Yes, We Can Pretend We Did It All On Our Own (The MOTHERS Act – How at least $13 to $16.4 million in pHARMa dollars buys a bill)

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.

– Bob Dylan

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.

Continue reading “Yes, We Can Pretend We Did It All On Our Own (The MOTHERS Act – How at least $13 to $16.4 million in pHARMa dollars buys a bill)”

The Mothers Act Disease Mongering Campaign – Part II

Part II of a four-part series on the MOTHERS Act disease mongering campaign is published today on Natural News.

The Mothers Act Disease Mongering Campaign – Part II

Monday, July 27, 2009 by: Evelyn Pringle, health freedom writer

(NaturalNews) The Mothers Act legislation specifically defines the term “postpartum conditions” as “postpartum depression” or “postpartum psychosis.” Use of the Act as an 8-year disease mongering campaign to further promote the new cottage industry of “reproductive psychiatry,” or “reproductive mental health,” comes from websites often run by people who will financially benefit from passage of the Act.

In 1992, the late journalist Lynn Payer wrote a book titled, “Disease Mongering,” and defined disease mongering as, “trying to convince essentially well people that they are sick, or slightly sick people that they are very ill.”

Tactics identified in the book currently used in the Mothers Act campaign include: (1) Framing the issues in a particular way, (2) Taking a normal function and implying that there’s something wrong with it and it should be treated, (3) Defining as large a proportion of the population as possible as suffering from the ‘disease’, (4) Selective use of statistics to exaggerate the benefits of treatment, and (5) Getting the right spin doctors.

“Since disease is such a fluid and political concept, the providers can essentially create their own demand by broadening the definitions of diseases in such a way as to include the greatest number of people, and by spinning out new diseases,” Payer explained in the book.

Although the mandatory screening language was removed from the Mothers Act last year, due to strong opposition, the words and actions by the bill’s supporters demonstrate that the screening dragnet was always the main component of this disease mongering campaign. The language in the previous bill stated in part: “To ensure that new mothers and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms, and provided with essential services.”

The main sponsor of the Act in the House was Illinois Democratic Congressman, Bobby Rush. On March 30, 2009, the Postpartum Support International website posted the headline: “Congressman Rush passes The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act in the U.S. House of Representatives… now it’s on to the senate!!”

In a speech on the House floor that day, Rush made the following ridiculous disease mongering statement: “Madame Speaker, today, 60 to 80 percent of new mothers experience symptoms of postpartum depression while the more serious condition, postpartum psychosis, affects up to 20 percent of women who have recently given birth.”

He then took it a step further and told members of Congress: “Experts in the field of women’s health like Susan Stone, Chair of the President’s Advisory Council of Postpartum Support International, says that these statistics do not include mothers whose babies are stillborn, who miscarry, or who are vulnerable to these devastating disorders which raises those at risk into the millions.”

“Every 50 seconds a new mother will begin struggling with the effects of mental illness,” he added.

“After eight long years,” Rush said, “today marks an important step forward in the journey for Congress to fully recognize postpartum depression as a national women’s health priority.”

“H. R. 20 will finally put significant money and attention into research, screening, treatment and education for mothers suffering from this disease,” he reported.

In a 2005 paper in the Psychiatric Bulletin titled, “Psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry: who pays the piper?,” a perspective from the Critical Psychiatry Network, the authors, Joanna Moncrieff, Steve Hopker, and Philip Thomas, point out that psychiatry is particularly vulnerable to the influence of the pharmaceutical industry for a number of reasons.

“There is no objective test for external validation of psychiatric disorders,” they explain. “This means the boundaries of ‘normality’and disorder are easily manipulated to expand markets for drugs.”

“The adverse effects of drugs are downplayed, and alternative approaches to distress neglected,” they warn. “Patients and carers are led to believe that there are simple, drug-based solutions to their problems, leading to disillusion and disappointment when this turns out not to be so.”

Self-Promoted Experts

“Disease mongering turns healthy people into patients, wastes precious resources, and causes iatrogenic harm,” Ray Moyniahan and David Henry warn in the April 11, 2006 paper in PLoS Med, titled, “The Fight against Disease Mongering,” in words that certainly apply to the Mothers Act campaign.

“As an initial step toward combating disease mongering at a health policy level,” the authors “urge decision makers to promote a renovation in the way diseases are defined.”

