A Congressional investigation examining violations of federal and university research rules revealed that world renowned scientists failed to report the millions they received in consulting fees from drug companies (NYT, 6/8/08).
Dr. Joseph Biederman, a preeminent Harvard child psychiatrist (along with 2 other colleagues), never disclosed the $1.6 million he collected, and his research fueled an explosion in the use of powerful medications for kids. He reported that millions of children had massively under-diagnosed serious psychiatric illnesses that could be effectively treated with potent medications having serious side effects. There are an estimated 4-5 million children with ADD now taking these drugs, and over the last 15 years we have seen a 40-fold increase in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder (manic-depressive psychosis).
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM IV) is the psychiatric bible for disease diagnosis, psychiatric treatments including drugs, as well as legitimizing insurance company reimbursements. One hundred seven medical experts write the DSM, and over the last 20 years, 56% of them had one or more financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry (Schlagbyte, 5/8/06).
So the secret’s now public: the world’s psychiatric experts are financially compensated to support drug use for what they define as psychopathology, and their work brings multi-millions in research grants to their universities. Harvard says it can’t be expected to monitor and verify their staff’s voluntary disclosures. The researchers all predictably say that receipt of this kind of money does not influence their results.
It’s clear drug manufacturers support researchers whose results will encourage drug sales. Together, they have convinced the public that “unacceptable” behaviors are actually diseases that can be cured by drugs. This is why 25% of all Americans are diagnosed with a DSM psychiatric disorder, making us #1 in the world for mental illness (Schlagbyte, 9/24/07).
As consumers, we are buying into these definitions and recommendations. Here’s a revolutionary idea that will stop the inflated epidemic of mental illness in this country: stop direct-to- consumer advertising by drug companies; and no more financial incentives to researchers.