Making the Invisible, Visible

Maria Bradshaw
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A couple of weeks ago I received a memorandum submitted on the Children And Families Bill by the UK ADHD Partnership (UKAP). The memorandum recommended that regulations issued to accompany the Children and Families Bill should include a requirement that “all children who receive two fixed term exclusions from school are screened for ADHD and, if appropriate, an assessment process for ADHD initiated.” [1]

The key points of their submission are

  • That ADHD is “a clinically distinct neurobiological condition that is caused by an imbalance of chemicals affecting specific parts of the brain responsible for behavior”
  • That children with ADHD are at a 100 times greater risk of being excluded from school than children without the condition
  • That school exclusion is associated with an increased likelihood of antisocial and criminal behaviour; and
  • That ADHD is under-diagnosed in the UK.

The UK ADHD Partnership (UKAP) claims to be

. . . A group of medical and educational specialists with experience of working with children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD) and Special Educational Needs (SEN), committed to helping drive better access for children to the diagnosis, support and management of ADHD to build better futures for children with the condition. [1]

They certainly appear to be a group the UK parliament should trust and, on the face of it, there is no reason that parliament should not adopt their recommendation that

The SEN Code of Practice and relevant regulations and guidance issued to accompany the Children and Families Bill should include UKAP ’s Call To Action: that all children who receive two fixed term exclusions from school are screened for ADHD and, if appropriate, an assessment process for ADHD initiated.” [1]

Except that the UKAP appears to be a front group for pharmaceutical company Shire, who manufacture the ADHD drug marketed as Vyvanase in the US and Elvanse in the UK.  The UKAP call to action is exactly the same as the call to action by the Better Futures Group, initiated and funded by Shire Pharmaceuticals. [2]  The majority of the members of UKAP are members of the Better Futures Group and many of those who are not have financial ties to Shire.

A couple of weeks ago I emailed UKAP and asked them to clarify the extent of the relationship between UKAP and Shire:

Could you please advise what proportion of UKAP’s funding is received from Shire and what your other funding sources are. Could you also advise whether your team members are paid by UKAP.

They responded.

Dear Maria,

‘Better Futures’ is a campaign initiated and funded by Shire Pharmaceuticals UK, but implemented by an expert Better Futures Group. The group consists of health and educational specialists with experience of working with children with ADHD. The Group’s aim is to improve the identification of ADHD in school-age children with a view to establishing a positive path forward for them. UKAP endorses both the NICE and SEN guidelines and have clearly stated aims which are consistent with nationally agreed recommendations.  Most of the committee are not prescribers and so do not feel they have a conflict of interest.  In addition, no UKAP member currently receives any payment or remuneration for the work undertaken.

Our successes to date with the campaign relate to educational achievements. This can be seen in the C&F bill and the SEN Code of Practice that have now included that FTE from school should trigger a process to determine whether there are underlying functional or cognitive difficulties that are hampering the child’s progress being. (sic)

Kind Regards

UKAP

I emailed them back asking for clarification of the relationship between the Better Futures Group and UKAP.

Thanks for your response. I understand however that the Better Futures Group was “initiated and funded by Shire Pharmaceuticals” (http://www.lanc.org.uk/the-better-futures-group/) and that the UKAP website states “Financial support for the development of UKAP was made possible through a grant from Shire Pharmaceutical Ltd.” Is this information correct?

I received no response. And the link I cited has been removed.

A Shire Pharmaceuticals flyer for a talk by UKAP and Better Futures Group members Susan Young and Fintan O’Regan confirms that “The Better Futures Group, initiated and funded by Shire Pharmaceuticals, is a group of medical and educational specialists working towards improving provision for children with ADHD in the UK by helping drive better access to identification, diagnosis, support and management,” [3] as does the section on the Shire website which states “The Better Futures Group — a group of UK medical and educational experts in ADHD, initiated and funded by Shire — held a parliamentary reception to raise ADHD on the political agenda, attracting over 80 attendees.” [4]

So who are the members of the UKAP?

Dr Susan Young, President of UKAP, was employed by Shire in 2012 as lead author of a White Paper on ADHD [5] and provided with a medical writer, also funded by Shire. The paper’s disclosure statement reveals she is the Vice President of UK Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN), funded by Shire.  It states she received speaker fees from Shire to present data at the European Expert Roundtable, the meeting which gathered the data on which the white paper was based.  In her disclosure statement she reports having been a consultant for Janssen-Cilag, Eli-Lilly and Shire, having given educational talks at meetings sponsored by Janssen-Cilag, Shire, Novatis, Eli-Lilly and Flynn-Pharma and having received research grants from Janssen-Cilag, Eli-Lilly, and Shire.