“Continuing to leave these definitions to panels of self-interested specialists riddled with professional and commercial conflicts of interest is no longer viable,” they warn.

Susan Stone, the “expert” Bobby Rush referred to, runs PerinatalPro, a blatant profiteering website used to advertise her treatment and training services at a facility in New Jersey, which tells readers:

“Welcome to Perinatal Pro, the website presence of Blue Skye Consulting, LLC, posted by women’s reproductive mental health expert Susan Dowd Stone, MSW, LCSW, to help educate and inform women, families and health care providers about the often unexpected challenges of mood changes during pregnancy, the postpartum and throughout a woman’s reproductive life.”

Susan is not a psychiatrist nor a psychologist, she is a social worker and a past president of Postpartum Support International. Yet she maintains a private practice, “specializing in women’s reproductive mental health across the life cycle,” according to her bio.

The “Clinical Focus” of treatment advertised for Blue Skye with PerinatalPro includes: Perinatal Mood Disorders and Postpartum Depression; Perimenopause and menopause; Bereavement associated with child loss, stillbirth or miscarriage; Lifestyle changes and loss (divorce, remarriage, health issues); Depression associated with medical conditions; Disordered Eating and Body Dysmorphic Disorder; Trauma/PTSD; and Affective Disorders including depression and anxiety.

“We work with your physician, psychiatrist or other healthcare provider to ensure a continuum of care,” the website says.

A more likely explanation for this collaboration would be that a social worker is not qualified to diagnose patients with mental disorders and a doctor would have to sign off on the diagnosis in order to bill public and private insurance programs for treatment. Susan would also need a doctor to prescribe drugs to her “patients.” In return, the doctor would profit from the fees paid for the brief office calls required to obtain the prescriptions.

The PerinatalPro site even has a link to schedule an appointment at Blue Skye, through an email address with Susan Stone’s name in the box. The joint is open for business on Monday through Friday beginning at 7 am and ending at 9 pm, “most evenings.”

Blue Skye “also provides licensed professionals who will come to your office, agency or Grand Rounds to facilitate groups or educational presentations on mental health topics of interest to your staff,” the website advertises. “In addition, we work with EAP’s to provide therapy on or off site to your clients.”

Susan posts a running list of groups that endorse the Mothers Act on her website and just about every Big Pharma funded pill pushing front group in the US is on it. The drug company dollar amounts funneled to these “non-profits” in recent years is broken down in my article, “Just Say No to the Mothers Act,” which can be found with a google search of the internet.

Amy Philo, the leader of “Unite For Life,” a movement of 53 groups against the Act, posted the estimated amount traceable to the main supporters on her website, based on the “Just Say No,” article, with a total of between $13,095,010 and $16,487,497. The wide estimate resulted from the fact that groups’ annual reports will often list the amounts given with wide margins.

For instance, the 2006 report for “Mental Health America,” shows the “non-profit” received over $1 million from Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Wyeth. Janssen and Pfizer gave between $500,000 and $1,000,000, and AstraZeneca and Forest Labs donated between $100,000 and $499,000. GlaxoSmithKline gave between $50,000 and $100,000.

Pfizer’s 2008 grant report shows a $20,000 grant to a Mental Health America group in Georgia to sponsor: “Project Healthy Moms: Education for Prevention/Treatment for Perinatal Depression Disorders.”

Big Pharma money is funneled to front groups to make sure the leaders of the “non-profits” are extremely well-paid. Mental Health America’s 2002 tax returns show the President, Michael Faenza, received compensation of $306,727, and another $35,275 to employee benefit plans and deferred compensation that year, for a 35 hour work week.

Lea Ann Browing-McNee, the Senior VP, received $122,007, and $14,353 in contributions to employee benefit plans and deferred compensation for 35 hours a week. The VP, Charles Ingoglia, was paid $121,673, and $15,907 to employee benefit plans and deferred compensation, for a 35 hour week.

In a May 29, 2009, blog on PerinatalPro Susan wrote: “I humbly announce that I will be honored by the Mental Health Association in New Jersey at an event on June 10th for advocacy and clinical work related to national ppd initiatives”.

The “Association” Susan refers to is actually a “Mental Health America” group.

In the same her blog, Susan mentions how the Mothers Act might help fund “inpatient maternal mental health” programs all across the US.

“Just this morning,” she wrote, “I completed an interview with Parenting Magazine, which plans to feature an article about the nation’s first inpatient maternal mental health unit at UNC, Chapel Hill, NC, as well as focus on the federal legislation and how this bill might help fund other such programs across the country.”

