The Bitter Pill

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New Fax Campaign

Why The MOTHERS Act Should Not Be Passed

Please go to  http://www.box.net/shared/810kj0b8g7 and  print a PDF that you can fax to the Senate: http://www.box.net/shared/4qx33jhgen

Here is the text of the fax if you want to format your own letter:

WHY THE MOTHERS ACT SHOULD NOT BE PASSED

On the surface, The MOTHERS Act (S. 324) reflects its sponsors’ compassion for mothers suffering from postpartum depression and psychosis. But when one looks closely at the important sections of the legislation, it is clear that this costly and sweeping mental health legislation not only fails the mothers of America, it’s intended to inflate the balance sheets of Big Pharma.

  • The bill omits language clearly stating there will be an evaluation of the large amount of data available on the known risks of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications currently being prescribed to pregnant women and nursing mothers (including birth defects, heart defects, spontaneous abortions, and infant deaths). See May 9, 2009 Vogue article, “Pregnant Pause: With a flurry of recent reports challenging the safety of antidepressant drugs for unborn babies, doctors and concerned mothers-to-be are rethinking the guidelines” by Alexis Jetter at http://www.box.net/shared/deulxo16fp
  • The bill defines ‘postpartum condition’ as only ‘postpartum depression (PPD) or postpartum psychosis.’ The danger is that per these DSM-extracted terms to label women with mental disorders, this is only psychological, not physiological conditions which will be checked for, ruling out discovery of any real physical causes, such as hormonal imbalances or vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and neglecting the treatments thereof. This relates to the issue of “screening tools” in development cited in the bill. Are these merely psychological questionnaires, and who is developing them? Are they pharmaceutically funded?
  • The bill cites various “entities” that will be eligible for grants and for participating in research and/or development of screening methods and/or treatments and delivery. Who or what are these “entities?” Are they pharmaceutically funded? Do they have conflicts of interest? There are ongoing investigations of various “non-profit” organizations who heavily promote or conduct screening. For example, Screening for Mental Health, Inc., and its sub-organization Signs of Suicide, who heavily promote and conduct mental health screening, received $4,985,925 from pharmaceutical companies prior to 2008. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) receives 56% of its funding from pharmaceutical companies. Ten leading psychiatric researchers (many from prominent universities) have been exposed in the last year for failing to disclose millions of dollars in pharmaceutical payments – yet this bill contains no provisions for full disclosure of conflicts of interest for any “entity” receiving federal taxpayer funded grants.
  • Given that the Senate Finance Committee recently exposed the financial conflicts of interest of the top ten psychiatric researchers in the U.S., it is no small issue that The MOTHERS Act provides no research guidelines for public disclosure.
  • Under The MOTHERS Act’s current language, research will be conducted without peer review – no checks and balances, no one to validate the integrity of the research which then will be used to determine a woman’s mental health status.
  • Simultaneously, without allowing any checks and balances whatsoever on the research, it promotes a national “public education” campaign to include Public Service Announcements and television and radio advertisements, essentially giving Pharma an opportunity for free, federally-funded advertising.

SUMMARY: Without a fully completed, published, and publicly disclosed investigation of the dangers of current methods of treatment (drugs), efficacy of non-drug treatments, and discovery and disclosure of the causes for these conditions, clearly defined and available for review by the medical/scientific community and consumers, there should be no endorsement of a national educational or advertising campaign. There must be no new or massive utilization or promotion of any “screening tools” without first disclosing the researchers, entities, and methods used to develop these “screening tools.”

Therefore, as a concerned citizen and voter, I urge you to vote “NO” on The MOTHERS Act (S. 324).

Sincerely,                                                                                  Address:

Stress Testing The MOTHERS Act

by Kelly Patricia O’Meara

May 7, 2009

It seems these days that everything is a test. Yes, the powers that be have decided that taxpayer benevolence now is contingent upon passing a stress test. But much to the dismay of those being tested, the results may reveal, for example, that the nation’s financial wizards and auto giants are actually bankrupt midgets and unworthy of America’s support.

Given that officialdom has embraced the stress test as a barometer of future viability and success and a determinant for public financing, it seems reasonable to request that other important issues that very personally impact the health and welfare of the American people be subjected to similar stress tests. There is none more deserving of stress testing than the proposed MOTHERS Act.

On the surface, the MOTHERS Act reflects its sponsors overwhelming compassion and empathy for women suffering from alleged mental health disorders resulting from childbirth – often referred to as Postpartum Depression. But when one conducts a brief stress test on important sections of the legislation, taxpayers may find that this costly and sweeping mental health legislation actually fails women of America, but goes a long way in inflating the balance sheets of one of the most lucrative industries in the nation – big Pharma.

