It’s been a while since I posted information from MFI or other mental health consumer discussion, so, here, from old to newer; have a full bowl-
NY Times says minor reform is not enough, but stops short of calling
for what is needed: Laws that criminalize extreme psychiatric
corruption. Please forward. See BOTTOM for actions, including
nonviolent protest, you can take.
New York Times Editorial – 4 January 2009
No Mugs, but What About Those Fees
New pharmaceutical industry guidelines should stop most drug
companies from distributing a wide range of trinkets and office
supplies designed to keep their brand names before doctors as a
subliminal inducement to prescribe high-priced drugs.
The new code, which kicked in on New Year’s Day, bars the free
distribution of everything from pens to coffee mugs and staplers by
some 40 drug companies that have agreed to the restrictions. That may
seem like small potatoes, but in the aggregate the promotional
products probably cost about $1 billion a year, as Natasha Singer
reported in The Times. The updated rules are the industry’s latest
attempt to restore public confidence that doctors are prescribing
medicines in the patient’s interest. The code still has too many
Although it prohibits company sales representatives from providing
restaurant meals to health care professionals, it allows the sales
teams to continue providing modest meals in professional offices
while pitching their products. It allows companies to continue paying
for so-called continuing medical education for physicians while
correctly leaving the selection of content, speakers and study
materials to conference organizers. There appear to be no loopholes
in bans against providing free tickets to the theater, sporting
events or resort junkets.
None of the steps yet contemplated by industry or professional groups
would completely sever the medical profession and many individual
doctors from their far more disturbing financial ties to the drug
Over the years, prominent physicians have received hefty fees for
conducting research, consulting or giving “educational” speeches
touting the virtues of drugs to their colleagues. The new industry
code would limit consultants’ fees to “fair market value,” but
critics believe that still leaves far too much room to pay individual
Two investigations now under way at prominent universities show how
much more needs to be done to aerate undisclosed conflicts of interest.
A prominent psychiatrist at Emory University is accused of taking
large payments from a drug maker – and misleading his university
about the amounts – while heading a government study of the company’s
antidepressant drugs. Three psychiatrists at Harvard whose work
fueled an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs to
treat children are accused of failing to report large payments from
the drug makers, most of which they had not disclosed to their
Congress needs to pass legislation that would force all drug and
medical-device companies to report a wide range of payments to
doctors through a national registry so that all conflicts are known.
This is a reform that the industry itself now seems willing to
accept. Better yet, the medical profession needs to wean itself
almost entirely from its pervasive dependence on industry money.
** ACTION ** ACTION ** ACTION **
You may e-mail letter to editor of *LESS* THAN 150 WORDS to The NY
Times here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your contact info. Letters
referring to a recent NY Times editorial have a better chance of
Link to editorial:
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Thought financial industry corruption was bad? Psychiatric industry
corruption kills kids.
Put psychiatric abusers behind bars. MindFreedom calls for new laws
and enforcement of current laws mandating prison time for extreme
psychiatric human rights violations.
Join nonviolent protests of psychiatric drug money corruption in
front of American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting Exhibit Hall
at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, or WHEREVER you are, 17 to 18 May
2009. Info about this and other events:
Read more about USA Congressional investigation of psychiatric
profession here, including past NY Times articles and editorials:
To thank USA Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for leading the
congressional investigation use this web form:
MindFreedom News – January 2009
http://www.mindfreedom.org – please forward
Another forced electroshock for Ray. ZAP BACK!
Join global nonviolent resistance ONLINE!
This Saturday, 10 January 2009, 2 pm ET, 11 am PT click into:
Live Free MindFreedom Mad Pride Web Radio – Special ZAP BACK SHOW.
Ray will be woken up early in his “Victory House” group home near
Minneapolis again this morning, Wednesday, 7 January 2009.
Ray Sandford is scheduled for another forced electroshock.