Fintan O’Regan, the Vice Chair of UKAP is a member of the European ADHD Alliance initiated, developed and funded by Shire and former chairperson of the European ADHD Taskforce established and funded by Shire. [6]  He is the author of a number of parent and teacher resources funded by Shire and available on their website ADHDandYou[7]

Both are members of the Better Futures Group, as are Dr Peter Hill and Valerie Ivens. [8]

UKAP member Bill Colley is listed on the submission as an educational consultant. His CV identifies he is a paid consultant for Shire. [9]  In an ADHD journal sponsored by Shire, UKAP member Dr Philip Kewley discloses he has lectured at and attended meetings sponsored by Shire. [10] He is also a member of the Better Futures Group.

He makes his views on ADHD drugs very clear on his website:

There is absolutely no doubt that the reality of ADHD and its impact on the child and family have tended to be very significantly under-rated in the press, whereas the alleged side effects of medication have been exaggerated. As with any medication there can be some short term side effects, especially involving appetite suppression or sleep difficulty, but there is no evidence of long term side effects with the use of such medications.

UKAP member Sheila Keeting works for Add+Up (Attention Deficit Disorders Uniting Parents) which is funded by Shire.

Although the members of UKAP are closely aligned with Shire, their submission is fully referenced, and so seemingly represents current research on ADHD and provides parliament with good evidence on which to develop policy. A review of the evidence cited in support of the submission though shows that is not the case

The source of the claim that ADHD is caused by a chemical imbalance is not a meta analysis published in a peer reviewed journal but the book Understanding ADHD – A Parents Guide to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children by Dr Christopher Green, author of Toddler Taming.

The claim that ADHD is underdiagnosed in the UK is referenced to a report written by ADHD-Europe which collaborated with Shire Pharmaceuticals on the parent and teacher resource authored by UKAP member Fintan O’Regan. [11]  The report states

It is commonly accepted that ADHD is under diagnosed and under treated in Europe; this being supported by literature from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom which show problems with assessment, referral rates and diagnosis.[12]

No references are provided to these studies.

The reference to ADHD children being 100 times more likely to be excluded from school than other children is from a survey conducted by Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service (ADDISS), an organisation providing “people-friendly information and resources” which receives funding from Janssen-Cilag, UCB Pharma, and Eli Lilly, who all make ADHD drugs. [13]  ADDISS also wrote the report which associates ADHD with antisocial and criminal behavior – a report funded by Eli Lily. UKAP member Prof Peter Hill is a member of the ADDISS board. [14]

The members of UKAP are undoubtedly respected academics, but none of the sources referenced here meet the standard of evidence that we should expect when research is being cited as the basis for government regulations.  As such, the UKAP members’ academic credibility is being expended here to augment the significance of dubious references, rather than the opposite – and what it should be – that the responsible and rigorous reference to credible research augments the members’ credibility.

In ensuring there is close scrutiny of groups like UPAK who are key opinion leaders with financial ties to industry, we may think we can rely on politicians like Nessa Childers, member of the Irish and European parliament, who presents as being aware of pharmaceutical company lobbying:

I can assure you that the pharmaceutical industry is a very strong lobbying force in the corridors of power in Brussels. And as we know, many patient groups are of course funded by industry which complicates matters for decision makers greatly. [15]

And prepared to resist them:

. . .  Speaking in Strasbourg, Labour MEP Nessa Childers urged her government colleagues not to put the interests of big business before public health concerns.“You could say that people have the right to lobby but we have the right not to listen. I will say…that this is a public health issue and we should not be listening to these kind of threats. “It’s very common for large industries to do it and you have got to learn to put your foot down.” [16]

Nessa Childers, however, wrote the introduction to the White Paper on ADHD funded by Shire and authored by Susan Young and Michael Fitzgerald, who she identifies as “a colleague”[17] in a video she filmed with Mary Baker of the European Brain Council which receives funding from Shire.[18]

On 30 January I wrote to Nessa Childers

Dear Nessa

I am aware that you have expressed strong views about honesty and transparency and the need for politicians to be wary of, and disclose dealings, with lobbyists.

I am writing to ask whether you are aware of the fact that the European Expert Roundtable on ADHD and the White Paper arising from it, were initiated and funded by Shire Pharmaceuticals who have been very overt about their agenda to increase diagnosis of ADHD in Europe in order to increase revenues from the drugs they manufacture to treat this condition. I wonder if you are aware that Dr Susan Young has received signficant funding from Shire and other pharmaceutical companies and of research showing that despite their best intentions, such funding influences the views of researchers.

I wonder if you are aware that the ‘call to action’ from the UKAP for mandatory ADHD screening for children excluded from school on two occaisons is in fact a call to action from the Better Futures Group, initiated and funded by Shire Pharmaceuticals?