For instance, the MOTHERS Act legislation that currently is pending in the U.S. Senate states that the Secretary of Health and Human Services may “make grants to eligible entities…” to deliver essential services to individuals with a postpartum condition. What the legislation doesn’t delineate is who and what entities may receive these grants. Are these “entities” funded by pharmaceutical companies? Lawmakers have not specified what constitutes an “entity” so it will be impossible to know if there are conflicts of interest between those who develop the screening tools and conduct research and the pharmaceutical companies who most certainly will benefit financially from the increased diagnosing.

Furthermore, no research guidelines have been provided for public disclosure. This is no small issue, given that the Senate Finance Committee recently exposed the conflicts of interest of the top ten psychiatric researchers in the U.S. who had received millions of dollars in pharmaceutical funding. Where is the guarantee that the “entities” are not pharmaceutical front-men?

The legislation also allows for the “expansion and intensification of activities” into the research of Postpartum conditions and “evaluation of new treatments.” This is a humdinger. Despite ever-increasing published data and clinical studies challenging the safety of antidepressants and other antipsychotic drugs, there is no guidance provided by lawmakers to mandate that the public be made aware of the avalanche of scientific data that not only questions the efficacy of the drugs available to mothers suffering from these conditions, but also warning of the dangers associated with currently available “treatments.”

The section of the legislation dealing with expanding the research into the causes of Postpartum conditions is wholly void of any guidelines that insure the validity of the research conducted, and provides nothing in the way of public disclosure or peer-review of research before it is launched in education campaigns. In the real world, research is conducted and submitted for peer review. In this instance, it appears that Congress has learned nothing from the ongoing banking debacle and naively believes that the researchers will be on their best behavior – self-policing themselves. This is a dangerous omission in the legislation, especially since the Senate Finance Committee has exposed the serious conflicts of interest that exist between researchers and pharmaceutical companies.

Making matters worse, much of the legislation revolves around funding national education campaigns about Postpartum Depression, including Public Service Announcements and television and radio advertisements. Based on the current language of the legislation, research will be conducted without peer review – no checks and balances; no one to validate the integrity of the research which then will be used to determine a woman’s mental health status. Given that this research will be used to develop questions or tests for screening new mothers for possible mental disorders, one might find it important to know that the research has integrity and has been validated by the scientific community, free of pharmaceutical largesse. Congress apparently didn’t think integrity of the research is important and there are no provisions to protect women from pharmaceutical driven research.

Taxpayers may also expect that such important legislation would make provisions for some kind of oversight; some government entity that could provide feedback on the success or failure of this mental health campaign. One avenue that may help lawmakers’ determine if these new programs are working is the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reports. MedWatch collects information about people who have experienced adverse reactions to drugs overseen by the FDA. With the increased drugging that most certainly will occur with the increase in diagnosing, it seems logical that lawmakers would insert provisions in the legislation to annually review Adverse Event Reports collected by MedWatch, especially those relating to drugs prescribed in the treatment of Postpartum Depression. Unfortunately, because the nation’s lawmakers have provided no provisions for oversight, countless numbers of women may be harmed by the “treatments” but will be none the wiser because no protections were provided in the legislation.

There also is the very basic question of why the government is endorsing this sweeping mental health legislation and sanctioning a national advertising campaign about Postpartum Depression when there is no definitive data about the cause of the condition or that it is an objective confirmable abnormality – the scientific standard for disease. Given that there are so many unknowns in this legislation, it seems irresponsible to go forward without reasonable protections in place.

Congress must insure that all research and screening tests proposed and endorsed by this legislation be disclosed for peer-review and consumer input before implementing any screening tests and approving any research to be used in the national education campaign, including Public Service Announcements and radio and television advertising.

Given the documented risks related to the current modes of treatments, including antidepressant and antipsychotics, which are commonly prescribed for Postpartum Depression and documented to cause birth defects and host of other issues in pregnant and nursing mothers, Congress must include mandatory reviews of published research and clinical data on the drugs prescribed for the treatment of Postpartum Depression.

Finally, Congress must protect the integrity of the research by providing strict guidelines to insure that there are no conflicts of interest between the researcher and the pharmaceutical industry.

Without these safeguards, the MOTHERS Act cannot today, or ever, pass a stress test of viability and mothers and their children certainly will be on the losing end of this mental health campaign. Sometimes it’s in the best interest of the people for Congress NOT to act, and until our lawmakers are confident that all legislative precautions have been taken to insure optimum results, this is one of those times.

