Friday, May 27, 2011

ProPublica on Corruption in Juvenile Corrections

"In Florida, Doctors With Drug Company Ties Prescribe Drugs for Jailed Youth"

by Marian Wang ProPublica, May 23, 2011, 12:55 p.m.

"About a third of psychiatrists serving Florida’s juvenile jails and prescribing drugs to incarcerated youths have accepted payments from the drug companies [1] that manufacture antipsychotic medications, according to an investigation by the Palm Beach Post. Massive amounts of the medications have been purchased and administered by the state juvenile justice system, which has no method for tracking prescriptions and diagnoses [2] to see whether the drugs were prescribed appropriately.

"A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice told the Post that the department “expressly prohibits the use of these medications as a chemical restraint.” A former spokesman, however, acknowledged that doctors serving the state’s jailed youths do prescribe the drugs off-label—or for uses that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration...."

MAJIA HERE: Anti-psychotics, such as risperdal, are dangerous drugs that have serious health consequences for kids. These drugs zombify kids. They make them gain approximately 30 pounds and can cause diabetes--yes "cause" diabetes.

The drug companies have aggressively recruited psychiatrists to prescribe these dangerous drugs.

Doctors are inappropriately prescribing them for kids who could instead take safer drugs, such as the anti-depressants or anti-anxieties.

I don't believe in prescribing drugs for kids, but recognize that under some circumstances drugs may be helpful, or even necessary, but they should always be very closely monitored and combined with psychological and positive behavioral interventions.

Routinely prescribing anti-psychotics began when a corrupt psychiatrist popularized the category of biopolar disorder for kids in his research, while advocating use of risperdal. Dr. Joseph Biederman, a child psychiatrist at Harvard University, promoted use of the bipolar diagnosis for children, received $1.4 million in outside income from pharmaceutical companies who produce antipsychotics (Harris “Research Center”).

The 40 percent increase in bipolar diagnoses in children and adolescents from 1994 to 2003 led to a fivefold increase in prescription rates for powerful antipsychotics, particularly Risperdal (generic risperidone) and similar agents (Carey “Bipolar”; Harris “Use of Antipsychotics”).

This practice of buying psychiatrists to prescribe dangerous drugs is criminal and morally reprehensible.

Carey, Benedict. “Bipolar Illness Soars as a Diagnosis for the Young.” The New York Times 4 September 2007. 4 September 2007

Carey, B. “Parenting as Therapy for Child’s Mental Disorders.” The New York Times 22 December 2006. 22 December 2006

Harris, Gardiner. “Proof is Scant on Psychiatric Drug Mix for Young.” The New York Times 23 November 2006: A1.

Harris “Research Center Tied to Drug Company.” The New York Times 24 November 2008. 24 November 2008

Harris. “Use of Antipsychotics in Children is Criticized.” The New York Times 19 November 2008. 19 November 2008

Harris, Gardiner, and Carey, Benedict. (2008, June 8). “Researchers Fail to Reveal Full Drug Pay.” The New York Times 8 June 2008. 8 June 2008



October 2, 2010: Side Effects May Include Lawsuits. The New York Times


FOR decades, antipsychotic drugs were a niche product. Today, they’re the top-selling class of pharmaceuticals in America, generating annual revenue of about $14.6 billion and surpassing sales of even blockbusters like heart-protective statins.

While the effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs in some patients remains a matter of great debate, how these drugs became so ubiquitous and profitable is not. Big Pharma got behind them in the 1990s, when they were still seen as treatments for the most serious mental illnesses, like hallucinatory schizophrenia, and recast them for much broader uses, according to previously confidential industry documents that have been produced in a variety of court cases.

Anointed with names like Abilify and Geodon, the drugs were given to a broad swath of patients, from preschoolers to octogenarians. Today, more than a half-million youths take antipsychotic drugs, and fully one-quarter of nursing-home residents have used them. Yet recent government warnings say the drugs may be fatal to some older patients and have unknown effects on children....


Child’s Ordeal Shows Risks of Psychosis Drugs for Young. The New York Times.


OPELOUSAS, La. — At 18 months, Kyle Warren started taking a daily antipsychotic drug on the orders of a pediatrician trying to quell the boy’s severe temper tantrums.

Thus began a troubled toddler’s journey from one doctor to another, from one diagnosis to another, involving even more drugs. Autism, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, insomnia, oppositional defiant disorder. The boy’s daily pill regimen multiplied: the antipsychotic Risperdal, the antidepressant Prozac, two sleeping medicines and one for attention-deficit disorder. All by the time he was 3.

He was sedated, drooling and overweight from the side effects of the antipsychotic medicine. Although his mother, Brandy Warren, had been at her “wit’s end” when she resorted to the drug treatment, she began to worry about Kyle’s altered personality. “All I had was a medicated little boy,” Ms. Warren said. “I didn’t have my son. It’s like, you’d look into his eyes and you would just see just blankness.”

Today, 6-year-old Kyle is in his fourth week of first grade, scoring high marks on his first tests. He is rambunctious and much thinner. Weaned off the drugs through a program affiliated with Tulane University that is aimed at helping low-income families whose children have mental health problems, Kyle now laughs easily and teases his family.

Ms. Warren and Kyle’s new doctors point to his remarkable progress — and a more common diagnosis for children of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder — as proof that he should have never been prescribed such powerful drugs in the first place.

Tracking the American Epidemic of Mental Illness. The Public Record. June 9, 2010.

By Evelyn Pringle

This is the first installment of Ms. Pringle’s five-part series.

Over a twenty-year span, starting when Prozac came on the market in 1987, the number of people on government disability due to mental illness went from 1.25 million to more than 4 million today. There has been a 35-fold increase in the number of children disabled by mental illness who receive federal disability payments, rising from 16,200 in 1987, to 561,569 in 2007.

These statistics come from a new book titled, “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness, in America,” by award winning journalist, Robert Whitaker, who also authored “Mad in America.”

For the book, Whitaker reviewed 50 years of outcomes in the medical literature, for adults with schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and bipolar illness, and the childhood disorders of ADHD, depression and juvenile bipolar disorder, to see whether medications had altered the long-term course of the disorders and whether drugs could bring on new or more severe psychiatric symptoms.

His intent was to assess whether this paradigm of care increased the risk that a person would become chronically ill, or ill with disabling symptoms, he reports in his “Mad in America” blog, on the Psychology Today website.

“Although we, as a society, believe that psychiatric medications have “revolutionized” the treatment of mental illness, the disability numbers suggest a very different possibility,” he wrote in the April 28, 2010, Huffington Post....


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