*******Drug Industry Politics at the D.E.A.
Psychiatric researcher pleads guilty to research fraud
Monday, November 29, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A psychiatrist on the payroll of GlaxoSmithKline has been sentenced to 13 months in prison after pleading guilty to committing research fraud in trials of the company's antidepressant Paxil on children.
Maria Carmen Palazzo is already serving a sentence of 87 months for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.
Palazzo was accused by the FDA of enrolling children in a clinical trial even though she knew they did not actually suffer from major depressive or obsessive compulsive disorder, the conditions being studied. Palazzo then falsified records and psychiatric diagnoses.
for every child she enrolled in the study.
The case's significance goes beyond simple research fraud, as Glaxo is now defending itself against charges that for 15 years it deliberately concealed evidence that Paxil increases the risk of suicide in children.
Although the FDA eventually required Paxil to carry a warning about the risk of birth defects and an even more prominent "black box" warning about suicide risk, many critics allege that the agency acted too slowly.
"There [had] been hints for many years that antidepressants, such as Paxil, when given to children, can cause serious side effects, including suicide, but the FDA delayed taking any action to prevent these drugs from being prescribed for children," writes Brent Hoadley in Too Profitable to Cure.
Palazzo will not actually serve any additional prison time for potentially placing children's safety at risk; her new term will be served concurrently with her first.*******
Depression Breakthrough: A Proven "Better Than Drugs" Solution with Positive Side Effects
Posted By Dr. Mercola
October 06 2010
Tens of millions of Americans have been made crazy — due to their use of or withdrawal from psychiatric drugs. That’s the conclusion of two books written by award-winning health science writer Whitaker.
In his first book, Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill, Whitaker explained the history of the treatment of those with severe mental illness, and the 600 percent increase in the disabilities of psychiatric drug-takers.
His latest book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, documents the powerful forces behind psychopharmacology, and follows the money behind those forces.
Dr. Gary Kohls, reviewing the books in the Online Journal, notes:
“Psychiatric drugs, whose developers, marketers and salespersons are all in the employ of the giant drug companies, are far more dangerous than the drug and psychiatric industries are willing to admit: These drugs, it turns out, are fully capable of disabling — often permanently — body, brain and spirit.”
Watch video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOcJA4Tyw50&feature=related
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Depression used to have a very good outcome. If you came to your physician with symptoms of depression 40 or even 30 years ago, he would tell you that you could and would get better. You’d be assured that most depressive episodes run their course and terminate with virtually complete recovery, without specific interventions such as drug treatment.
But as Whitaker points out in his books, something changed in the field of diagnosing and treating depression in the last few decades, and that something has led to a 600 percent increase in persons on government (Social Security) disability due to mental illness!
Today’s Approach to Mental Health = Drugs
So what happened between 1974 and today to make the prognosis of depression go from one with a positive outcome to one that essentially disables you for life?
As Whitaker points out in his interview with me, that’s the Abilify ad, which basically is telling you to step up onto the next rung on the psychiatric drug ladder and add an antipsychotic drug, because what they’re giving you on the lower rung – antidepressants – don’t work.
In his research, Whitaker has conclusively shown that in most cases these drugs work no better than a placebo – and can also have serious side effects, including causing even more serious mental disorders than the one you’re being treated for!
I’ve discussed this in previous articles, such as this one in 2002. And earlier this month, I wrote about how drug companies have hidden clinical trials that showed negative effects, or no efficacy at all, as Whitaker describes in his work.
When it comes to side effects, many people are aware of the most common ones, such as sexual dysfunction and sleeplessness. And if you go back to the TV, you’ll see that some of these negative effects are mentioned in the ads – albeit so quickly you don’t really have time to think about them.
But did you know that some of the worst side effects aren’t even classified as such?
Or that others, like substantial weight gain and increased glucose and lipid metabolism, can be so unpleasant that people on these drugs just stop taking them?
A Terrible Side Effect They Don’t Publicize
And perhaps the worst “side effect” of all is that they can cause you to acquire a more severe form of mental illness than you started with!
That’s right – as Whitaker found during his thousands of hours of research on the topic – after what might be an initial uplift in your condition, antidepressant drug users tend to spiral downward into a chronic course of long-term depression.
