Friday, January 18, 2008

Mental Health Watchdog Vindicated

New Report Confirms Psychiatric Drug Risks Kept Buried by Vested Interests

LOS ANGELES: After decades of warning the public that vested interests were burying psychiatric drug risks, vehemently denied by the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industires, the mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) says new research published Jan 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine vindicates their demands for full public disclosure.

CCHR has filed Freedom of Information requests to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adverse reactions reports of antidepressants, helped to orchestrate FDA hearings into the suicidal side effects of antidepressants and filed complaints to government officials and agencies about the conflicts of interest of FDA advisory committee members ignoring the drugs' side effects. In addition, CCHR has issued numerous publications about the cover-up of psychiatric drug side effects and has filed complaints worldwide with licensing boards and other agencies on behalf of people harmed by psychiatric drugs including stimulants, antidepressants and antipsychotics.

Now, a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled, “Selective Publication of Antidepressant Trials and Its Influence on Apparent Efficacy,” has revealed that negative studies on antidepressants are either not being published, or are skewed in a way that makes them appear positive. (See stories running on Fox National News, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal) CCHR says the psychiatric-pharmaceutical cartel is not only misleading the public about the drugs, but also about the disorders for which they are prescribed.

Just this month, U.S. News and World Report confirmed that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) failed to fully disclose the substantial pharmaceutical ties of its task force members, charged with updating and expanding psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, comprised of subjective checklists of symptoms which are then used to categorize new “mental disorders” and bill insurance companies. Even high-ranking psychiatrists such as Steven Sharfstein, former president of the APA, have pointed out the financial corruption in their field. In 2006, Sharfstein admitted, “We have allowed ourselves to be corrupted in this marketplace with lucrative consulting to industry, speaker panels, boards of directors and visits from industry representatives bearing gifts.”

For more information on the financial ties between psychiatrists and drug manufacturers, read CCHR’s publication, Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual Link to Drug Manufacturers.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

And Now It's On Reuters...

This one is blowing up big. Reuters is now carrying the story. One version of it, on AOL, says, "Data on Antidepressants Often Shelved".

In the story, the statistics are incredible. "Nearly a third of antidepressant drugs studies are never published in the medical literature and nearly all happen to show that the drug being tested did not work..." according to the story.

Of 74 studies for 12 antidepressant drugs, 38 produced positive results. All but one of these were published. But only 3 of the 36 studies with negative or questionable results, as assessed by the FDA, were published, and another 11 were written as if the drug had worked when in fact the results of the studies were negative.

Making this data broadly public is a vital step in the right direction. Those of us who have been involved in this movement for a long time already knew this, but not enough people were aware of it. Legislators who want to have the government pay for psychiatric drugs don't know it, for instance.

It's time for a system overhaul.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Worm Turns On Public Perception Of Big Pharma

The winds are changing. I saw an episode of Law and Order where the detectives were investigating a series of suicides at a university and traced it to trials of an antidepressant. They further found that the drug company had mounted a series of trials, but bad results vis-a-vis suicide had caused them to brush the previous trials under a rug. They continued to start new trials in the hope that one would be positive so they could publish it. So they arraigned the CEO of the pharmaceutical company for murder!

And only one day later I found an article in the Wall Street Journal: Antidepressants Under Scrutiny Over Efficacy. The subheading is even more heartening: Sweeping Overview Suggests Suppression of Negative Data Has Distorted View of Drugs.

The article addresses the very issue raised dramatically in the Law and Order episode -- the manipulation of multiple trials to showcase the ones that are positive and scuttle the ones that are negative.

The WSJ Online requires a subscription, but if you have one, read the story. It's at