The PerinatalPro site also provides links to buy Susan’s book, co-authored with Alexis E Menken, titled: “Perinatal and Postpartum Mood Disorders Perspectives and Treatment Guide for the Health Care Practitioner,” listed for $54.00 on one site, with a product description including the following disease mongering comments:

“Statistics on the prevalence of perinatal mood disorders suggest that up to 20% of women experience diagnosable pregnancy related mood disorders.”

“Over the past three years, pregnancy related mood disorders have become the focus of health care advocates and legislators alike with subsequent reflection in nationwide media.”

“This increasing awareness has also resulted in recent legislative and healthcare initiatives to screen, assess, and treat such disorders,” the Amazon website states, using the “screen” word.

Karen Kleiman, another social worker transformed into a “medical expert,” runs a treatment facility called the “Postpartum Stress Center,” in Rosemont, Pennsylvania.

“The Postpartum Stress Center specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety disorders,” Kleiman’s site says.

“Referrals to The Postpartum Stress Center come from Psychiatrists, OBGYNs, Family Practitioners, Pediatricians, RNs, other therapists, Depression After Delivery, Midwifery groups, Women Centers, Breastfeeding support groups, and direct referrals from the mother or family members,” the site states.

As a social worker, like Susan Stone, Kleiman would also need a doctor to diagnose women with mental disorders before she could bill public and private insurance programs to “treat” them. And, she would need a doctor to prescribe the drugs.

Kleiman wrote a raving review of Susan’s book on the Amazon website, and as luck would have it, three books listed as “Frequently Bought Together” on Amazon, include Susan’s and two by Kleiman. The deal price for purchasing all three together is $95.65.

Kleiman sells seven books on her website that she either wrote or contributed to. Some can even be purchased with a direct payment through a paypal account, to bypass Amazon.

Kleiman conducts a workshop at her Center every three months titled: “Advanced Practice Development Workshop: Launching your private practice,” and uses her internet blogs to recruit paying participants.

In this four-hour training session, future “private practice” owners learn in part: “Which marketing strategies are most effective for this population of clients and the medical community”.

They also learn: “How to connect with the community at large and maximize the need and desire for your services”.

Participants receive a copy of the Center’s Guide to “Enhancing your PPD Private Practice: A checklist for successful practice”, as well.

The class is part of a two-day deal with another 6-hour workshop titled, “Fundamentals of PPD,” for a total of 10 hours at a cost of $750. The website says they try to keep the classes small (6 to 10), so that would mean Kleiman’s take would be between $6,000 and $7,500, or between $24,000 and $30,000 for 40 hours work in four seminars a year teaching people how to “Launch” their own private practice.

At $100 a crack, Blue Skye Consulting seems like it offers a better deal for half-day workshops for professionals “to help develop a specialty in perinatal mood disorders,” including two titled: “Identifying Perinatal Mood Disorders,” and “Treating Perinatal Mood Disorders.”

But then Susan Stone’s course may not teach people how to “Launch” their own private practice.

In a June 4, 2007, blog on the Center’s webite, Kleiman reported a new study that found 79% of doctors were unlikely to formally screen for postpartum depression and noted that the co-author of the study “reminds us that in addition to the Edinburgh (EPDS) Screening tool (most commonly used), healthcare practitioners can check for signs of PPD by a simple 2-question tool, developed by Whooley et al.”

Further elaborating on this pop quiz, Kleiman wrote: “It has been shown that these two questions may be as effective as longer instruments,” and listed the questions as: (1) “Over the past 2 weeks, have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless?”, and (2) “Over the past 2 weeks, have you felt little interest or pleasure in doing things?”

“A positive response to either question indicates a positive screen and should be followed by an comprehensive history and assessment to confirm the diagnosis of depression,” she wrote.

Under a heading: “Doctors take note” she stated: “We should not need state legislation to mandate what we know to be medically significant. Patients should be screened for postpartum depression. It is easy. It take 5 minutes. It can save lives.”

She followed up with a heading: “Clinicians take note,” and wrote: “Healthcare practitioners need this information. Take the time to get this information to the doctors you work with or want to market to. Arm yourself with screening tools and literature to substantiate this practice.”

