pHARMa: Putting a price on the lives of American moms and babies
Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
Two days ago, The MOTHERS Act and several other dangerous psych programs passed the house after being stuck in the 2400 page Senate Health Care Bill. Today, President Obama, a former co-sponsor of The MOTHERS Act in the Senate, signed the bill into law.
Two years and two months ago Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, Camille Milke and I, as heads of CHAADA, UNITE, COPES and ICFDA collaborated on a press release to be sent to the public, media and Congress regarding our opposition to The MOTHERS Act. We created a petition and within days we had hundreds of signatures from around the country. I spent the next two months calling people all day and sending emails, writing press releases and trying to update my website with the numerous radio shows where we would spread the word about the fight to save America’s mothers from an invasive government screening program.
Here is a reminder about what we were fighting and what we eventually killed in the Senate’s “Coburn” Omnibus, only to see it later re-introduced in the 111th Congress without the exact same screening provisions:
Information on Previous Versions of The MOTHERS Act: A previous version of this bill was steamrolling through Congress [this is the one for which the preamble stated that mothers “shall be screened” – which could be interpreted as mandatory screening for all moms], and did not pass due to valid problems in the bill including the fact that it called on using a method of “screening” pregnant women and new mothers called EPDS, a screening method documented to triple the number of women diagnosed with Postpartum Depression, according to a study published in Obstecrics & Gynecology. The Scandinavian Journal of Public Health stated that EPDS screening was unethical and should not be used. None of the proponents of the bill (many with pharmaceutical backing and funding) had objections whatsoever to endorsing such an unethical screening tool, and this bill would have passed with no objections from them, if not for the dedication of those groups that have no vested interests (ties to Pharma) opposing this bill that would certainly have led to an increase of women being put on dangerous antidepressant and other psychiatric drugs to “treat” them. At best, those who supported this bill failed completely in their lack of due diligence on what they were promoting for new mothers, and for the psycho/pharma industry funded groups that supported it, their interests were clear.
What I soon found out is that Goliath was very frightened of our coalition. So they sent in their own wolf pack in the form of a few disgruntled mothers who presumed that they would successfully intimidate us into giving up. But we never did. Despite hurtful and hateful comments, personal attacks and lies, we continued on, growing our coalition to 54 national groups, over 13,250 public signatures and over 3,000 Facebook members. It’s difficult to count all of our supporters since word spreads fast online and people sometimes don’t even know where to find links to sign the petition even though they have written or called Congress.
I can’t even calculate the amount of money my husband spent on press releases, flights to DC, or the amount I have spent on incidentals just working to stop The MOTHERS Act. Countless radio shows and magazine, newspaper and TV interviews later, here we are in 2010 with The MOTHERS Act slipped into the Health Care Bill and passed with carte blanche approval from Democrats in the House after a tough fight in the Senate.
I find it ironic and funny to read on Katherine Stone’s and Susan Stone’s blogs a few posts congratulating each other for a job well done. All told several people are listed as getting all the credit for passing a bill that died every year in Congress for six years before passing the house in 2007 and being killed by our coalition in 2008. As you know, when the House of Reps passes something, sometimes all that they do is announce the name of the bill and its stated purpose and vote. Nobody wants to vote against something titled “The MOTHERS Act” though in reality it should be called “The Pharmaceutical Companies’ Dream For America Act” or maybe “The Axe The Mothers and Babies Act.”
When I started out this fight I had faith in the American system of government and thought that Democrats would never support this bill if they knew what it was all about. But it turned out that I started to realize I could not stick with one political side and trust that they could do the right thing if they knew about it, because it all comes down to pharmaceutical money and campaign contributions.
I remember spending days doing research on the front groups supporting the bill and the reps who voted for it and the reps and senators who co-sponsored it and coming to the conclusion that I was digging myself access to an endless rabbit hole. I gave up and published a press release that listed miniscule preliminary numbers of dollar amounts of all the people from Postpartum Support International I could find who had been awarded money by pHARMa or who worked on their speaker’s bureuas for pharmaceutical companies. Then I looked in the Eli Lilly tooth fairy documents for the front groups supporting the act and how much they had taken from pharma.
It would take all day to come up with a list of everyone I’ve written about over the past two years who supported this who took money from pHARMa. It took up so much time and effort on my part and despite my finds and leads, it seemed like it was a task too big for just me.
Then there was Evelyn Pringle, coming to save the day. That woman could take down the Trojan Horse if she wanted to, single-handedly. Probably a dozen articles later, everyone from coast to coast involved in the reproductive psychiatry scam trying to push this bill had been exposed.
But they just move on continuing to maim and kill babies as though nothing ever happened and many are probably still raking in NIH funding for doing so.
While sitting in a meeting in the US Senate office buildings last year I was fortunate to get to hear read to me a letter from the APA which they had sent to Congress to dispute our issues with The MOTHERS Act. That would be the American Psychiatric Association.
