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Human Rights Defenders

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1

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New Freedom Commission & Teen Screen

The New Freedom Commission on Mental Health was established by U.S. President George W. Bush in April 2002 to conduct a comprehensive study of the U.S. mental health service delivery system and make recommendations about pharmaceutical treatment.  The commission, using the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) as a blueprint, subsequently recommended screening of American adults for possible mental illnesses, and children for emotional disturbances in order to increase the use of highly controversial and inadequately tested pharmaceutical drugs.  Many of these drugs were found to be dangerous and had serious long term health effects as well as being so physically addictive that it was almost impossible to take the patient off them after they had been initiated. There are few potential benefits from the Texas Medical Algorithm plan, except increased profits for pharmaceutical companies.  There are serious concerns about the potential for unnecessarily causing neurological damage and contributing to increased medical costs,  potential substance abuse and pharmaceutical drug dependence. 

NAMI and other pharmaceutical industry front organizations are used to compromise of scientific integrity under color of authority.  Organizations that protect the civil rights of the disabled  look askance at the irony of the use of the word freedom, contending the commission is yet another example of the excesses of drug industry marketing. 

The effects of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health recommendations are to simply foster drug use rather than the prevention of mental illness and use of alternative treatment modalities.  TMAP, which was created in 1995 while President Bush was governor of Texas, began as an alliance of individuals from the University of Texas, the pharmaceutical industry, and the mental health and corrections systems of Texas. Through the guise of TMAP, critics contend, the drug industry has methodically influenced the decision making of elected and appointed public officials to gain access to citizens in prisons and State psychiatric hospitals. 

Allen Jones was the investigator for the Office of Inspector General regarding the approval of psychotropic drugs by the Food and Drug Administration. Allen Jones, was a former investigator in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General (OIG), Bureau of Special Investigations.  His very detailed report can be found on the Psychrights.org website.   

Many critics contend that the strategy behind the commission was developed by the pharmaceutical industry, advancing the theory that the primary purpose of the commission was to recommend implementation of TMAP based algorithms on a nationwide basis. TMAP, which advises the use of newer, more expensive medications, has itself has been the subject of controversy in Texas, Pennsylvania and other states where efforts have been made to implement its use.  Jones wrote a lengthy report in which he stated that, behind the recommendations of the New Freedom Commission, was the "political/pharmaceutical alliance." It was this alliance, according to Jones, which developed the Texas project, specifically to promote the use of newer, more expensive antipsychotics and antidepressants. He further claimed this alliance was "poised to consolidate the TMAP effort into a comprehensive national policy to treat mental illness with expensive, patented medications of questionable benefit and deadly side effects, and to force private insurers to pick up more of the tab." 

A coalition of over 100 advocacy organizations, united under the banner of Mindfreedom.org in representing the psychiatric survivors movement, has been galvanized by their strong opposition to the New Freedom Commission.  

See also articles on this website

http://psychrights.org/articles/articles.htm  

Opponents of the New Freedom Commission plan have questioned the motives of the commission, largely from a civil liberties perspective, asserting the initiative campaign is little more than a thinly veiled proxy for the pharmaceutical industry, which, in its pursuit of profits, is too eager to foster psychotropic medication interventions. Some opponents contend that its objectives are to foster chemical behavior control of American citizens. 

 

FDA fails to regulate Teen Screen

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was receiving reports of increased rates of suicide, especially during the first months of drug use and widespread extra label use of these medications in direct violation of their black box warning about potential adverse side effects.

"TeenScreen"  which was a program to screen every American shoolchild for mental disease,  represented naked pharmaceutical company greed.   Even before these New Freedom Commission recommendations were made there were 15 million Americans on Zyprexa (7.4 million) and Risperdal (7.6 million) alone in 2002.   Sales of atypical antipsychotic drugs reached $6.4 billion, making them the fourth best selling class of drugs in America. The combined sales of antidepressants and antipsychotics jumped from around $500 million in 1986 to nearly $20 billion in 2004 – a 40-fold increase.

(Anatomy of an Epidemic: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker, Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Volume 7, Number I , Spring 2005) 

The article is available at:http://psychrights.org/Articles/EHPPPsychDrugEpidemic(Whitaker).pdf

In April, 2000, AHRP filed a complaint about the experiment, with the Office of Human Research Protection--see:http://www.ahrp.org/Initiatives/YaleComplaint.php

But this was not enough profit for the pharmaceutical companies and therefore additional marketing and political pressure were used to create a public mental health policy to screen children and get more of them on atypical antipsychotics.   This was the TeenScreen program which was designed to diagnose mental illness in teenagers, but has been shown to be coercive and unreliable.  