About the author:

Kelly Patricia O’Meara is an award-winning investigative journalist who authored more than two dozen articles examining the psychiatric pharmaceutical industry during her tenure at the Washington Times’ Insight Magazine. Her articles resulted in record sales of the issues in which they appeared and among the national and international press that have featured her articles are Fox News, the O’Reilly Factor, CBS News, BBC, ABC’s 20/20 and Hannity and Colmes. She is also the author of Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Sickness and Pushes Pills that Kill. Prior to working as an investigative journalist, O’Meara spent sixteen years on Capitol Hill and was the lead investigator in several Congressional investigations. She holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Maryland.

Filed under: mothers act, ,

Coalition Grows To 53 Groups

http://www.uniteforlife.org/content/view/38/2/

Read our updates on our Coalition and some news about the other side.

Note: we will be using the BREATH blog (the official blog of momsandmeds.com/MADNAP) and the UNITE website and Yahoo group for updates temporarily so that our fax campaign regarding The MOTHERS Act’s flawed and dangerous legislative language will remain at the top of this blog.

As of 6-5 The Coalition totals 53 groups, including the latest, Parent Guidance Center, AAPS,  The Mother Magazine, The Coalition for the Abolition of ElectroShock in Texas, ASPIRE, Beyond Meds and The Network Against Coercive Psychiatry.

I love the mission statement of AAPS:

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
“Omnia pro aegroto”

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a non-partisan professional association of physicians in all types of practices and specialties across the country.

Since 1943, AAPS has been dedicated to the highest ethical standards of the Oath of Hippocrates and to preserving the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship and the practice of private medicine.

Our motto, “omnia pro aegroto” means “all for the patient.”

Read our “Principles of Medical Ethics”
Read our “Patients Bill of Rights”

Also, here are some interesting quotes from the Network Against Coercive Psychiatry:

The Network is emerging at an historical juncture that constitutes a time of potential danger as well as opportunity. The danger lies in the continued expansion of psychiatric power and of the merger of the “mental health” system with the American government.

The idea of “mental illness” is a misleading and degrading metaphor. “Psychiatric treatments” in mental hospitals are for the most part forms of physical and emotional abuse. Psychiatric “diagnoses” are demeaming labels without any scientific validity. The psychiatric Establishment is pushing dangerous drugs which they euphemistically call “medication.” Treatments in this century have ranged from revolving chairs to lobotomies to electrical assaults on the human brain to neurologically damaging drugs. There has been no revolution in the treatment of individuals who are psychiatrically labeled: it is an unbroken history of barbaric practices, justified by professionals as medical procedures designed to control patients’ ostensible mental diseases.

Filed under: mothers act, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

National Coalition of Organized Women Letter to the Senate

National Coalition of Organized Women

From Laboring Women to Labor Unions, We Move as One

www.ProgressiveConvergence.com

From the desk of the Director:

May 10, 2009

Re: The Mothers Act S.324

As a non-funded social force on behalf of women and children’s health since 1992, we herein render our opinion on S. 324 for the benefit of your consideration.

We strongly recommend that the Senator postpone the vote on the Mothers Act (S. 324) until 2012. As it concerns pregnant women, their fetus and their breastfeeding infants, the SSRIs research promoted by this bill concomitant with the proposed mass vaccination of the entire pregnant population in 2010 with Thimerosal (mercury) containing Swine flu vaccine is, in our considered opinion, deeply imprudent…placing in double jeopardy pregnant mothers who have the sobering responsibility of safely ushering in an entire generation of humanity…a generational wave of new Americans.

Furthermore, there are obtuse generalities in the legislation S. 324 that fail to protect women and their fetuses. We feel that it would be a personal, moral and professional mistake for the Senator to vote this bill into law “as it is” without serious consideration and attention to the devil in the details.

Essentially, this bill’s purpose is to legitimize and expand clinical testing of psychiatric drugs, namely SSRIs, black boxed labeled as “suicidal” (homicidal) as it pertains to pregnant women.

Example of proposed considerations:

  • No guidelines have been provided for public disclosure regarding conflict of interest of the grant recipient.
  • No proviso for patient information statement (PIS) for pregnant participants in clinical or anecdotal trials.
  • For example, here is a relational example of a detail gone wrong in the vaccine program that could be refined for the Mothers Act:

In the case of the CDC’s Vaccine Information Statement (VIS):  Law requires that all recipients of the vaccines be provided with a VIS indicating the risks and benefits of the vaccine.  Unfortunately, (a point to be considered for the Mothers Act) the CDC provides the VIS solely developed by the Administrative Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) which recommends the flu vaccine for all pregnant women. However, in contradiction, the FDA states that the recommendation of the ACIP for pregnant women is not an indication of the FDA. However, this contrasting FDA indication and Manufacturers’ information (see below) is not on the ACIP Vaccine Information Statement that providers are required to give to their pregnant patients, nationwide.