Finally I wonder if you are aware that the Australian medicines regulator has recently issued a warning in respect of methylphenidate and its causal association with suicide following the suicide death of a 9 year old and attempted suicides of two other children of similar ages.

If you are aware of these issues, I would be grateful if you could advise me how you manage them to ensure that UK and European regulation and policy are informed by robust, independent science rather than by the agendas of pharmaceutical companies.

I received a reply from Nessa Childers’ parliamentary assistant advising that Ms Childers would reply to me personally but two weeks later have not heard from her.

Ironically, it appears the only party in the current push for mandatory screening of children for ADHD who is being in any way transparent is Shire Pharmaceuticals.

In an interview with Bloomberg Business Week discussing the shift in perception of childhood lack of attentiveness from “bad behavior” to a mental disorder, Bloomberg comments:

That’s been great news for Shire, the world’s biggest seller of ADHD drugs. More than 90 percent of the Dublin-based company’s sales of ADHD medicines are in the U.S., where brisk demand since 2007 helped fuel a more than doubling in U.S. annual revenue for the class of stimulants used to treat the condition. The drugmaker would like to duplicate that success closer to home. But as Shire tries to roll out its flagship ADHD pill, Vyvanse, in eight European countries, it faces an unfamiliar hurdle: convincing people the condition exists. ADHD is diagnosed about 25 times more often in the U.S. than in the U.K. And while attitudes vary by country, many European parents, teachers, and doctors are reluctant to use medication to treat what they see as routine childhood behavioral problems.

CEO of Shire tells Bloomberg that

Called Elvanse in Europe, Vyvanse became available this year in the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, and Germany, and will enter the markets in Spain, Finland, Sweden, and Norway in early 2014 as Shire reaches agreements with governments on pricing and reimbursement. One challenge will be fueling demand without advertising to parents. Such direct-to-consumer ads, a mainstay of drug marketing in the U.S., are banned in Europe. Instead, Shire is discussing the prevalence of the illness with doctors at psychiatry conferences across the continent. “The next year to two years is going to be a significant educational effort on our part,” says Chief Executive Officer Flemming Ornskov. “The climate in Europe is a bit more negative. It will take us some time.”

Bloomberg goes on to say

Increasing the diagnosis rate in Europe — and the subsequent drug sales that often follow — would be lucrative for Shire, which had $1.8 billion in ADHD drug revenue last year. Vyvanse contributed $1 billion of that, surging 28 percent, and analysts predict the pill’s sales will reach $1.77 billion in 2016, according to the average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.[19]

Bloomberg reports that in 2007 the US accounted for 83% of ADHD consumption, but by 2013 that had fallen to 66 percent with Scandinavian countries exceeding the U.S. in growth of ADHD prescriptions.

A recent FDA review of suicidality associated with the use of Shire’s ADHD drug (ingredient name lisdexamfetamine) found no need to warn of suicide associated with the drug despite a number of suicide related events in clinical trials and completed suicides of children prescribed the drug in post marketing studies.[20] The following is a summary of fatal cases reviewed.

8.5 APPENDIX F. DETAILED SUMMARY OF FATAL CASES (N=12)

Suicide

ISR #6679980; US; 2010: A13-year-old male hung himself in the family barn 20 months after initiating treatment with lisdexamfetamine 50 mg “on school days” for ADHD. He did not have a personal or family history of psychiatric illnesses, including suicidal thoughts or attempts, completed suicides, or drug or alcohol abuse. However, he experienced “extreme bullying” by his classmates for “some time” due to his facial scar and small stature. His physician recommended counseling and addressing bullying at school, but his recommendations were not carried out.

ISR #6757155; US; 2010: This is a report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald newspaper articles. A 7-year-old male hung himself with a detachable shower hose approximately 2 weeks after a dose increase of lisdexamfetamine to 50 mg daily, and 4 months after initiating treatment with lisdexamfetamine 30 mg daily for ADHD. He received concomitant medications labeled for suicidality; escitalopram 5 mg daily for one month then changed to olanzapine/fluoxetine 3 mg / 25 mg for one month up to the time of death. He has a significant medical and psychosocial history of sexual abuse, living in foster care, impulse-control disorder, aggression, and self-injurious behavior. Additionally, the event occurred following an argument with his foster father’s son. The cause of death determined by autopsy was asphyxiation due to hanging.

ISR #6859748; US; 2010: A 9-year-old male hung himself in a school bathroom an unknown time after initiating treatment with an unknown dose of lisdexamfetamine for ADHD. Although he did not receive a diagnosis, his mother believed the patient was “bipolar.” Additionally, his family believed the patient was “bullied into suicide.” The autopsy reported amphetamines in his blood, but no other clinical information was provided.