Under a court order and over his expressed wishes, he’ll be escorted
the few miles to Mercy Hospital, put under anesthesia, and given
another “electroconvulsive therapy” or ECT through his brain.
Ray says, “It is scary as hell every time I go.”
Today, involuntary electroshock continues for Ray and many others all
over the world.
New York Times Article:
Lilly Said to Be Near $1.4 Billion U.S. Settlement
By GARDINER HARRIS and ALEX BERENSON
Published: January 14, 2009
Eli Lilly, the drug company, is expected to agree as soon as Thursday to pay $1.4 billion to settle criminal and civil charges that it illegally marketed its blockbuster antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for unauthorized use in patients particularly vulnerable to its risky side effects.
Today’s Business: Gardiner Harris on the Eli Lilly Settlement
Plea Agreement (U.S. v. Eli Lilly and Co.) (Findlaw.com>
Details of the agreement were provided by people involved in the negotiations.
Among the charges, Lilly has been accused of a scheme stretching for years to persuade doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to two categories of patients — children and the elderly — for whom the drug was not federally approved and in whom its use was especially risky.
In one marketing effort, the company urged geriatricians to use Zyprexa to sedate unruly nursing home patients so as to reduce “nursing time and effort,” according to court documents. Like other antipsychotic drugs, Zyprexa increases the risks of sudden death, heart failure and life-threatening infections like pneumonia in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.
The company also pressed doctors to treat disruptive children with Zyprexa, court documents show, even though the medicine’s tendency to cause severe weight gain and metabolic disorders is particularly pronounced in children. Over the last decade, Zyprexa’s use in children has soared.
The case is being prosecuted by the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Patricia Hartman, a spokeswoman for the office, declined to comment.
Angela Sekson, a Lilly spokeswoman, said she could not comment on the status of the Zyprexa negotiations. Last fall, the company, anticipating a settlement, had set aside $1.4 billion for that purpose.
The amount of the settlement is a record sum for so-called corporate whistle-blower cases, which are federal lawsuits prompted by tips from company employees or former employees. In this case, the whistle-blowers have not been publicly identified.
Lilly executives have for years insisted that the company’s Zyprexa marketing efforts were legal and appropriate. When asked whether she could repeat those assurances, Ms. Sekson said, “It would be inappropriate for me to comment further right now.”
It could not be confirmed on Wednesday whether the company would acknowledge wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Without a settlement, Lilly risks being barred from participating in the federal Medicaid and Medicare programs — a huge part of its business — even though such bans are almost unheard of for big drug makers because their products are considered so essential.
In the United States, most of Zyprexa’s sales are paid for by government programs because so many of those taking Zyprexa are indigent or disabled. Zyprexa had sales of $4.8 billion in 2007, making it the biggest seller by far for Lilly, whose revenue that year was $18.6 billion. Depending on dosage, the drug can cost as much as $25 for a daily pill.
The settlement may have little impact on how doctors actually use Zyprexa, because physicians are free to prescribe drugs as they see fit. But drug makers are barred from promoting drugs for uses not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Zyprexa has F.D.A. approval only for the treatment of schizophrenia and the mania and agitation associated with bipolar disorder.
Zyprexa has generated more than $39 billion in sales since its approval in 1996, making it one of the biggest-selling drugs in the world.
And despite mounting concern about Zyprexa’s risks and the negative publicity surrounding the legal case, sales were $3.5 billion for the first nine months of 2008, 2 percent higher than in the first nine months of 2007. Prescriptions for the drug actually declined, but Lilly raised prices on the drug enough to increase its revenues.
Zyprexa was initially received as a significant advance over an earlier generation of antipsychotic drugs. But a series of landmark studies in recent years have cast doubt on that long-held view and suggested that Zyprexa is no better than older drugs that sell for far less.
A government study published in September, for instance, found that Zyprexa was no more effective in children than an older medicine but caused more serious side effects. The children receiving Zyprexa gained so much weight during the study that a safety monitoring panel ordered that they be taken off the drug.
