Thursday, December 27, 2007

Brave New World: Mental Health Screening In Boston

Please assist before this infiltrates your area!

"Families may decline the screening if they wish. If a screen turns up signs of potential trouble, it is also up to the family whether to pursue further help and an official diagnosis.
The new requirement applies to the 460,000 children and young adults covered by Massachusett's Medicaid program, at annual checkups from birth to age 21."

Dr. John Abramson, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and author of "Overdosed America." says: "What happens is that there's a very quick translation of mental health symptoms into drug treatment."

Write a letter to the editor, click here: and please get this info to all your friends in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

The Boston Globe

Mental screening for young to begin
Mass. doctors to offer questionnaires for children on Medicaid
By Carey Goldberg
Globe Staff / December 27, 2007

As of Monday, annual checkups for the nearly half a million Massachusetts children on Medicaid will carry a new requirement: Doctors must offer simple questionnaires to detect warning signs of possible mental health problems, from autism in toddlers to depression in teens.

The checklists vary by age but ask questions about children's behavior - whether they are spending more time alone, seeming to have less fun, having trouble sleeping - that are designed to trigger discussion between parents and doctors. The conversations may or may not lead to a referral to a specialist.

Over the last several years, such questionnaires have increasingly become the standard of care in pediatric practices, but - spurred by legal action - Massachusetts is jumping ahead of other states by requiring the screens for all its young Medicaid recipients.

The new requirement represents "a huge step forward in a direction that is a national trend," said Dr. Robin Adair, a University of Massachusetts Medical School pediatrician and screening specialist.

Supporters say the screening can catch issues earlier, before they develop into hard-to-manage crises.

Skeptics warn that more children could end up on heavy-duty medications that they don't really need.

"In a more perfect world, screening for mental illness amongst children would clearly be a good idea," said Dr. John Abramson, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and author of "Overdosed America."

"But let's look at the realities of the world we live in," he said. "What happens is that there's a very quick translation of mental health symptoms into drug treatment."

Others wonder how Massachusetts' overburdened mental health system for children will handle the new patients the screening is expected to identify.

Already, children's psychiatrists and psychologists are often overbooked. Children with serious mental illness sometimes end up stuck in psychiatric hospitals for lack of mental health services in the community.

If, as expected, the new screening requirement turns up more children with mental health problems, "I do think it creates a potential additional access problem," said Dr. David DeMaso, chief of psychiatry at Children's Hospital Boston.

The new screening requirement stems from a lawsuit, Rosie D. v. Romney, that accused the state of falling down on its obligations to poor, mentally ill children. The federal judge in the case ruled in January 2006 that Massachusetts must improve its care, and the new requirement is the first step in the state's court-ordered remedy plan.

Families may decline the screening if they wish. If a screen turns up signs of potential trouble, it is also up to the family whether to pursue further help and an official diagnosis.
The new requirement applies to the 460,000 children and young adults covered by MassHealth, the state Medicaid program, at annual checkups from birth to age 21.

The state's private insurers generally already reimburse children's doctors for such written screens, and Medicaid will now pay $9.73 to cover the testing.

The majority of pediatricians still rely on conversational questions such as "How are you doing in school?" or "Does your child have friends?" But research shows that written questionnaires are more accurate at picking up potential problems.

The tests can also home in on children whose problems might otherwise be missed. According to national estimates, about 10 percent of children have some sort of significant psycho-social problem, from hyperactivity to anxiety to stress from living amid domestic violence.

"The earlier we intervene, the more impact we can have on brain development," DeMaso said.

The screening is not meant to produce a diagnosis, but rather to act as a "check engine light," calling attention to a potential problem, said Lisa Lambert, executive director of the Parent/Professional Advocacy League, which represents families with mentally ill children.

"If it lights up, you need to call your mechanic, find out what the problem is and if it needs to be repaired," she said.

One of the league's family support specialists, Kathy Hamelin of Fitchburg, said her own experience as the mother of an autistic son has convinced her that expanded early screening is one of the best things to come out of the Rosie D. case.

When her now 17-year-old son, Kevin, was a toddler, she said, he would scream and cry all the time, smash his head against the wall when frustrated, and flap his hands bizarrely. When she asked her pediatrician about the hand-flapping, he said, "That's nothing. That's just an excitement reflex and he'll outgrow it." In fact, she said, it is a classic autism trait. Kevin's diagnosis and treatment came only years later.

If the pediatrician had used an autism screening tool, it might have sounded an early alarm.

"Our family suffered tremendously because of this," she said, "and I just feel like if he had had early diagnosis, not only the pain and frustration we felt as overwhelmed parents would have been less, but we would have received early intervention," which "would have put him in a much better position than he is now."

As the routine screening gets underway, the state will be tracking how many children are tested and how many screens indicate a need for follow-up, said Emily Sherwood, who is overseeing the state's remedy for the Rosie D. case as director of its Children's Behavioral Health Interagency Initiatives. The state also plans to expand mental health services for children and make them more family friendly.

She said parents and clinicians may decide on a variety of responses to worrisome scores: to wait and watch a while. To handle the problems themselves. Or to seek a referral to a mental health specialist.

The screenings in doctors' offices "help us understand mental health as a part of health," she said. "It's really up to parents and primary care clinicians how they want to use this tool."
Medicaid law already requires that children be screened annually for various problems, such as hearing and vision loss, as well as for mental illness. This new requirement specifies the method of screening for mental health problems, asking clinicians to choose from among eight standard tools for the screening. Each screen is geared toward a target age; some look for specific problems, such as substance abuse and autism.

Research suggests that the screens will boost the number of children referred to mental health providers - but not overwhelmingly.

Dr. Karen Hacker, executive director of the Institute for Community Health at Cambridge Health Alliance, has used and researched mental health screening for four years, and has found that between 5 percent and 7 percent of children score high enough to cause concern. Other practices have found rates as high as 12 percent.

But, she pointed out, many of those children were already in counseling. Some families decided not to pursue further help, and of those who did, many did not show up at appointments. She has not seen a dramatic uptick in the use of psychiatric medications since the screens were added to routine care, she said, though she understands that is a cause for concern.

"We're going to have to see how this unfolds," she said.

Carey Goldberg can be reached at

Monday, December 17, 2007

Patients Sue, Say Drug Is Addictive

The Daily Mail (UK)

17 November, 2007

Sufferers Sue 'Happy Pill' Firm for 30 million GBP

*GBP: In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the British Pound.