You can also end up becoming bipolar, or developing various types of psychoses, meaning that you’ll need to “graduate” to a new or additional medication, often an anti-psychotic drug that blocks dopamine receptors in your brain.
The cyclic effect of these drugs causing the very problems they were designed to cure is something Whitaker discusses in-depth in his book.
Not exactly what you would expect to find if these drugs were actually working as advertised.
How we came to this point is a story in itself, which Whitaker has explored at depth and relates with finesse.
This led to the creation of a new diagnostic manual, in which the definitions of mood problems such depression suddenly changed to medical disorders – thus diagnosable only by a physician or psychiatrist, and treatable by prescriptions that only those physicians/psychiatrists could write.
To sell this new idea to the public, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) decided to align itself with none other than the very pharmaceutical companies that had a financial stake in this new paradigm – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Big Pharma moved in, sponsoring so-called scientific presentations, hiring academic physicians and people major medical schools to do their sales talks, and sending the money flowing through academic grants, fellowships, and funding of studies -- all designed to “help” your mental health with the aid of their drugs.
And now, in a sad reflection of the old adage, “He who pays the piper calls the tune,” psychiatry is a vicious circle of diagnosis, drugs, and more drugs as one illness leads to the next.
The bottom line is that the real cause of the explosion in mental illness is, first, the money behind the medications, and second, a flawed system that depends on drugs that merely transforms one problem into another.
A Duke University team studied three groups that tried exercise only; exercise plus drugs; and drugs only, to see what treatment best treated depression. They found that after six weeks, the drug-only group was doing a tiny bit better than the other two groups.
They hypothesized that the best stay-well rate would be those with drugs plus exercise.
But they were wrong!
Ten months later, it was the exercise-only group that was most successful in maintaining wellness! In fact, according to a September 22, 2000 Duke University press release:
“After demonstrating that 30 minutes of brisk exercise three times a week is just as effective as drug therapy
in relieving the symptoms of major depression in the short term, medical center researchers have now shown that continued exercise greatly reduces the chances of the depression returning.
in relieving the symptoms of major depression in the short term, medical center researchers have now shown that continued exercise greatly reduces the chances of the depression returning.
Only 8 percent of patients in the exercise group had their depression return, while 38 percent of the drug-only group and 31 percent of the exercise-plus-drug group relapsed.”
While the researchers weren’t exactly sure why exercise worked better than the drug used in this study – Zoloft – they speculated that active participation in their get-well program was the key difference for the exercise-only group.
"Simply taking a pill is very passive," said study leader James Blumenthal. "Patients who exercised may have felt a greater sense of mastery over their condition and gained a greater sense of accomplishment. They may have felt more self-confident and competent because they were able to do it themselves, and attributed their improvement to their ability to exercise.
“Findings from these studies indicate that a modest exercise program is an effective and robust treatment for patients with major depression. And if these motivated patients continue with their exercise, they have a much better chance of not seeing their depression return.”
That’s right: In this study of 156 participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder, the researchers found that the best drug of all was the feeling that they were actively in control of determining their own outcomes!
The Duke researchers were not exercise specialists and it is likely that they overlooked exercises that work your white muscle fibers, like the Peak Fitness Techniques, which could work even better.
If you’ve followed my articles even a little while, you also know that EFT, or the Emotional Freedom Technique, is an exercise involving only your fingers and mind that I highly recommend for optimizing emotional health. Based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over 5,000 years, this technique works without needles, while using positive affirmations.
Nutrition Also Plays an Important Part
It’s already known that many additives, preservatives and food colorants can cause behavioral changes, and sugar should definitely be on this list as well.
One of the most recent and highly plausible theories that explain sugar’s impact on your mood and mental health is the connection between sugar and chronic inflammation.
Other studies have also found significant links between high-sugar diets and mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia, even though they were not focused on the presence of inflammation per se.
For example, a 2004 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that a higher dietary intake of refined sugar and dairy products predicted a worse 2-year outcome of schizophrenia.
As explained by Dr. Russell Blaylock, high sugar content and starchy carbohydrates lead to excessive insulin release, which can lead to falling blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia, in turn, causes your brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks and an increase in suicide risk.
The dietary answer for treating depression is to severely limit sugars, especially fructose, as well as grains.
