The science is settled.
Have you heard this proclamation before about a controversial medical topic?
I have, and it makes me smile. Or maybe smirk. It feels almost like my toddler frothing up a tantrum and yelling with a furrowed brow, when she knows, deep down, that she’s backed herself into a corner.
We’ve heard it about the benign nature of GMOs & glyphosate, about vaccine safety and efficacy, about the danger of homebirth or the necessity of ultrasound. It is dangerous to be certain, let alone so aggressively and dismissively certain about science, which, by definition is a process rather than a destination.
Psychiatry, in particular, has trafficked in proclamation-based medicine, and is fast become the proving ground for corporate interests. With no objective tests preceding diagnosis and prescription of habit-forming medications, the field of psychiatry is a bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry.
You almost have to hand it to these corporations for their largely unfettered success in supporting the financial interests of their shareholders. The job of Big Pharma is not to care for you, protect your wellness, or heal your children. The job of Big Pharma is to win – win at the game of unbridled capitalism – and they have.
But, the tide may be turning.
This week alone, three articles crossed my desk that reinforce my faith in the ultimate correction that will take place.
On the esteemed platform madinamerica.com, voices are echoing, discussing the turning tide and loss of confidence in psychiatry. There is a growing loss of faith in the field on the part of other specialists, a lack of interest in pursuit of the speciality by current medical students, and dissent in the ranks, exemplified by the likes of Allen Frances, former DSM taskforce chair. It’s no longer just the rants of the fringe alternative folks, it’s a rumble from inside the fortress.
With 7% of boys and 5% of girls medicated with psychotropics, and 10,000 toddlers under 3 prescribed stimulants, it is time to ask ourselves, what are we doing to our children? We need to look no further than the 2001 Study 329, a ghostwritten, data-manipulated propaganda tool designed to promote the prescription of SSRIs to children. Eleven years after its publication, Glaxo Smith Kline was ordered to pay a 3 billion dollar fine (part of the largest health care fraud settlement in US history) for misrepresenting evidence of increased suicidality in treated children (11 of those treated engaged in suicidal behavior vs 1 in the placebo group), in addition to falsely representing Paxil as outperforming placebo. This lack of efficacy was reflected in the results of two other unpublished GSK studies – 377 and 701. The results of the reanalysis of data by independent researchers has now been published in the British Journal of Medicine, asserting the opposite conclusion to that papered by industry. Dr. David Healy has dedicated a website to the exposure of this crime, stating:
“Thousands of North American children and adolescents were seriously harmed by taking SSRIs like Paxil. Many died. Neither doctors nor parents had the information they needed, and the FDA only reluctantly issued the appropriate warnings, as might be expected from a regulator that has “corporate partnership” in its mandate.”
Incredibly, study 329 has not been retracted.
Last but not least is Johnson & Johnson, the company that markets the iconic but carcinogenic baby wash for your newborn, has now been “caught” looking at a multibillion dollar settlement for illegally marketing Risperdal to the elderly, to children, and hiding risks of male breast growth. In this incredible series that reads like a crime novel, Steven Brill details J&J’s journey with Risperdal, a mainstay of my Bellevue training, and the host of many a 5-star dinner during my weary days as a resident. A particularly shocking detail he recounts, is that:
“In 2003, the company had a “back to school” marketing campaign for Risperdal, and a manager discussed including ‘lollipops and small toys’ in sample packages.”
Because of its sordid history of enmeshment with industry, I bring a skeptical eye to the FDA’s corrective efforts in this case. I have to wonder if these minor scoldings are but a charade-like show of force to maintain the confidence of the populace in the FDA’s protective efforts. Either way, paying billions in criminal fees appears to simply be the “cost of doing business”.
Dr. Peter Gotzsche, head of the Nordic Cochrane Collaboration, one of the few research outlets free from industry influence, has come out strongly on the lack of efficacy and safety of psychiatric medication. He also has analyzed the behavior of pharmaceutical giants comparing it to that of organized crime. He speaks clearly about his conclusions, on video, in his book, and in interviews, stating:
“Our citizens would be far better off if we removed all the psychotropic drugs from the market…It is inescapable that their availability creates more harm than good.”