In December 2006 articles in The New York Times detailed hundreds of internal Lilly documents and e-mail messages among top company managers that showed how the company sought for years to play down Zyprexa’s tendency to cause weight gain and metabolic disorders, including diabetes, while promoting unapproved uses.
One 2000 e-mail message, for instance, described how a group of diabetes doctors that Lilly had retained to consider potential links between Zyprexa and diabetes had warned the company that “unless we come clean on this, it could get much more serious than we might anticipate.”
After those articles were published, Lilly threatened to seek criminal contempt charges against Dr. David Egilman, a Massachusetts physician and associate clinical professor at Brown University, who made the documents available to The Times. In September 2007, Dr. Egilman agreed to pay Lilly $100,000 in return for the company’s agreement to drop the threat of criminal sanctions.
On Wednesday, Dr. Egilman said he felt vindicated by the imminent settlement. “I’m glad Lilly is acknowledging their wrongdoing,” he said. “Patients and doctors now know more about the side effects of the drugs they take.”
The government’s case will remain sealed until at least Thursday, when a judge is expected to approve the settlement. People involved in the negotiations say that prosecutors pressed for a resolution in the waning days of the Bush administration to avoid having to get another set of approvals from new bosses at the Justice Department in Washington.
While the settlement is intended to resolve all pending government claims, it is unclear whether all states, which are parties to the case through the federal-state Medicaid program, have agreed to the terms.
Some of the claims and evidence in the government’s case are similar to those made in a pending California state whistle-blower lawsuit in which Jaydeen Vicente, a former Lilly sales representative, described years of what she said were illegal Zyprexa marketing efforts.
Ms. Vicente and other Lilly sales representatives distributed a Lilly study contending that elderly patients who were prescribed the drug “required fewer skilled nursing staff hours than patients prescribed other competing medications” and reduced “caregiver distress,” the lawsuit states. Zyprexa often induces sleep in patients.
“In truth, this was Lilly’s thinly veiled marketing of Zyprexa as an effective chemical restraint for demanding, vulnerable and needy patients,” the lawsuit states.
In October, Lilly agreed to pay $62 million to 32 states and the District of Columbia to settle consumer protection claims related to Zyprexa. It has also paid the state of Alaska $15 million to settle a separate suit and agreed to pay $1.2 billion to 31,000 Zyprexa plaintiffs. Some private Zyprexa claims remain unresolved.
MindFreedom News – 14 January 2009
http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray – please forward
Another forced electroshock for Ray Sandford today.
Decision: Protest the mental health system, or not?
by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
As I e-mail out this message, Ray Sandford is being escorted again
this Wednesday morning, 14 January 2009, from his group home near
Minneapolis, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for another involuntary,
maintenance, outpatient electroshock under court order.
There is a decision each and every one of us needs to make.
It is the same decision Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks
and thousands of others in the civil rights movement had to make.
To protest, or not?
One of my resolutions for 2009 is to nonviolently protest.
Ray — summoning that unstoppable human spirit that always impresses
me in so many psychiatric survivors — asks us to protest.
Survivors of electroshock human rights violations on the MindFreedom
“Zapback” e-mail list, where the Ray Campaign is being coordinated,
also say it’s time to protest the mental health system.
There are many ways, times, places and reasons to protest.
But it begins with a decision.
Ray’s forced electroshock today is not a fluke.
Ray’s forced shock is not because the mental health system lacks
money, though good programs need more resources.
Ray’s forced shock is not because of a few “bad apples” in the mental
Ray is surrounded by an array of taxpayer-funded agencies and
professionals who are charged with protecting and helping Ray.
Ray has had court hearings represented by a court-appointed attorney.
He has a conservator, general guardian and a guardian ad litem.
Minnesota legal advocacy, ombudsman and mental health consumer groups
are well aware of Ray’s shock. Minnesota’s Governor Pawlenty has
received hundreds of complaints. MindFreedom filed a torture
complaint with the United Nations.
The headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
[ELCA], whose six Synods in Minnesota own Ray’s guardian agency
LSSMN, say they have been inundated with hundreds of complaints.
Their official response: They’re not in charge of Ray’s shock, though
we never said they were. We asked ELCA to stand up publicly against
forced electroshock, they refuse.
Ray’s forced shock is a sign and symptom of how extremely oppressive
today’s mental health system remains, and how so much of our society
is complicit with this oppression.
Ray’s forced shock is an excruciatingly painful lesson and wake up
call to us all about an oppression so deep, it is seldom named: sanism.
Ray’s courage has educated so many people. Because Ray called the
MindFreedom office this Fall, many people now know forced
electroshock exists, and that psychiatrists sometimes give ongoing
“maintenance” electroshock. Many now know electroshock is often given
on an outpatient basis.
Many people now know that even Americans living in their own homes,
which are supposed to be our “castles,” out in the community, without
being convicted of any crime, can be court ordered to receive such an
invasive, potentially-irreversible procedure.
Now we know.
Don’t let this knowledge become normal. As MLK said, show your
When I was an activist in the peace movement, there was a saying. “To
know, and not to act, is not yet truly to know.”
Reading about this on the Internet is not enough.
Each of us needs to decide and prepare:
Protest or not to protest?
When it’s time for a forced shock, Ray is told because preparation
The day before, all food is removed from his fridge because to get
ready for anesthesia he cannot eat for a number of hours.
Then early in the morning staff wake him up and he is brought to the
hospital. Ray is put under anesthesia, and electricity is run through
his head inducing a convulsion. He wakes up with more memory and
Ray has had more than three dozen and he says, “It is scary as hell
every time I go.”
Ray’s forced shock is not because of a lack of public attention.
Hundreds have spoken out against this ongoing forced shock. Last
month, Ray’s plight was aired on National Public Radio. Ray’s own
elderly mother, a retired psychiatric nurse, has recently pleaded
with Ray’s psychiatrist to stop (since Ray is under guardianship, she
has no official say).
Most recently, Ray was sent to a neurologist for a check-up, but that
did not stop his shock.
The only change this past month is that instead of weekly
electroshock, Ray is now on a complicated pattern of every other
week, followed by every third week, back to every other week. Instead
of receiving his maintenance electroshock last Wednesday as Ray at
first expected, his shock is today.
Why are we surprised?
Based on the hard-won lessons of so many other groups that have
organized for their basic human rights, how can we expect real change
In my 33 years in this field, I have seen many colleagues begin to
work in organizations and agencies that are funded by the mental
health system, and many of them are doing tremendously helpful and
crucial work. This work must continue, it’s a sign of hope.
Today it is common to hear mental health system leaders claim this
system’s values have changed to:
* Mental health consumer self-determination.
* Client empowerment.
* Advocacy and human rights.
* Consumer-driven trauma-informed peer-delivered services.
And again, there are signs of hope.
But we ask:
Why is Ray Sandford getting involuntary maintenance electroshock this
Why is there a mental health “Abu Ghraib” operating before our very
Why does forced electroshock and forced psychiatric drugging continue
in other states in the USA?
Why is forced electroshock growing internationally?
In my study of history, minor reform of psychiatry is not a solution,
minor reform is one of the problems.
Minor reform fuels more of the same.
When you hear a simple call for “more money” for the mental health
system — without addressing the required fundamental change, watch out!
Truly, we need a nonviolent revolution in the mental health system.
Historically, nonviolent revolution requires nonviolent protest.
So there is one question now:
Protest, or not?
Protest begins with a decision. I hope you make that personal
If you agree it is time for protest, please forward this to a
colleague and add in your own words, “I agree, it’s time.”
