be punished, not ‘treated’—in a jail, not in a hospital.”

For more information about this sorry state of affairs, download and read the CCHR information letter, “Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment – A Crack In The Door Of Constitutional Freedoms.”

Scientific Facts

Monday, July 4th, 2011

After years of hearing and reading various discourses and arguments involving the phrase “scientific fact,” one recognizes a major societal misunderstanding about this concept. The phrase is thrown about in support or denial of numerous viewpoints, but it is often either misunderstood or misapplied.

I heard the phrase misused regularly on National Public Radio during interviews about diverse religious beliefs. The phrase is also often misused when promoting psychiatry, psychiatric drugs, and other psychiatric treatments.

A FACT is something that can be proven to exist by visible evidence. SCIENCE is the expertness resulting from knowledge gained and verified by exact observation and correct thinking.

The ability to accurately observe, and relate those observations, is sometimes lacking in this society, and sometimes observations are outright falsified for personal or corporate greed.

An OPINION is an attitude, concept or belief that is potentially subject to change with increasing knowledge or experience, and may or not be based on any facts. It may be based on what one thinks, or what others think, rather than on what is proven or known to be true.

Contrary to what the media want you to believe, the press does not always mold public opinion, which is influenced more by word of mouth, by people who are capable of accurately observing, recording and relating their observations and conclusions.

It is therefore one’s direct responsibility to observe for oneself, to find out what is true for oneself, form one’s own counsel on important topics, and do not spread false opinions when the facts are so easily accessible. We think that psychiatric fraud and abuse might be an important topic for you, your children, and your society.

There is a right way to create a science, called the Scientific Method. Basically it involves observation of phenomena, collection of data, creation of a theory, and testing of the theory by repeated observation and controlled experiments.

It doesn’t hurt, along the way, to keep in mind a constructive purpose, such as helping people get along better in life.

On the other hand, psychiatry is Junk Science. By that is meant biased observation; biased, misrepresented, falsified, or fabricated data; spurious inference; wishful thinking; logical trickery; and a destructive purpose highlighted by personal greed and the suppression of imagined enemies.

Psychiatric “disorders” are not medical diseases. Psychiatrists deal exclusively with mental “disorders,” not proven diseases. Psychiatry has never established the cause of any “mental disorders.” The theory that mental disorders derive from a “chemical imbalance” in the brain is unproven opinion, not fact. The brain is not the real cause of life’s problems.

The psychiatric billing bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, has become so widely relied upon within society that it has taken on the aura of scientific fact. Millions now use and believe in its diagnostic abilities, never once suspecting that the whole premise and the system itself are fraudulent. These people are at risk of making seriously wrong, even fatal, turns in either their own lives, or the lives of others.

For over four decades, CCHR has worked to expose and eradicate psychiatric violations of human rights and restore human rights and dignity to mental health. CCHR’s work will only be complete when psychiatry’s fraudulent practices are eliminated and it is held accountable for its harmful treatments and human rights violations. Help CCHR St. Louis accomplish this goal with your tax-deductible donations and volunteer help.