Pharmaceutical giant Glaxo-SmithKline is facing a £30million damages claim from users of its anti-depressant Seroxat.

Lawyers representing patients who insist the bestselling drug is addictive have issued the first of 600 High Court writs against the company, each seeking compensation of up to £50,000.

Since first prescribed in Britain in 1990, Seroxat has been linked to at least 50 suicides of adults and children.

GSK, which makes up to £1billion a year from the drug, is already embroiled in lawsuits with American users...


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Counselor cited for phony billing to hide an affair

Counselor cited for phony billing to hide an affair with ex-patient
Dec. 13, 2007
OCALA - The Florida Department of Health has disciplined an Ocala mental health counselor accused of phony billing designed to hide an extramarital affair with a former patient.

His wife - now his ex-wife - kept the books.

Michael Kean Weaver, 52, was reprimanded on Nov. 19 by the State Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling. He currently practices at Rapha Counseling Center in Ocala.

His alleged actions violated a state law prohibiting "misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in the practice of mental health counseling."

He was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $3,368 in costs and complete 12 hours of ethics classes.

According to the administrative complaint, Weaver had a physical relationship with a former patient from July 2002 through March 2004. Weaver had counseled the patient from June 1997 to April 2000.

Relationships like this, according to an investigator for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida, are occurring more and more frequently.

"I've run into all kinds of cases with psychologists or counselors having sex with their patients, probably over 100 over the last few years," said Ken Kramer, an investigator for the commission who monitors state reports daily. "But what's really interesting about this case is that he faked documents to cover up his affair. I've never seen that before."

To keep his wife from finding out about his extramarital relationship, Weaver created billing records that indicated the patient received treatment through March 2004, according to the complaint.

In a settlement signed Sept. 12, Weaver acknowledged probable cause for the case against him but did not accept or deny the allegations. He refused to comment Wednesday to the Star-Banner.

Kramer believes that Weaver got off too easy.

"There's a lot more the board could have done, like take away his license," Kramer said. "If you sleep with a current patient, that's a felony. He changed his records to make her a current patient."

Read the original article here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Watchdog Says Omaha Mall Shootings Reflect Why They Launched Startling PSAs

How Many Antidepressant-Induced Massacres Will It Take To Get Federal Investigation?

LOS ANGELES: 19-year-old Robert Hawkins, who killed eight people and wounded five before committing suicide in an Omaha, Nebraska mall, appears to be the latest kid killer under the influence of psychiatric drugs (click here for CNN video) documented to cause violence, mania, psychosis, suicide and “homicidal ideation.” With ten recent school shooters under the influence of psychiatric drugs, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) a mental health watchdog, says the government can no longer ignore the violence inducing effects of these drugs and must launch a federal investigation. With 39 dead and 84 wounded from these ten recent drug-induced shootings alone, CCHR produced a series of three startling new PSAs, called “Get the Facts - Fight Back”, depicting the consequences of prescribing violence and suicide inducing psychiatric drugs to children and teens (click here to watch PSAs).

The groups says the evidence of drugs causing violence, murder and homicide is overwhelming – yet ignored due to billions in drug company/psychiatric profits. In September 2006, Dr. David Healy, director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine, and colleagues published the findings of their study of the antidepressant, Paxil, in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine stating: “We've got good evidence that the drugs can make people violent and you'd have to reason from that that there may be more episodes of violence.” (link)

Fox National News reporter Douglas Kennedy exposed the link between school shooters and antidepressant/psychiatric drug use in his ground breaking expose “Deadly Drugs” as far back as 2002. (link)

Despite the deadly side effects, antidepressants are commonly prescribed to children and teens, raking in $20.6 billion in profits worldwide in 2006. In the meantime, the senseless drug-induced violence continues, taking a heavy toll on our nation’s children and teens.

CCHR launched the PSAs to help galvanize the public to demand a federal investigation of the violence inducing effects of psychiatric drugs before more children and innocent bystanders are murdered. The group fought for more than a decade against vested psychiatric and pharmaceutical interests to have black box suicide warnings added to antidepressants, and was the first to expose the suicidal effects of the drugs in 1991 – 13 years before the government took action and finally issued the black box suicide warnings on all antidepressant drugs in 2004. Click here to watch a video of the 1991 FDA hearing on antidepressants and violence/suicide.

CCHR has also published a report Psychiatric Drugs and Anger Management Curricula—A Perspective on School Violence, which can be found by clicking here.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an international psychiatric watchdog group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. Contact CCHR's Media Department at 800-869-2247 or

Friday, December 07, 2007

Omaha Shooter Robert Hawkins Had Been "Treated" For ADHD, Depression

Read this right-on article about the shooting in Omaha by Mike Adams. It's at

Adams says (NewsTarget) America seems shocked that, yet again, a young male would pick up an assault rifle and murder his fellow citizens, then take his own life. This is what happened last night in Omaha, Nebraska, where the 19-year-old Hawkins killed himself and eight other people with an assault rifle. Those lacking keen observation skills are quick to blame guns for this tragedy, but others who are familiar with the history of such violent acts by young males instantly recognize a more sinister connection: A history of treatment with psychiatric drugs for depression and ADHD.

It all started in Columbine, Colorado, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold massacred their way into the history books on April 20, 1999 by killing 12 and wounding 23 people. The mainstream media virtually glorified the event, yet utterly failed to report the connection between violence in young men and treatment with psychiatric drugs. (Both Harris and Klebold were taking antidepressant drugs.)

It's a little known fact that antidepressant drugs have never been tested on children nor approved by the FDA for use on children. It is well established in the scientific literature, however, that such drugs cause young men to think violent thoughts and commit violent acts. This is precisely why the U.K. has outright banned the prescribing of such drugs to children. Yet here in the United States -- the capitol of gun violence by kids on depression drugs -- the FDA and drug companies pretend that mind-altering drugs have no link whatsoever to behavior.

Adams goes on to cite enormous evidence linking mind-altering drugs with violent acts.

The truth is coming out.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New CCHR Interview with Former Eli Lilly Drug Chemist

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) U.S. President Bruce Wiseman interviews chemist Shane Ellison in this new “Take America Back” radio show exposing the corruption within the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries. (link)

Ellison abandoned his career in manufacturing drugs for Eli Lilly when he discovered that the drugs he was making were not intended to cure real diseases. Instead, he discovered that “illnesses,” including ADHD and depression, were being invented and marketed to the population so that drugs could be sold to virtually any healthy individual. Ellison explains that the drugs often cause the very symptoms they are supposed to “cure”. After leaving the pharmaceutical industry, Ellison became an authority on therapeutic nutrition, starting a company that offers nutritional supplements and writing a book called Health Myths Exposed.