Not getting enough animal based omega-3 fats is known to change the levels and functioning of both serotonin and dopamine (which plays a role in feelings of pleasure), as well as compromise the blood-brain barrier, which normally protects your brain from unwanted matter gaining access.
Omega-3 deficiency can also decrease normal blood flow to your brain, an interesting finding given that studies show people with depression have compromised blood flow to a number of brain regions.
Finally, omega-3 deficiency also causes a 35 percent reduction in brain phosphatidylserine (PS) levels, which is relevant considering that PS has documented antidepressant activity in humans.
Omega-3 fats such as those in krill oil have actually been found to work just as well as antidepressants in preventing the signs of depression, but without any of the side effects. In fact, throughout my years of medical practice I’ve had large numbers of patients be able to stop their antidepressants once they started taking omega-3 fats.
So if you are currently struggling with depression, taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat supplement daily is a simple and smart choice … but it is only one important part of my overall recommendations for treating depression.
How the Sun Can Influence a “Sunnier Disposition”
One study found people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who received healthy doses.
And, according to a study published in the September 9, 2010 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, maintaining proper levels of vitamin D, and particularly Vitamin D3, in utero and during early infancy can even help prevent a much more serious mental disorder – schizophrenia.
The study showed that newborn babies born with low vitamin D levels were more likely to develop schizophrenia later in life – leading researchers to suggest that perhaps vitamin D supplements might be all you need to prevent this devastating illness.
The researchers also looked at other populations, such as dark-skinned ethnic groups living in cold countries, and residents of highly urban areas who aren’t exposed to regular sunlight like those in rural areas, concluding that:
“It may be feasible to reduce the incidence of schizophrenia in this group by a staggering 87 percent” by simply giving them Vitamin D supplements!
I strongly recommend optimizing your vitamin D levels, either by sunlight exposure, a safe tanning bed, or taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement, to your list of depression fighters.
Interestingly, simple sodium deficiency also creates many symptoms that are nearly identical to those of major depression, such as:
loss of appetite
loss of capacity to experience pleasure and joy
general sense of exhaustion
To learn more about the importance of natural salt for optimal brain function and mood regulation, please see my previous article Is Salt Nature's Antidepressant?
What To Do if You’re Already on Medication for Depression
If you’ve already been diagnosed with depression or a more serious mental illness, it is vitally important you do NOT stop your medication cold-turkey! Doing so could be dangerous to both your mental and physical health.
What you want is a cautious approach to discontinuing these drugs – and you need to do this with the assistance of a qualified and knowledgeable clinician who can slowly wean you off them over a period of a few weeks or months.
Ideally, this would be someone who has roots in natural health, and who will help you use natural, healthy options such as dietary changes, exercise, and some energy psychology approaches to do this.
Having a professional help you also means you’ll have a mentor who will guide you through the physical and emotional changes you’ll experience as you leave the drugs behind, including any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Mental Health is Often Inseparable from Physical Health
I want to reiterate that depression can indeed be a very serious condition. If left untreated it can have a devastating impact on just about every aspect of your life and can actually kill you by leading to suicide.
However drugs are very rarely the answer.
So please actively investigate and use the natural treatments I’ve suggested the above, ideally with the support and guidance of a knowledgeable natural health care practitioner.
Always remember that these three primary factors -- exercise, addressing emotional stress, and eating right -- will make you feel at the top of your game. Whether you want to overcome depression, feel happier or just want to stay healthy, these are the lifestyle changes that will get you there.*******
By Attorney Jonathan Emord
Author of "The Rise of Tyranny"
July 19, 2010
Ephedrine-containing cough and cold remedies can be converted (cooked) into illicit methamphetamine. For over a decade, Congress has repeatedly taken the Drug Enforcement Administration to task for not doing enough to stem the flow of methamphetamine. As with all things in Washington, the fight to stem the flow has been accompanied by a heavy dose of government corruption.In July of 2004, then DEA Deputy Administrator (now DEA Administrator) Michele Leonhart announced that DEA would remove all ephedrine from the market to dry up domestic sources of meth. While DEA hoped this move would play well on Capitol Hill, it was well known that it would do nothing to affect in any material way the meth trade. The overwhelming majority of meth comes not from home cooks who reduce it from cough and cold remedies but from drug dealers who obtain meth in finished form principally from south of the border. Few addicts spend the time to cook cough and cold remedies into ephedrine because the finished product largely from Mexico is sold on the street for less. More is obtainable on the street. A street buy involves less exposure to arrest and risk than going from store to store buying ephedrine containing cough and cold remedies, cooking them in an explosive brew, and obtaining comparatively smaller and less pure quantities than can be had on the street. Nevertheless, Leonhart hoped her move to dramatically reduce the availability of ephedrine containing cough and cold remedies would be welcomed by members of Congress who were pressing her for some tangible action to stop the horrific cycle of abuse leading to self destruction then raging throughout the United States.