The same political/pharmaceutical alliance that generated the Texas project is behind the New Freedom Commission.   Using the marketing strategy behind TeenScreen, this alliance is lobbying to consolidate the TMAP effort into a comprehensive national policy and thus force on children and adults  expensive, patented medications of questionable benefit and deadly side effects.  The global pharmaceutical market is forecast to grow to US $842 billion in 2010 (Pharmaceutical Market Trends 2006-2010 by S. Seget) 

Teen Screen

Teen Screen was developed by Dr. David Shaffer, known for his connections to the pharmaceutical industry[i]  and Columbia University.  Many watchdog groups opposed the use of mental health screening programs and viewed them as marketing opportunities for drug manufacturers.[ii] [iii] [iv]  It was proven that these mental health screenings were conducted on minors without parental consent.  In 2005, Teen Screen became the subject of a lawsuit in Indiana filed by parents who objected to the “passive consent” procedure.[v]  [vi]  The Rutherford Institute, a non-profit civil liberties organization, criticized the use of "passive consent," by which parents who do not want their children screened needed to sign a form and send it in to the school.  If the school does not receive a form, it is assumed that the parents do not object.  In June 2006, after the lawsuit, Teen Screen changed their consent procedures to require active parental consent, but offered incentives such as movie tickets and gift vouchers to students to encourage participation.  In situations where neither parent is accessible (i.e., in teen shelters or the juvenile justice system), passive consent (parental consent assumed if not explicitly denied) would suffice.  Teen Screen led to massive drug use with children in the foster care and juvenile justice system where there was scant oversight or protections for human rights.

The Fourth Amendment to our Constitution guarantees our citizens the right to protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, a right that extends to all citizens regardless of their age.  There were several important Supreme Court Decisions regarding whether children could be tested for drugs by schools: 1) Vernonia School District v. Wayne Acton [vii] 2) Board of Educ. of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma Petitioner v EARLS.[viii]

In 1995 by a 6-3 decision in Vernonia School District v. Wayne Acton the U. S. Supreme Court decided that because public school athletics are susceptible to injuries, their right to Fourth Amendment protection could be waived in order to protect them from the added dangers of illegal drug use. The court gave schools the right to require suspicionless drug testing.  Before making it to the Supreme Court the issue made it to the Federal Appeals Court.  At the appeals court Veronia had submitted as their expert witness Dr. Robert L. DuPont, Jr.  Dr. DuPont is the founding director of   the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the second White House Drug Czar.  It was Dr. DuPont's NIDA that administered a $ 1 million grant to The Seed - Straight's predecessor program.  Later Dr. DuPont became a paid Straight consultant and was an expert witness for Straight in several civil trials.  DuPont became chairman of the scientific advisory board for Psychemedics - the world's premier hair testing drug program. The Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF) is a leader in establishing national and international drug policy and lobbying successfully for its own interests.

Board of Educ. of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma Petitioner v EARLS by a decision of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court extended suspicionless drug testing beyond the scope of the Veronia decision to include suspicionless drug testing of any student involved in any extracurricular activity in a school.  The court decided that ‘schools' interest in ridding their campuses of drugs outweighs an individual's right to privacy.  The justices were aided in their decision process by an Amicus Curie (friends of the court) brief that had been filed with the court and signed by a large number of individuals prominent in American drug policy, many of whom had relationships with DFAF. 

These are the important players in the legal battle to maximize profit by drug testing teens.  Look at this legal case about mandatory teen screening in schools and then referring those teens to drug treatment.  The legal case is: BOARD OF EDUC. OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. NO. 92 OF POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA Petitioner, v. EARLS.  June 27, 2002

These are the signers of the Amicus brief in support of drug testing.  The signers include: Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF);   Robert DuPont who is on DFAF's advisory board;  Peter Bensinger (Peter Bensinger is former head of the DEA and is the business partner with Robert DuPont);  Julie Murdoch, Esq. (an employee with Bensinger, DuPont & Associates);  Bensinger DuPont & Associates, Bethesda, MD;  Institute for Behavior & Health, Bethesda, MD (another Robert DuPont company); Institute on Global Drug Policy (a division of  DFAF);   Eric Voth, MD, Topeka, KS (but Dr. Voth is the director of DFAF's  Institute on Global Drug Policy);  Ambassador Melvyn Levitsky who has co-authored an article on drug policy with Dr. Eric Voth;  Donald Ian Macdonald, M.D. (Straight's former national research director turned White House Drug Czar); Stephanie Haynes of Save Our Society From Drugs TM,  (but SOS is a Betty Sembler foundation);  Legal Foundation Against Illicit Drugs (an organization founded by Calvina Fay, executive director of DFAF, and others);  Otto Hauswirth, M D, of the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Addicts (DFAF's Calvina Fay is director the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse); Carolyn Burns, of Louisville, KY. DFAF's Calvina Fay is a board member and past president of  Drug Watch International (DWI).  DWI or its International Drug Strategy Institute division  includes or has included  Robert L. DuPont and  Peter Bensinger, Straight's former national research director Donald Ian Macdonald, Straight's former national clinical director Miller Newton and Straight-Springfield's former research director Dr. Richard Schwartz, MD. Straight's former national executive director Bill Oliver is an Honorary Advisor for DWI (he also became director of parent training for P.R.I.D.E.).  Joyce Tobias, formerly acting secretary for DWI, used to be a very active Straight parent.  Alex Romero, a DWI board member,  and Nancy Starr, a DWI delegate,  were signers.  And, of course, the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) was a signer.  You may see the brief itself at this website: http://www.datia.org/resources/amicusbrief.htm.


