Dr. Oz Takes on Big Pharma


Dr. Oz looks at the research on antidepressants today, finding that they are over-prescribed, may be counter-productive or harmful, may not work at all, and that advertising them is only allowed in the USA and New Zealand.

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Of further interest:
Dr. Oz and Dr. Amen: Antidepressant alternatives for anxiety and depression (Examiner)
Are antidepressants harming us more than helping us? Do they even help at all? (Starcasm.net)
Dr. Oz: Antidepressants Don’t Work for Most Patients (Nerdles)
Dr. Oz Recap 4/3/2013: Allergy Epidemic and Antidepressant Overuse (CMR)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing pretending to be big heroes by criticizing SSRI antidepressants and other psych drugs only to learn they are pushing far worse and more dangerous treatments like ECT in their place without people being aware of the real dangerous motive.

    I was shocked to learn that Dr. Oz had a program on which he promoted ECT as a very safe and effective therapy for depression along with so called “doctors of deception” to quote a title of a book that proves the total opposite by an ECT “survivor.

    Here is the link to this show with many protest comments at the bottom of the page:


    I had heard and read from many that Dr. Oz was/is a quack and this show with its life destroying, bogus claims of ECT safety and efficacy was the final straw: Dr. Oz totally lost all credibility with me.

    I and others have cited numerous studies and conclusions by many experts and even those like Harold Sackeim who promoted ECT all his life that ECT causes brain damage, permanent memory loss, the ability to work in one’s career, heart attacks, strokes, death including those driven to suicide when they had to deal with their damaged brain and permanent memory loss leaving them unable to work like Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath. Bentall & Read summed up their extensive study by saying due to all the permanent and potential harm of ECT (cited above) and its total lack of efficacy, ECT could not be justified or recommended in any way.

    But, because ECT can be quite lucrative for its promoters making fraudulent claims about its safety and efficacy, it is little wonder that now that the toxic psych drugs have been exposed for causing brain damage and a host of other lethal effects, the ECT proponents are attacking these drugs all the more to push their own bogus treatment that is just as brain damaging and lethal as the drugs if not more so.

    I do applaud the healthy alternatives to antidepressants like walking, fish oil, etc. But, given that antidepressants have been exposed as useless and harmful in many books like THE EMPEROR’S NEW DRUGS, articles by Robert Whitaker, Dr. Peter Breggin and many other sources including mainstream TV, it does not make Dr. Oz or Dr. Amen heroes especially given the real alternatives they recommend like ECT and expensive, dubious brain scans respectively for so called depression or other “mental illness.”

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    • Donna, good comment.

      But, one problem (in my opinion): It should mention David Healy – the elephant in room.

      Scroll down to the lower right hand side of this Web page, to find David Healy’s “RxISK” org search engine.

      Type in “ECT” and press the red ‘Search’ button, see what comes up…

      “Ectaprim, Ectin, Ectopal, Ectosone, Ectren”

      Of course, there’s no mention of ‘electroconvulsive therapy’ (ECT) because Healy only critiques psychopharmacology; he won’t critique ECT (at least, not in any way seriously), for that’s his bread and butter; he runs an ETC (shock) clinic.

      Healy is more than willing to catalog all complaints of negative psychopharmacology effects (and then some); but, he refuses to accept anyone’s claims that ECT does *any* harm whatsoever.

      Here are a few excerpts from pages 3 and 4, of Healy’s book, on Shock Treatment, that’s co-authored by Edward Shorter (and funded by the world’s most famous shock doctor):

      “Our research convinces us that ECT is an important, responsible, and reliable therapy that deserves to be more widely used…” and, “…there should be little controversy over whether it is safe or effective. Somatic therapies like ECT easily trump anything in the psychopharmaceutical medicine chest as the most effective treatment for such severe illnesses as melancholic depression, catatonia, or manic excitement; it also has a place in the treatment of schizophrenia,” and, “Why today, seventy years after its discovery, is ECT highly stigmatized, both among patients and many physicians? ECT is, in a sense, the penicillin of psychiatry. We would be baffled if the benefits of penicillin were not widely touted in the patients’ world, lauded by the press, and accepted as a matter of fact by medical doctors. Why has this not happened with ECT? The question is especially important because there are a great many people with depression who do not respond to antidepressant drugs.”

      I have blogged on Healy’s persistent denials of the ugly realities, of ECT: http://beyondlabeling.posterous.com/dr-david-healy-in-tweet-conversation-re-effec

      Ordinarily, I do not urge people to leave an MIA blog and go to mine; but, here I’ll do so – because, here, as far as I can tell you won’t find any bloggers who are willing to point out, that, because the harms of psychopharmacology are being widely exposed, ECT is making a comeback; so, more and more psychiatrists are poised to make a killing, by way of electro-shocking their so-called “patients”.

      To anyone who may be interested in learning more about ECT, you needn’t necessarily even read my blog post; just follow that link, above – and go directly to the links that I’ve provided in that blog… including the links in a comment I’ve recently added, at the end. I.e., don’t forget to go to the bottom of that blog post, and press the “Responses” button.



      (Dear MIA editors: I hope you can please realize, this comment is not a personal attack on anyone; it’s for the good of MIA readers – and for the general public – that Healy’s indefensible denials of reality be exposed.)

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  2. I saw the show yesterday and was totally unimpressed. First of all, having guests like Drew Pinsky and Daniel Amen talk about the dangers of SSRIs is like having a cocaine addict discuss the dangers of heroin addiction.

    Dr. Pinsky has taken money from drug companies in the past although he claims he no longer does it. And he has been involved in other controversial issues that are too long to get into.

    He started off claiming that it is the pressure from insurance companies that pushes doctors to prescribe meds as a first time solution. If I hear that excuse one more bleeping time, I am going to scream. If doctors would have the guts to push back against this, things would change but they don’t.

    He then claimed that psychiatrists are alot more knowledgeable about SSRIs than family care doctors which of course make me gag again.

    He did acknowledge that drugs are being prescribed way to often by family doctors and needed to stop. But as he was saying that, I wondered about his role in all of this as it didn’t sound like things were going to change that much.

    And of course, there was Dr. Amen who claims mental illnesses can be diagnosed with brain scans. I can’t repeat what my thoughts are about that so I keep this post respectful.

    On the one hand, he seemed to express concern about medications but on the other hand, he still seemed to prescribe them quite a bit after of course, performing an expensive brain scan that other mainstream experts have said is not credible.

    The best part of the show in my opinion was when they spoke to a woman in the audience who saw her PCP for palpitations who ended up on psych meds for many years before she realized the drugs were destroying her health. She said she felt wonderful now that she was off of them.

    It made me facetiously think that we needed to start an anti primary care doctor movement because it seems that while of course, psychiatry deserves all the criticisms against it, that these folks are also causing alot of problems by throwing drugs at a problem without further investigation. By the way, they prescribe 80% of all psych meds.

    Finally, they did talk about getting off the meds but it was the standard BS advice about check with your doctor. Yeah, that worked really well for most people says me sarcastically.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

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    • AA,
      I think these are good thoughts.

      I wanted to say your take on the primary care physician piece and their comments ring true here in Ohio. We’re not calling it an anti primary care doctor movement ( it does have ring to it 😉 ) but what we are doing at least in our local county is a concerted effort to get into primary care physicians offices, especially pediatricians, to do some basic education and encourage them to refer people out to non-drug based help rather than starting them on medications. Most of the primary care doc’s don’t feel comfortable anyway with prescribing but they have to respond to the person in front of them, so we’re trying to give them better options.

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