Wiseman points out that the black box warnings on antidepressants exemplifies how the drugs can cause serious side effects, including what they allegedly cure—antidepressants allegedly alleviate depression but in fact can cause suicidal thoughts and behavior. Confirming that none of the drugs are curing depression whatsoever, Ellison likens antidepressants to a chemical lobotomy.

With Pharma money and their lobbyists heavily influencing politicians, the host warns that two bills are currently pending in Congress forwarding the profitable lie that psychiatric diagnoses are real and need “treatment”.

Wiseman urges listeners to contact their federal representatives and insist that these measures are not passed: The Mental Health Parity Bill, which mandates that insurance cover psychiatric treatment equally with physical treatment, and the Mother’s Act, which supports “mental health screening” of new moms.

Click here to listen to the show.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Bipolar Kids or Bad Parents?

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Bipolar kids or bad parents?
At the urging of parents, doctors are medicating far too many kids who just need a better upbringing, according to
Dr. Elizabeth J. Roberts who is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and the author of "Should You Medicate Your Child's Mind?"
Sunday, November 18, 2007

In September 2007, researchers at Columbia University reported that there had been a 40-fold increase in the number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder from 1994 to 2003 -- an increase which has shown no signs of slowing.

Worse than the current frenzy to diagnose children with bipolar disorder is the practice of medicating kids as young as 2 with the kinds of psychiatric medications that were once prescribed only to psychotic adults. The shocking reality is that the use of these potent anti-psychotic drugs in children increased more than 500 percent between 1993 and 2002.

This dramatic rise in childhood bipolar disorder has spurred a raging debate in the mental health field. Some psychiatrists insist that this incredible increase is entirely due to the identification of mentally ill children who had been previously overlooked.

Yet a 4,000 percent increase in childhood mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, is simply implausible and difficult to justify based solely on improved diagnostic techniques. To the contrary, in the 30-plus years that I have been treating, educating and caring for children -- half of that time as a child psychiatrist -- I have found that the approach to diagnostics in psychiatry clearly has deteriorated over time, not improved.

There was a time when doctors insisted on hours of evaluation with a child and his parents before venturing a psychiatric diagnosis or prescribing a medication. Today many of my colleagues brag that they can complete an initial assessment of a child and write a prescription in less than 20 minutes. Many parents have told me it took a previous doctor less than five minutes to diagnose and medicate their child.

How, then, is it possible that in 2007 doctors are now able to identify hundreds of thousands of previously missed cases of bipolar disorder in children by reducing the time they spend with patients from multiple hours to just a few minutes?

On the other hand, there simply is no possible way that the number of children who actually have bipolar disorder has increased from approximately 20,000 to 800,000 in a nine-year period. Yet the arguments of skeptics are being dismissed by academics in psychiatry. Research psychiatrists appear to be more invested in defending their research conclusions -- funded by pharmaceutical companies -- than engaging in a meaningful discussion to examine these preposterous demographics.

What I find more astounding than the claim that there are 800,000 American children with bipolar disorder is the fact that there are that many children whose conduct is so aberrant that their parents are seeking psychiatric treatment for them.

The symptoms, which are regarded as evidence of bipolar disorder, usually are what most people recognize as ordinary belligerence. Children who have anger outbursts, who refuse to go to bed, who are moody and self-centered under the current standard of care in child psychiatry are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. To most rational human beings, these behaviors describe an ill-mannered, immature and poorly disciplined child. Nonetheless, the temper tantrums of belligerent children are increasingly being characterized by doctors as the mood swings of bipolar disorder.

The over-indulgent parenting practices of the past 20 years have created a generation of dysfunctional children who are becoming increasingly more entitled, defiant and oppositional. In a poll by Associated Press-Ipsos, 93 percent of people surveyed said that today's parents are not doing a good job when it comes to teaching their kids to behave. According to Dan Kindlon, a Harvard psychologist, 50 percent of the parents he interviewed described themselves as more permissive than their parents had been.

The permissive parents of spoiled children seek refuge from blame by using the excuse that their child's angry outbursts are the result of a chemical imbalance. Since a psychiatric condition is completely beyond a parent's control, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is the perfect alibi. Once a child has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a parent feels absolved of guilt or responsibility for the child's misbehavior and therefore, the parents' discipline practices cannot be called into question.

Parents looking for a psychiatric explanation for their child's misbehavior will find an abundance of support in the media and on the Web for the conclusion that their child's temper tantrums are due to a psychiatric disease rather than the result of bad parenting. Psychiatrists, for their part, are more than willing to accept, without question, the assessment offered by a parent. Doctors have found it easier and less contentious to comply with a parent's wish to have their child diagnosed with a psychiatric condition than to confront the parent with the notion that their own weak parenting is the root cause of the child's aberrant behavior.

Using the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, doctors then justify the sedation of these children with powerful psychiatric drugs. Even though some children treated with anti-psychotics may be temporarily sedated, their belligerent attitude continues unchanged. Of the many children I treat every year who had been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder, not one of them stopped throwing tantrums after being treated with psychiatric medications. Yet doctors continue to misdiagnose and overmedicate children to appease frustrated parents in spite of the many serious, permanent or even lethal side effects.

Tragically, as in the death of Rebecca Riley, her parents administered the multiple medications prescribed by their psychiatrist for Rebecca's "bipolar disorder" until the meds killed her. A few weeks ago, in an interview on 60 Minutes, Rebecca's mother told Katie Couric that she now believes that her four-year-old daughter had been misdiagnosed, had never been bipolar, and that Rebecca was simply mischievous.

When it comes to misdiagnosing and overmedicating children, doctors have an unwitting, though not unwilling, accomplice -- the parent. Ultimately, it is the parent who is the gatekeeper for their child's health-care delivery. It is the parent who pursues psychiatric treatment for their child, fills the prescriptions and administers the medications. Parents have a duty to protect their children from the folly of this disastrous approach to childhood behavior problems.

Instead of grooming, feeding and educating the next generation of Americans to be the fittest, brightest, most competent contributors on the planet, we have indulged, placated and spoiled our children into dysfunctional misfits. We are teaching our children to use a psychiatric diagnosis to excuse their antisocial behaviors. This will inevitably lead to a greater reliance on psychiatric medications, which unfortunately do not endow an individual with improved self-control or maturity.