Hence, in the case of the vaccine program (as well as SSRI research as absent in the Mothers Act) pregnant women are devoid of receiving legitimate risk/benefit information.  Additionally, in the case of the vaccine program there is no information for pregnant mothers in the ACIP VIS that the mult-dose flu vaccine contains the highly controversial preservative, Thimerosal (mercury) which, as you know, contrary to the CDC, independent researchers emphatically contend is the primary cause of the Autism, ADHD, ADD epidemic AND the subsequent use of prescription drugs (SSRIs).  Note:  The use of Thimerosal for the 2010 Swine flu vaccination program will be particularly problematic as it is most likely that, according to Sanofi-Pasteur, mass vaccination/multi-dose will contain Thimerosal as a preservative/sterilant.

Example: Manufacturer’s Package Insert (Flu zone: Sanofi Pasteur)

Manufacturers warning not included in the vaccine information statement by ACIP

Pregnancy:

  • 8.1 Pregnancy Category C: Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Flu zone vaccine. It is also not known whether Flu zone vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Flu zone vaccine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
  • 8.2 Nursing Mothers It is not known whether Flu zone vaccine is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when Flu zone vaccine is administered to a nursing woman.
  • 13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility Flu zone vaccine has not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential, or for impairment of fertility.

Mayo Clinic:

Few medications have been proved safe without question during pregnancy. (Clinical and anecdotal research continues on pregnant women) Here’s an overview, arranged alphabetically by specific type of antidepressant:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Citalopram (Celexa) Associated with a rare but serious newborn lung problem (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN) when taken during the last half of pregnancy Consider as an option during pregnancy

Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) Associated with PPHN when taken during the last half of pregnancy Consider as an option during pregnancy

Paroxetine (Paxil) Associated with fetal heart defects when taken during the first three months of pregnancy             Avoid during pregnancy

Sertraline (Zoloft) Associated with PPHN when taken during the last half of pregnancy        Consider as an option during pregnancy

Tricyclic antidpressants

Amitriptyline Suggested risk of limb malformation in early studies, but not confirmed with newer studies             Consider as an option during pregnancy

Nortriptyline (Pamelor) Suggested risk of limb malformation in early studies, but not confirmed with newer studies             Consider as an option during pregnancy

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

Phenelzine (Nardil) May cause a severe increase in blood pressure that triggers a stroke       Avoid during pregnancy

Tranylcypromine (Parnate) May cause a severe increase in blood pressure that triggers a stroke       Avoid during pregnancy

Other antidepressants

Bupropion (Wellbutrin)             No established risks during pregnancy   Consider as an option during pregnancy

Melanie Stokes (namesake of the Mothers Act S.324) checked in at Michael Reese Hospital’s emergency room. Melanie was admitted to the psychiatric unit. At the hospital, doctors placed Melanie on antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs. Melanie had resumed the ECT treatments and started another combination of medications. The day she was released from the hospital she asked for a gun. When she arrived on May 27 to Lutheran General Hospital she had already been through four different combinations of anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs, as well as the electroconvulsive therapy. One day, Melanie checked into a hotel under the name Mary Hall, perched on a window ledge firefighters were in her room trying to coax her back inside. She sat on the other side of a window, her back straight and pressed against the glass. After about 20 minutes, Melanie turned a little, as if she were going to try to pull herself up. Then, she turned back, put her hands at her side and dropped from the ledge.

Andrea Yates motioned Officer Knapp into the house, past the dog barking from her kennel in the family room, down the hallway lined with framed family photos and carpeted in beige plush, and into the master bedroom. “I killed my kids”. Her husband had given her a 300-milligram morning dose of the antidepressant Effexor and, the previous night, a 45-milligram dose of the antidepressant Remeron with a 15-milligram dissolvable Remeron Sol Tab booster.

“Zoloft” recommended as an option by the Mayo clinic:

Christopher Pittman, aged 12, (Paxil then Zoloft). Known amongst family as ‘pop-pops shadow’, he had always been very close to his grandfather. Shortly after being prescribed Zoloft he shot both his grandparents dead and burned the house down. Imprisoned, he waited 3 years for trial, and was then tried as an adult – a practice acceptable in the USA. [Defense pleaded involuntary intoxication. Preparing for the expected homicidality-Zoloft link, Pfizer lawyers involved themselves early into the case with prosecution. Jury opted for murder verdict.