Later in 2004, Leonhart met with lobbyists for Pfizer and Wyeth, makers of Sudafed and Primatene respectively (over-the-counter drugs containing ephedrine). Following her meeting, DEA strategy changed. No longer did DEA aim to remove all ephedrine from the market. It now aimed to remove ephedrine sold by manufacturers other than Pfizer and Wyeth and distributors of brands competing with Pfizer and Wyeth.
Indeed, with the help of an expert later found incompetent to opine on the matter, DEA made the absurd and implausible argument that sources of distribution of cough and cold remedies in competition with pharmacies served by Pfizer and Wyeth posed an unacceptable risk of diversion to the methamphetamine trade. A biased campaign commenced to revoke the registrations of numerous independent distributors regardless of whether any proof could be marshaled to establish actual diversion from those distributors, all on the bogus theory that any sale of cough and cold remedies by allegedly “non-traditional” sources of cough and cold remedies above a fixed arbitrary figure (like $14) was positive proof of diversion.
By systematically moving to make ephedrine containing remedies harder and harder to obtain except in the traditional pharmacies served by Pfizer and Wyeth, DEA has increased the risk that those with asthma, bronchitis, and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases will be traveling, suffer an acute attack, and not have ready (near highway) access to relief at a convenience store. Driving to the interior of towns in search of a pharmacy can expend precious time and result in a serious medical emergency or death.
#In the end, as this misguided DEA campaign continues, thousands of honest, law-abiding citizens have been forced out of work for companies that previously competed with Wyeth and Pfizer in this market; those with medical need are being put at greater risk; and the DEA is not putting a single dent in meth addicts’ access to methamphetamine. All the while, the U.S. taxpayer foots the bill for an anticompetitive campaign of prosecution and persecution that leads to greater unemployment.
Comments by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
March 04, 2007
Disease mongering has become so routine and so successful in modern medicine that drug companies actually depend on inventing new diseases as a way to ensure future profits. It's not enough to sell drugs to people who are truly sick, you see. Big Pharma cleverly figured out that they could sell even MORE drugs if they simply invented new diseases and convinced people they needed pharmaceuticals to treat those diseases.
The FDA, always happy to serve the profit interests of Big Pharma, went right along with the ploy and legalized television and magazine drug ads in 1997. Since then, drug sales have skyrocketed, drug company profits have ballooned, and fictitious disease diagnoses have proliferated at an alarming rate.
Diseases such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder are completely fictitious, invented by a panel of psychiatrists with a simple vote. Conditions like "high cholesterol" aren't diseases at all (they're simply descriptions of blood chemistry), and artificially lowering high cholesterol with statin drugs has been scientifically found to offer absolutely no net health benefit whatsoever. Breast cancer is so frequently misdiagnosed that for every one woman helped by cancer screening and treatment, ten are harmed by it (click here for the story), and Restless Legs Syndrome is so routinely marketed and hyped that people who hadn't even heard of the disease two years ago now think they need patented chemicals to treat it.
By any honest assessment, pharmaceutical medicine today is all a grand hoax. (Click here to read my article exploring the massive "hoax" of drug advertising.)
In this CounterThink cartoon, I decided to show what goes on behind the scenes at Disease Mongers, Inc., a firm hired by drug companies to invent, package and market new diseases that can be used to sell more drugs.
The fascinating thing here is that this comic is not a parody. The scene is remarkably accurate! Drug companies actually do hire firms to invent diseases (although they aren't called, "Disease Mongers, Inc."), and people really do sit around dreaming up disease names that they think might be swallowed by the public, the media and the FDA.
