Is your child mentally ill? "Yes," according to Big Pharma funded doctors (ka-ching!)
Oct 4, 2012 | Martha Rosenberg
How has Big Pharma managed to get so many children on expensive drug
cocktails for "mental illness"? Drugs that they may not even need?
Big Pharma has spent millions on public relations campaigns that tell
parents, teachers and clinicians to dose children at the first sign of
problems. It knows if parents treat their kids early they will never
know if the kids needed the drugs in the first place and whether
residual problems are "mental illness" or drug side effects. The kids
will also probably be life long customers because parents will be afraid
to take them off the drugs. No wonder Pharma tells parents not to wait
for "excessive energy" or "mood swings" to go away in the awareness
One "prescribe early" campaign for the atypical antipsychotic Risperdal
uses a macabre abandoned wallet, a teddy bear, and keys on a barren
street "to reposition a drug that was being used too late to achieve its
maximum beneﬁts," said its advertising agency, Torre Lazur McCann.
Brand managers for Seroquel, a competing antipsychotic, even considered
creating Winnie-the-Pooh characters like Tigger (bipolar) and Eeyore
(depressed) to sell Seroquel, according to published reports, at an
AstraZeneca sales meeting. Parents say they have seen toys emblazoned
with Seroquel logos.
Only one child in ten thousand has pediatric
schizophrenia - some say one in thirty thousand - but that doesn't stop
Gabriele Masi, MD, with the Stella Maris Institute for Child and
Adolescent Neuropsychiatry at the University of Pisa in Italy from
portraying it as a public health problem. In an article titled "Children
with Schizophrenia: Clinical Picture and Pharmacological Treatment," in
the journal CNS Drugs, Masi writes, "Awareness of childhood-
onset schizophrenia is rapidly increasing, with a more precise deﬁnition
now available of the clinical picture and early signs, the outcome and
the treatment strategies."
Symptoms of childhood schizophrenia include "social deﬁcits" and
"delusions . . . related to childhood themes," writes Masi. What child
doesn't have "social deﬁcits"? Do delusions include imaginary playmates?
Masi lambastes the "hesitancy on the part of clinicians to make a
diagnosis of schizophrenia," instead of prescribing early. Masi has
received research funding from Eli Lilly, served as an advisor for Shire
and been on speakers bureaus for Sanoﬁ Aventis, AstraZeneca, GSK, and
Janssen, all of which manufacture many of the leading psychiatric drugs
for children, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
It's tempting to ridicule Pharma funded doctors who find mental illness
and even relapses and "treatment resistance" in people who have been on
the planet for forty months. But pathologizing three-year-olds isn't
funny. Both four-year-old Rebecca Riley of Hull, Massachusetts, and
three-year- old Destiny Hager of Council Grove, Kansas, died in 2006
from psychiatric drugs that included Geodon and Seroquel to treat their
"bipolar disorders." And in 2009, seven-year-old Gabriel Myers of
Broward County, Florida, a child in a state facility, hung himself while
on Symbyax, a pill that combines Zyprexa and Prozac. If it weren't for
Big Pharma's prescribe early campaigns, these children, and others,
might still be alive. END
Martha Rosenberg's is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).