ISR #7906425; US; 2011: A 16-year-old male hung himself five months after initiating treatment with an unknown dose of lisdexamfetamine for an unspecified indication. No additional clinical information was provided.

ISR #8143472; US; 2012: A 10-year-old female hung herself with a cloth belt an unknown time after initiating treatment with an unknown dose of lisdexamfetamine for ADHD; however, it was unknown if she took lisdexamfetamine up to the time of death. Additionally, she was picked on at school, was suspended from school for fighting the month prior to the event, and lost television privileges at home. She also said to her grandmother “I ought to kill myself” three months prior to the event. The cause of death by autopsy was asphyxia due to hanging.

ISR #8103103; US; 2012: This is a case report from the 2010 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS). A 16-year-old female experienced “prehospital cardiac and/or respiratory arrest” after an acute exposure of morphine solution, lisdexamfetamine, and a stimulant laxative for “intentional suicide.” No additional clinical information was provided.

Accidental Death

ISR #6262705; US; 2009: A 14-year-old male was discovered hanging from a low tree branch in the backyard by his siblings. The event occurred eight months after he initiated treatment with lisdexamfetamine 50 mg daily for ADHD. He did not have medical, psychiatric or psychosocial histories of suicidal ideation or attempts, self-injurious behaviors, depression, emotional problems, bipolar disorder, substance or alcohol abuse, family concerns, or bullying. Of note, he played with the rope for several days prior to the event. His physician felt the patient was not trying to kill himself; rather the incident was “impulsive/accidental.” No autopsy performed.

Toxicity to various agents

ISR #8066959; US; 2012: This is a case report from the 2010 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS). A 14-year-old male experienced “prehospital cardiac and/or respiratory arrest” after an “acute/chronic exposure” of codeine (primary toxic substance), stimulant laxative, quetiapine, aripiprazole, valproic acid, lisdexamfetamine, diphenhydramine, penicillin, meloxicam, and clonidine. The report listed blood or urine levels of all suspected substances or their respective metabolites. Additionally, sertraline and norsertraline levels were detected in the patient’s blood during biopsy.

Overdose

ISR #6944369; US; 2010: An 8-year-old female died “some time after” a dose increase of lisdexamfetamine from 70 mg to 100 mg daily. The event occurred an unknown time after she initiated treatment with lisdexamfetamine 70 mg daily for an unspecified indication. No additional clinical information was provided.

“Cardiac problem”

ISR #5947621; US; 2008: A 7-year-old male died while sleeping during a camping trip with his father. The event occurred 16 months after he initiated treatment with lisdexamfetamine 30 mg daily and methylphenidate 10 mg every evening for ADHD. His physician “thought” he died due to a “cardiac problem” and that the coroner had informed the physician that the patient had a structurally abnormal heart; however, further details were not provided.

Aspiration

ISR #7244207: US; 2011: Emergency medical services personnel arrived to the patient’s home, found the 8-year-old male in asystole and with emesis on his bed; thus, they believed he had aspirated. He had a history of unspecified respiratory problems and received treatment with lisdexamfetamine 70 mg and melatonin 3 mg for unspecified indications for an unknown amount of time when the event occurred. He was pronounced dead at the hospital emergency department.

Unknown

ISR # 7553409; US; 2011: A 9-year-old female experienced an unknown event resulting in death the same year she initiated treatment with lisdexamfetamine 30 mg or 40 mg daily for an unspecified indication. Her mother tried to wake her up in the morning, but she was not arousable from sleep.

The catchphrase being used by those lobbying for increased diagnosis and treatment of children with ADHD — and the title of Dr Susan Young’s White Paper — is “Making the Invisible, Visible.”

I would suggest that what needs to be made visible are the links between the UKAP, Nessa Childers, the European Brain Council and Shire Pharmaceuticals.  I would also suggest that it is the children listed above who are truly invisible in the discussions around ADHD and who — for the sake of themselves and for all other children who will be medicated in the future — need to be made highly visible.

 


[1] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmpublic/childrenandfamilies/memo/cf96.htm

[2] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmeduc/631/631vw169.htm and http://www.shire.com/shireplc/en/resp/news?id=54

[3] http://www.lanc.org.uk

[4] http://www.shire.com/shireplc/en/resp/news?id=54

[5] http://www.ukadhd.com/news.htm?id=4

[6] http://adhdpartnershipsupportpack.co.uk/

[7] http://www.adhdandyou.co.uk/hcp/support-materials/support-materials.aspx

[8] http://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/forums/sample/SEN_ExamplePages.pdf