Please visit website http://www.ssristories.com/index.php Here you will find a collection 3,000 of stories of suicides, homicides including school shootings, every one of them associated with the very SSRIs that bill S.324,The Mothers Act seeks to fund as it pertains to pregnant mothers.

In conclusion: Because there are very serious and grave issues with psych drug research and treatment directly aimed at a generation of pregnant women; and in consideration of a Swine flu pandemic mass vaccination program of pregnant women with Thimerosal in 2010/11, the Mother’s Act should be postponed and reworked recommending, for the interim period, research on the efficacy of psychotherapy, and other psychosocial interventions while considering causative the mass childhood vaccinations of the young emerging mother whose generation is riddled with childhood vaccine toxic insults that now appear as mental illness causing a greater rise in the use of prescriptive psychiatric drugs (SSRIs); suicides and homicides.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,

Eileen Dannemann
Director, NCOW
ncowmail@gmail.com

917 804-0786

Filed under: mothers act, ,

“The Big Pharma Plague”

Republic Magazine informs its readers in this issue about many dangerous falsehoods being spread as truth for the benefit of pHARMa, all in the name of “help.”

Preview the PDF here: http://tinyurl.com/PharmaPlague

Or download it here: http://www.box.net/shared/m5o3iogys0

Check out the magazine or subscribe (you can get a digital subscription for free) at: http://www.republicmagazine.com/

Filed under: pharmacology, ,

Anna Nicole Smith’s Psychiatrist Was Treating Her for PPD

http://tinyurl.com/SmithPPD

Howard K. Stern says medical law doesn’t apply to him

11:56 AM | May 13, 2009

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Anna Nicole Smith’s former confidant and lawyer pleaded not guilty today to charges of furnishing illegal prescription drugs to the late Playboy model in the years leading up to her 2007 fatal overdose.

Following the arraignment in L.A. County Superior Court, an attorney for Howard K. Stern said he plans to seek a complete dismissal of the charges on the grounds that the law is meant for medical professionals.

“Howard is not a doctor, not a medical practitioner and the statute does not apply to him,” lawyer Steve Sadow said outside court as Stern stood silently at his side.

Authorities have portrayed Stern, 40, as the linchpin – or “principal enabler” according to the state attorney general – of a conspiracy to provide Smith with thousands of pills, including methadone, Xanax and Ambien.

Stern’s co-defendants, physicians Sandeep Kapoor, 40, and Khristine Eroshevich, 61, also pleaded not guilty today. Commissioner Kristi Lousteau ordered the doctors and Stern to provide handwriting samples to investigators.

The writing of prescriptions is the heart of the case against the trio. In court filings, prosecutors have said the three used fake names on prescriptions to funnel inappropriate amounts of medication to Smith even though they knew she was an addict.

The 39-year-old model and spokeswoman died in a Florida hotel room two years ago, five months after her 20-year-old son, Daniel, suffered a fatal overdose from drugs. A lawyer for Eroshevich, a psychiatrist, has said she was treating Smith for depression and postpartum depression stemming from the birth of her daughter.

The judge also imposed a protective order barring attorneys from disseminating some 1,400 pages of evidence that prosecutors are in the process of turning over to the defense. A lawyer for Kapoor told reporters that he is continuing to practice medicine as the case progresses.

“His patients have been very supportive and he appreciates that,” said attorney Ellyn Garofolo.

The defendants are due back in court in June to set a date for the preliminary hearing, which is expected to last at least two weeks.

– Harriet Ryan

Filed under: antidepressants, Congress, mothers act, PPD, , , , , , , ,

MOTHERS Act News

Check out these links:

1. “My eyes are wide open” – a new post by Christian Delahunty on her blog indibaby.wordpress.com: http://tinyurl.com/eyeswide

2. An obvious plant of an article written by “newspaper” pushing The MOTHERS Act claims that the Senate is one vote short of passing the bill. Go make a commment if you want: http://wvgazette.com/News/200905110759

3. And check out this Mother’s Day article in Salem News by Tim King: http://salem-news.com/articles/may102009/mothers_act_5-10-09.php

New Mental Health Test Bill is no Mother’s Day present for American moms.

Filed under: antidepressants, antipsychotics, Congress, Melanie Stokes, mothers act, PPD, Pregnancy, suicide

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