– David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
For links to latest news, Ray Campaign blog, and frequently asked
questions about the “No More Shock For Ray Campaign” go here:
454 Willamette, Suite 216 – POB 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA
Crazy is not even the word for it:
Old news from an unknown source:
“A new generation of drugs is needed,” said Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. “It is clear from this data that antidepressants are not the answer.”
Dr. Insel admits that another major treatment outcome evaluation study sponsored by NIMH, “Effectiveness of Adjunctive Antidepressant Treatment for Bipolar Depression,” the largest study yet, confirms that the widespread practice of prescribing antidepressants lacks clinical justification. The drugs were of no value for the treatment of depression thereby challenging US psychiatrists’ aggressive use of combined psychotropic drugs. U.S. psychiatrists’ “strongly held beliefs about the efficacy of antidepressants in treating bipolar depression” is not supported by evidence. The practice can be traced to the influence the drug industry has on U.S psychiatry.
The randomized, placebo controlled study was conducted at 22 major research centers participating in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD). It focused on patients diagnosed with bipolar I and II who were treated with any mood stabilizer approved by the FDA with and without an antidepressant. Of 366 patients enrolled in the study, 179 were randomized to mood stabilizer and the antidepressant, Paxil, and 187 were randomized to mood stabilizer and placebo. The study was published online in The New England Journal of Medicine, March 28, 2007, and is available free: [Link] Eighteen of the 20 investigators have extensive financial ties to drug manufacturers.
Patients who were randomized to placebo rather than the antidepressant fared better in all outcome measures-except the switch to mania which was reported a fraction of a percent higher among placebo patients-20 (10.7%) compared to 18 (10.1%) of patients on mood stabilizer and Paxil. However, the validity of this outlying finding is uncertain. In his accompanying editorial, Dr. Robert Belmaker point out: “Patients who had become manic in response to antidepressants in the past would not have enrolled in the trial, casting doubt on whether the drugs are safe for all bipolar patients.” [Link]
Another confounding element–which is almost always a problem in psychiatric research–is prior exposure to the drugs: Dr. Belmaker notes: “Almost 90% of the patients in the study by Sachs et al. were using a mood stabilizer at randomization. Thus, the study does not address the possibility that antidepressants can cause mania in patients with bipolar depression in the absence of a mood stabilizer.”
And the STEP-BD authors report that some patients were also taking an antidepressant at the time of randomization which was tapered by 50% the first week and withdrawn by second week. Clearly the effects of prior exposure to these drugs and the effect of tapering (i.e. withdrawal symptoms) may bias the results. Nevertheless, the findings are clearly against use of antidepressants in this population.
Table 3 provides the primary and secondary outcome results of the 26 week study. The primary outcome was “durable recovery” defined as 8 weeks of euthemia (non-depressed). The result: 42 of 179 patients (23.5%) achieved “durable recovery” on mood stabilizer + adjunctive antidepressant compared to 51 of 187 patients (27.3%) on mood stabilizer and placebo.
Results of secondary outcomes: “transient remission” defined as 1 to 7 weeks of non-depression: 32 patients (17.9%) achieved “transient remission” on mood stabilizer + adjunctive antidepressant compared to 40 (21.4%) on mood stabilizer and placebo. Discontinuation because of adverse effects: 22 (12.3%) on stabilizer and antidepressant compared to 17 (9.1%) on stabilizer and placebo.
Finally, an unclear secondary outcome criteria “treatment effectiveness” defined as “50% Improvement from baseline SUM-D score* without meeting DSM-IV criteria for hypomania or mania.” No indication of a duration criteria is given. The finding: 58 (32%) of patients on mood stabilizer and antidepressant compared to 71 (38%) patients on stabilizer and placebo.
The authors acknowledge: “we did not study a “pure” placebo group (one in which no active psychotropic medication was administered) and hence cannot establish the effectiveness of treatment with a mood stabilizer alone.”
Dr. Insell got it half right: “It is clear from this data that antidepressants are not the answer.” However, why does it follow that “A new generation of drugs is needed” ???