[9] http://www.sec.org.uk/Consultant-Register/365-Bill-Colley

[10] http://www.haywardpublishing.co.uk/data/diged/74/ADHD4-3.pdf.pdf

[11] ADHD-Europe Contribution to the EC Green Paper on improving the Mental Health of the population MAY 2006 http://ec.europa.eu/health/archive/ph_determinants/life_style/mental/green_paper/mental_gp_co073_en.pdf

[12]ADHD-Europe Contribution to the EC Green Paper on improving the Mental Health of the population MAY 2006http://ec.europa.eu/health/archive/ph_determinants/life_style/mental/green_paper/mental_gp_co073_en.pdf

[13] Daniel Foggo 9 October 2005 The Telegraph ADHD advice secretly paid for by drugs companies

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1500215/ADHD-advice-secretly-paid-for-by-drugs-companies.html

[13] http://www.addiss.co.uk/professionalboard.htm#pph

[14] Nessa Childers MEP Speech 30 May 2013 –University of Limerick Facing the political, social and scientific challenges to improved public access to talk therapies. http://npce.eu/mediapool/113/1137650/data/20130613/20130530_NPCE_Limmerick_conference_presentation_MEP_NChilders.pdf

[15] Childers: Govt need to know how to put foot down

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/childers-govt-need-to-know-how-to-put-foot-down-577578.html

[16] http://www.theparliament.com/latest-news/article/newsarticle/eu-urged-to-increase-public-awareness-of-adhd/#.Uvs8Vc4Y5n0

[17] http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-10/shires-adhd-drugs-face-resistance-in-a-skeptical-europe

[18] http://mobile.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-10/shires-adhd-drugs-face-resistance-in-a-skeptical-europe

[19]Department of Health and Human ServicesPublic Health ServiceFood and Drug AdministrationCenter for Drug Evaluation and ResearchOffice of Surveillance and Epidemiology Pediatric Postmarket Adverse Event Review 14 June 2012 http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/PediatricAdvisoryCommittee/UCM317560.pdf

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Maria Bradshaw
DelusionNZ: Maria Bradshaw lost her only child to SSRI induced suicide in 2008. Co-founder and CEO of CASPER (Community Action on Suicide Prevention Education & Research), Maria promotes a social model of suicide prevention focused on strengthening community cohesion, addressing the social drivers of suicide and providing communities with the knowledge and tools required to reclaim suicide prevention from mental health professionals. Maria has an MBA from Auckland University and particular interests in sociological and indigenous models of suicide prevention, prescription drug induced suicide, pharmacovigilance and alternatives to psychiatric interventions for emotional distress. Maria has researched and written a number of papers challenging the medical model of suicide prevention.

23 COMMENTS

  1. Great post, Maria.

    Nessa Childers is an Irish MEP and since 2008 Shire Pharmaceuticals pays its taxes in Ireland…

    Maria, perhaps you could get in touch with UK journalist Oliver Wright who writes on The Independent UK. He has been writing about Big Pharma lobbying in the UK in these past few days:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-big-pharma-links-to-nhs-policy-with-senior-mps-saying-medical-industry-uses-wealth-to-influence-government-9120187.html

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/big-pharma-lobbyists-exploit-patients-and-doctors-9120189.html

  2. Vyvance is anything but ‘new and improved’, its horrible.

    It takes about an hour and a half to two hours to start working. Once it starts working, it works for about 4 hours. When it stops working, you feel that depressing anxious still ‘speedy’ (like a 6 cup of coffee feeling) but out of focus crashing. So, in effect, it’s exactly the same thing as taking instant release Dexedrine or Adderall but it takes longer to kick in and the crash is longer and more severe. There’s your extended release, folks! That’s it. Normal range of effectiveness with extended onset and a crash that goes on and on.

    These people pushing Vyvance as new and improved are so incredibly DISHONEST .

    I guess that extended anxiety ridden crash and the insomnia Vyvance creates is good for creating the need for a second drug to be prescribed to make more money for these profit driven drug pushers.

  3. Maria,

    Thank you for another insightful post (yours always are).

    I tried to steer clear of discussing politics on this site for the first few years, however lately it seems to be almost impossible.

    It seems obvious that the problem with all of this, both in the U.S., Europe and many other places is two-fold:

    1) Centralized, bureaucratic governments who have over-reached their legitimate authority, by becoming far too involved in the personal health decisions of others; not recognizing parental authority when it comes to children (ie, the right of parents to say “no”); promoting these drugs for the pharmaceutical companies; failing to provide real meaningful oversight in the areas of efficacy and safety of drugs, particularly psychotropics.

    2) Pharma companies that will stop at nothing to make a profit.

    3) The partnership of both, which is the *real* problem.

    Hitler did not muscle his way into power. He made the auto makers quite wealthy. The Mercedez Benz symbol stands for land, air, sea – the three areas where his war machine was built.