How to Practice Medicine Without a License


Kleiman is listed as a postpartum depression “expert” on another propaganda pumping internet site called StorkNet, complete with her own bio page, where she posts advice for pregnant and nursing mothers to access over the internet and provides a live link to her treatment center. In response to the question, “what are the best drugs for a breastfeeding mom with postpartum depression?”, Kleiman wrote in part:

“Keep in mind that this information is based on MY practice and will vary considerably from doctor to doctor.”

“The SSRI antidepressants (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) we are most comfortable using based on the research we have are: Zoloft (Sertraline) and Paxil (Paroxetine). Other antidepressants (tricyclics) that are used are Pamelor (Nortriptyline) and Desipramine (Norpramin), although it seems that the SSRIs are preferable these days because they have fewer side effects and are easily tolerated.”

In answering questions on “How Long to Take Medication,” Kleiman said to think of antidepressants as a “Serotonin vitamin,” and cited a recommendation from the American Psychiatric Association for staying on antidepressants for 6 to 9 months after the woman is feeling better.

“That’s not 6-9 months after you start taking the pill, it’s after you start feeling better!” she wrote. “The reason they recommend that you remain on it that long is because studies show there is a high risk of relapse if you get off the meds too early. And if you relapse, the symptoms are often harder to treat.”

“For that reason,” she said, “I tell my patients to try to think of this as a Serotonin vitamin; just take it, don’t think about “why” you’re taking it, you need it, it’s helping, and you’ll worry about getting off of it later.”

In 2008, Zoloft maker, Pfizer, donated more than $700,000 to the “non-profit” American Psychiatric Association.

Eli Lilly, the maker of Cymbalta, Prozac, and Symbyax, a drug that combines Zyprexa and Prozac, gave the APA 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, and roughly $450,000 more was given to the American Psychiatric Foundation for the APA fellowship program.

“Antidepressants are one of the most efficient and effective treatments for PPD,” Kleiman boldly tells women reading her StorkNet advice.

In another blog Kleiman wrote: “Women who experience depression during pregnancy are at an increased risk for PPD.”

“Current research supports the use of antidepressants immediately after delivery to reduce the likelihood of PPD.”

“Many women and their doctors choose this option,” Kleiman said, “to start their medication right after the baby is born, and I mean right in the delivery room!”

Doesn’t sound like any alternative therapies are considered, or tried, by this “expert” before dosing nursing infants with psych drugs.

On May 30, 2007, Kleiman ran the headline, “SSRIs and Pregnancy: Encouraging Study,” and wrote the following paragraph in a blog on the Postpartum Stress Center website:

“As presented at a poster session at the 2007 American Psychiatric Association (APA) conference, “APA: SSRIs in Pregnancy Not Associated With Cardiac or Pulmonary Problems”–there is a preliminary data which offers encouraging support for the use of SSRIs during pregnancy.”

“While a retrospective chart review isn’t the best methodology (it’s certainly the best bet for pregnancy),” Kleiman said, “this is very positive and evidence-based study with a large number of patients, supporting the safety of SSRIs in pregnancy.”

True Experts Weigh In


“If a woman has been informed that an SSRI will not harm the fetus, then she has been misinformed,” says Dr Grace Jackson, author of “Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs: A Guide to Informed Consent,” and the new book, “Drug Induced Dementia: A Perfect Crime.”

“Research in non-human animal species and epidemiological human studies suggest that SSRIs pose direct and indirect risks to the embryo and fetus,” she reports, “especially to the formation of the brain, heart, and craniofacial skeleton.”

“Because SSRIs pass through the placenta,” she explains, “they may exert toxic effects directly by inhibiting or accelerating the process of apoptosis (programmed cell death).”

“Alternatively, SSRIs may exert toxic effects indirectly by disrupting maternal levels of serotonin and other hormones (including prolactin, thyroid hormone, and glucose), all of which participate in the development of the unborn child,” Dr Jackson advises.

“For humans,” she states, “the long-term risks of prenatal or neonatal exposure to SSRIs remain uncharacterized.”

“However,” she says, “it should concern medical professionals that research in rodents has repeatedly and consistently revealed a link between early exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitors and the emergence of potentially long-lasting decrements in learning, memory, and emotion (e.g., abnormal responses to fear-producing stimuli, diminished capacity for nurturance and attachment, and depression).”

Julie Edgington took Paxil for a couple of weeks before she learned she was pregnant. Despite stopping the drug in the first trimester, Julie’s son Manie was born with “Transposition of the Great Arteries,” a condition where the aorta and pulmonary arteries in the heart are switched.