What are we to do with all of this information? We must start to get more comfortable with these truths:
The pharmaceutical industry uses fear to engage customers.
It relies on a one-pill-one-ill model that ignores root causes and never asks why a given patient is suffering.
It overpromises and underdelivers. It may be a wonderful idea to have a pill that sweeps symptoms away without leaving wreckage in its wake. This is not reality. It is not supported by the literature, and is why I have let go of any application of psychotropics. They don’t do what they say they do and they exact harm in the process.
There is an easier (ultimately) way to help, to heal, and to resolve psychiatric suffering. It involves looking at the person in their journey, in their environment, and in their bodies.
Because until there can be oversight that engages the precautionary principle, is truly regulatory, and is free from industry influence, we must look upon pharmaceutical claims with appropriate discernment. They have won your trust because they use doctors as their messengers, and because we still want to believe in the white-coated religion of medicine. It’s time to shift our beliefs back where they belong: to the native intelligence of a body that wants to heal when supported, and a mind that will be free once it is.
Filed Under: Drug Side Effects, Rethink Health, Snippet
Tagged With: Peter Gotzsche, Pharmaceutical Companies, Psychiatry, Risperdal, Study 329
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KELLY BROGAN, MD
Kelly Brogan, M.D. is a Manhattan-based holistic women’s health psychiatrist, author of the New York Times bestselling book, A Mind of Your Own, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. View full bio
Ben Derstine said on
September 28, 2015 at 6:00 PM
I have searched your site and to my surprise haven’t found any mention of the William Walsh Institute. Are you familiar with it? Walsh has a developed a rather sophisticated approach to conducting science-based testing of people with psychiatric disorders and apparently a highly effective means of treating them with supplements based on this testing. It’s the first “hard science” founded approach to psychiatry that I’ve ever come across. Walsh isn’t a psychiatrist but rather a biochemist. The website is here: http://www.walshinstitute.org/ and this is a great intro to his work if you haven’t heard of him before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyoPtGtQvHI He’s giving a talk to the American Nutrition Association.
kiwi said on
October 5, 2015 at 2:07 PM
Excellent summary of the current Alice in wonderland society we know live in where the what happens is what the Red Queen says happens.
I do find it disingenuous of Frances to be speaking against pharma when he and his buddies post DSM 4 publication, 1995, decide to inform Jansen pharmaceuticals that for a wee fee of $450,000 they will create practice guidelines to treat Schizophrenia specifying that atypical antipsychotic drugs are superior to earlier antipsychotics and that of the atypicals Risperdal is the drug of choice. He didnt seem too worried at the time and was happy to accept Jansens $450 000 plus an extra $65,000 for producing those guidelines quickly. Risperdal had not been approved by the FDA to treat Schizophrenia.
Then in 1996 Frances informs Jansen that he and his mates (Docherty and Kahn) consider themselves as Expert Knowledge systems and for an additional $428,000 from Jansen creates “multi arena plan” to market the guidelines !
Then in 1996 the Multi arena plan includes articles ghostwritten by Jansen that expand the use of risperdal including for ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder in children as well as a host of other indications including below average IQ. Many people then suffer from negative effects of risperdal.
In 2009 Francis repeatedly describes his work on DSM 4 as scrupulously scientific.
To top it all off and to reveal his true colors in Dec 14 in a mad in america article Frances cites pharma for its intense and misleading marketing but strongly asserts the usefulness of antispychotic drugs in particular. The same month in a lancet psychiatry article Frances makes strong statements supporting the use of psychiatric drugs even while attacking pharma for using psychiatric diagnosis for purposes of ‘disease mongering’ .
He declares that he has no competing interests!! Give me a break!!
Jena Halman-Kincaid said on
October 5, 2015 at 4:56 PM
Amazing informative article as usual Dr.Brogan. The link for the 3 billion dollar settlement re the false research claims seems to be broken. Do you have the active link? I would love to look it over.
