Excerpt from Evelyn Pringle article “Bush’s Mental Illness Screening Squad On the Move”
…According their press release, the “MOTHERS Act was introduced in response to a recently passed, first-of-its-kind New Jersey law requiring doctors and nurses to educate and screen expectant mothers about PPD.”
“Many women have successfully recovered from postpartum depression with the help of therapy, medication, and support groups,” Senator Menendez said in the press release.
“By increasing education and early treatment of postpartum depression,” it said, “mothers, husbands, and families, will be able to recognize the symptoms of this condition and help new mothers get the treatment they need and deserve.”
Anyone interested in a quick course on the potential dangers of this program, and the lethal effects of the most commonly prescribed drugs for women with PPD, need only go read the transcripts of the Andrea Yates’ trials and check out the drugs they were feeding her for PPD, at the time she drowned her 5 children in the bathtub in November 2004.
Dr Anne Blake Tracy, is the author of “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?” and a well-known expert on SSRIs and has served as a consultant for many high-profile cases involving SSRI induced violence, including cases of mothers who have killed their babies, and often themselves, after being placed on SSRIs.
According to Dr Tracy, investigators found Zoloft in the apartment of Emiri Padron, after she smothered her baby on June 22, 2004, and then stabbed herself in the chest twice.
On July 26, 2004, she says, Mary Ellen Moffitt suffocated her 5-week-old infant before killing herself after being prescribed Paxil for PPD.
In another tragedy in October 2002, Annie Mae Haskew smothered her 10-week-old baby after she was diagnosed with PPD and placed on antidepressants.
At the other end of the life-cycle, the mental health screening squad is swarming in on the nation’s 36 million senior citizens, who already represent a gold mine to Big Pharma because they use so many medications. The screening program for the elderly is set up through the, “Positive Aging Act of 2005.”
The Act provides federal tax dollars for community-based mental health treatment outreach teams and states: (a) In General- The Secretary … shall award grants to public or private nonprofit entities that are community-based providers of geriatric mental health services, to support the establishment and maintenance by such entities of multi-disciplinary geriatric mental health outreach teams in community settings where older adults reside or receive social services.
The Act wants outreach teams to:
(1) adopt and implement … evidence-based intervention and treatment protocols (to the extent such protocols are available) for mental disorders prevalent in older individuals (including, but not limited to, mood and anxiety disorders, dementias of all kinds, psychotic disorders, and substance and alcohol abuse), …
(2) provide screening for mental disorders, diagnostic services, referrals for treatment, and case management and coordination through such teams; and
This plan seeks to round up seniors for screening wherever they can be found, including (1) senior centers; (2) adult day care programs; and (3) assisted living facilities.
A new recruitment scheme for senior citizens was totally unnecessary because Big Pharma has been over-medicating these customers for years. Recent research reveals that nursing home residents in particular are being drugged in record numbers.
Kenneth Thomas, a registered nurse with 29 years of experience, says elderly people in nursing homes are regularly put on antidepressants, even though most of them,” he notes, “lived 7 or more decades without drugging away their blues.”
“Based on my direct observation and experience,” he says, “many of the patients I’ve seen with so-called “mental illness” actually have underlying physical conditions that are easily treatable by medical, non-psychiatric, methods.”
He makes the point that anyone who has been taken from their home and put into an unfamiliar place confined to bed or wheelchair would be logically upset. “Any loss of personal freedom,” he explains, “tends to bring people downward emotionally.”
According to Mr Thomas, there are many ways to help an elderly person gain more independence and have some autonomy even in restricted environments such as nursing homes and rehab centers. “Most of these elderly,” he notes, “just need someone to talk to, not another pill.”
In October 2005, the Journal of the American Medical Association, published a meta-analysis of 15 randomized trials of more than 5,000 elderly patients treated with atypicals that found patients taking the drugs had a 54% increased chance of dying within 3 months, compared with patients taking a placebo.
Another Big Pharma money-making tactic is to promote the off-label prescribing of drugs at a higher dose than necessary which, experts say, is extremely dangerous with older people because their bodies cannot not metabolize or excrete drugs as rapidly as younger patients.
In a study published in the June 13, 2005, Archives of Internal Medicine, that examined the quality of antipsychotic prescriptions for nearly 2.5 million Medicaid patients in nursing homes, “over half (58.2%),” received antipsychotics that exceeded the maximum recommended dosage or received duplicate therapy or had inappropriate indications for the drugs to begin with.
The study found that more than 200,000 nursing home residents received antipsychotic therapy with “no appropriate indications for use.”
As a result of concealing negative information about these psychiatric drugs and the promotional tactics by the drug makers of encouraging the off-label prescribing of the medications for so many different uses, experts say, tens of millions of people are now taking the medications without any valid indication for their use.
In fact, so many people are being prescribed these expensive drugs that the TMAP part of the marketing scheme is coming apart at the seams due to pure and simple greed. State lawmakers say that the costs incurred due to the over-prescribing of the drugs are bankrupting state Medicaid programs and they have to stop the practice of over-prescribing to keep from going broke.
According to the July 27, 2005, Wall Street Journal, antidepressants and antipsychotics are the third and fourth biggest classes of drugs in the US after cholesterol and heartburn medicines, with sales of $20.7 billion in 2004, with much “of that cost is borne by government health-care plans,” the journal said.
The prices per pill for these drugs are themselves insane. For example, in South Carolina, Zyprexa is the most expensive atypical covered by Medicaid, and according to James Assey, a pharmacist with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, a one-month supply pills costs Medicaid over $700.
The state of Georgia totally removed Zyprexa from its preferred drug list and any doctor who wants to start a Medicaid patient on Zyprexa, must now submit a clinical rationale stating why it’s the only drug appropriate, according to the November 28, 2005, Indianapolis Business Journal.
Other states, including Tennessee, Illinois, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania also now require doctors to obtain prior authorization before prescribing Zyprexa to Medicaid patients, the Journal reports.
Big Pharma is making a ton of money off selling these drugs off-label for kids. A report in the April 24, 2005, Columbus Dispatch, found that 40,000 children aged 6-18 who were covered by Medicaid were prescribed psychotropic drugs: 31% of the children were in foster care, and 22% were in juvenile detention. Medicaid spent $65.5 million for drugs used primarily as “chemical restraints,” according to Pyle, P, “Drugged into Submission.”
According to FDA estimates, 11 million antidepressant prescriptions were written in 2003 for under 19-year-olds, representing a 27% increase in 3 years.
The sale of ADHD drugs, also skyrocked in 2003. In 5 to 9-year-old children their use increased 85%, and in preschoolers usage was up 49%, according to Medco Health Solution’s, 2004 Drug Trend Symposium.
Overall, sales of psychiatric drugs totaled $26.7 billion in 2004, according to NDC Health Corp, a Georgia-based health information firm.