Inventing new diseases is child's play
How easy is it to come up with a fictitious disease or disorder that the public will think is real? It's incredibly easy! I even wrote a web tool that will generate new diseases for you at the click of a button. Simply visit my Disease Mongering Engine and you can get filthy rich inventing your own fictitious diseases starting right now!
I'm not the only one who has come up with hilarious ways to make fun of disease mongering by the drug industry. Justine Cooper created an entire website dedicated to a fictitious disease and a fake drug for treating it. The site, www.Havidol.com, claims to be a patient education site for Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder, or DSCDAD for short.
Not surprisingly, the public bought it, and she has been contacted by hundreds of people wanting to know where they can buy the drug to treat their DSCDAD. (Didn't they get the drug name, "Havidol?" As in, "Have it all!") Even some members of the media fell for the hoax, reporting DSCDAD as a real disease requiring treatment with Havidol.
In another parody on YouTube, artists created a fake commercial for, "Motivational Deficiency Disorder" (formerly known as just being plain lazy) and recommended drugs for treatment. Click here to see the video yourself.
Back in 2005, I even made up my own list of fictitious diseases, including Obsessive Hosiery Dislocation Disorder (i.e. losing your socks in the laundry). Click here to read my full list of fictitious diseases.
A nation of hypochondriacs
The bottom line in all this? Drug advertising has turned America into a nation of hypochondriacs. By simply inventing some disease name, then getting easy FDA approval for a drug to "treat" it, drug companies can create a billion-dollar market where none existed previously. All they have to do is convince everyone they're sick or diseased, and given the complete lack of medical skepticism among consumers, doctors and regulators these days, that's frighteningly easy.
This fraudulent Big Pharma recipe for making money is so effective that the industry is now increasingly focusing on marketing diseases. If a so-called "disease" can be swallowed by the gullible mainstream media, and believed by brainwashed doctors and consumers, then drug sales will automatically follow.
Getting people to believe there's something wrong with them, of course, is amazingly easy. Why? Because everybody's life is in turmoil at one time or another. There's not a person alive who doesn't feel pressure, or anxiety, or challenges, or failures sooner or later. Drug companies want you to believe those feelings are diseases when, in reality, they're just part of life.
Drug companies essentially want to diseasify every emotion, habit and experience of human living. Falling asleep and waking up -- once regarded as natural human behaviors -- are now pharmacologically regulated with profitable drugs. Pregnancy is now considered a medical condition, and new HPV vaccination efforts go to such extremes that they "preemptively treat" a disease that a young girl might someday possibly get decades later.
What's next: Mandatory "treatment" for everyone
And until this drug cartel is stopped, the situation will only get worse. Soon, mandatory mental health screening programs will sweep across America, and anyone who displays independent thinking, creative ideas or even the slightest hint of stress might be carted off to a mental institution where they will be forced to undergo brain chemistry "rebalancing" at the whim of a psychiatrist who earns a commission on every pill he forces you to swallow.
Sound far-fetched? Don't jump to innocent conclusions. You probably have no idea how far Big Pharma will go to turn human beings into customers. Drugging the entire nation with patented chemicals is only part of the goal. The real goal is to drug everyone with multiple drugs that don't treat or cure anything, but only "manage" symptoms while keeping people alive long enough to keep them paying. Remember The Matrix? Today, the United States is inching ever closer to a Medical Matrix, where consumers are enslaved in a system of chemical control in order to turn a human being into profit machine.
If you think there's anything resembling "health" or "care" in our modern health care system, you're dangerously underinformed. The system is an out-of-control profit-accumulating machine that, right now, harms far more people than it helps. It has become a corporate empire where profits, not patients, come first. And drug companies now exercise astonishing degrees of control over the FDA, the USDA, the DEA, medical schools, doctors, media outlets and non-profit groups.
The way out
How do we end this medical madness? First, we've all got to come to our senses and stop believing every mood, habit or challenge in our lives is caused by some mysterious disorder. People need to start taking responsibility for their own behavior and stop blaming fictitious diseases (or bad genes) when things don't work out the way they want.
Secondly, we've got to end the ridiculous practice of direct-to-consumer drug advertising. There is absolutely no justifiable reason why prescription drugs should be marketed directly to patients on television. It is only allowed because it is profitable, not because it serves any scientifically justifiable function in society.