Under the guise of treating childhood bipolar disorder, the spoiling of American children not only undermines their healthy social development, but it also puts them at great risk for the serious medical complications inherent in the use of psychiatric medications, including death.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another Psychiatrist Child-Abuser Goes To Jail

Texas Psych Rape Law Bags Another Mental Health Provider

McAllen, Texas - A Hidalgo County jury today sentenced licensed professional counselor Sigifredo Flores, 52, of Progreso Lakes, to 27 years in prison for sexually assaulting patients in his care. An investigation by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) revealed that Flores sexually abused two children and two adults during counseling sessions. This is the latest prosecution under Texas’s psych rape law, which makes it a criminal offense for mental health professionals to have sexual relations with patients.

“For a mental health practitioner to take sexual liberties with a patient is one of the more reprehensible acts of psychiatric abuse,” said Jerry Boswell, President of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights Texas. “I have to say that a long sentence like this was the end result we envisioned when we helped get the psych rape law passed in the early 1990’s. When you think of the incredible position of power and trust that these people hold, and the utterly dependent nature of their patients, we must send a strong message that if you work in mental health and engage in such egregious behavior, you will go to jail for a very long time.”

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Psychiatrists Reach For The Jackpot

Psychiatrists are presently trying to push through Congress a bill called "Mental Health Parity" which puts mental health on a footing with conventional medical care. This is in spite of the fact that mental "diseases" are a matter of opinion, and can't be proven or disproven scientifically. With a free ticket to treat anyone who has a mental disease, all any mental health practitioner has to do is opinionate that someone has xxx wrong with them, and the bill gets paid by insurance companies. It would be impossible, or at least fraud, for a doctor to claim you have appendicitis when you don't and charge for an operation. But in the murky world of mental health, the situation is much more ambiguous. Here's a letter from the president of the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights regarding lobbying efforts to defeat this bill. It includes a request for help. Do so if you can.

The billing bible would be DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Edition IV) which lists all the supposed psychiatric illnesses. The disorders in this manual are put there by vote, literally. By a show of hands. Someone makes a speech about some new mental syndrome at a national convention, then the people present vote on whether that syndrome should be included as a legitimate psychiatric disease! No blood test, no CT Scan, nothing. Just opinion.

Dear Friend and Supporter,

The federal Mental Health Parity bill is rearing its ugly head once again – and this time it’s closer than ever to being passed. In fact, the Senate has already passed their version of the bill, and the House has passed it through one subcommittee and a full committee. It is expected to come to the floor of the House for a vote within the next two weeks! Mental Health Parity in the House bill (H.R. 1424) would mean that insurance should be mandated to cover treatment of all 374 mental disorders in psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) at a cost of more than $23 billion to taxpayers over the next 10 years.

Psychiatrists now market the bogus idea that DSM-IV disorders such as “Expressive Writing Disorder,” “Mathematics Disorder,” “Caffeine Withdrawal,” “Phase of Life Problem,” and “Sibling Relational Problem,” are as legitimate as cancer and diabetes. By lobbying heavily for the political enforcement of these diagnoses through mandated mental health parity, psychiatry makes certain that millions of lives conform to its standard for "treatment" with drugs.

While these "disorders" could be considered laughable by any rational individual, if mandated mental health parity goes through with DSM-IV in it, psychiatry will be doing the laughing—all the way to the bank. None of the disorders can be medically proven.

Enormous pressure has been brought to bear on politicians by psychiatry's alarmist statements and statistics about the state of mental health in our nation. Members of the Senate passed their version of mental health parity, sensibly without covering the entire DSM-IV. However, the House version does contain DSM-IV and we need help to get it taken out of the bill!

Don’t underestimate the power that you as an individual can add to this forward push right now. With your help CCHR can take very aggressive action toward stopping this bill in its tracks as it is written.

To right this atrocity, we’re organizing professionals to go and educate members of Congress immediately with data on how absurd it would be to cover the entire DSM-IV. We’re also producing an updated White Paper on Mental Health Parity that will need to be printed and sent to every member of the House (all 435) early next week so they have the true data on what this bill, as is, will do.

This is a major battle. Win this one and we have a very substantial win for our families, our futures, and ourselves. Thus, we need as much help as we can get to pull it off. Donations of $1,000 or more receive a special commendation. Your donation could actually make the difference in whether or not we have that win.


Bruce Wiseman
President CCHR for U.S.

Make a Donation by Calling

Or go to

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Prozac and Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Causes Internal Bleeding

A drug from the class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil, added to a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as Motrin, Aspirin or Celebrex, can interact to increase the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding, according to a report in current issue of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

"Before I did this study, I didn't worry at all when I saw patients who were on combination SSRIs and NSAIDs," Dr. Yoon K. Loke from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK told Reuters Health. "Now that I have seen the fairly substantial excess risk (beyond even what I had imagined beforehand), physicians should carefully review the patients' charts — do they need to be on these drugs (at all), or are there safer alternatives?"

Loke and colleagues conducted a review to investigate the risk of upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage with SSRIs and to evaluate the possibility of an interaction between SSRIs and NSAIDs contributing to such bleeding.

The researchers analyzed the findings of four studies containing 153,000 patients and found that those taking SSRIs alone had 2.4-times the risk of upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage and those taking NSAIDs alone had 3.2-times the risk. However, in patients taking both SSRIs and NSAIDs the risk of upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage was 6.3-times greater than normal.

Based on these findings, the investigators estimate that a patient would most likely develop a problem after taking an SSRI 318 times per year. However, for those taking both drugs, they would only need to take them 82 times before an adverse evident would occur, Lok's group predicts.

For those with other risk factors for gastrointestinal bleeding, the number would be even lower, the researchers estimate.

In postmarketing reports to regulatory agencies, the average time to occurrence of upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage was after 25 weeks of SSRI treatment, with 38 percent of the reported cases occurring in patients younger than 60 years.

"Fewer people might be harmed from drug overdose with SSRIs (than with tricyclic antidepressants), but this is very likely to be counterbalanced by an excess of admissions with GI bleeding (thus increasing the costs and workload of the health service, and reducing the cost-effectiveness of the drug)," Loke said.

If a patient had "depression and arthritis, (both of which are very common), alarm bells would now ring in my mind and I would think carefully about which drugs to use," Loke said. "The benefit-to-harm profile needs to be thoroughly considered, given the substantial risks of harm here."

