Sales of psychiatric drugs are big business. Worldwide sales of antidepressants, stimulants, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic drugs top $82 billion a year and fuel the $330 billion psychiatric industry.
Psychiatrists continue to label millions of Americans with “mental illnesses” and to prescribe dangerous, mind-altering drugs to treat diseases that may or may not exist. These psychiatric drugs cause 700,000 adverse drug reactions and an estimated 42,000 deaths each year, and the numbers continue to climb.
“Modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness.” says David Kaiser, M.D. in a December 1996 issue of Psychiatric Times.
“We really do not know what causes any psychiatric illness.” says Jack M. Gorman, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, in his book The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs – Third Edition.
“Contrary to what is often claimed, no biochemical, anatomical, or functional signs have been found that reliably distinguish the brains of mental patients.” says Elliot S. Valenstien, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan, in his book Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health.
“There is no evidence that any psychiatric or psychological disorder is caused by a biochemical imbalance.” says Peter R. Breggin, M.D., in his book Reclaiming Our Children.
Unlawful Drug Marketing
Recently 38 State Attorneys General won a $68.5 million settlement with pharmaceutical titan AstraZeneca for the unlawful marketing of antipsychotic Seroquel for unapproved use. Charges also included failing to disclose the drug’s harmful side effects and concealing negative information about its safety and efficacy. “The company’s illegal practices put our most vulnerable populations at risk, including children and older patients with dementia and other debilitating diseases,” according to Illinois Attorney General. National sales of Seroquel brought in $5.3 billion for AstraZeneca in 2010.
Psychiatric drugs are notoriously high-priced. A year’s supply of Seroquel can cost $7,000 or more, depending on the dose. A 2011 article from Stanford University and the University of Victoria in Canada, entitled, “Demythologizing the high costs of pharmaceutical research”, exposes that drug companies widely exaggerate research costs to justify these prices. These companies typically cite a 2003 industry-funded study to claim a tag of over $1 billion to research and bring a drug to market. A new independent analysis indicates the figure is closer to $55 million.
Drug company CEOs are some of the most highly paid on Wall Street. The Johnson & Johnson Chairman William Weldon’s publicly reported total compensation for 2010 was $23.2 million, including salary, bonus, stock options and other perks. This is more than twice the average for CEOs of S&P 500 companies, according to The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. It is also over 500 times the median American household income, $49,777 as of 2009 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. His base salary was raised in 2010, despite an ongoing lawsuit, backed by the Department of Justice, accusing Johnson & Johnson of involvement in a kickback scheme to push their antipsychotic drugs on elderly nursing home residents.
Drug manufactures spend billions annually on marketing and advertising, far beyond what they spend on research. Billions go into direct-to-consumer advertising which encourages you to “ask your doctor if (certain medication) is right for you.” Billions are poured into marketing to doctors, through sales representatives, one of the most lucrative sales jobs in the US. One ex-drug sales rep working for Eli Lilly, Shahram Ahari, told a Senate Aging Committee that on top of a base salary for starting reps of $50,000, “there were four quarterly bonuses, an annual bonus, stock options, a car, 401k, great health benefits, and a $60,000 expense account.” He said his job involved “rewarding physicians with gifts and attention for their allegiance to your product and company despite what may be ethically appropriate.”
Another former drug sales representative and author of the book Confessions of an RX Drug Pusher, Gwen Olsen, says it’s all about the money. As a mental health activist, Gwen has testified before the Food and Drug Administration’s Psycho-pharmacology committee, as well as many legislative committees, and has led rallies and marches in protest against psychiatric abuse. When asked why she wanted to become a pharmaceutical sales rep, she said she wanted to help people. The regional manager replied, “If that’s the case, you might want to join the Peace Corps…But if money is what motivates you, young lady, let me tell you how you can retire a millionaire.” Gwen reports that every manager she worked for said children are their largest and most profitable expansion market.
A March 2011 New York Times article “Talk Therapy Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy,” gives an example of a practicing psychiatrist since 1972, Dr. Donald Levin, who likens his office to a bus station. In the old days of 45-minute talk sessions, “he knew his patients’ inner lives better than he knew his wife’s; now, he often cannot remember their names,” says the author. The doctor admits, “I had to train myself not to get too interested in their problems.” The average psychiatrist makes about $191,000 a year.
Psychiatric drugs have repeatedly proven to cause harmful side effects. Some can be life-threatening and even fatal. A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that antipsychotic drugs can shrink brain tissue. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received nearly 21,000 reports of serious drug reactions, including over 4,800 deaths, according to an analysis of federal data by the nonprofit Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), which scrutinized data going back to 2004, and yearly totals dating to the 1990s.
Science journalist and author, Robert Whitaker, reports that long-term use of psychiatric medications is actually causing mental illness. He states, “what you find with them when you look at long term outcomes, you see more people having chronic symptoms long term than you do in the unmedicated.”
Whitaker also points to disability statistics. Since the rise of psychiatric prescriptions began in 1987, adults on disability for mental illness more than tripled to 4 million. Amongst those on disability, the percentage of children has risen from about 5 percent in 1987 to over 50 percent today, according to the National Health Interview Survey on Disability.
In March 1996, Rex Cowdry, the then director of the National Institute of Mental Health, was called before a subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations of the U.S. House of Representatives to explain the vast sums wasted on absurd projects by NIMH. These, he said, were necessary because: “We don’t know the causes [of mental illness]. We don’t have the methods of ‘curing’ these illnesses yet.”
Psychiatrists have also failed to prove the existence of these alleged mental illnesses, but this detail has not prevented the list from growing each year. In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association published its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM). It listed 112 mental disorders, up from 7 in 1880.
Larry E. Beutler and and Mary L. Malik, authors of Rethinking the DSM: A Psychological Perspective take a critical view of the significant rise in the number of illnesses listed from the DSM-I to the DSM-IV. They argue that this expansion does not correspond to an increase in scientific knowledge about psychopathology. The authors draw on C. G. Hempel’s 1965 logical empirical argument that an increase in the number of psychiatric disorders actually indicates a lack of progress, because a true increase in understanding would lead to a reduction in the number of categories as consistencies underlying psychological conditions are discovered.
In 1968, the manual was revised and called the DSM-II. It listed 163 mental disorders, including a new category entitled “Behavior Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence.” These new ailments appeared shortly after psychiatry procured federal funding for treating handicapped children. Commentary in the DSM-II revealed that the listed “disorders” had not been established by scientific evidence, but by a committee which voted on whether they existed. Later versions of the DSM used this same “scientific” criterion, “electing” new disorders.
When the DSM-IV was published in 1994, the number of mental disorders listed jumped to 374. While this manual provides an extensive list of mental disorders, it admits that no definition specifies precise boundaries for the concept of a “mental disorder.”
Now you’ve seen the evidence for Psychiatric Fraud. Are Doctors Making Up Disorders to Sell Drugs? The evidence speaks for itself. History has shown that psychiatry militantly refuses to monitor itself. You are responsible ultimately for your own well-being, and for the well-being of those you care about. You must reclaim your authority from the medical profession in all of its manifestations. You are entitled to Informed Consent, under the Patient’s Bill of Rights, a bill first adopted by the American Hospital Association in 1973. The bill states that you have the right to considerate and respectful care, and you are encouraged to obtain from physicians and other direct caregivers relevant, current, and understandable information concerning diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.