And third, it's time to conduct a serious investigation into the crimes against America that have been committed by top FDA officials. These bureaucrats have deliberately neglected their responsibility to the American people and have, instead, sought to protect and expand drug company profits, no matter who gets harmed or killed in the process. FDA officials have attacked natural health remedies, outlawed perfectly safe herbs and supplements, and have in fact conspired with drug companies to bury evidence demonstrating the dangers of their FDA-approved pharmaceuticals (among other crimes).
It's time we cleaned house at the FDA and prosecuted the criminals currently in charge there. We need a Nuremberg trial for the FDA where the crimes against humanity that have been committed by the agency are made public and accounted for.
If we don't put an end to this absurd disease mongering epidemic that is sweeping the world, it won't be long until we wake up and find ourselves chemical slaves of an all-powerful drug cartel that runs government, medicine, media and education. The time to stop drug companies is NOW, before they gain an even tighter grip over the laws, regulations and information outlets that dominate society today.
If we end this medical madness now, and outlaw drug advertising while prosecuting the criminals responsible for overmedicating America, we may have a chance at a better future with drastically reduced health care costs. It's going to take courage, honesty and ethics to get this done, but the alternative is to lose our nation to a dark future of medical tyranny, bankruptcy and despair.
Conventional medicine, as practiced today, has truly become the No. 1 obstacle to the health of the American people. Get medicine out of the way, and we would all be healthier, happier and better off.*******
Hidden Facts About Ritalin
By Jon Rappoport
July 5, 2010
In 1986, The International Journal of the Addictions published a very important literature review by Richard Scarnati. It was called “An Outline of Hazardous Side Effects of Ritalin (Methylphenidate)” [v.21(7), pp. 837-841].
Scarnati listed a large number of adverse affects of Ritalin and cited published journal articles which reported each of these symptoms.
For every one of the following Ritalin effects, there is at least one confirming source in the medical literature:
• Paranoid delusions
• Paranoid psychosis
• Activation of psychotic symptoms
• Toxic psychosis
• Visual hallucinations
• Auditory hallucinations
• Can surpass LSD in producing bizarre experiences
• Effects pathological thought processes
• Extreme withdrawal
• Terrified affect
• Started screaming
• Since Ritalin is considered an amphetamine-type drug, expect amphetamine-like effects
• Psychic dependence
• Decreased REM sleep
• When used with antidepressants one may see dangerous reactions including hypertension, seizures and hypothermia
• Brain damage may be seen with amphetamine abuse.
This mind-boggling state of affairs is fueled by teachers, principals, and school counselors, none of whom have medical training. Yet even if they did…
The very existence of the “illnesses” for which Ritalin would be prescribed is unproven. It is merely assumed.
In commenting on Dr. Lawrence Diller's book, Running on Ritalin, Dr. William Carey, Director of Behavioral Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, has written, “Dr. Diller has correctly described... the disturbing trend of blaming children's social, behavioral, and academic performance problems entirely on an unproven brain deficit...”
On November 16-18, 1998, the National Institute of Mental Health held the prestigious “NIH Consensus Development Conference on Diagnosis and Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD].” The conference was explicitly aimed at ending all debate about the diagnoses of ADD, ADHD, and about the prescription of Ritalin. It was hoped that at the highest levels of medical research and bureaucracy, a clear position would be taken: this is what ADHD is, this is where it comes from, and these are the drugs it should be treated with. That didn't happen, amazingly. Instead, the official panel responsible for drawing conclusions from the conference threw cold water on the whole attempt to reach a comfortable consensus.
Panel member Mark Vonnegut, a Massachusetts pediatrician, said, “The diagnosis [of ADHD] is a mess.”
The quite conventional and orthodox panel essentially said it was not sure ADHD was even a valid diagnosis.
In other words, it virtually admitted that ADD and ADHD might be nothing more than attempts to categorize certain children's behaviors---with no organic cause, no clear-cut biological basis, no provable reason for even using the ADD or ADHD labels.
The panel found “no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction [which malfunction had been the whole psychiatric assumption].”
The panel found that Ritalin has not been shown to have long-term benefits. In fact, the panel stated that Ritalin has resulted in “little improvement on academic achievement or social skills.”