SOURCE: Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, October 5, 2007.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pharma Hand Seen Behind Alarmist Suicide Statistics

Best Syndication ran the article, "Pharma Hand Seen Behind Alarmist Suicide Statistics" regarding the fact that long before The New York Times reported this month that youth suicides were up 8% from 2003 to 2004 and experts blamed an "antidepressant deficiency," Big Pharma was trying to plant the story.

The suicide increases actually correlated with a period of increased use of antidepressants, not decreased use.

The article covers the series of articles in scientific publications that set the stage for the final American Journal of Psychiatry study (that has now been discredited in other media reports) entitled "Early Evidence on the Effects of Regulators' Suicidality Warnings on SSRI Prescriptions and Suicide in Children and Adolescents." In her article, Martha Rosenberg exposes the financial conflicts of interest that many of the psychiatrists who wrote the reports had with the pharmaceutical industry. The first article in the series was written by a consultant to Eli Lilly, and was followed by an article written by four representatives of a private "drug development services" company called Quintiles Transnational.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FYI: CHADD is one the biggest Pharma front groups around. Read the following article which is by a colleague of mine and pass it far and wide. The heavy metals, allergies, and nutritional testing is definitely the way to go for ADHD symptoms. The ADHD pharmacologics have never been proven effective and are extremely dangerous to our children as you know! --Gwen

Why was Steve Plog fired by ChADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) for talking about lab tests & nutrition?

My name is Steven Plog. In Jan of 2006, I served as the Las Vegas coordinator for ChADD
My position lasted just 30 days.

I'm 52 now, but at the age of 39 in a 30 minute interview with a psychiatrist recommended to me
by ChADD in Chicago, I was diagnosed by a visual evaluation as having "so-called ADD" and
given a prescription of Ritalin. Later I found out I was toxic and suffering from nutrient depletions,
not a neurotransmitter malfunction in my brain, that was diagnosed by simply talking to me.

ChADD claims to be a grass-roots support group for persons with “so-called” ADD, like me.
My firing for talking about nutrition proves that ChADD, in fact, is not a grass-roots group at
all, but is simply a front group for the psycho-pharmaceutical industry and drug companies,
working to forward their specific messages and increase profits.

I'm now founder of The Results Project a non-profit organization who
is dedicated to getting people a proper diagnosis using lab tests, not visual evaluations.

In Sept of 2005 Heather Rockow then ChADD Coordinator for Las Vegas came to my meeting
where I presented lab test for symptoms of hyperactivity, depression, mood swings, attention
span etc.(With information from the lab tests, nutrition is the next step, not drugs. FYI)

Heather realized I had better information and better science than she was being sent by
ChADD and joined my 4 month program to help her husband, who was on 7 prescription
drugs per day and had been for 20 years. Turns out he was high in toxic metals and suffered
from multiple delayed food allergies. Dr. Robert Ellsworth, the doctor who orders the tests
said that after looking at the lab results stated that none of these results could be treated
with drugs, in fact they would make them worse.

Later, Heather stepped down from ChADD and recommenced me for the position.

I became the ChADD Chapter Coordinator for Las Vegas on January 1, 2006. Thinking
that other ChADD Coordinators might want this information like Heather did I called ChADD
HQ and asked if I could put a full page, full color ad in their ChADD magazine for a full year
about nutrition and lab tests.They said, "No".

When I asked why, they said all of their magazines are donated, and only the donors get their
info published. Big Pharma, selling Ritalin, Adderall etc., is the donor.

I then asked if I could donate an alternative magazine that I fund and send to ChADD Coordinators
to distribute for free to parents with info on lab tests and nutrition just like the drug companies.
They said, "No".

When I asked why, ChADD contends that they only distribute information that has science behind it,
and nutrition has none. Zero, Zip, Zilch. I said, "What about the over 100,000 published research
papers in major medical journals like JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, of which many are by Nobel Prize Winners in Medicine?"

ChADD replied that the subject is closed for discussion and hung up on me.

Later they found out I was talking about lab tests and nutrition in my ChADD weekly meetings in
Vegas and terminated me as the Coordinator.

Ruth Hughes Deputy CEO of ChADD personally called me up to fire me. We talked for an hour and I
brought up multiple references such as:

American Naturopathic Medical Association (ANMA) (
American Association of Orthomolecular Physicians (
Institute for Traditional Medicine ( )
American Nutraceutical Association (ANA) ( )

I told Ruth there's more proof from labs that nutrition works than there is proof that Lincoln was ever
president of the US. For an hour I brought up fact after fact that she couldn't dispute so she would
say; "We'll have to agree to disagree."

I also pointed out the ChADD Motto right out of their Coordinator Manual states:

"It is the philosophy of ChADD that persons seeking information, non-judgmental support and education
about AD/HD be able to participate in a setting which is non-discriminatory and promotes recognized
best practices."
Link from Manual

When I asked, "Wouldn't lab tests recognized by the FDA, AMA and NIH as "best practices" qualify to
be presented to parents in an unbiased ChADD meeting?"

She said, "We'll have to agree to disagree."

When I asked if I could bring outside materials to the open meetings Ruth said, "No products can be
sold in ChADD meetings." I asked why then meetings I've been to in Orlando & Dallas had drug reps
in the meeting presenting?" Ruth said, "We'll have to agree to disagree," fired me and hung up.
Termination Letter: Last week I sent out an invitation to over 100 ChADD Coordinators across America after getting their
contact info from their website inviting them to my EXPO featuring speakers from top labs in the country.

This EXPO is open to parents, teachers, doctors and child advocates dealing with "so-called ADD"
What's Causing My Symptoms? Sept. 14th Las Vegas.
(If you would like to attend the Vegas EXPO click the above link)

The invitation stated that as a ChADD Coordinator they could attend for FREE and then I gave them a
link with all the speakers. ( )

These labs provide tests to measure sugar levels, food allergies, hormone levels, metal toxicity, nutrient
depletions, serotonin levels and anti-oxidants. These lab tests can point to physical causes for symptoms
such as bad memory, low attention span, hyperactivity, mood swings, anger, depression, fatigue,
restlessness, headaches, insomnia.

They also show that Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta & Prozac are not needed at all. Once the nutritional
deficiencies are addressed, most if not all of the symptoms disappear.

Their response? 100% turned me down and 5 threatened me for emailing them the invitation. Why would
100% of the people who supposedly care about children, not want to see evidence based solutions to
safely reverse a child's symptoms?

ChADD is a big supporter of TeenScreen another Big Pharma backed program that will have children
take a simple 20 question test and then if the laymen who scores it gets the score they want, that
child will be sent to a psychiatrist who will give them a visual evaluation with no lab testing and then
according to the latest study by, J AM Academy Adolescent Psychiatry 2002; 41:123-130
"9 out of 10 new psychiatrist will be put those children on drugs."