    Socialism relies on this type of partnership. It was after all, the National *Socialist* Party (NAZI) as I recall. And we’re seeing these frightening partnerships get way out of hand, endangering lives; taking lives.

    More freedom is the answer. If governments cannot provide the needed oversight for safety, then consumers will learn to be more reliant on private, non-profit groups for accurate information. A more “libertarian” approach is the answer.

    I apologize for getting into politics, but that’s my call.

    Duane

    • I don’t think your talking about politics is out of place here. I believe that your comments are relevant to the situation that we all face. The legal system of our government is such a part of what goes on now in so-called “treatment” now that it must be discussed. The federal government seems to allow the drug companies to run rampant almost totally unrestrained. I see people being removed from their homes or picked up off the street by the law so that they can be forced into so-called “treatment;” I see it five days a week at the hospital where I work.

      I believe that no apologies are necessary at this point.

    • Duane

      You don’t need to apologize for being “political” at MIA, but you should try to be politically and scientifically accurate when doing so.

      Your attempts to equate the current U.S. government with both the “National Socialism” of Hitler’s Nazi Party and “Socialism” in general, is wrong on both fronts.

      The Obama government is acting very much like ardent followers of the capitalist system in this country and capitalist imperialism abroad. They are not “Socialist” in any way, shape or manner. Their cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry and Biological Psychiatry is not surprising in the least.

      To use the word socialism to describe this government is unscientific, and becomes dishonest if intentionally done to promote a certain right wing political agenda attacking those who would seek alternatives to the current capitalistic system.

      From Wikipedia: “The use of the name “National Socialism” arose out of earlier attempts by German right-wing figures to create a nationalist redefinition of “socialism”, as a reactionary alternative to both internationalist Marxist socialism and free market capitalism. This involved the idea of uniting rich and poor Germans for a common national project without eliminating class differences (a concept known as “Volksgemeinschaft”, or “people’s community”), and promoted the subordination of individuals and groups to the needs of the nation, state and leader. National Socialism rejected the Marxist concept of class struggle, opposed ideas of equality and international solidarity, and sought to defend private property.”

      “German Nazism subscribed to the theories of racial hierarchy and social Darwinism.” It is clear from the above quotes that historically the Nazis attempted to coopt the word “socialism” in response to the rising tide of socialist movements in Europe. In no way does “National Socialism” as defined and practiced by the Nazi Party equate with the scientific definition of “Socialism.”

      Duane, if you wish to promote a view that the current government in this country is oppressive and moving in a fascist direction, you will receive no argument from me. However you need to be more scientifically accurate with your use of the term “Socialism” and avoid promoting a narrow political agenda.

      And as far as “Libertarianism” being the answer to all our societal ills, I urge people to read Peter Levine’s essay on Ayn Rand (the Godmother of modern Libertarianism) which can be accessed on his own website; I believe on page four of his essays.

      To me, Biological Psychiatry and other forms of totalitarianism would only thrive in a political environment that worships the concept of unregulated capitalism. Human social and economic organization can and must do far better than this if we want to survive as a species.

      Richard

          • Richard,

            I read your comment again. You wrote this:

            “To use the word socialism to describe this government is unscientific, and becomes dishonest if intentionally done to promote a certain right wing political agenda … ”

            I feel the need to respond. This article will help do so:

            http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Fascism.html

            And, with that I’m done. I should not have brought up the term ‘socialism’, and I apologize to the blog author, Maria for doing so.

            Richard, again, I do not think this is the place to get into a debate about what constitutes socialism. I also was not being “dishonest” by expressing my political views.

            Duane

        • I woke up this morning dreaming about this, so I’ll thank you for the link, Richard, and I will comment. I woke up with the realization that a large part of the problems in our current society are that corporate America historically, as a formerly “Christian” nation, used to advocate corporate goals of high profits, but with – of course – the Christian concept of the best interest of ALL people being an ASSUMED prerequisite (for morally acceptable profits).

          But now, in this “post Christian world,” corporate America is about getting the most profit for themselves and Wall Street, completely irregardless of how any of their actions or products harm the rest of humanity or planet now, or in perpetuity.

          Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED Ayn Rand’s “Fountainhead;” it’s one of my all time favorite books. But I was never able to make it through “Atlas Shrugged,” watched the movie eventually, and was terribly disappointed. I could relate with the architect with integrity and creative egoism, but not the greed motivated only characters in “Atlas Shrugged.”

          “A demagogue, in addition to hypnotic glibness, must also be intellectually inconsistent, sometimes boldly so. This eliminates challenges to authority by weeding out clear-thinking young people from the flock.” Sadly, this seems to describe Rand, and many of her non-clear thinking followers. Such as, the psycho / pharmaceutical industries’ in the past several decades.