Panel chairman, David Kupfer, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, said, “There is no current validated diagnostic test [for ADHD].”
Yet at every level of public education in America, there remains what can only be called a voracious desire to give children Ritalin (or other similar drugs) for so-called ADD or ADHD.
The 1994 Textbook of Psychiatry, published by the American Psychiatric Press, contains this review (Popper and Steingard): “Stimulants [such as Ritalin] do not produce lasting improvements in aggressivity, conduct disorder, criminality, education achievement, job functioning, marital relationships, or long-term adjustment.”
Parents should also wake up to the fact that, in the aftermath of the Littleton, Colorado, school-shooting tragedy, pundits and doctors began urging much more extensive “mental health” services for children. Whether you have noticed it or not, this no longer means, for the most part, therapy with a caring professional. It means drugs. Drugs like Ritalin.
In December 1996, the US Drug Enforcement Agency held a conference on ADHD and Ritalin. Surprisingly, it issued a sensible statement about drugs being a bad substitute for the presence of caring parents: “[T]he use of stimulants [such as Ritalin] for the short-term improvement of behavior and underachievement may be thwarting efforts to address the children's real issues, both on an individual and societal level. The lack of long-term positive results with the use of stimulants and the specter of previous and potential stimulant abuse epidemics, give cause to worry about the future. The dramatic increase in the use of methylphenidate [Ritalin] in the 1990s should be viewed as a marker or warning to society about the problems children are having and how we view and address them.”
In his book, Talking Back to Ritalin, Dr. Peter Breggin expands on the drug's effects: “Stimulants such as Ritalin and amphetamine... have grossly harmful impacts on the brain -- reducing overall blood flow, disturbing glucose metabolism, and possibly causing permanent shrinkage or atrophy of the brain.”
In the American press, although many articles have appeared covering “the debate” about Ritalin and ADHD, no newspaper or TV network has taken it upon itself to hammer on all the lies, day after day, month after month. That kind of campaign could turn around the whole nation on this vital subject---but of course, pharmaceutical advertising is a more powerful force.
#And one should not forget that Ritalin came out of a Swiss drug giant called Ciba Geigy (now Novartis) fifty years ago. That company once had very close business ties with the infamous Nazi cartel, IG Farben. Farben stood for inhuman experiments on human beings. Read the adverse effects of Ritalin again, and consider that millions of children take those pills every day.*******
Medically Caused Death in America
By Jon Rappoport
June 28, 2010
The American health system, like clockwork, causes a mind-boggling number of deaths every year.
The figures have been known for a decade. The story was covered briefly when a landmark study surfaced, and then it sank like a stone.
The truth was inconvenient for many interests. That has not changed. “Medical coverage for all” is a banner that conceals ugly facts.
On July 26, 2000, the US medical community received a titanic shock to the system, when one of its most respected public-health experts, Dr. Barbara Starfield, revealed her findings on healthcare in America. Starfield was, and still is, associated with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
The Starfield study, “Is US health really the best in the world?”, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, came to the following conclusions:
Every year in the US there are:
12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries;
7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals;
20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals;
80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals;
106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines.
The total of medically-caused deaths in the US every year is 225,000.
This makes the medical system the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.
The Starfield study is the most disturbing revelation about modern healthcare in America ever published. The credentials of its author and the journal in which it appeared are, within the highest medical circles, impeccable.
On the heels of Starfield’s astonishing findings, media reporting was extensive, but it soon dwindled. No major newspaper or television network mounted an ongoing “Medicalgate” investigation. Neither the US Department of Justice nor federal health agencies undertook prolonged remedial action.
All in all, those parties who could have taken effective steps to correct this situation preferred to ignore it.
I interviewed Dr. Starfield by email. This is an edited version of the interview.
In the medical research community, have your medically-caused mortality statistics been debated, or have these figures been accepted, albeit with some degree of shame?
The findings have been accepted by those who study them. There has been only one detractor, a former medical school dean, who has received a lot of attention for claiming that the US health system is the best there is and we need more of it. He has a vested interest in medical schools and teaching hospitals (they are his constituency).
Have health agencies of the federal government consulted with you on ways to mitigate the effects of the US medical system?