At 8-days-old, Manie had to undergo a 12-hour open heart surgery. Because of the surgery, he has a leaky heart valve and has had to undergo several more medical procedures. Manie also must take drugs for high blood pressure.

For a long time, Julie did not know Paxil caused Manie’s heart defect. “The guilt I feel will never go away even though it was not my fault,” she states.

She has this warning for pregnant women. “If you think you are depressed now wait until your life is flipped upside down when your baby is born with a horrible birth defect like Manie.”

Shameless Self Promotion


On April 28, 2008, Kleiman posted a blog announcing that her new book would be out in September 2008, which began with the comment: “Shameless self-promotion alert! ;)”.

She also pasted an excerpt from the book’s forward in the blog, written by Dr Shari Lusskin. “There is a treasure trove of ‘clinical pearls’ in this eminently readable book which even the most experienced clinician will be able to use right away,” Lusskin told potential buyers of the book.

A glowing review of Susan Stone’s book by Lusskin appears on the Amazon website as well.

Lusskin is an adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences at Mt Sinai School of Medicine. Her specialty is “Psychopharmacology,” according to her bio on the New York University Langone Medical Center website.

She is also an advisory council member of Postpartum Support International and has her own website.

The “Pregnancy-related Mood Disorders,” section of Lusskin’s site warns that: “Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Eating Disorders may also develop or worsen during pregnancy and postpartum. Women with Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, or Schizoaffective Disorder are particularly vulnerable during pregnancy and postpartum.”

“Medications (pharmacotherapy) and psychotherapy (using interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral techniques) both play a role in the treatment of perinatal psychiatric disorders,” Lusskin advises on her site, with medications of course listed first.

A May 28, 2005 presentation brochure shows Lusskin is a paid speaker for the psychiatric drug makers, Glaxo, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Wyeth.

Lusskin’s site explains that: “Reproductive Psychiatry is a specialty that helps women deal with psychiatric conditions that develop in relation to specific points in their reproductive life cycle, such as their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and perimenopause.”

“Women with psychiatric disorders that develop in relation to their reproductive life cycle are an under-served population that can benefit from treatment which considers both psychiatric and gynecologic factors,” Lusskin’s site states.

“Dr. Lusskin is one of a small number of physicians in the United States who specialize in this relatively new field,” her website claims.

Victim of “Reproductive Psychiatry”

Bobby Fiddaman runs the popular website Seroxat Sufferers. Seroxat is sold as Paxil in the US. He recently forwarded a story sent to him by Kimberly S, a young mother who went to a doctor for problems with mood swings before her menstrual cycle, with permission to reveal the story.

In a nutshell, Kimberly was prescribed Paxil first, and ended up on Remeron, benzodiazapines, Ritalin, Zyprexa, Lithium and sleeping pills, before her 3-year nightmare that included two suicide attempts and two lengthily stays in mental institutions was over.

The suicide attempts occurred when she tried to go off Paxil, without any warning about the severe withdrawal syndrome that can lead people to become suicidal. After the second attempt, Kimberly was on life-support for 3 days and then transferred to a mental institution where nothing she said was taken seriously because of course by now she was considered too mentally ill to be believable. She explains this situation as follows:

“When you are suffering from any kind of mental illness you have no credibility. If you get angry you are mental. If you cry it’s because you are mental. If you complain it’s because you are mental and all of this will wind you up on more medication that creates a vicious cycle you have little chance of breaking free from.”

“A psychiatric diagnosis is a prison sentence at first which can easily become a death sentence,” she warns. “You might not die physically but your soul and who you are dies eventually if you don’t break free from it.”

Kimberly finally found a doctor who alerted her to the Paxil withdrawal syndrome and helped her taper off the drug. “Had he not I don’t know where I would be today,” she says. “Probably 7 feet under.”

However, Kimberly was on her own when she stopped taking the other drugs. “I was by myself and at home on the floor, in a pool of sweat and vomit, screaming at those fierce anxiety attacks and the debilitating memories of everything that had happened,” she recalls.

“There were many times I wanted to give up and go back on those drugs because it was hell getting off,” she says. “There were times I did not think I was strong enough and my poor kids had already endured enough.”