That’s right – The American Psychiatric Association takes the initiative to defend the program. Not PSI or Menendez or the DBSA or whoever but the APA. The group that was so extensively exposed recently that they had to cut back on the amount of pHARMa funding that they would accept to attempt to regain credibility.
But I just wanted to mention to those of you who are out there frustrated by this thing, that we were up against amazing odds. Katherine Stone and Susan Stone forgot to mention a few of the people who helped them out (just a few). So let’s just give a run down of many more of those who pushed for the bill and could have contributed to getting The MOTHERS Act put into the Health Care bill because it obviously was going nowhere on its own.
(Here is a link to the original article exposing the fact that between $13,095,010 – $16,487,497 in pHARMa dollars were paid to MOTHERS Act pushers in recent years http://momsandmeds.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/pharmapaysmasupporters/ and all quotes below were taken from that article. The research was based on the series of MOTHERS Act articles written by Evelyn Pringle.)
Pfizer (paid Katherine Stone at least $5,000 via a $20,000 gift to MHA, another front group, for reproductive psychiatry lectures to moms, and Pfizer also paid off many of the other front groups mentioned below)
The most troubling donation to this Mothers Act supporter is a $20,000 Pfizer grant to a Georgia group to fund: Project Healthy Moms: Education for Prevention/Treatment for Perinatal Depression Disorders, which apparently ended up, at least in part, in the pocketbook of Katherine Stone.
The Georgia group’s June 8, 2008 e-news said the grant was for: “Project Healthy Moms: What You Need To Know About Perinatal Mood Disorders.”
The $20,000 funded 1-hour speaking events with Katherine, “aimed at educating practitioners and the general public throughout Georgia about prevention of and treatment for such illnesses as ante partum depression, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety/OCD and postpartum psychosis,” the newsletter said.
Katherine was described as a “former postpartum OCD sufferer and author of Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog in the United States on postpartum mood disorders.”
E-news said attendees would learn: “One size does NOT fit all: Why postpartum depression is just part of a spectrum of mood disorders women may experience & what to look for.”
The newsletter only listed 5 scheduled events but told readers to contact Katherine directly by email or phone to schedule more. E-news did acknowledge that: “This special hour of learning is made possible by a grant from Pfizer,” but listed no amount.
Eli Lilly (paid leaders within PSI, Mary Jo Codey, Margaret Spinelli & Diana Barnes awards to be given to their favorite nonprofit.)
APA – over $62 million from pHARMa in 2006. In addition:
Lilly gave the American Psychiatric Association grants worth more than $600,000 in both the first and second quarters of 2008. In 2007, the group received over $400,000 from Lilly. The drug maker gave roughly $450,000 more to the American Psychiatric Foundation for the APA fellowship program. Pfizer donated more than $700,000 to the “non-profit” APA in 2008.
Screening for Mental Health
The front groups team up with a “non-profit” called “Screening for Mental Health,” to carry out mental illness screening days all over the country every year. Their websites also provide live links to internet screening programs set up by this firm.
Up to 2008, the SMH had received close to $5 million from drug companies. Lilly gave the firm $124,000 in 2007 and $100,000 in 2008.
Sherri Lusskin (involved with the leadership in PSI – reproductive psychiatrist on the speaker’s bureau for four pHARMaceutical companies)
NAMI – One of the biggest pHARMa front groups of all time. At least 56% of funding comes from pHARMa, probably more.
NAMI’s annual reports list about every drug company on the planet as a corporate partner without specifying how much each donated. But the grant reports of Lilly and Pfizer for 2007 and 2008 show NAMI groups received millions of dollars from those two drug makers alone.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, Pfizer gave NAMI a grant of $132,000 to fund a campaign that best describes the drug maker’s goal called the “Campaign for the Mind of America.” In the third quarter, Pfizer doled out another $225,000 to fund the same campaign.
Lilly is also funding the Campaign for the Mind, with grants of $450,000 in both 2007 and 2008. Lilly also provides extra funding to NAMI groups all over the country for the “Walk for the Mind of America.” In 2007, walking money totaled $17,000 in the first quarter, $11,500 in the second, and $13,000 for the third and fourth combined. In 2008, Lilly’s “Walk for the Mind” quarterly totals were $11,500, $24,000, $12,500 and $2,000.
In 2007, NAMI presented a $50,000 “Mind of America Scientific Research Award” to Dr A John Rush. He also landed on the Grassley hit list last fall for not disclosing drug company money to the University of Texas.
On April 6, 2009, Senator Grassley sent a letter to NAMI asking for the disclosure of all funding from drug makers and industry created foundations over the past few years.
DBSA – This group sponsored the CapWiz software link for sending private letters to Congress to support The MOTHERS Act, which Susan Stone directed people to sign and called a “petition.”