Are you aware of any systematic efforts, since your 2000 JAMA study was published, to remedy the main categories of medically caused deaths in the US?
No systematic efforts; however, there have been a lot of studies. Most of them indicate higher rates [of death] than I calculated.
Can you offer an opinion about how the FDA can be so mortally wrong about so many drugs?
Yes, it cannot divest itself from vested interests. [There is] a large literature about this, mostly unrecognized by the people because the industry-supported media give it no attention.
Did your 2000 JAMA study sail through peer review, or was there some opposition to publishing it?
It was rejected by the first journal that I sent it to, on the grounds that ‘it would not be interesting to readers’!
Would it be correct to say that, when your JAMA study was published in 2000, it caused a momentary stir and was thereafter ignored by the medical community and by pharmaceutical companies?
Are you sure it was a momentary stir? I still get at least one email a day asking for a reprint---ten years later! The problem is that its message is obscured by those that do not want any change in the US health care system.
Since the FDA approves every medical drug given to the American people, and certifies it as safe and effective, how can that agency remain calm about the fact that these medicines are causing 106,000 deaths per year?
Even though there will always be adverse events that cannot be anticipated, the fact is that more and more unsafe drugs are being approved for use. Many people attribute that to the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is (for the past ten years or so) required to pay the FDA for reviews---which puts the FDA into an untenable position of working for the industry it is regulating. There is a large literature on this.
Aren't your 2000 findings a severe indictment of the FDA and its standard practices?
They are an indictment of the US health care industry: insurance companies, specialty and disease-oriented medical academia, the pharmaceutical and device manufacturing industries, all of which contribute heavily to re-election campaigns of members of Congress. The problem is that we do not have a government that is free of influence of vested interests. Alas, [it] is a general problem of our society—which clearly unbalances democracy.
What was your personal reaction when you reached the conclusion that the US medical system was the third leading cause of death in the US?
I had previously done studies on international comparisons and knew that there were serious deficits in the US health care system, most notably in lack of universal coverage and a very poor primary care infrastructure. So I wasn’t surprised.
Do the 106,000 deaths from medical drugs only involve drugs prescribed to patients in hospitals, or does this statistic also cover people prescribed drugs who are not in-patients in hospitals?
I tried to include everything in my estimates. Since the commentary was written, many more dangerous drugs have been added to the marketplace.
This interview with Dr. Starfield reveals that, even when an author has unassailable credentials within the medical-research establishment, the findings can result in no changes made to the system.
Yes, many persons and organizations within the medical system contribute to the annual death totals of patients, and media silence and public ignorance are certainly major factors, but the FDA is the assigned gatekeeper, when it comes to the safety of medical drugs. The buck stops there. If those drugs the FDA is certifying as safe are killing, like clockwork, 106,000 people a year, the Agency must be held accountable. The American people must understand that.
As for the other 119,000 people killed every year as a result of hospital treatment, this horror has to be laid at the doors of those institutions. Further, to the degree that hospitals are regulated and financed by state and federal governments, the relevant health agencies assume culpability.
It is astounding, as well, that the US Department of Justice has failed to weigh in on Starfield’s findings. If 225,000 medically caused deaths per year is not a crime by the Dept. of Justice’s standards, then what is?
To my knowledge, not one person in America has been fired from a job or even censured as result of these medically caused deaths.
The pharmaceutical giants stand back and carve up the populace into “promising markets.” They seek new disease labels and new profits from more and more toxic drugs. They do whatever they can—legally or illegally—to influence doctors in their prescribing habits. Some drug studies which cast new medicines in a negative light are buried. FDA panels are filled with doctors who have drug-company ties. Legislators are incessantly lobbied and supported with pharma campaign monies.
Nutrition, the cornerstone of good health, is ignored or devalued by most physicians. The FDA continues to attack nutritional supplements, even though the overall safety record of these nutrients is good, whereas, once again, the medical drugs the FDA certifies as safe are killing 106,000 Americans per year.
#Physicians are trained to pay exclusive homage to peer-reviewed published drug studies. These doctors unfailingly ignore the fact that, if medical drugs are killing a million Americans per decade, the studies on which those drugs are based must be fraudulent or, at the very least, massively incompetent. In other words, the whole literature is suspect, unreliable, and impenetrable.*******