But Kimberly did not give up, and today she is living a drug free normal life with her children, back at work and healthy, she reports.

http://www.naturalnews.com/026707_health_disease_depression.html

Just Say No to the Mothers Act

Just Say No to the Mothers Act

by Evelyn PringleThe customer base the psycho-pharmaceutical industry is hoping to corral through passage of the Mothers Act is the more than four million women who give birth in the US each year. That number was 4,317,119 in 2007, according to the CDC.

The Act’s passage, after eight years of solid efforts, would set the stage for the screening of all pregnant women for a whole list of mental disorders. The bill has already passed in the US House of Representatives and will soon be up for a vote in the Senate.

The definition section of the Act specifically states that the term “postpartum condition” means “postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis.” There is not one word about perinatal “mood” or “anxiety” disorders in the bill.

The transformation of the postpartum language in the Act to further the formation of a new cottage industry for treating multiple disorders can be traced back to websites such as Postpartum Progress, Postpartum Support International, and a site called PerinatalPro, which leads directly to the treatment center owned by the site’s creator Susan Stone.

On January 26, 2009, Susan cranked out an announcement on the internet with the headline: “U.S. Senator Robert Menendez reintroduces important postpartum depression legislation in Senate today!!”

However, in Stone’s message to the pubic the “postpartum depression” in the headline suddenly transforms into “perinatal mood disorders,” and she warns of a crisis of epidemic proportions in stating:

“The statistics we have on the numbers of women suffering from perinatal mood disorders (which range from 12 – 22% in the research) easily exceed the incidence associated with a public health crisis.”

“And remember,” she says, “these statistics, do NOT include the suffering of women who miscarry, endure stillbirths, give up babies for adoption or terminate pregnancies, all of whom are also susceptible to these devastating disorders and whose circumstances are included in the furthering of research and support being sought.”

In her message, Susan reports: “Today, I had the joy of participating in a conference call with the office of Senator Menendez and the other organizational sponsors of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act where we received a heads up that U.S. Senator Robert Menendez was hoping to reintroduce the bill today.”

While the Mothers Act refers to helping women with postpartum depression and psychosis only, the bill’s top promoters, obviously kept in the loop by the main sponsor in the Senate, clearly have a larger customer recruitment scheme in the works.

On a Postpartum Progress page with a heading, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!” the website’s creator, Katherine Stone, explains that the word perinatal “refers in this case to the period during and after pregnancy.”

“Among the mental disorders women face during this time, there are two main types: anxiety disorders and mood disorders,” she advises.

“Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder,” she reports.

“Mood disorders include depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis,” she explains. Under the heading “Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” she writes:

“All you have to do to be at risk for getting postpartum PTSD is to have the perception of a traumatic childbirth — in other words, even if your doctors and nurses feel that everything went fairly normally, if it was upsetting and scary and unexpected to you that’s what counts.”

She concludes with the misleading statement that, “all of these illnesses are completely treatable.”

Katherine’s bio claims she “is a nationally-recognized, award-winning advocate for women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.”

In the Menendez press release on January 26, 2009, there was no mention of “mood” and “anxiety” disorders. If he was not in on this disease mongering plot, he would have told these two broads to knock it off by now.

Drugging for profit

Although no psychiatric drug has been FDA approved as safe for use by pregnant and nursing mothers, the treatment for all the perinatal mental disorders calls for the new generation of antidepressants, along with atypical antipsychotics and epilepsy drugs, now commonly referred to as “mood stabilizers.”

The atypical antipsychotics are Seroquel by AstraZeneca, Risperdal and Invega marketed by Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson, Geodon by Pfizer, Abilify from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis’ Clozaril, and Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa. The average price for these drugs on DrugStore.com is about $900 for a hundred pills.

The SSRI and SNRI antidepressants include GlaxoSmithKline’s Paxil and Wellbutrin, Pfizer’s Zoloft, Celexa and Lexapro from Forest Labs, Luvox by Solvay, Wyeth’s Effexor and Pristiq, and Lilly’s Prozac, Cymbalta, and Symbyax, a pill with Zyprexa and Prozac combined. The price of these drugs, on average, is about $300 for ninety pills at DrugStore.com.

On March 23, 2009, Philip Dawdy reported on the popular website Furious Seasons, that “in a sign of just how bizarre things have gotten in DC, the FDA today approved Symbyax for treatment resistant depression, meaning depression that hasn’t responded to two anti-depressants.”

“So the FDA just approved a drug that’s known to cause diabetes, epic weight gain and suicidality to treat depression,” he said. “This makes so much sense!”