Jena, Cleans the New Black
Kelly Brogan MD said on
October 6, 2015 at 9:29 AM
DowntoEarthThinking.com said on
October 5, 2015 at 5:36 PM
Agree on all points about the corrupt relationship between the entire medical system and pharma corp interest. It is certainly not just in psych issues to be sure. Dr. Fred Baughman woke me up to all of it some years back. But I already knew some of it from my own personal; experiences of being given wrong drugs and bogus diagnosis from the Mayo clinic that nearly killed me. But I would point out that we do not have any form of actual capitalism as you mentioned ? What we have is a form of Fascism based in cronyism or what might best be described as a corporatocracy here in USA today. All of the alphabet agencies actually enable the very industries they supposedly are watch dogging for the safety and benefit of the public ! Our entire system of governance has become nothing less than a giant criminal enterprise for profit. And of course those who play ball with the control freaks we call government get the necessary benefits of such actions via the alphabet agencies and other perks like tax breaks and or corporate welfare of various flavors !
It is all much more wide spread and permeated thruout our system than most want to consider or seem to grasp. In fact it is everywhere you look once your eyes are wide open !
The good news is we can avoid most of the fallout by your own words “There is an easier (ultimately) way to help, to heal, and to resolve psychiatric suffering. It involves looking at the person in their journey, in their environment, and in their bodies.” and it goes well beyond simply psychiatric suffering. If we understand the many illusions we all live under here in USSA today, we can simply side step them almost completely ! That allows us to heal ourselves and maintain excellent health, and overall well being in every aspect of our lives. It also allows us to fully realize that body, mind , spirit , soul are all completely interconnected. That realization is critical to overall health and that is exactly what I teach ! How to accomplish all of the above rather easily.
Kelly Brogan your honesty and effort is greatly appreciated ! Maybe one day we can discuss how our supposed health care system simply makes up supposed diseases and symptoms to accommodate the sale of all manner of pharmaceuticals that are quite harmful to humanity ? The TV commercials are quite sickening ,Hey ?
gGertrudeGertrertru said on
October 6, 2015 at 4:49 PM
The handcuffs remind me of a friend being taken away uder the force concept a crisispsychiatrist is allowed to by dutch law, when a patient, who has an episode, refuses to cooperate/ go into the hospital to be checked. Cuffed like a regular criminal, hands behind the back, causing incredible pain on top of the dysregulation, i cannot help but wondering why they do not have another method, that is safe for the police and not causing so much pain in the patients. Were that to happen to me, i cannot even get my hands/arms behind my back, due to muscleproblems in my arms. Another thing i notice, is how a patient, once admitted again in the psychiatric hospital, is automatically considered to be lying/fantasizing, however coherent her story about what she did before the episode is. Then the episode. A lot of uncoordinated movements, clinging, wanting to climb into people. And an obsession about smartphone and colours. Things, like the ambulance being the wrong colour. Synchronistically i got an email informing me the very psychotronic medication can cause these kind of symptoms, but also low magnesium. She had been complaining about bad cramps in her legs. Again dismissed by staff in the psychiatirc hospital. Then a lecture by Stephen Porges, how movement can prevent total shut down. And how low male voices can represent a perpetrator for a sensitive person. 3 males were angry with her for different reasons, just before the episode. Psychiatry indeed seems worthless. Jabbing her into oblivion as soon as she arrived in the hospital.
kiwi said on
January 14, 2016 at 3:14 PM
“On Monday, the US Supreme Court declined to hear Johnson and Johnson’s final appeal, forcing the company to pay $124 million for the deceptive marketing of the antipsychotic Risperdal. In 2011, South Carolina ordered the company to pay $327 million for pursuing “profits-at-all-costs” in its efforts to persuade doctors to prescribe their drug, but the fine was lowered to $136 million last year. The company had hoped to argue that the remaining penalties constituted an “excessive fine” and was supported by PhRMA, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Cato Institute and the Chamber of Commerce.
In September, Huffington Post and journalist Steve Brill combined to launch a 15 part series- “America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker” – about how Johnson & Johnson illegally violated FDA restrictions by pushing the antipsychotic drug, Risperdal, for use with adolescents and the elderly. The documents “revealed that the company organized special sales units illegally targeting doctors who treated the elderly and children.”
The company also faces about 5,400 lawsuits involving gynecomastia, following allegations that the company failed to warn doctors, patients, and regulators of the risk of abnormal breast development in young males who took Risperdal.
Now i wonder if Frances will be doing Time for this. Someone who allowed this to happen should be going to jail.
They should have been put out of business …i guess they will pay this out of petty cash?
