Relentless and Tragic Marketing: Psychiatric Drugs from Before the Cradle to the Grave

by John Breeding, PhD and Amy Philo

Working with others, we strive to alleviate distress and to support and enhance the personal growth, transformation, individuation, self-determination, and clear and expanded awareness of individuals. Necessity dictates that we also spend a lot of time challenging aspects of the mental health profession that do the opposite—creating more distress, suppressing growth and transformation, violating self-determination, and dulling and blinding awareness. We call it psychiatric oppression, the systematic, institutionalized mistreatment of those judged as “mentally ill.” This essay focuses especially on the ever expanding encroachment of psychiatric oppression to more and more of the population, and to individuals who are less and less in need of actual help. This encroachment takes the form of mass marketing for psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. One key aspect of oppression theory is the claim to virtue. For psychiatric oppression that claim is the notion that mentally ill people need their treatment; its growing extension is the concept of prevention, that potentially mentally ill people need treatment as well!

The Regressive Progression: Treatment to Prevention

“An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure.” Like all great aphorisms, this one, often associated with Ben Franklin, holds wisdom and is partly true, based on assumption. In this case, one must assume the role of victim of unnecessary malady that necessitates a cure…and that there is a felt connection or empathic relatedness to the one who suffers malady. Where these assumptions are not met, the aphorism is false. To wit, for the giant corporation of Halliburton and its government and military operations group, or for the mercenary army of Blackwater, going to war is worth a great deal more than diplomacy.

Continue reading “Relentless and Tragic Marketing: Psychiatric Drugs from Before the Cradle to the Grave”

Effexor Baby’s Grieving Mother Protests Potential MOTHERS Act, Warns Others

Grieving Mother Christian Delahunty Warns Others About Effexor During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

(Newswire: http://christiannewswire.com/news/120709939.html)

by Amy Philo

“Please I beg you to learn more. Learn everything you can while there is time… Drugs, whether legal or illegal, should not be used during these most precious months of creation.”

April 2, 2009 — Christian Delahunty of Utah believes Effexor is to blame for the death of her six-week-old daughter Indiana, who passed away last September. Given the overwhelming evidence on the toxicity of Effexor and other psychotropic drugs for adults, children, and babies, it seems to be the obvious cause. But in the minds of those responsible for pushing Effexor on Christian and similar drugs down the throats of pregnant women across America, it may be “impossible” to prove that’s the case.

With Mommy
With Mommy

It is only with that mindset of denial, or simple ignorance, that anyone could possibly justify pushing for the passage of the federal legislation called “The MOTHERS Act,” that will increase the number of pregnant women and new mothers taking psychotropic drugs.

Following the birth of her son Anaid in 2001, Christian first started taking antidepressants around six months postpartum – but primarily for stress, fatigue, and trouble coping with her mother’s death. Eventually Christian settled on Effexor because it gave her the most energy. She says she felt medication was her only option because nearly everyone in her family, from aunts to her mother, had been on some kind of antidepressant and she believed that she probably suffered from some sort of hereditary chemical deficiency.

Although Christian had three children – Gavin, Ayla and Anaid, she knew her mother would have wanted more grandchildren. In 2004, she added another baby, Jake, to her family. During that pregnancy Christian switched from Effexor to Zoloft, a milder antidepressant, at her doctor’s recommendation, but went back on Effexor after she finished nursing.

In 2007 Christian approached a new family doctor about whether she should switch back to Zoloft because she wanted one more baby. She was taking 300 mg of Effexor XR (extended release). But the doctor told her, “Oh no, you and the baby will be fine. There are no studies that prove that the Effexor is even transferred to the baby in utero or in the breast milk.”

During her last pregnancy, Christian had developed gestational diabetes (a known effect of antidepressants), went into premature labor two months early (another effect of Effexor), and had to be put on bed rest. She delivered baby Indiana a few weeks early, one month before the due date (37 weeks is considered full term and 38-42 is a normal length for a pregnancy).

When Christian found out that the doctors planned to break her water rather than try to stop contractions, she says that she told her husband, “Matt you’ve got to grab me my Effexor.”

The attending doctor abruptly reacted with, “What?!”

This doctor, who worked with Christian’s regular OBGYN, explained to Christian and Matt that he had delivered many Effexor babies and had seen a lot of problems.  “It’s not good for the baby and it needed to be stopped in the first trimester,” he said.

Next he called and warned the NICU to get ready because an Effexor baby was coming.

When Indiana was born she had trouble breathing, scored low on her APGARs, and wouldn’t cry. Christian says she was floppy, excessively sleepy and nearly impossible to feed, and states:

“She was just a really sleepy baby and wouldn’t eat. She would eat for maybe ten minutes and fall asleep. To try and nurse her was extremely difficult. In the NICU they would have to shove a bottle into her mouth just to get her to have a little bit. I would have to wake her up to eat because she would go for too long and she was having problems with keeping her food down anyway. I would burp her and she would usually throw up most of what she would eat and I would try the other side.”

Indiana spent a while in the NICU during the hospital stay and had to be on oxygen and have an IV. She was also in and out of the hospital and doctor’s office after they got to go home. Indiana had jaundice and had to be checked for bilirubin levels four different times. She had been losing a lot of weight so she also had to go in for numerous growth checkups.

Christian says she had to work really hard to wake Indiana from a deep sleep for almost every feeding and that she had to wake her up to switch sides. Her excessive sleepiness never improved, even by five weeks of age.

On September 7, 2008 Christian nursed Indiana at 8 am and then put her down for a nap. Christian went back in to wake her up at 10 and found she was not breathing.

Indiana was rushed to Children’s Hospital by paramedics. The staff was finally able to revive her after 45 minutes and she spent the next five days on life support. But it was too late. MRIs showed Indiana’s brain had badly deteriorated and the family had to let her go. She died on September 13 at six weeks of age.

Indiana with Dad
Indiana with Dad

As reported by Vera Sharav, “In April, 2004, the National Toxicology Program – Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (NTP-CERHR) panel issued a Report after examining all the available published evidence about infants exposed to an antidepressant in utero and / or breast fed by mothers taking an antidepressant.”

Sharav continued, “The NTP-CERHR expert panel found reason for concern:

Late pregnancy exposures were associated with increased incidence of prematurity, reduced birth weight and length at full term, and poorer neonatal condition characterized by admission to special care nursery and adaptation problems (e.g., jitteriness, tachypnea, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, poor tone, respiratory distress, weak or absent cry, or desaturation on feeding).

“The authors concluded that the observed effects are specific to SRI exposure rather than underlying maternal depression.”

This report, titled “The REPRODUCTIVE and DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY of FLUOXETINE”, was originally available at http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/news/fluoxetine/fluoxetine_final.pdf.

As if the conclusions of the report were not bad enough, various studies demonstrate that antidepressants double spontaneous abortions and stillbirths and quintuple preterm births. Babies exposed to SSRIs have a six-fold increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN), a potentially fatal lung problem. Nearly a third of women who take SSRIs have a baby who dies, is premature or underweight, or who has seizures.

It seems that certain sectors of the medical industry aren’t paying attention. From 2004-2008 (through the 2nd quarter only) the FDA MedWatch Adverse Events Reporting Database amassed 647 adverse reaction reports (amounting to 432 babies’ cases, since some reactions are reported by lawyers, doctors and consumers for the same child)  for prenatal or neonatal Effexor exposure, including four reports of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Two Effexor-SIDS cases were specified as a breast milk exposure only, while one was listed as pregnancy exposure. For the other, with a coma followed by SIDS, the timing of exposure was not specified.

There were also 18 intrauterine deaths, 2 neonatal deaths, 2 stillbirths, 51 miscarriages (spontaneous abortions), and numerous other fatal or life-threatening birth defects, for a total of at least 77 deaths from Effexor alone, not counting the prenatal and neonatal deaths caused by the numerous other psychotropic drugs taken by women during pregnancy or breastfeeding over those four years.

Multiply these totals by a factor of between 10 and 100, because the FDA estimates that only 1-10% of adverse reactions are ever reported. (To see the 2004-2008 reports go to http://www.psychdrugdangers.com/MothersAct.html and then select SNRIs, and Venlafaxine from the drug tables.)