The antipsychotics are now the top money-makers. In overall prescription sales in the US, they led all classes of drugs in 2008, with sales of $14.6 billion, according to IMS Health. Anticonvulsants came in fourth with $11.3 billion in sales, followed by antidepressants at fifth with sales of $9.6 billion.

The Epilepsy Foundation estimates that one million women in the US have epilepsy, but the number of women taking anticonvulsants is reported to be two to three times higher than women with epilepsy. The prices for these drugs can run as high as $929 for 180 tablets of Glaxo’s Lamictal, and $1170 for 180 tablets of J&J’s Topamax.

Numerous recent reports have linked the use of drugs such as Depakote, Neurontin, Lamictal and Tegretol with not only suicide but also birth defects, including heart defects, brain damage, and mental retardation.

Big Pharma funds Mothers Act supporters

As of April 9, 2009, the groups supporting the Mother’s Act listed on PerinatalPro with Big Pharma funding traceable through their annual reports and the grant reports of Eli Lilly and Pfizer for 2007 and 2008, include the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Psychiatric Association, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Children’s Defense Fund, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, March of Dimes, Mental Health America (MHA), National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), National Association of Social Workers, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, and the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA.

Pfizer’s 2008 grant report shows the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, received $10,000 for “General Operating Support.” Florida’s Bureau of Maternal and Child Health received funding from Lilly and Pfizer to launch a three-pronged maternal depression awareness initiative consisting of education, screening and advocacy, according to the July, 2005 paper, Improving Maternal and Infant Mental Health: Focus on Maternal Depression, by Ngozi Onunaku.

Collaborating partners also included the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, University of Miami, and Florida’s Department of Mental Health, Onunaku reports. Public awareness efforts reached the Florida State Legislature, who passed a resolution to establish April as women’s depression screening month.

Onunaku listed the Lilly and Pfizer funded Florida project as an example of state and community efforts that may be useful in reaching the goal of increasing maternal depression awareness. In the paper, he reported the following:

“Prenatal depression occurs during pregnancy when mothers-to-be experience hormonal and biological changes, stress, and the demands of pregnancy. Approximately 14-25% of pregnant women have enough depressive symptoms to meet the criteria for a clinical diagnosis.

“The use of medication to treat maternal depression is controversial; there is concern about mothers taking medication during pregnancy and after delivery, especially while breastfeeding. Research suggests that infant development is not adversely affected by certain kinds of medication.

“There is equal consideration regarding the possible risks posed to a child whose mother is severely depressed and needs medication but remains untreated.

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.

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.

The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is 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.

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.

On November 3, 2008, Dr Bernard Caroll summed up Nemeroff’s fall from grace on the Healthcare Renewal website as follows:

“The fallout to date includes his severance from several NIH-funded projects at Emory University School of Medicine, a freeze of NIH funding for a major center grant, and his stepping down from Emory’s chair of psychiatry while an internal investigation proceeds.”

Dr. Nemeroff’s credibility is under a cloud, to say the least, and his influence is rapidly waning. … In the hardnosed, commercial world of Continuing Medical Education, for instance, the signs are that Dr. Nemeroff is toast. Whereas he once coordinated multi-city traveling CME road shows and a parade of spots on CME websites like Medscape, his profile now is suffering. Go to this Medscape website, for instance. You will find that his current Expert Viewpoint spots are missing, replaced by the message, “This article is temporarily unavailable.”

Nemeroff’s Bio on the Emory Website on December 22, 2008 listed his Clinical Interests as: “Depression and antipsychotic pharmacological therapy, social phobias, fetal effects of pre- and post-natal drug therapy, depression, mood disorders, antipsychotic therapy.”

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.

As expected, the two most notorious front groups, NAMI and MHA, received the most money from psychiatric drug makers. 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.

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 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.

The leaders of these “non-profits” are also making out like bandits. In 2006, NAMI’s top dog, Michael Fitzpatrick, had a salary of $212,281, and $10,090 in employee benefit contributions and deferred compensation plans, for a 35-hour work week.

MHA’s 2002 tax returns show the CEO and President, Michael Faenza, received compensation of $306,727, and another $35,275 in contributions to employee benefit plans and deferred compensation that year, for a 35 hour work week.

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 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.