The Drug Free America Foundation has positioned itself as a leader in establishing national and international drug policy. Straight Foundation, under its new name, DFAF co-sponsors The Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) workshops. 

 

According to PublicIntegrity.org, more than a third of pharmaceutical companies' resources go into promotion and marketing.  /

Pfizer $16.90 billion in marketing and only $7.68 billion in research & development Glaxo Smith Kline $12.93 billion marketing and only $5.20 billion research & dev. Sanofi-Aventis $5.59 billion   $9.26 billion

Annually, the industry spends nearly twice as much on marketing as it spends on research and development, although drug companies report neither total precisely. Various news reports estimate that the industry spent anywhere between $30 billion to $60 billion on marketing in 2004. The trade group PhRMA estimates its members spent $39 billion on R&D that year. As this information shows, the same year, 11 major companies reported spending close to $100 billion on marketing, along with administrative expenses not categorized separately. Those companies reported spending $50 billion on R&D.  In 2004, Pfizer spent almost $120 million for media ads for Lipitor, the world's number-one selling prescription drug, while companies promoting erectile dysfunction treatments Viagra, Levitra and Cialis spent $425 million. Direct to consumer advertisement has also grown significantly: from $791 million in 1996 to $3.8 billion in 2004.

 


 



[ii] Groenendijk, Charly, AntidepressantsFacts 2004 – 2009,  Antidepressantsfacts.com,  http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/Bush-TeenScreen-Program.htm.

[iii] Breggin, Peter,  Dr. Peter Breggin PhD Psychologist, International Counselors, Social Workers,  Psychiatrists, Psychologists, & Educators,   ICSPP.org, http://www.icspp.org/  Dr. Breggin's 40-year effort to expose the scientific and ethical hazards of biopsychiatric theory and practices including psychiatric diagnoses, drugs, and ECT.  And second, to encourage and inspire humane and ethical empathic social services and therapies that assist individuals and families toward better and more successful lives without the harmful effects of biopsychiatric interventions. You can also visit Dr. Breggin's professional page at Breggin.com, www.Breggin.com. 

[iv] According to PublicIntegrity.org, more than a third of pharmaceutical companies' resources go into promotion and marketing. 

Company Marketing costs vs costs of Research and Development

Pfizer $16.90 billion in marketing and only $7.68 billion in research & development Glaxo Smith Kline $12.93 billion marketing and only $5.20 billion research & dev. Sanofi-Aventis $5.59 billion   $9.26 billion

Johnson & Johnson $15.86 billion  $5.20 billion

Merck $7.35 billion  $4.01 billion

Novartis $8.87 billion  $4.21 billion

AstraZeneca$7.84 billion  $3.80 billion

Hoffman La Roche $7.24 billion  $4.01 billion

Bristol-Myers Squibb $6.43 billion  $2.50 billion

Wyeth $5.80 billion  $2.46 billion

Abbott Labs $4.92 billion  $1.70 billion


[v] The actual copy of the lawsuit is on the Rutherford Institute's website. case 3:05-cv-00586-JTM-CAN - Rutherford.org  http://www.rutherford.org/PDF/Filed_Complaint.pdf.

[vi] Lenzer, Jeanne, US teenager's parents sue school over depression screening test, British Medical Journal, BMJ.com,  http://www.bmj.com/content/331/7519/714.2/suppl/DC1.

[vii]  Vernonia Sch. Dist. 47J v. Acton (94-590), 515 U.S. 646 (1995). Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/94-590.ZO.html  http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/veronia.html.

 

[viii] BOARD OF ED. OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST.NO. 92 OF POTTAWATOMIE CTY. V. EARLS (01-332) 536 U.S. 822 (2002),  242 F.3d 1264, reversed.  Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court.  The Student Activities Drug Testing Policy implemented by the Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County (School District) requires all students who participate in competitive extracurricular activities to submit to drug testing. Because this Policy reasonably serves the School District’s important interest in detecting and preventing drug use among its students, we hold that it is constitutional.  http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/01-332.ZO.html.


Teen Screen Pharma Dragnet

Dr. John Rengen Virapen worked 35 years for Eli Lilly & Co as an executive. He now speaks out on the many crimes Big Pharma was and is responsible for and he himself also participated in. Unfortunately, many of its crimes go passed public awareness as it enjoys the unethical protection from its big allies, the mainstream media, the FDA and governments.

Drugging our children

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

― Leo Buscaglia

Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

MEDICAL WHISTLEBLOWER ADVOCACY NETWORK

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MedicalWhistleblowers (at) gmail.com

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"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."  Confucius

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt- Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic", delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910