The American Academy of Pediatrics publishes and disseminates a long list of drugs that “may be of concern” in breastfed infants. The tables also appear in The Breastfeeding Answer Book (BAB) published by La Leche League (2003), which is given to leaders and subsequently used to counsel nursing mothers when they request information about drugs and breastfeeding.

In these tables, following a list of psychotropic drugs that “may be of concern” but nonetheless are claimed to have “no reported effects,” is a list of “Food and Environmental Agents” that have effects on breastfeeding. On the list are aspartame (NutraSweet) with the warning, “Caution if mother or infant has phenylketonuria” and a “Vegetarian Diet” with the warning, “Signs of B12 deficiency.”

It’s good to warn women about aspartame and diet, but what about drugs that do not have giant warnings plastered on them like NutraSweet does with PKU?

Effexor is not listed anywhere in the AAP drug tables. It seems psychotropic drugs must be incredibly safe in the mind of the Academy because even though numerous patients have nursed babies on the new antidepressants in the last two decades, there are apparently “no reports” of adverse effects on babies for most of them, at least according to the AAP.

“Drugs of Abuse” such as Amphetamine and Cocaine, Heroin and Marijuana are listed in the table with side effects identical to those listed for antidepressants in current warnings. These same side effects are absent from the AAPs tables for prescription psychotropics, with the exception of Prozac and a few antipsychotics.

The effects of street drug on infants include “Irritability, poor sleeping pattern” for Amphetamine, “Cocaine intoxication, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, tremulousness, and seizures” for Cocaine, “Tremors, restlenssness, vomiting, poor feeding” for heroin, and none reported for Marijuana.

Prozac must be the only unlucky antidepressant that’s bad for breastfed infants, even though according to Thomas Hale, Ph.D. and kellymom.com (a breastfeeding information site), it’s the only antidepressant that’s “recommended” for pregnancy.  Prozac side effects listed in the BAB for nursing infants include colic, irritability, feeding and sleep disorders, and slow weight gain. Although in a 2002 Mothering Magazine article titled “But Is It Safe For My Baby? Medications and Breastfeeding,” Dr. Hale wrote that Prozac had been shown to induce coma in breastfed infants.

According to kellymom.com’s summary of Dr. Hale’s recommendations, “Effexor can also be used in breastfeeding mothers if it is efficacious. It may be effective against hyperactivity.”

However, kellymom.com later implies that Celexa is no safer than Effexor even though it’s an SSRI and therefore supposedly “weaker” because “There have been two cases of excessive somnolence, decreased feeding, and weight loss in breastfed infants,” according to Hale.

Kellymom.com does note that, “Lithium use by the breastfeeding mother is dangerous to the breastfed infant. Valium use by the breastfeeding mother entails a greater risk of infant sedation, and may perhaps increase the risk of SIDS.

Finally, a “Drug Hierarchy” of Hale’s first to last choice is listed as: Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Effexor, and Prozac.

“Dr. Hale concluded his talk by saying that breastfeeding should be supported fully and not interrupted by mom’s needs for medication; and that treatment of postpartum depression can be accomplished relatively safely in breastfeeding mothers. So, in his consideration, moms should continue breastfeeding and should get drug treatment as needed for depression.”

http://www.kellymom.com/health/meds/antidepressants-hale10-02.html#Effexor

However according to Candace S. Brown, PharmD, BCPP, CFNP, writing for femalepatient.com, “Illet et al studied three cases of breast-feeding women using venlafaxine [Effexor], and reported M/P ratios of up to 4.7.28… Given their high M/P ratios and the limited amount of information available on these antidepressants [venlafaxine, bupropion, trazodone, and nefazodone], they are not recommended in lactating women at this time.”

Milk-to-Plasma Ratio: Medication concentration in milk is frequently compared with the concentration in maternal serum to quantify the extent of passage; this is known as the milk-to-plasma ratio (M/P). In general, compounds that are weakly protein-bound, highly lipid-soluble, weakly basic, and small in molecular size have higher M/P ratios. Ratios greater than 1 indicate that the medication is present in higher concentrations in breast milk than in maternal serum. The higher the M/P ratio, the greater the infant exposure to medication.

http://www.femalepatient.com/html/arc/sig/pharma/articles/article_3.asp

The article further explains that:

Infants’ abilities to absorb, metabolize, and eliminate drugs determine how these drugs will affect them. Compared with adults, infants have a higher gastric pH, causing basic compounds, which remain un-ionized, to have higher absorption rates than do acidic compounds.  Infants also have lower levels of albumin, resulting in higher amounts of free/unbound (and therefore active) medication. Liver metabolic enzymes are immature in infants, decreasing the rate of degradation of medication. In addition, neonates’ kidneys have a glomerular filtration rate that is 30% to 40% of that in adults. Finally, the blood-brain barrier in newborns is not fully developed, and central nervous system concentrations of some lipid-soluble compounds may reach levels that are 10 to 30 times those in serum. As a result of all of these factors, medications that reach the serum in neonates, as compared with those that reach the serum of adults or children older than 6 months, are more likely to be active, less likely to be metabolized and excreted, and more likely to cross into the brain.

Given the confusing and contradictory information found with so many varying sources, whether it’s their La Leche League leader or lactation consultant, a magazine article, or even a breastfeeding website, most new mothers will probably ask for a professional opinion from a doctor or pharmacist.  Either one should be readily able to offer the following information straight from the Effexor label, which can be found by merely “Googling” Effexor in breastfeeding or pregnancy:

[Effexor during pregnancy in animal studies resulted in a] “decrease in pup weight, an increase in stillborn pups, and an increase in pup deaths during the first 5 days of lactation, when dosing began during pregnancy and continued until weaning. The cause of these deaths is not known. Venlafaxine appears to cross the human placenta near term.

In a prospective study pregnancy outcomes of 150 women exposed to venlafaxine during first trimester were compared with the pregnancy outcomes of a group of pregnant women who received selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants and a group of women who received nonteratogenic drugs. The majority of the women in the venlafaxine group took 75 mg/day (range 37.5 to 300 mg/day) of venlafaxine immediate release form. Among the 150 women who were exposed to venlafaxine during pregnancy, 125 had live births, 18 had spontaneous abortions and seven had therapeutic abortions; two of the babies had major malformations.

Yet when Christian Delahunty approached her family doctor about switching from Effexor to a different medication when she wanted to have another baby, she was told that there were “no studies” showing that Effexor even gets to the baby during pregnancy or breastfeeding. According to Christian, the maximum dose of extended release Effexor is 225 mg. She was on 300 mg at the start of her pregnancy and throughout Indi’s life.

Perhaps Christian’s OBGYN and family doctor only recently graduated from medical school, or maybe they both had gone on vacation and missed reading emails when the FDA MedWatch and Wyeth issued a warning letter on June 28, 2004, specifically for doctors on the dangers of Effexor in pregnancy and stated in part, “Neonates exposed to Effexor, other SNRIs (Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors), or SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), late in the third trimester of pregnancy have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding.”

Today, Christian spends the days coping with the loss of her daughter but says she feels inspired by baby Indi to help others not have to go through the same tragedy. Christian switched to Lexapro after Indiana died because she wanted nothing to do with Effexor, and then started tapering off the drug slowly. Her last dose was four days ago. Already she says, “I am actually starting to feel better because I don’t feel so controlled by a substance… If you don’t take your dose it affects you horribly. This is the first time I’ve been sober in eight years. It makes me want to cry because it did have so much effect on every part of your life. I was just on a rollercoaster ride, that’s what it feels like.”

“I cope by just praying to God, and in my mind having conversations with Indi. I have an incredible support system and I have to believe – and I think one of the biggest things helping me through this – is that I believe this was her purpose. We had to go through what we had to because she needed to make a difference. She needed to help other people realize that this is serious and it is real.”

“I told my OBGYN at my first consultation that I was on Effexor and she didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. Throughout the pregnancy, I had my doubts and my first instinct was that this wasn’t right, but I was being told that it was just fine. The delivering doctor brought up Effexor. After Indi passed away the thought just kept coming back to me and then I started doing my research and found out how dangerous it was. I Googled Effexor baby, Effexor dangers, Effexor and pregnancy… I was so shocked because it was so easy to do that and I should have done that before. Why didn’t the doctors know that? There is so much controversy over it, why don’t the doctors research more into it without taking the rep’s point of view saying it’s just fine?”