Finally, 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.
Amy Philo, a young Texas mother who survived what can only be described as a postpartum ambush by the psycho-pharmaceutical cartel, is at the forefront of the “Unite for Life” coalition fighting against the Mothers Act. As of April 25, 2009, the Unite coalition had thirty-five orginazations signed on as opposed to the legislation. Needless to say, none of them were listed in the grant reports of Lilly or Pfizer.

Amy was screened and drugged because she got extremely concerned about her baby and had a panic attack after watching him nearly choke to death. “I lived through forced hospitalization, drugging, and four months of being homicidal, suicidal, and psychotic because of Zoloft,” she recounts on her website.

“No mother should have to live through what I have,” she states.

Over a recent three to four year period, Amy found there were 1,031 documented deaths of babies caused by psychiatric drug exposure reported to the FDA’s MedWatch system.

Amy recently learned that the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives has withdrawn their support from the Mothers Act. However, she reports a new addition to the list of supporters is the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. A quick check of their website found the group’s corporate sponsors include Wyeth, Glaxo, J&J, Merck, and Sanofi Pasteur.

************* Evelyn Pringle

epringle05@yahoo.com

(This article was sponsored by the Pogust, Braslow & Millrood law firm in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania)

(Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Scoop Independent News and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government and corporate America)

Mental Health America Funnels Pfizer Dollars to Katherine Stone

I am willing to bet that Kat Stone preferred Diet Coke… A PR specialist indeed. It takes a really good one to pass off The MOTHERS Act as helpful…

Now as for MHA, a notorious pHARMa front group, and how they push drugs on moms…

Referencing the June 8, 2008 Mental Health America Georgia e-news http://www.ciclt.net/ul/nmhag/2Q08%20enews.pdf:

Investigative reporter, Evelyn Pringle reports that Mental Health America of Georgia is now offering a free one-hour “lunch & learn” called “Project Healthy Moms: What You Need To Know About Perinatal Mood Disorders,” according to the group’s June 8, 2008 e-news letter.

This special hour of learning is made possible by a grant from Pfizer,” the newsletter notes.

Pringle points out that Pfizer markets the drugs, Zoloft and the atypical antipsychotic Geodon, widely prescribed in many instances off-label, for all the “mood” and “anxiety” disorders being sold to the public via the MOTHERS Act.

The Perinatal Mood series will be presented by Katherine Stone, “former postpartum OCD sufferer and author of Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog in the United States on postpartum mood disorders. (Postpartum Progress was named one of the top ten depression sites on the web in 2007),” e-news notes.

“Stone also serves on the board of directors of Postpartum Support International, the world’s largest nonprofit organization supporting women with these illnesses,” the newsletter states.

According to e-news, Stone had five gigs scheduled at that time, Pringle reports.

If interested in scheduling a lunch & learn, the newsletter tells people to contact Stone directly by email at stonecallis@msn.com or by phone at 678- 764-2141.

“These events are 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 says.

“More than 800,000 women each year in the U.S. suffer from these devastating illnesses, which, if not properly treated, can have a long-term negative impact on the health of both mothers and their children and families,” it reports in identifying the customer base obviously targeted.

E-news claims attendees of Stone’s presentation will 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 wide variety of risk factors for perinatal mood disorders”
  • “Results of the latest research on these illnesses and their impact on mothers and children”
  • “Various treatment options — therapy, medication, alternative treatments”
  • “What you should know about cultural differences when it comes to postpartum mood disorders”
  • “Tools and resources available for healthcare providers”

Stone also has herself out for hire on LinkedIn. The lead off-sales pitch reads:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/katherinestone?trk=btn_typepad

“Talented, award-winning marketing and PR professional returning to the workforce after brief sabbatical as full-time mom. Background includes six years creating and executing great ideas in the corporate marketing department of The Coca-Cola Company, in addition to six years managing successful public relations campaigns for such brands as Coca-Cola and AT&T.”

“Skills include experiential marketing concept development, brand positioning, marketing strategy, social networking, and public relations campaign development and execution,” she writes.

“Used break from full-time employment to become an expert at social media, creating most widely-read blog in the U.S. in her niche,” Stone reports in refererence to her Postpartum Progress blog.

At the end she writes a paragraph on her days as a agent for the Cohen & Wolf public relations firm and states:

“Prior to Coca-Cola, she was an account supervisor at the Y&R PR firm Cohn & Wolfe, where she developed PR campaigns for the Coca-Cola USA account, and also managed the account team handling media relations for the AT&T Global Olympic Village during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta .”