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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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The Texas Medical Algorithm Project

The controversial New Freedom Commission on Mental Health was established by the 43rd U.S.A. president, George W. Bush, in April, 2002.[i]   The Commission was established to conduct a comprehensive study of the U.S.A. mental health service delivery system and make recommendations based on its findings.[ii]  The controversial 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 based on its findings.  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, thereby identifying those with suspected disabilities who could then be provided the newer psychoactive drugs. 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 psychiatric medications based on a protocol developed by pharmaceutical industry consultants at the University of Texas.  The goal was to help pharmaceutical companies to get human subjects for clinical trials and access to citizens locked in prisons and state and private psychiatric hospitals and to get these clinical trials paid for by Medicaid.

 

According to the Center for Public Integrity the pharmaceutical and health products industry has spent more than $800 million in federal lobbying and campaign donations at both federal and state levels in the past seven years.  Its lobbying operation, on which it reports spending more than $675 million, is the biggest in the nation. Only the insurance industry has spent more money to sway public policy. 

In 2003, the pharmaceutical industry spent nearly $116 million to lobby the government. That year the Congress passed, and President George W. Bush signed, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which created a taxpayer-funded prescription drug benefit for senior citizens.

 

The New Freedom Commission on Mental Health recommended increased use of pharmaceutical interventions despite the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) response, with regulatory steps, to reports of increased rates of suicide, especially during the first months of drug use.  Allan Jones was the former investigator in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General (OIG), Bureau of Special Investigations.  As a human rights defender and medical whistleblower, Alan Jones,[iii]  investigated for the Office of Inspector General of FDA.  He delivered a scathing report on the fraudulent behavior of the pharmaceutical industry and its political control over both legislation and regulatory functions.  Civil liberties groups also became vocal opponents of the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP).  The TMAP was described as a thinly veiled proxy for the pharmaceutical industry, which pursued profits by recommending more psychotropic medication interventions.[iv] [v]  [vi] TMAP had been created in 1995 while President Bush was governor of Texas.  It formed as an alliance of individuals from the University of Texas, the pharmaceutical industry, the mental health and the corrections systems of Texas.

 

Through TMAP, critics contend, the drug industry has methodically influenced decision-making of elected and appointed public officials. The strategy increased access to citizens in prisons and state psychiatric hospitals.

Some opponents of TMAP believe its objectives are to foster chemical-mediated behavior control of American citizens.  The Commission used TMAP as a blueprint and began to recommend screening of American adults for untreated mental illnesses and children for emotional disturbances. [vii]  This targeted more vulnerable populations who could be coerced to use the newer psychotropic medications.  Some of these drugs were still in clinical trials or were to be prescribed as extra-label use (i.e., not specifically authorized but tolerated).  As a U.S.A. regulatory agency, however, the FDA initiated regulatory actions to address reports of increased suicide rates.  One of these actions was to require a “black box” warning label for the new anti-depressants that warned of increased risk for violent tendencies, including suicide, caused by these medications. [viii]  [ix]  [x] [xi] [xii] 

 

One of the nation's leading medical groups, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS), decried a move by the U.S. Senate to join with the House in funding a federal program AAPS says will lead to mandatory psychological testing of every child in America – without the consent of parents. Kathryn Serkes is the public affairs counsel for AAPS.  AAPS lifetime member Rep. Ron Paul, M.D., R-Texas, tried to stop the plan in its tracks by offering an amendment to the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Act for FY 2005. The amendment received 95 “yes” votes, but it still failed to pass. Congressman Ron Paul's office confirmed that Ron Paul's amendment requiring parental consent prior to government psychological testing/mental screening of all school children was not added to the final bill.  The New Freedom Initiative passed sans amendment, as it stood. When the Senate considered an omnibus appropriations bill that included funding for grants to implement universal mental health screening for almost 60 million children, pregnant women and adults through schools and pre-schools, it approved $20 million of the $44 million. This $20 million matches a like amount already approved by the House, Serkes advised.  While the funding cut of some $24 million was a little good news, suggested Serkes, whose organization has zealously opposed the the measure, she said the organization was most worried about the failure of Congress to include “parental consent” language sought by the AAPS.

 

 



[i]

“Unholy Alliance: George Bush Jr. and Big Pharma: The Texas Medication Algorithm Project" SSRICitizen.org

Testimony Against SF 2841 - Preschool Socioemotional Screening', International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (March 9, 2006) ICSPP.org

“Pushing Prescriptions: Drug Lobby Second to None: How the pharmaceutical industry gets its way in Washington” (special report), M. Asif Ismail (July 7, 2005) PublicIntegrity.org

 

[ii] New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America. Final Report. DHHS Pub. No. SMA-03-3832.  Rockville, MD: 2003.  President Bush’s plan, Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America, is available at MentalHealthCommission.gov, www.mentalhealthcommission.gov/reports/FinalReport/FullReport.htm.

[iii]  Allen Jones, “TMAP Critique,”   January 20, 2004, PschRights.org, http://psychrights.org/Drugs/AllenJonesTMAPJanuary20.pdf.

[iv] Lenzer, Jeanne, “Secret US report surfaces on antidepressants in children,” British Medical Journal, Vol 329, p 307 August 7, 2004, PsychRights.org, http://psychrights.org/Research/Digest/AntiDepressants/BMJ-SecretReportSurfaces.pdf .

[v] Lenzer, Jeanne, “Bush Plans To Screen Whole US Population for Mental Illness,” Jeanne Lenzer, British Medical Journal, Vol 328, pp1458, June 19, 2004, http://psychrights.org/Articles/BMJBushtoScreenUSpop.pdf .

[vi] Ismail, M. Asif, “Special Report: Drug Lobby Second to None, How the pharmaceutical industry gets its way in Washington,”  PublicIntegrity.org, http://projects.publicintegrity.org/rx//report.aspx?aid=723&sid=200

[vii] Jones, Alex, “New Freedom Initiative/Mandatory Mental Health Screening of American Children Passes,” Infowars.com, November 23, 2004,

http://www.infowars.com/articles/brave_new_world/new_freedom_paul_amendment.htm.

[viii] Breggin PhD, Peter, Recent regulatory changes in antidepressant labels: Implications for activation (stimulation), A Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former full-time consultant at NIMH, Dr. Breggin's private practice is in Ithaca, New York, where he treats adults, couples, and families with children.  He also offers consultations in clinical psychopharmacology and often acts as a medical expert in criminal, malpractice and product liability suits. He is the author of many scientific articles and books including Medication Madness:  The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (2008).  http://www.breggin.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=55&Itemid=79Breggin.comwww.Breggin.com.  http://breggin.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=65&Itemid=37.

[ix] Breggin, Peter, “Paxil Special Report III,” The third special report in a series providing excerpts from Dr. Breggin's 1999 product liability report in the CA case of Lacuzong v. GlaxoSmithKline, alleging that Paxil (paroxetine) caused a double murder and suicide. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 8 (2006) 255-263. www.Breggin.com. 

[x] Breggin, Peter, Evidence from many sources confirm SSRIs commonly cause or exacerbate a wide range of abnormal mental and behavioral conditions. International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine 16 (2003/2004) 31-49. www.Breggin.com. 

[xi] Breggin, Peter, Report presented at the September 14, 2004 press conference sponsored by the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) at the FDA Public Hearing on Antidepressants and Suicide available at Breggin.com. www.Breggin.com. 

[xii] A report Dr. Breggin presented to the FDA in August 2004 detailing the relation of suicidality and violence to antidepressants available at Breggin.com. www.Breggin.com. 

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― Leo Buscaglia

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