When asked what she thinks about The MOTHERS Act, Christian said:

“It puts so many babies at risk for developing so many different problems. And it puts the mother at risk. Postpartum is normal, it’s natural. It’s learning how to cope with your stress and your situation, rather than just taking drugs to forget about it or to mask what’s natural. There are so many people out there who I know are thinking like I thought – you either have family members on antidepressants or you know somebody – it’s just kinda normal, you know we’ll all start taking an antidepressant… Just because it’s prescribed from a doctor it doesn’t make it safe.”

“I trusted my doctor and that mistake – it cost me. It cost my whole entire family. That is why I have to believe that this was Indi’s purpose. Educate yourselves. If the doctors aren’t going to be educated then we need to. We need to take the power back.”

By the way, the March of Dimes, a pharma-funded group that endorses The MOTHERS Act as well as the use of antidepressants during pregnancy, does warn against the use of caffeine in pregnancy due to a risk of miscarriage.

To learn more about the dangers of “The MOTHERS Act,” go to uniteforlife.org.
Please go to this link to watch a video in memory of baby Indiana: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGX_34TmT4w

Note: This article was updated with the latest MedWatch information on July 28,2009. For more reports on drugs commonly given to nursing mothers such as antidepressants and Zyprexa, go to http://momsandmeds.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/breastmilkexposure/

MOTHERS Act and DBSA – pHARMa Front Group – Who cares about money?

FRONT GROUP FINANCIAL INFORMATION: DBSA

This research was conducted by Evelyn Pringle… I hope you can note the inserted comments from her and look below to read my comments, which I’ll leave off the article portion and put in the comment box.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

2005 Annual Report

http://www.dbsalliance.org/pdfs/05annualreport.pdf

Sue Bergeson, President, DBSA

ALLIANCE LEAGUE ($500,000 AND ABOVE)

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

LEADERSHIP CIRCLE ($150,000-$499,999)

Abbott Laboratories
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Cyberonics, Inc.
Eli Lilly and Company Foundation
Pfizer Inc


FOUNDERS CLUB ($10,000-149,999)

Forest Laboratories
GlaxoSmithKline
Janssen Pharmaceutica Products
Neuronetics, Inc.
Shire Pharmaceuticals Group


ADVOCATE COUNCIL ($5,000-9,999)

Dr. and Mrs. Edward M. Scolnick


PLATINUM ($1,000-4,999)

Merck & Co. Inc.
Lori L. Altshuler, M.D.
Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.
A. John Rush, M.D.
Mr. Robert C. Schwartz


GOLD ($500-999)

Dr. and Mrs. Mark S. Bauer
Gregory Simon, M.D.


SILVER ($150-499)

Johnson and Johnson
Joseph Biederman, M.D.

Linda L. Carpenter, M.D.
Dr. Ron C. Melzer
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
Charles O’Brien, M.D.


MATCHING GIFT COMPANIES

GlaxoSmithKline
Merck & Co. Inc
Pfizer Foundation

EMPLOYEE GIVING

Abbott Laboratories

======================

2006

Drug company money to Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance in 2006

(Evelyn’s note:

The 2006 Annual Report for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance shows that AstraZeneca gave the group more than $500,000 in 2006. Companies that gave between $150,000 and $499,000 included Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Forest Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Pfizer, and Shire Pharmaceuticals each gave between $10,000 and $149,000.)

2006 Annual Report

http://www.dbsalliance.org/pdfs/2006AnnualReport.pdf

=======================

2007

Depression and Bipolar Alliance

Annual Report

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/DocServer/FINAL_AnnualReport07.pdf?docID=2761

This list reflects donations received through December 31, 2007.

LEADERSHIP CIRCLE ($150,000-$499,999)

AstraZeneca
Pfizer Inc
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

FOUNDERS CLUB ($10,000-149,999)

Abbott Laboratories
Cyberonics, Inc.
Elli Lilly and Company
Forest Laboratories
GlaxoSmithKline
National Association of State
Mental Health Program Directors
Organon, Inc.
Otsuka American Pharmaceutical, Inc

PLATINUM ($1,000-4,999)

Abbott Laboratories Employee Giving Campaign

GOLD ($500-999)

Lori L Altshuler, MD
David Dunner, MD
Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD
A. J. Rush, MD
Martha Sajatovic, MD
Gregory Simon, MD, MPH
TAP
Dr. James Walker

SILVER ($150-499)

Dr. and Mrs. Paul Berkowitz
Joseph Biederman, MD
Dr. Judith A. A. Cook
Dr. and Mrs. Alan Harris
Dr. Roger W. Helfrich
Nada l. Stotland, MD

CONTRIBUTORS TO THE REBECCA LYNN CUTLER LEGACY OF LIFE FOUNDATION

Abbott Laboratories
AstraZeneca
Eli Lilly and Company
Janssen
Organon, Inc.
Pfizer Inc
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

EMPLOYEE GIVING COMPANIES

Abbott Laboratories
Eli Lilly and Company
GlaxoSmithKline
Merck Partnership for Giving
Pfizer Foundation

2007 at a Glance: How We Met Our Mission

(Among other things listed are):

Promoted Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research & Care Act at invitation of Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.)

Promoted MOTHER’s Act at invitation of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

Launched consumer smoking cessation initiative, funded by Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation’s Smoking Cessation Leadership Center

First-ever DBSA Hope Award for lifetime achievement presented to Frederick K.
Goodwin, MD, & Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD

Active in development & promotion of “Depression Is Real” PSA campaign

=======

DBSA 2007 Fall Newsletter “Outreach”

The issue states: “DBSA gratefully acknowledges its Leadership Circle, Organizations that contributed a minimum of $150,000 during 2007.”

ABBOTT LABORATORIES
ASTRAZENECA PHARMACEUTICALS
PFIZER INC
WYETH PHARMACEUTICALS

http://www.dbsalliance.org/pdfs/outreach/Outreach_Fall2007.pdf

Under “Our 2007 Legislative Milestones” it lists:

DBSA was honored to be asked personally by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Representative Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) to help introduce the postpartum legislation in Illinois.

=========

DBSA Spring 2008 Newsletter “Outreach”

The issue states: “DBSA gratefully acknowledges its Leadership Circle, Organizations that contributed a minimum of $150,000 during 2007.”

ABBOTT LABORATORIES
ASTRAZENECA PHARMACEUTICALS
PFIZER INC
WYETH PHARMACEUTICALS

http://www.dbsalliance.org/pdfs/outreach/Outreach_2008Spring.pdf

It also publishes the following message which explains where some of the drug money went:

Speaking Out for New Moms

Six years ago, after giving birth to her first child, a successful 41-year-old sales manager plunged to her death from a Chicago hotel’s 12th floor as firefighters pleaded with her. Melanie Blocker-Stokes took her own life, despite medical help and the support of family and friends.

Melanie’s tragedy soon prompted legislation in both the U.S. House and Senate. If passed, the Melanie-Blocker Stokes Postpartum Depression and Research Act and the MOTHER’s Act will help the families and women afflicted by postpartum depression (PPD) through lifesaving educational programs and screening services.

In January, DBSA sent an Advocacy Alert asking you to write your legislators in support of these PPD bills. Thousands of you sent letters to Congress through our Legislative Action Center (LAC). As time went on, instead of contacting individual legislators, you began to ask specific congressional committees (like the House Committee on Energy and Commerce), to support a vote rather than just a bill.

Unfortunately, rumors and lies began circulating on the Web, as outspoken opponents began asking people not to support these bills. While they called themselves “experts,” none of them had any expertise in mental health or any PPD-related field. They claimed the legislation was just a conspiracy by big pharmaceutical companies to push new moms to take unnecessary medication.

Tell that to the more than 800,000 women who will develop a diagnosable postpartum mood disorder this year! To debunk these myths, on April 8, DBSA sent you another alert marked “Urgent.” Your response has been nothing less than amazing-unprecedented, Web experts tell us! Just nine hours after our alert, you’d sent 1,200 letters to legislators.

In the next two days, you sent 6,300 more. After one month, you’d sent over 15,000 letters speaking out against the PPD rumors! And, for the first time, other groups are proactively joining us.

Organizations and blog sites like Postpartum Support International (PSI), Postpartum Progress, Moms Speak Up, Becoming Me, Beyond Blue and EmpowerHer are linking their readers to our LAC so that even more letters reach Congress.