          Including their seemingly proactive attacks on those “clear-thinking young people” who realized going off worshiping only money, and allowing Greenspan to span the green until it was irrelevant to reality, was not necessarily a good thing for American society. (Dad was one of the last of the ethical bankers, and I was an Econ major, so I regularly dream about monetary policy, too. Who can explain dreams?)

          “However, for Rand, there is no struggle to discover the distinction between integrity and true childless vanity. Rand’s integrity was her vanity, it was about getting as much money and control as possible.” And this is blatantly the childish philosophy of today’s psycho / pharmaceutical (and mortgage banking) industries. But the idiot bankers merely made a mockery of our monetary system with their greed and belief in Rand’s me only generation philosophy.

          But the pharmaceutical industry is dealing with millions of people’s actual health and lives. They are selling drugs that cause actual long run genetic changes, and defects, in humans. They are performing completely unscientifically valid testing on drugs, with no long run studies on safety or efficacy. And being disingenuous when there are adverse effects. They have deluded, with misinformation, and largely made a mockery of the knowledge base, of the entire mainstream medical community. Their childish greed is actually actually a potential threat to all of human existence at this point, I now fear.

          “While Rand often disparaged Soviet totalitarian collectivism, she had little to say about corporate totalitarian collectivism, as she conveniently neglected the reality that the giant US corporations, like the Soviet Union, do not exactly celebrate individualism, freedom, or courage.” As I mentioned earlier, my dreams this morning were about how there has been an actual change in the basic philosophic approach to what is and is not approate behavior in corporate America. And I think the problem is one from a formerly Christian based theology of work hard, profit ethically, but only so long as it benefits all people. To the “me only” philosophy of Ayn Rand, who basically brought the beliefs of her despised birth country to our country, and childishly and without wisdom claimed belief she was god and all were god is logical and how our people and corporations should behave.

          I loved “Fountainhead,” but perhaps stopped reading Rand, because I’m one of those “clear thinking people” who didn’t agree with her belief that because her Societ governments beliefs were wrong, that made her belief she was god, and her “me only” belief system, correct.

          Personally, I think we should go back to being a Christian nation, that properly cares for and loves our children. And instills in our children, people, and corporations the importance of treating others as we’d like to be treated. And implies it as manditory we not profit off harming others in the short run as has been happening, but also in the long run, as is currently going on as well.

          Thanks for your Ayn Rand post, it helped me think through the story of my dreams, and why the totality of her beliefs (which I hadn’t researched) seem to indeed be definately part of the problem in our society.

    • Actually, the cooptation of government by business interests, I discovered recently, is the essential definition of fascism. I am not claiming benefits of socialism here – I am merely stating that our enemy is not socialism, but FASCISM, which is not going to stop until our representatives represent us rather than the large corporate interests like the pharmaceutical companies.

      As further evidence, I will remark that the more socialist countries in Europe have been more resistant to the psychiatric drug craze than our own pseudo “free-market” economy, which is not free at all but highly controlled by the fascistic forces that have been running our government, and I include the Clinton and Obama administrations in that group 100%.

      I think the liberal/conservative split is being promoted so that each “side” thinks the other “side” is responsible for the horrific politics in Washington, so that the “conservatives” call for less government and the “liberals” lapse into apathy, and the corporations run the show. I think we need to stop buying into this sales job, and realize that both liberal and conservative views have been and will continue to be relevant and important, but historically never led to the kind of hostility and gridlock we see today. It’s not about liberal vs. conservative – it’s about BIG CORPORATIONS vs. THE REST OF US!

      OK, that’s my soapbox moment for the weekend…

      —- Steve

  4. Thank you for all you are doing, Maria.

    Here’s some information Breggin sent out yesterday on drug effects on children:

    http://www.ismp.org/QuarterWatch/pdfs/2013Q1-Kids-Special.pdf

    It breaks my heart adults feel it is appropriate to stigmatize, with scientifically invalid diseases, and force medicate little children with toxic drugs. As someone who knows how sick these drugs make a person, I find the psycho / pharmaceutical industries’ behavior pure evil. On par with what the Nazi doctors did, Duane, I agree.

    Drugs don’t cure behaviorial problems, good parenting does. Stop the drugging of children!

  5. Duane

    You said “Richard, again, I do not think this is the place to get into a debate about what constitutes socialism. I also was not being “dishonest” by expressing my political views.”

    Again, I have no problem with political views being expressed here. The ultimate solution to all the oppression in the mental health system being discussed and exposed at MIA will eventually come about through some type of revolutionary upheaval and major POLITICAL change in the world.

    Duane, I only asked you to be scientifically accurate in your use of political terminology. You have demanded the same of other participants at MIA when the topic refers more specifically to Biological Psychiatry and the current paradigm of mental health treatment.

    And Duane, I did not say you were “dishonest.” I said your argument and misuse of the term socialism “BECOMES dishonest IF done INTENTIONALLY…” (emphasis added). Only you can determine if this was done intentionally or if you are blindly following other right wing ideologues who DO dishonestly equate fascism with socialism.

    I must remind you that in Germany, before the rise of the Third Reich and before Jews, homosexuals, and the mentally ill were exterminated, the Nazis party targeted all communists and socialists. They were viewed as the main obstacle to the rise of fascism.

    And it is a historical fact that the communists and socialists in all the countries in Europe were THE major leaders of the fascist resistance. This is true despite what ever criticisms you or others may have of these movements; all of which you are entitled to have and express. I have my own secondary criticisms as well.

    We all have much to learn in scientifically evaluating the positive and negative experiences in this his historical era, but we need to be painfully accurate while going against the establishment’s efforts at revisionist history.

    Duane, we share common beliefs and passions regarding Biological Psychiatry. As we have approached these issues from somewhat different directions I am sure we will occasionally do some political sparring in the future as this movement goes forward; how could it be any other way.

    Richard

    • Richard,

      It is my opinion that I *was* being accurate:

      “As an economic system, fascism is *socialism* with a capitalist veneer… ”

      More here:

      http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Fascism.html

      I would like to set up a forum for political issues, and have asked Kermit (by email through the MIA contact section) to help me do so. I will keep you and others posted.

      IMO, this dialogue belongs in a forum, not on the blog author’s post.

      And I’m grateful for your desire to see things change! We certainly share in that desire!

      Duane

      • Duane

        Your quote from a source listed above: “As an economic system, fascism is *socialism* with a capitalist veneer… ”

        Once again this is not a scientific statement and represents more right wing nonsense.

        Being scientific: socialism is actually a transitional system on the road to communism, a classless society with no state that operates under the principle of “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

        In other words, over many generations (perhaps hundreds of years of education and socialization) people will eventually learn that society works best if we give all that we can to make society work, and only take what we need.

        Now whether or not you believe humans are capable of achieving this type of political and social organization is one thing you can argue. Go at it with great fervor if you so desire. These are very real questions to be debated and dissected.

        But some people attempt to derail any real discussion and take the dishonest and lazy ass road by repeating “bogey man” arguments that equate socialism with fascism. This is clearly meant to end all discussion.

        In one of your right wing sources you listed above, it stated that socialism had no markets, no entrepreneurs, or wage scales. Again, unscientific and patently false.

        By definition, socialism as a transitional stage moving towards communism, will still have many of the birthmarks left over from capitalism. So there will still be some markets, small capitalists, and wage scales. Although clearly people will not be allowed to have multimillion dollar salaries and bonuses. And long term efforts would be made to narrow the gaps between incomes as part of gradually moving towards the elimination of classes.

        Duane, as long as you repeat unscientific falsehoods on this topic, whether they are your own or from other sources, I will attempt to respond and correct you.

        Duane, you once said on this blog that in people’s comments they should avoid any criticism of capitalism, the military, and religion.

        I would say that Biological Psychiatry and the system that gave rise to it, and today continues to nurtures it, should not be off limits.

        And as to the interconnectedness between all these topics (capitalism, the military, and religion). They are, at times, serious topics to wrangle with in the right context and to relate to the purpose of the MIA mission. And besides, sometimes we all need to have a little fun while we’re at it.

        Richard

        • Richard,

          You are taking comments I made in the past out of context. They were expressions of concern about scaring readers off this site, who may have conservative or libertarian tendencies, with the *constant* bashing of people who have these opinions.

          Also, I was *unaware* that economic or political theories are based on “scientific” principles.

          You may want to elaborate on the FORUM, once one is put in place; or you may want to start your own FORUM to discuss these *theories* – political and economic.

          This really needs to be my *last* comment on this thread. Please, let’s start a FORUM for this topic.

          Maria, I apologize.

          Duane

  6. I thought it would be worth mentioning something, which I realise may be sensitive data. Whether it stays on here or not is at the discretion of those running the site. I will write it hopefully to comply with posting policy.

    I wanted to say that I met the CEO of one of the groups mentioned above many years ago in London when she was campaigning to highlight ADHD. I don’t think it’s right to drug children and asked her why she would allow her own flesh and blood to take the drugs. She told me that when she saw the reaction of her child to the drugs, she sought a diagnosis for herself and, ta da, she got a diagnosis and started taking the drugs as well.

    Back then, as an ordinary member of the public, I didn’t think it was right. I’m still an ordinary member of the public, and I still don’t think it’s right, and that’s despite the massive amount of Big Pharma info trying to convince me otherwise.