Thursday, July 29, 2010

Drugging Kids With No Verifiable Disease

Evelyn Pringle April 20, 2009

Psychiatry’s marketing strategy is to invent diagnoses out of thin air and call them diseases as an excuse to prescribe drugs, according to Dr Fred Baughman, author of The ADHD Fraud.

Last year, he helped a Canadian father, whose son had been diagnosed with multiple mental disorders write an inquiry to Health Canada, an agency similar to the FDA, asking for information on ways to validate a mental illness diagnosis. Health Canada responded with a letter dated November 10, 2008, which stated in part:

“For mental/psychiatric disorders in general, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and ADHD, there are no confirmatory gross, microscopic or chemical abnormalities that have been validated for objective physical diagnosis.  Rather, diagnoses of possible mental conditions are described strictly in terms of patterns of symptoms that tend to cluster together.” 

Dr Baughman then wrote a similar inquiry to FDA Commissioner, Andrew von Eschenbach, and forwarded a copy of the letter from Health Canada. Donald Dobbs from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, who consulted with the FDA's new drug review division, responded to Dr Baughman's inquiry by stating:

“…they concurred with the response you enclosed from Health Canada. Psychiatric disorders are diagnosed based on a patient's presentation of symptoms that the larger psychiatric community has come to accept as real and responsive to treatment. We have nothing more to add to Health Canada's response.” 

"Once children are diagnosed with a mental disorder, that label stays with them throughout their school and medical history," Dr Baughman warns.

"If they are made to take addictive stimulants or other dangerous psychiatric drugs, they are victims of the biggest health care fraud in history," he advises.

In an April 19, 2009 commentary on the Discover and Recover website, Dr John Breeding, author of, Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses, also says psychiatry "touts a pseudoscientific belief system as if it were validated science," and "the mental health industry is rife with other major overt ethical failures." He further explains:

"Many prominent researchers and industry spokespersons are now fighting for their professional lives as the hidden monies they received from Big Pharma are revealed. Psychiatry department chairs Charles Nemeroff  ($1 million from GlaxoSmithKline alone) of Emory University, Martin Keller of Brown University (associated with a severely compromised drug trial), and Alan Shatzberg of Stanford (who was principal investigator on a drug developed by a company in which he owned $6 million of stock) have all recently resigned their positions as a result of Grassley’s investigation.

"Joseph Biederman of Harvard (largely responsible for the explosive 4000% increase in the number of children diagnosed and treated as “bipolar,” usually with the most damaging of all psychiatric drugs, the antipsychotics) received at least $1.6 million from Big Pharma in the first several years of this 21st century. Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed him and two of his Harvard colleagues.

"Several other prominent doctors in the University of Texas system—John Rush, Lynn Crismon, Graham Emslie and Karen Wagner to name just a few—have been shown to have severe financial conflicts of interest from monies received via Big Pharma."

The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center website explains bipolar disorder and reports in part:

"Symptoms may be present since infancy or early childhood, or may suddenly emerge in adolescence or adulthood. Until recently, a diagnosis of the disorder was rarely made in childhood. Child psychiatrists can now recognize and treat bipolar disorder in very young children."

"It is thought that a significant number of children diagnosed in the United States with attention-deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD) have early-onset bipolar disorder instead of, or along with, ADHD

"According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, up to one-third of the 3.4 million children and adolescents with depression in the United States may actually be experiencing the early onset of bipolar disorder."

The child psychiatrists at the top of this center are Robert Kowatch and Melissa DelBello, the gal who landed on Senator Grassley's list in the spring of 2008 for not disclosing her payments from the makers of psychiatric drugs. Their website also reports that:

"Many times, it necessary to use 3-4 medications to effectively treat a child or adolescent with a bipolar disorder. Typically, there is a partial response to one medication and another psychotropic agent is added in the hopes of achieving a full response. It is not unusual for pediatric patients with a bipolar disorder to be treated with 1 or 2 mood stabilizers, an atypical antipsychotic agent, a stimulant for ADHD, and clonidine or gabapentin for sleep."

In the section for treatment of bipolar disorder, under, "Mood Stabilizers and Atypical Antipsychotics Agents," in addition to Lithium, the website lists the anticonvulsants Divalproex sodium or valproic acid (Depakote); Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), Lamotrigine (Lamictal), Topiramate (Topamax) and Tiagabine (Gabatril)

The section identifies: Clozaril, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Geodon, Aripiprazole (Abilitat) and states: "These newer agents are often used to treat bipolar disorders in adults, children and adolescents and appear to be effective mood stabilizers."

The website bases these recommendations on the "Treatment of Guidelines for Children and Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder," in the March 2005 Journal of the Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. The authors of the guidelines are Robert Kowatch, Mary Fristad, Boris Birmaher, Karen Wagner, Robert Finding, and Martha Hellander. The list for the Working Group Members and Contributors to the guideline project includes, among others, Joseph Biederman and Melissa DelBello.

The project was sponsored by the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation and supported by grants from Abbott Labs, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Forest Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceutical, Novartis, and Pfizer.

The Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation's Professional Advisory Board also includes the names, Boris Birmaher, Melissa DelBello, Robert Findling, Mary Fristad, Joseph Biederman, Robert Kowatch, and Karen Wagner.

Keeping in mind that: "It is not unusual for pediatric patients with bipolar disorder to be treated with 1 or 2 mood stabilizers, an atypical antipsychotic agent, a stimulant for ADHD, and clonidine or gabapentin for sleep," the prices for the anticonvulsants listed above on at a middle dose, in December 2008, were: Depakene 180 capsules $434, Lamictal 180 tablets $929, Tegretol 180 tablets $152, Topamax 180 tablets $1170, and Trileptal 180 tablets $496. Gabitril was listed at $458 for ninety tablets in April 2009.

The atypical prices, at a middle dose, in April 2009 were: Abilify 90 tablets $1230, Geodon 100 capsules $787, Invega 100 tablets $1168, Risperdal 90 tablets $716, Seroquel 100 tablets $839, and Zyprexa 90 tablets $1195.

Some of the December 2008 ADHD drug prices, at a middle dose, were: Adderall 90 capsules $278, Concerta 90 tablets $412, Daytrana thirty 9-hour patches 3 boxes $437, Desoxyn 90 tablets $366, Strattera 90 capsules $464, and Vyvanse 90 capsules $385.

The price for Catapres (clonidine) was $183 for one hundred 2mg tablets and 270 capsules of Gabapentin sold for $209 at 400mg.

For the guidelines in the Journal of the Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the "panel recommended that medication tapering or discontinuation be considered if the patient has achieved remission for a minimum of 12 to 24 consecutive months."

"It was acknowledged that for many patients, long-term or even lifelong pharmacotherapy might be indicated," the authors noted.

If a child ends up the two mood stablizers, Limictal and Topamax, the yearly cost for these two drugs alone will be roughly $25,188. Add the antipsychotic Abilify to the mix, at a cost of $14,760, and the annual treatment rises to $39,948. Then throw in the ADHD drug, Concerta, at a yearly cost of $4,944, and Condine for sleep, at $2,196, and the total yearly price tag comes to $47,088.

In no other field of medicine could parents be suckered into paying fifty grand a year for drugs to treat a disease that could not even be substantiated.

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