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance received $37,510 from Lilly in 2007 and $20,000 in 2008. This group provides live links to form letters that can be filled in and sent to Congress members asking them to vote for the Mother’s Act. The two Stone gals provide links to the Mothers Act alerts put out by the Alliance on their websites.
The group’s 2007 Annual Report shows this non-profit received between $150,000 and $499,000 from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Wyeth. Abbott, Cyberonics, Lilly, Forest, Glaxo, Organon, and Otsuka American Pharmaceuticals gave between $10,000 and $149,999.
The report also notes that a “First-ever DBSA Hope Award” for lifetime achievement was presented to Frederick Goodwin. Back in August 2002, the speakers at the annual conference of the Alliance included three stars from the Grassley hit list, Goodwin, Nemeroff and Joseph Beiderman.
The ACOG -In 2008, Lilly gave the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists $16,000, and a $2,000 donation was made in the third quarter of 2007.
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare – described as “a non-profit association representing 1,300 mental health and addictions treatment and rehabilitation organizations,” on its website. This gang received $200,000 from Lilly in the first quarter of 2008, and another $215,000 in the fourth quarter.
Charles Nemeroff, SPAN USA and AFSP
Mother’s Act supporter, Suicide Prevention Action Network USA, has merged with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, according to a November 6, 2008 press release announcement.
A year earlier, Emory University reported that Charles Nemeroff had been elected president of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and would begin serving his three-year tenure in January 2008.
Emory’s press release noted that Nemeroff had served on the AFSP’s national board of directors since 1999 and had “been a member of the Foundation’s Scientific Council for more than 10 years and was named chair of the Council in 2007.”
In about the same time frame between 2000 and 2007, Senator Charles Grassley’s Senate Finance Committee investigation found that Nemeroff had earned more than $2.8 million from drug companies, but failed to disclose at least $1.2 million to Emory.
Lilly’s 2008 grant report shows the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA received one $10,000 grant and another $70,000 grant. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also received three grants worth $78,000.
Lilly’s 2007 report shows the Action Network received $10,000 in one quarter and $70,000 in another. The Foundation got $25,000 in 2007. The 2004 spring issue of USA’s Network News reports that: “Network News is funded by a grant from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation.”
The Summer 2005 Network News noted that “Donations Sustain SPAN USA.”
The donor list shows Pfizer gave over $10,000. The group received more than $1,000 from Bristol-Meyers, Janssen, and Novartis. Forest Pharmaceuticals gave over $500.
The 2006 Spring Network News announced the “Friend for Life” sponsors. Forest and the industry’s trade group, PhRMA donated over $15,000. Pfizer gave between $10,000 and $14,999. Solvay was listed as giving between $6,000 and $9,999 and companies that gave between $2,000 and $5,999 were AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers. J&J, Lilly and Novartis each donated between $500 and $1,999.
Mental Health America
Mental Health America groups also received millions of dollars from Pfizer and Lilly alone in 2007 and 2008. This group runs a “Campaign for America’s Mental Health” and received grants of $200,000 and $300,000 in 2008 from Pfizer to fund it. Lilly gave $300,000 to fund this Campaign in 2007.
MHA’s 2006 annual report shows the group received over $1 million each from Lilly, Bristol-Myers, and Wyeth. Janssen and Pfizer gave between $500,000 and $1,000,000, and AstraZeneca and Forest donated between $100,000 and $499,000. Glaxo gave between $50,000 and $100,000 in 2006.
The Children’s Defense Fund received a grant for $125,000 in 2003 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The March of Dimes got $6,500 from Pfizer in 2008, and the National Association of Social Workers also received $7,500 from Pfizer.
And I can recall reading / writing about even the ACNM, Massachusetts General Hospital and others getting funding from pHARMa and the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition (Susan Stone is a board member) being sponsored by several pHARMaceutical companies. The list just goes on and on, so I’ll just add this:
Lest we forget the saddest groups to support the bill, NARAL, Planned Parenthood and Guttmacher, whose obvious conflicts of interest here would be the fact that more moms are going to be choosing to terminate pregnancies when they become pregnant on antidepressants and other drugs due to the risk to the baby of death via miscarriage, birth defects, SIDS, stillbirth et cetera. And even if moms don’t choose abortion, more babies will still die with the implementation of perinatal disease mongering. I would expect groups like those to be a little more careful about the messages that they send because all it looks like here is that they are asking us to show them the money.
So congratulations Goliath, together you did it. And you even got your pregnancy and depression screening funding back in there thanks to Barbara Mikulski’s vague screening amendment. All those laundered dollars are a small price for you to pay considering the harm you do and will continue to do via the government-sanctioned marketing of reproductive psychiatry.
Time to pray for all OBGYNS, midwives and doulas that they will wake up and start protecting vulnerable moms from the wolves trying to prey on their lives and their babies’ lives. But until that happens we plan to reach out and do our part to make sure as many moms as possible are given the opportunity for informed consent so that they can save their children and themselves.