ChADD is just another front group for Big Pharma, which uses psychiatry to sell unnecessary,
dangerous, mind-altering drugs to children. They have over 20,000 members who are being told
that lab tests are unreliable and a psychiatrist visual evaluation is science and the drugs are
for an unseen mental problem.

If your doctor looked at you and said you had cancer (without conducting any tests) would you believe the diagnosis? Why then when a psychiatrist looks at you and says you need Ritalin, do you believe it?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Story Of A Small Boy

I just got this email. It's not really on line with our core message, which is the fact that SSRI anti-depressants, far from healing people mentally, make homicidal and suicidal killing machines. But this message certainly communicates the insanity that has infiltrated our society and our school system. It illustrates the problem with psych-oriented society and education:

Another success story- Many more need our help!

This young boy was only 2 years old when the pre-school teacher told his mom that he was not "fitting in". He was not willing to sing his "ABC" song, although he knew his alphabet perfectly. He apparently didn't glue things "correctly" on a page, and that was unsatisfactory to the teacher.

This young boy was put on an amphetamine drug that caused him to have severe weight loss, sleepless nights and his heart beating out of his chest, all upon the recommendation of a psychologist who said her son had ADHD.

This type of thing occurs on a regular basis!

This mom was fortunate in that she recognized the need to seek an alternative health practitioner who could help her son to safely get off of the drug and to get on a natural protocol to help heal the body.

This mom is now one of CCHR Florida's biggest and most helpful advocates!

I am asking you to come by my office or call me. I would like to have the opportunity to fill you in on what we are doing, as a team, to eradicate the harmful practices in the field of mental health.

One more person can make a difference and you can be that one person to join our team!

CCHR Florida has many different projects that can be done in life, at home, in our office, yet these projects need to be manned up.

Experience the pride of working with a team that gets the job done!

Call now or come by the office!

Laurie Anspach
Executive Director
CCHR Florida
1217 N. Ft. Harrison Ave., Clearwater

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Court Records Show Psych Drugs Involved In School Shooting


Asa Coon May Be Another Teen Under

the Influence of Psychiatric Drugs Resulting

in 29 Dead and 68 Wounded.

Cleveland juvenile court records obtained by the psychiatric watchdog group Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) show that Asa Coon, the 14-year-old Ohio school shooter who wounded four before taking his own life on Wednesday, had been prescribed psychiatric drugs including Trazodone, an antidepressant, and Clonidine, prescribed for “ADHD.” Although The New York Times reported that Coon had refused to take his “medication,” it failed to mention that the court records also state that the “Child shall be evaluated by a psychiatrist to review his medication and he shall follow all recommendations, including taking medications as prescribed.” This was in June 2006, and by November, the court determined that these conditions were met and the boy’s probation was consequently terminated.

CCHR’s long-standing investigation into the correlation between suicidal and homicidal effects of antidepressant drugs, predating the FDA's black box suicide warnings by more than 15 years, maintains that the drugs are often linked to acts of senseless violence yet this fact is often swept under the rug. Recent school shootings by teens under the influence of psychiatric drugs, documented by the FDA to cause suicidal behavior, mania, psychosis, hallucinations, hostility and “homicidal ideation,” have resulted in 29 dead and 68 wounded. With many other school shooters, their psychiatric drug use has never received the investigation merited by the violence-inducing effects of the drugs. Frequently, toxicology reports or medical records are never disclosed, or in the case of Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, toxicology tests were only done on blood and not tissue, which would reveal if the shooter was experiencing violent withdrawal symptoms. A thorough toxicology report was merited by Cho’s former roommate’s observation of the shooter taking “prescription medication” as part of his daily routine, along with the fact that Cho’s records reveal he was prescribed psychiatric drugs in high school.

School shootings committed by individuals under the influence of psychiatric drugs include:

March 21, 2005: Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota: 16-year-old Jeff Weise, reportedly under the influence of the antidepressant Prozac, went on a shooting rampage at home and at his school, killing nine people and wounding seven before committing suicide.

April 10, 2001: Wahluke, Washington: 16-year-old Cory Baadsgaard took a rifle to his high school, and held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage while on a high dose of the antidepressant Effexor.

March 22, 2001: El Cajon, California: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman was on two antidepressants, Effexor and Celexa, when he opened fire at his California high school wounding five.

May 20, 1999: Conyers, Georgia: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with a mix of antidepressants when he opened fire on and wounded 6 of his classmates.

April 20, 1999: Columbine, Colorado: 18-year-old Eric Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox when he and his partner Dylan Klebold killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 26 others before taking their own lives. The coroner confirmed that the antidepressant was in his system through toxicology reports while Dylan Klebold’s autopsy was never made public.

May 21, 1998: Springfield, Oregon: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his own parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 22. Kinkel had been on Prozac.

Following the Red Lake Indian Reservation shooting in September 2005, the National Foundation of Women Legislators, together with American Indian tribal leaders, called for a Congressional investigation into the correlation between psychiatric drug use and school massacres. However, Congress has yet to investigate the psychiatric drug link to these senseless acts of violence. According to CCHR, an immediate Congressional investigation into this link is necessary to help prevent further tragedies in our nation’s schools.

For more information, read CCHR’s publication, Psychiatric Drugs and Anger Management Curricula—A Perspective on School Violence.

Monday, October 08, 2007

More Psychiatrists In Hot Water

There are now over 1700 entries on the public records page:

State suspends Vero Beach psychiatrist's license after NYC charges revealed

By James Kirley
October 5, 2007
Vero Beach

The Florida Department of Health issued an emergency suspension of a Vero Beach psychiatrist's medical license this week after learning the doctor pleaded "not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect" to charges that he tried to kidnap a 2-year-old from his mother in New York City last year.

The doctor later told a court he thought the mother was from outer space. Dr. William John Johns III, 35, has been incarcerated in New York since his arrest in July 2006. "He believed he was a character in a movie and that other people were actually actors observing him," the order reads. Some time later, Johns reportedly drove to New York City. Along the way he tore a medication patch from his arm, heard voices and thought he was Jesus Christ, the order states

Psychiatrist Reprimanded!?!? in 2002 Drug Intoxication Death

Dr. Charles Dack of Lakeland must pay a $6,000 fine and attend classes.
By Robin Williams Adams
October 6, 2007
The Ledger - Orlando

A Lakeland psychiatrist brought before the Florida Board of Medicine on Friday after one of his patients died of "multiple drug intoxication" will get a reprimand, pay a $6,000 fine and attend classes intended to prevent similar situations.