Did you know that as few as five letters can make a difference in how your legislator votes? Even if you’ve already sent a letter supporting PPD legislation, please send another.

Help us reach the 20,000 mark for letters supporting PPD legislation! Write Congress today at http://www.DBSAlliance.org/Advocacy.

================

Some of the drug money funneled through the DBSA is apparently being spent the same way this year by utilizing the postpartum front groups operating on the internet.

==========

Note from Evelyn:

On March 10, 2009, Katherine Stone’s headline on the Postpartum Progress Blog read:

“It’s Petition Signing Time!  Get Out Your Virtual Pen & Support Women with PPD”

Her blog reports “that Susan Stone over at Perinatal Pro is alerting everyone to the new petition created by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance to support the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act.  She states that last year’s petition generated more than 24,000 signatures.  The petition has been reintroduced this year to try and get this legislation passed once again.”

The blog carries a live link to an advocacy alert page where “you can scroll down, enter your zip code and generate letters of support in a matter of seconds for the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act that will be sent to your local Congresspeople and Senators.”

Ms Stone further advises: “I just sent my letters.  I know you’re thinking “but I already did that last year.”  Well that was then and this is now.  Do it again.”

MOTHERS Act & Enne Currie, Dirul Lewis – UPDATE

First, an update on Enne Currie. We are still waiting for any information whatsoever on the whereabouts of Dirul Lewis, her son, who was illegally relocated by his captors in the mental health system with the support of the mental health court overseeing his case. Enne is fighting the courts to learn where he has been taken and regain her conservatorship status which was also illegally cancelled without a hearing or a reason. We will update everyone as soon as we get more information. 

The MOTHERS Act

Bobby Rush introduced The MOTHERS Act in the House of Representatives on January 6. Today Robert Menendez introduced the bill in the Senate. According to those pushing for the bill The MOTHERS Act also has support from “Senate leadership.”

The UNITE website is in the midst of being rebuilt but we are working on several projects to fight back against this bill and others which threaten the lives and health of innocent Americans. The archives of our website from the past two years have been temporarily published here in case you need to get back to some of that historical information on The MOTHERS Act. I hope to have the new site functioning as soon as possible.

Thanks to E.T. Cook & Associates for getting that site built and helping with the transition. Their time and resources were donated for our cause and the people of America are definitely worth it!

Robert Menendez states in his press release that The MOTHERS Act was close to passing last year, but failed because of one Senator. (Way to ignore the tremendous grassroots efforts of all the Americans who called, faxed, and pounded the pavement traveling to DC to protest this killer bill, Bob!) But when it comes right down to it, close call or not, the truth of the matter is that without railroading legislation through in the dark of night in omnibus bills or voting on this without a debate (as the House of Representatives did), nightmares like The MOTHERS Act would never see the light of day in the U.S. – at least not from any Congress concerned with the well being of innocent citizens. 

The blessing of a few months of extra time without a MOTHERS Act has certainly helped prevent untold numbers of deaths and much unnecessary suffering- and for that, the mothers and children of America owe a debt of gratitude to each and every Senator who voted against cloture for Harry Reid’s Omnibus bill (containing The MOTHERS Act) last Summer.

In light of all the negative press for pHARMa and psychiatrists, criminal convictions against people involved in some of these illegal marketing schemes, billions of dollars in criminal penalties against Lilly for Zyprexa, all the proof of the deadly effects of psychotropic drugs for babies and mothers, and the documented conflicts of interest among those pushing for The MOTHERS Act, I find it amazing that at this point in time, any U.S. Senator has the audacity to promote this bill or anything like it.

I pray that some day soon these politicians will wake up and realize how much harm is caused by psychotropic drugs and electroshock, and that they will stop supporting programs that would certainly bring about more and more deaths of innocent American women and children.

Please – help by spreading our petition around the country and the world. It will take a huge united effort to beat this bill, and your help is needed now more than ever.

URGENT: Contact The Senate Now To Stop The MOTHERS Act

http://www.uniteforlife.org/SayNoToTheMothersAct.pdf

http://www.uniteforlife.org/senatecontacts.pdf

URGENT: SENATOR HARRY REID IS ONCE AGAIN TRYING TO PASS A PACKAGE OF BILLS INCLUDING THE MOTHERS ACT.

Information:  Several weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid packaged a number of bills together and tried to get the bills passed as one package (The “Coburn” Omnibus Bill).  While the package of bills included some legislation that was positive, it also included The MOTHERS Act. As a mother who was prescribed antidepressants days after giving birth (because my three-day-old son required emergency medical treatment for a life-threatening choking incident and I was very upset by the incident, medical professionals, including my OBGYN, chose to consider my worry about my newborn Postpartum Anxiety — instead of a normal reaction of any new mother concerned about her son), and who was subsequently forced to continue these drugs while involuntarily held in a psychiatric ward, I understand the implications of this screening and “treatment” legislation better than any of its advocates. On the drugs I became suicidal and had thoughts of extreme violence I had never before experienced in my life. 

Please take a moment to do the following to protect mothers who will not be as fortunate as I was in realizing it was the drugs making me psychotic. You can see a video of my son below with the facts about antidepressants. 

Sincerely,

Amy Philo

Founder, UNITE http://www.uniteforlife.org

Please take a moment to:

1)       Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUiszFyIby4

2)       Print off the message below or click here to print a PDF of the letter.

3)       Sign your name and address to the letter.

4)       Look up your Senators’ fax numbers by clicking here.

5)       FAX YOUR SENATORS IMMEDIATELY. 

DON’T LET THE 110th CONGRESS BE RESPONSIBLE FOR INCREASING ANTIDEPRESSANT-RELATED BIRTH DEFECTS AND INFANT DEATHS. DO NOT PASS THE MOTHERS ACT AS PART OF AN OMNIBUS PACAKGE.

The MOTHERS Act is a highly controversial bill, considering the growing public awareness that antidepressants have serious and even deadly side effects. This bill, if passed, will assuredly increase the number of pregnant women and new mothers being put on antidepressant drugs. There are already too many pregnant women being put on antidepressants evidenced by the FDA’s adverse reaction reports (MedWatch) listed below. This bill will assuredly increase the number of pregnant women and new mothers being prescribed antidepressants documented by the U.S. FDA to cause suicidal ideation, mania, worsening depression and birth defects. FDA’s MedWatch System (Adverse Drug Reactions) Already Has Overwhelming Evidence of Spontaneous Abortions, Premature Babies and Birth Defects from SSRI Antidepressants:

Doctors, other health care providers, pharmacists, lawyers and consumers filed the following adverse drug reaction reports with the FDA’s MedWatch system during 2004-2007 concerning pregnant women taking antidepressants (the most common and recommended treatment for women diagnosed with postpartum depression). In all the reports below, antidepressants were cited as the primary suspected drug to have caused the adverse reaction in pregnant women:

  • 145 spontaneous abortions
  • 150 premature babies
  • 208 babies born with heart disease
  • 218 babies born with defects

The FDA states that only 1-10% of side effects are even reported to their MedWatch database. Using a median range of 5% being reported, the actual number of pregnant women experiencing adverse reactions to antidepressant drugs is estimated as follows:

  • 2,900 spontaneous abortions
  • 3,000 premature births
  • 4,160 babies born with heart disease
  • 4,360 babies born with birth defects

The “Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act,” also known as “The MOTHERS Act” was named after Melanie Stokes, a new mother who was subjected to a cocktail of psychiatric drugs and electroshock after being diagnosed with post-partum depression. It was only after she had been administered drugs documented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cause suicidal ideation that she committed suicideThere is too much controversy over antidepressants to pass any legislation that could increase the administration of these drugs to pregnant women and new mothers. Do not allow the pharmaceutical interests to put new mothers and their unborn children at risk. Do not pass the MOTHERS Act.

 

Signed
________________________________  

(Printed Name)

________________________________

Address & Phone Number

________________________________                                                                                                                    

________________________________

________________________________
(e-mail address)

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Sincerely,

Amy Philo
214-705-0169 home
817-793-8028 cell

 

URGENT! Sign the petition against the MOTHERS Act at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-the-dangerous-and-invasive-mothers-act
Visit www.uniteforlife.org

Links: http://uniteforlife.org/SayNoToTheMothersAct.pdf 

http://uniteforlife.org/senatecontacts.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUiszFyIby4&feature=user