What disorder of the imagination do mainstream psychiatrists in the U.S. suffer from that they cannot fathom a world beyond the “next generation” of drugs-all the more so, in light of the evidence that the second generation antidepressants and antipsychotics have proven not only no better than the first generation, but arguably worse ?
MindFreedom International – 6 February 2009
Mind Your Freedom in Mental Health
http://www.mindfreedom.org – please forward
Four (4) very brief MindFreedom news items for a nonviolent
revolution in mental health:
1) Academy Award and Forced Electroshock
Ray Sandford of Minnesota has now had as many or more forced
electroshocks as the fictional character portrayed in the Academy
Award-nominated film _Revolutionary Road_:
Ray Sandford, though, is a real human being.
Involuntary outpatient electroshock re-started for Ray Sandford, and
is slated to continue indefinitely.
Unless everyone acts.
Last week MindFreedom reported that Ray Sandford postponed one of his
series of forced maintenance outpatient electroshocks because of a
Ray phoned the MindFreedom office with the sad news that his doctor
approved him for another involuntary electroshock, and Ray received
it yesterday morning, 5 February 2009.
It looks like thousands upon thousands of united people are needed to
unite to stop involuntary electroshock for Ray, and many others. Let
that include you!
For more info on the Ray Campaign to Stop Forced Outpatient
Electroshock, see this gateway:
2) “Have a Heart – End Forced Electroshock” Show!
Next Guest on MindFreedom Mad Pride Free Live Web Radio:
Mary Maddock of Ireland — Electroshock survivor, author, and
On Valentine’s, Saturday, 14 February 2009, tune in for live free
Internet radio with MindFreedom, and guests that include Mary
Maddock, co-author of the book _Soul Survivor_. Mary is a MindFreedom
International board member who survived forced electroshock.
You can call in live using either your computer or telephone. We’ll
have the latest news about the Ray Sandford campaign.
Time: 11 am Pacific USA, 2 pm Eastern USA, 7 pm  London UTC/GMT
More info on how to tune in every “Second Saturday” in 2009:
Get Mary’s book at MindFreedom’s Mad Market at http://www.madmarket.org
3) Australia Electroshocking Toddlers
Australia is now electroshocking toddlers, including 55 children aged
four and younger, and two kids under the age of four, according to
Read essays and news items here:
In that folder you will find:
a) Essay by dissident psychologist Bruce Levine on Australia
electroshocking young children:
b) Essay by dissident psychiatrist Peter Breggin on same:
c) Australian news story on electroshocking kids, with statistics:
4) World Health Organization leader praises MindFreedom International
and Executive Director David W. Oaks
In its legal handbook, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for
zero use of involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes of the
WHO is the official health organization of the United Nations.
Benedetto Saraceno, MD, Director, Department of Mental Health and
Substance Abuse at WHO said some very positive words about the work
of MindFreedom International, and MFI director David W. Oaks, here:
From the Independent:
Voluntary psychiatric patient fights for
By Tim Healy
Wednesday January 21 2009
A WOMAN yesterday asked the High Court to order her release from a psychiatric hospital, claiming her detention is not in accordance with the law.
The 69-year-old woman, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was admitted to the hospital on December 9 after being arrested by gardai.
She challenged this and yesterday a High Court judge ruled she had been lawfully detained at the hospital.
But the woman had taken separate proceedings, which opened yesterday, seeking her release when the hospital decided she should remain after she had agreed to be a voluntary patient.
The woman became a voluntary patient after an order committing her involuntarily was revoked on December 19 by order of a Mental Health Tribunal.
Last Thursday, the hospital refused to discharge her because it was not satisfied this would be in her best interests. The hospital invoked a provision of the Mental Health Act giving it power to detain voluntary patients.
Last Friday, the woman brought a second set of proceedings claiming the hospital has no power to do so because the MHT had already found she was not suffering from a mental “disorder” as required under law before a person can be committed involuntarily.
The case continues.
– Tim Healy