Dack treated a woman for seven years for depression and back pain. Before her death in March 2002, the state's administrative complaint said, she was on 1,300 milligrams of morphine a day and on 300 milligrams a day of Elavil, an antidepressant that also can be used to treat chronic pain. In addition to those drugs, Dack also prescribed other medicines.

Story here:

Friday, October 05, 2007

A Congressman Speaks Out On Big Pharma's Pet Plan

Ron Paul's

Texas Straight Talk

A Weekly Column


Congressional Control of Health Care is Dangerous for Children

This week Congress is again grasping for more control over the health of American children with the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Parents who think federally subsidized health care might be a good idea should be careful what they wish for.

Despite political rhetoric about a War on Drugs, federally-funded programs result in far more teenage drug use than the most successful pill pusher on the playground. These pills are given out as a result of dubious universal mental health screening programs for school children, supposedly directed toward finding mental disorders or suicidal tendencies. The use of antipsychotic medication in children has increased fivefold between 1995 and 2002. More than 2.5 million children are now taking these medications, and many children are taking multiple drugs at one time.

With universal mental health screening being implemented in schools, pharmaceutical companies stand to increase their customer base even more, and many parents are rightfully concerned. Opponents of one such program called TeenScreen, claim it wrongly diagnoses children as much as 84% of the time, often incorrectly labeling them, resulting in the assigning of medications that can be very damaging. While we are still awaiting evidence that there are benefits to mental health screening programs, evidence that these drugs actually cause violent psychotic episodes is mounting.

Many parents have very valid concerns about the drugs to which a child labeled as “suicidal” or “depressed,” or even ADHD, could be subjected. Of further concern is the subjectivity of diagnosis of mental health disorders. The symptoms of ADHD are strikingly similar to indications that a child is gifted, and bored in an unchallenging classroom. In fact, these programs, and many of the syndromes they attempt to screen for, are highly questionable. Parents are wise to question them.

As it stands now, parental consent is required for these screening programs, but in some cases mere passive consent is legal. Passive consent is obtained when a parent receives a consent form and fails to object to the screening. In other words, failure to reply is considered affirmative consent. In fact, TeenScreen advocates incorporating their program into the curriculum as a way to by-pass any consent requirement. These universal, or mandatory, screening programs being called for by TeenScreen and the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health should be resisted.

Consent must be express, written, voluntary and informed. Programs that refuse to give parents this amount of respect, should not receive federal funding. Moreover, parents should not be pressured into screening or drugging their children with the threat that not doing so constitutes child abuse or neglect. My bill, The Parental Consent Act of 2007 is aimed at stopping federal funding of these programs.

We don’t need a village, a bureaucrat, or the pharmaceutical industry raising our children. That’s what parents need to be doing.

Bad Drugs Getting Bad Press

The press is catching on about Prozac and other psychiatric drugs and their ill effects. Here are some examples of recent articles:

. The New York Times ran an article entitled "Senators Seek Public Listing of Payments to Doctors" regarding the bill introduced by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) that require the makers of drugs and medical devices to report publicly nearly all payments and gifts to doctors. The bill results from growing concerns that free meals and consulting payments-which in some cases have exceeded $100,000 annually-lead doctors to prescribe more expensive drugs and devices, increasing the costs of health care and sometimes endangering patients. Companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues would have to make quarterly disclosures of gifts or payments that exceed $25, and the reports would be posted on a website. "Right now, the public has no way to know whether a doctor's been given money that might affect prescribing habits," said Senator Charles E.
Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee and one of the bill's authors.

. The Chicago Tribune published an article entitled, "Drug-related deaths, injuries reported to FDA surged between 1998-2005, study finds:
Report expected to add momentum to push in Washington to reform the federal government's monitoring of prescription drugs." A new study in the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine found that the number of serious drug injuries and deaths reported to the FDA have already more than doubled between 1998 and 2005. This information adds to a growing momentum for Congress to enact strong monitoring of prescription drugs by the FDA.
Senator Charles Grassley stated, "This report is another indication that the FDA's post-market review of drugs must be rigorous and timely. The FDA needs to commit itself to considering and acting on the additional data gathered from more adverse events being reported considering the deaths associated with these adverse drug events.",0,1014894.story

. ran an article entitled "Antidepressant Use and Conflicts of Interest" about the controversy over the financial conflicts of interest between the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries. The journalist, Ed Silverman, points out that (at least) two of the authors of a recent pro-psych study have ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

. RxPG News ran an article entitled "Depression: SSRI anti-depressants may cause stillbirth" about how women who take antidepressants during pregnancy face the risk of a stillborn baby, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Canadian researchers at the University of Ottawa compared the health of babies born to
972 women taking SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) with that of babies born to mothers who did not use anti-depressants. They found that women using the drugs were twice as likely to have a stillbirth, and were twice as likely to have a low birth weight baby and also more likely to have seizures. depressants_may_cause_stillbirth_3965_3965.shtml

. FOX News ran an article on its website entitled "Anna Nicole Smith Psychiatrist Forced to Close Office Amid Financial Woes" regarding how Dr.
Khristine Eroshevic, who wrote 11 different prescriptions for Smith, has already closed one of her offices due to a current Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation. The psychiatrist blames it on bad press and the fallout from being accused of filling a medicine cabinet on behalf of Smith.,2933,295785,00.html

. ran an article entitled "Food Additives Could Fuel Hyperactivity in Kids-Study makes first link between colorings, preservatives and behavioral woes" that covers how British researchers found some common food colorings and preservatives appear to increase the risk of hyperactive behavior among children. The link between food additives and hyperactivity has long been suspected, but this is the first study to show a direct connection. In the study, published in the Sept. 6 issue of The Lancet, researchers gave drinks containing additives to 297 children. The children were in two groups: 3 year olds and 8 and 9 year olds. The drinks contained artificial food coloring and additives such as sodium benzoate, a preservative. As a control, some children were given drinks without additives. Over the six weeks of the trial, researchers found that children in both age groups who drank the drinks containing additives displayed significantly more hyperactive behavior. These children also had shorter attention spans.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another State Sues Eli Lilly Over Zyprexa

Arkansas is planning a lawsuit against Eli Lilly, Janssen Pharmaceutica and Astra Zeneca for “improper and unlawful marketing” of anti-psychotic drugs. The drugs in question are Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel. The Medicaid program of Arkansas has spent $200 million on those drugs over the last eight years and, under Arkansas’ Medicaid fraud law, the state could collect three times that much.