Gordon Rowland said on
January 21, 2016 at 12:03 AM
Pharmaceutical medicines – prescription and over-the-counter – are the third-leading cause of death, after cancer and heart disease. In 2014, in Australia, the Victorian Coroners Prevention Unit stated that pharmaceutical drugs played a causal or contributing role in around 80 per cent of Victorian overdose deaths between 2012 and 2013, twice as many as illegal drugs during the same period.
In stark contrast, cannabis has never caused a single confirmed fatality, and recent research indicates it is less likely to cause addiction than alcohol, tobacco and many pharmaceuticals, with minimal if any, adverse long-term side effects. Cannabis is also analgesic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, anti-psychotic, anti-spasmodic, anxiolytic and neuro-protective.
In recent years, the discovery of the endocannabinoid system has revealed the intimate association between cannabis and human health, opening up new avenues of research for the prevention and treatment of many conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, many cancers, diabetes, epilepsy, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, stroke and many others.
A particularly important property of cannabis is apoptosis – the selective targeting of cancerous cells to self-destruct, while leaving normal cells unaffected. This represents a challenge to the lucrative chemotherapy/radiation model, with its numerous adverse side effects.
The endocannabinoid system is a central regulatory system that affects a wide range of biological processes including homeostasis (stability of physiological processes), vital to healthy functioning. The system involves a group of compounds, collectively known as cannabinoids, produced within the human body (and in other mammals), with a significantly higher concentration in breast milk. A 2004 study, published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, describes how the endocannabinoids in maternal milk appear to activate the sucking reflex of breast-feeding infants.
Since tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] was first isolated in 1964, over 80 cannabinoids, including cannabidiol [CBD], have been identified. When ingested or vaporised, THC, CBD and other cannabinoids augment or replace the body’s own endocannabinoids, damaged or depleted through exposure to environmental pollutants, synthetic food additives and other stressors.
These compounds work synergistically to produce the ‘entourage effect.’ (Ref, British Journal of Pharmacology http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/)
Cannabis is thus a truly restorative, ‘re-creational’ herb, a food akin to vitamins and essential minerals, in contrast to alcohol, pharmaceutical medicines and tobacco.
The real reason cannabis is prohibited, is because it presents an organic, sustainable, non-toxic alternative to powerful vested interests, including alcohol, tobacco and, in particular, the pharmaceutical industry, that Prof. Peter Gotzsche exposes in his 2013 book ‘Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare.’
The federal government, via the Therapeutic Goods Administration, accepts the aggregated information submitted by pharmaceutical companies seeking approval, without first analysing the raw data. The TGA then allows them to market their often inadequately assessed products in Australia: Pfizer, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Roche, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Eli Lilly and Abbott Laboratories – Gotzsche’s ten companies in his ‘Hall of Shame for Big Pharma’, have all been found guilty and fined for criminal offences. Bayer, Novo Nordisk, Purdue and several others also have criminal records. Eli Lilly pleaded guilty in 2009 to criminal charges of illegal off-label marketing of olanzapine [Zyprexa], the lethal psychotropic drug implicated in severe adverse side effects and many suicides.
The world’s largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, another repeat offender, was fined US$2.3 billion in 2009 for ‘intent to defraud or mislead’, and has been charged with further offences since then. Yet the TGA still allows these companies to push their drugs in Australia, yielding to pharmaceutical industry pressure, and following the equally compromised and ineffectual US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As Prof. Gotzsche’s book reveals, pharmaceutical companies’ sales teams (‘educators’) befriend and bribe influential individuals and organisations, including regulatory agencies, while pharmaceutical company research departments often manipulate trial protocols and falsify research findings. We leave you to make your own inferences, and take appropriate action.
Meanwhile, many otherwise law-abiding citizens are treated as criminals for choosing cannabis, as safer and more effective in controlling and sometimes curing their conditions, in preference to the synthesized products made by these criminal corporations. Likewise, many recreational users prefer cannabis as safer and more agreeable than alcohol or tobacco.
We are inspired and emboldened by Thomas Jefferson:
‘When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty’.
That is why many otherwise law-abiding citizens will continue to resist, to defy, and to assert our rights to make informed decisions about our, and our children’s, health and wellbeing.
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