Inside View - Drug makers conceal the truth from psychiatrists

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 by: Monica G. Young
Tags: drug makers, psychiatrists, health news

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(NaturalNews) An outspoken psychiatrist recently described how nearly impossible it is for he and his colleagues to get straight facts from pharmaceutical companies about the safety of their drugs. If the drug industry makes it so tough for psychiatrists, imagine how hard it is for their patients!

In his Nov 5, 2010 Huffington Post article, Dr. Ronald Ricker reports that reliable and scientific research about the medications psychiatrists subscribe is "nearly impossible to find."

Ads in medical journals are "usually useless and often misleading," he says. They depict a horrid pre-drug existence and compare it to a serenely beautiful post-drug scene. (Remember the Big Tobacco ads with blissful smokers gazing upon waterfalls and green meadows?)

Direction on how to find the research to support claims made in these ads is "virtually always absent." Any failures of the drugs go unmentioned.

Ricker spares no sarcasm in expressing his frustration with the FDA, which takes its information from the manufactures seeking approval of their drugs: "Obviously, that procedure is fraught with opportunities to manipulate test results." Clinical trials last only 6-12 weeks which isn't any serious safeguard against adverse effects, let alone proof of success.

He cites a new FDA-approved drug advertised in psychiatric periodicals for children diagnosed with ADHD/ADD. The ads claim efficacy based on two clinical studies lasting 8 and 9 weeks. But this is no evidence that it won't endanger a child's health and development. Nothing is noted on how these trials were done. In short, there is no documentation of safety or workability, yet these ads feature a happy and healthy boy (7 or 8 years of age) with his caring mother.

Attractive drug sales reps visit psychiatrists to flaunt their wares. But as the author points out, "Pleasant visit, no useful information." Briefings held for groups of doctors should above all be informative. Instead they are lavish dinners paid for by drug makers, featuring "expert" spokesmen paid to be their mouthpieces. Any questioning from the audience is restricted.

The practice of Big Pharma paying hefty sums to doctors to promote drugs to their peers is common, as seen on ProPublica's "Dollars for Docs" database.

One telling story is that of Dr. Stefan P. Kruszewski, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and former paid speaker for drug companies. He turned to whistleblowing and is now a government informant and consultant for plaintiffs suing drug manufacturers. He said a company offered him $1,000 or more each time he talked to an individual doctor about one of its drugs.

"When I started speaking for companies in the late 1980s and early '90s, I was allowed to say what I thought I should say consistent with the science," he recalled. "Then it got to the point where I was no longer allowed to do that. I was given slides and told, "We'll give you a thousand dollars if you say this for a half-hour." And I said: "I can't say that. It isn't true.""




About the author

Monica G. Young is a lifelong advocate for human rights. She is an educational researcher and writer with a purpose to expose the truth about the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries. She encourages non-drug alternative approaches based on healthy lifestyles and human decency.

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