You can find copies of the lawsuits other states have filed here: along with newspaper articles.

The tally so far?

8 States have sued Eli Lilly regarding Zyprexa: Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia.

3 states have sued Janssen regarding Risperdal: Louisiana, Texas and Pennsylvania

1 state has sued AstraZeneca regarding Seroquel: Pennsylvania

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
State plans lawsuit against drug firms
September 22, 2007

Attorney General Dustin Mc-Daniel told lawmakers Friday he’s planning a lawsuit against three major pharmaceutical manufacturers over a “marketing scheme” for anti-psychotic drugs paid for by the state Medicaid program.

Some taking the drugs shouldn’t have been given them and have developed side effects, he said.

McDaniel told the Legislative Council he could seek as much as $ 600 million for the state and that he’s taking the unusual step of contracting with a private law firm to take the lead in the litigation. He said the firm, Bailey Perrin Bailey LLP of Houston, will bear all the expenses and its fee will be 15 percent of the award.

“It’s extraordinarily reasonable for the quality of work we’re going to get,” McDaniel said. “This particular matter is so large that frankly the AG’s office could not handle it internally. If [the suit ] is not successful we don’t owe a dollar.”

He said the firm is handling similar litigation for six other states.

A national coalition of about 30 state attorneys general is involved in a similar investigation of anti-psychotic drug marketing but McDaniel said he declined to join that effort because he feared Arkansas would “be lost in the shuffle.”

McDaniel said Gov. Mike Beebe was satisfied that the state needed outside help in the case. Lawmakers voiced no objections.

The lawsuit should be filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court within three to four weeks, a spokesman for McDaniel said.

A letter McDaniel wrote to the council says “substantial evidence” exists to support a claim by the state for “improper and unlawful marketing” of anti-psychiotic drugs by Eli Lilly & Co. of Indianapolis; Janssen Pharmaceutica of Titusville, N. J.; and Astra Zeneca, an international company formed by the union of a United Kingdom firm and a Swedish firm.

The drugs in question are Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel.

Officials with those companies didn’t return telephone messages left by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

McDaniel told reporters after the meeting that researchers have known since the 1950 s that anti-psychotic drugs had serious side effects, including weight gain, hypoglycemia and Type II diabetes.

“What [the three companies ] did was intentionally hide that and downplayed the efficacy of alternatives,” he said.

McDaniel said the companies engaged in a “marketing scheme that was very effective to where a drug that was never approved by the [federal Food and Drug Administration ] for children... the elderly... or run of the mill behavioral disorders like depression, all of a sudden was touted to America’s doctors, Arkansas ’ doctors, as a miracle drug. So, a child that has [attention deficit disorder ] is taking a drug that was never authorized for that child, causing serious complications... that could last a lifetime.”

He said the state Medicaid program has spent $ 200 million on those drugs over the last eight years and, under Arkansas’ Medicaid fraud law, the state could collect three times that much.

But it’s unclear at this point what percentage of those Medicaid prescriptions were necessary and what percentage were improper, said McDaniel’s chief deputy, Justin Allen.

A McDaniel spokesman couldn’t say late Friday what the statute of limitations is on Medicaid fraud cases.

McDaniel said what generally happens is that pharmaceutical representatives will push doctors to prescribe the drugs based on what the company tells them.

“Technically, does the doctor have liability if he thereafter prescribes it ? Maybe, but the concern for the state is the overall marketing scheme, and those who made profit over it,” he said. “The [state ] Medical Board should certainly give consideration regarding how much trust is placed in pharmaceutical reps.”

McDaniel said the prescriptions in questions were “off-label.”

Scott Smith, a lobbyist for the Arkansas Medical Society, a doctors’ trade association, said that means for uses not approved by the FDA.

“It’s my understanding that physicians can prescribe medicines for uses not approved by the FDA for a particular ailment but the distinction is that pharmaceutical companies are not supposed to be marketing physicians for that,” Smith said.

Waiting for FDA approval before prescribing the drugs can take years and waiting could mean “life or death” for some patients, he said.

Smith said he hasn’t heard of any problems with Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel in Arkansas.

Officials at the Arkansas State Medicaid Board couldn’t be reached for comment late Friday.

According to a St. Petersburg Times report in July, the Medicaid program in Florida last year spent $ 27. 5 million on anti-psychotic drugs for children, an increase of nearly 500 percent over the last seven years.

That report said that Medicaid and insurance programs have pushed the drugs as a less costly alternative to psychotherapy for children, but some psychiatrists say the drugs are too risky for children because the young patients’ brains are still developing.

Arkansas Medicaid Director Roy Jeffus and a Department of Human Services spokesman didn’t return messages Friday.

During the legislative meeting, Sen. Ruth Whitaker, R-Cedarville, asked McDaniel about the law firm’s qualifications.

McDaniel said he started working on the issue in the days before he was sworn in in January. He said only about eight firms nationwide are qualified to handle such litigation. He said he interviewed applicants for the contract “exhaustively” and the Houston firm rose to the top because it is already working on the issue in representing Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Alaska, New Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The other firms that applied for the contract were: The Miller Firm LLC of Orange, Va. Allen L. Rothenbert P. C. of Yardley, Pa. Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler LLP of Radnor, Pa. Heninger Garrison Davis LLC of Birmingham, Ala.

“This is going to be massive litigation and it was not selected willy-nilly,” he told Whitaker.

McDaniel emphasized that his office, not the Houston firm, would have final say on major decisions involving the lawsuit.

Problems arose in 1998 when former Attorney General Winston Bryant arranged for a San Diego firm to help him in the state’s litigation against tobacco companies. But Bryant never used the firm and settled the litigation along with other states. Arkansas’ expected take was between $ 50 million and $ 60 million a year. The firm sued the state, saying it had done work for Arkansas and deserved to be compensated, but the state prevailed in court.

Since then, the attorney general’s office has only used one private firm on a contingency basis and that was under Attorney General Mark Pryor and involved asbestos claims. That was Dies & Hile LLP of Orange, Texas, said spokesman Gabe Holmstrom.

McDaniel said he expects no problems with the Houston firm.

“This law firm has never contributed to my campaigns... nor the lawyers in the firm, nor their spouses, nor their kids, I think,” he told reporters. “If there is a kid or a cousin that slipped through we didn’t know about it.” Information for this article was contributed by Laura Kellams of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.