Herbert Pardes: Creating The Front Group Pipe Line

Herbert Pardes is the former NIMH Director (1972-84) and President of the American Psychiatric Association (1989) when he admitted that schizophrenia could not even be defined: “I do not know what this disease is yet; I do not know how many diseases it may entail.”[1]

At NIMH, Pardes saw the capturing of the budget from the Regan Administration as his priority. To do this, he concentrated on positioning psychiatry with neuroscience and started marketing and nurturing the “growth of consumer and advocacy organizations” under the guise of “removing stigma” for the mentally ill.[2] He became the king of forming psycho-pharma front groups and in this way, he and NIMH psychiatrists could use families of “mentally ill” individuals to promote their plight to the media and lobby government for more research funds. In fact, the NIMH budget reached a total of $1.7 billion between 1978 and 1986, but after Pardes helped establish new advocacy groups that could lobby Congress, NIMH funding over the next decade increased 233% and since 1987, nearly 1,000%–in 2008 reported as almost $19 billion.[3] Here’s how it was played out: 1979: Pardes spoke at the forming meeting of National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), now called the National Alliance on Mental Illness). He was joined by Samuel Keith (20 years in NIMH heading its Schizophrenia Research Program), along with other NIMH psychiatric researchers.[4] Pardes remains an advisor to NAMI today.[5]

1979: The National Association for Mental Health changed its name to the National Mental Health Association, with Pardes as an Advisor.[6] (Now called Mental Health America).

1980: The Phobia Society of America became the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) to promote “prevention and cure of anxiety disorders.”[7] Pardes was an advisor along with psychiatrist Robert Hirschfeld.[8] Current advisory board members include Doctors: Robert M.A. Hirschfeld, Ronald C. Kessler, Charles B. Nemeroff, Katharine Phillips, Daniel S. Pine, (currently NIMH), Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, Alan Schatzberg, and Karen Wagner.[9]

1986: Pardes was an advisor to National Depression & Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA) that formed in this year (since 2002 called the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, DBSA[10]). By 1999, at least 7 NIMH psychiatrists were on its advisory board, including Charles Nemeroff who was Chairman of the Board of Directors Executive Committee and Richard Wyatt who was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board Executive Committee (chief of the neuropsychiatry branch at NIMH). Other members included Frederick Goodwin (Scientific Director, NIMH, 1988, NIMH Director 1992), Lewis Judd (NIMH Director, 1987) and Samuel J. Keith (Deputy Director of NIMH, 1986, and member of NARSAD’s Scientific Council since its inception in 1986.). Current scientific advisory board members include psychiatrists David J. Kupfer, Joseph Biederman, Frederick K. Goodwin, Jan Fawcett, Robert M.A. Hirschfeld, Kay Redfield Jamison, Paul E. Keck, Martin B. Keller, Ronald C. Kessler, Charles B. Nemeroff, Robert Post, A. John Rush, Alan F. Schatzberg, David Shaffer (TeenScreen), Karen Wagner, Myrna Weissman.[11]

1986: He was an advisor to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, known as the Phobia Society until 1986 when it also formed its Scientific Advisory Council.

1986: The Schizophrenia Research Branch at NIMH was established (previously known as Schizophrenia Association of America). Samuel J. Keith (Deputy Director of NIMH) formed National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), with Pardes on its Scientific Council, along with Frederick Goodwin, Charles Nemeroff, Richard Wyatt, other NIMH researchers, and Steven Paul (NIMH/Eli Lilly). Eli Lilly provided major funding. Keith devised the idea in 1984 when he headed NIMH’s “Center for the Study of Schizophrenia.” NARSAD was aimed at bringing the “principal advocacy, family-consumer organizations into the leadership of [the] new research effort.”[12] Current Scientific Council members of NARSAD include: Herbert Pardes, Robert Hirschfeld, Steven Hyman (NIMH Director); Lewis Judd (NIMH Director); Charles Nemeroff, Martin Keller, Robert C. Kessler, Daniel S. Pine (currently NIMH), Alan Schatzberg and Karen Wagner.

As evidence of the biased approach these groups take to research and treatment modalities, when Pardes was head of NIMH, his Chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia was Dr. Loren Mosher who also founded and served as first Editor-in-Chief of the Schizophrenia Bulletin.[13]

  • As the Washington Post reported in a tribute to Dr. Mosher following his death in 2004, while at NIMH Dr. Mosher “decried excess drugging of the mentally ill; large treatment facilities like St. Elizabeths Hospital [in Washington DC] that he would have preferred to raze; and the sway pharmaceutical companies had over professional groups.” He established a highly workable “largely drug-free treatment regimen for schizophrenics” used at his Soteria House center. “His position was based on a view that schizophrenics are tormented souls who needed emotionally nourishing environments in which to recover. He said drugs were almost always unnecessary, except in the event of a violent or suicidal episode,” The Post detailed.
  • After showing studies of patient recovery to NIMH, the project lost its funding amid a strong peer backlash and, as Mosher wrote, “By 1980, I was removed from my post altogether…All of this occurred because of my strong stand against the overuse of medication and disregard for drug-free, psychological interventions to treat psychological disorders.”[14]
  • In 1998, Dr. Mosher resigned from the American Psychiatric Association, which he called a “drug company patsy.” As late as 2002, he said that 85-90% of his clients returned to the community without conventional hospital treatment.[15]
  • In 1984, Pardes left NIMH to become Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University’s College of Physicians Surgeons and in 1989 was also appointed Vice President for Health Sciences for Columbia University.[16]
  • Pardes came under scrutiny in 1999, when a New York Post’s story, “Shrinks for Sale,” exposed how Columbia University, affiliated with the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), was “king” at obtaining pharmaceutical company dollars. Pardes created the Office of Clinical Trials at Columbia in 1991 and by 1999 it was generating $10 million a year for the university and its affiliates, largely through Pharma funding. A Pharma industry source was quoted in the article: “The sense is that you come to Columbia University and we will get your drugs approved.” Pardes also served as chairman of the state task force that recommended state approval of risky experiments on “mental patients” who couldn’t give informed consent. Patients were placed at risk, with one man dying during an experiment funded by a drug maker and children as young as 6 were being used as guinea pigs for Prozac experiments—without fully informing the parents of the dangers.[17]

NARSAD‘s grant selection process is guided by its 110-member Scientific Council under Dr. Pardes’ leadership. Five current or previous members served as director of the NIMH and current director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse is a member. Under Dr. Pardes’ leadership, NARSAD’S grant making activity has grown from the initial awarding of 10 research grants in 1987 to nearly 300 in 2008.[18] NARSAD prides itself on the fact that many of the researchers it funds “go on to get much larger grants from NIMH.[19]

A review of the Scientific Council shows the same psychiatrists joined at the hip with other psycho-pharma front groups, all feeding off each other to ensure more taxpayers’ dollars are poured into the psychiatric trough. It breeds waste and causes abuse. Government agencies such as NIMH, NIDA, FDA and NIH should not have its officers or researchers sitting on the Boards or as advisors to any of these groups.

[1] http://www.successfulschizophrenia.org/articles/wrong.html; “The mounting attack on schizophrenia,” Psychiatric News, 24, pp. 3 & 13.

[2] “NIMH celebrates Half-Century of Progress,” Psychiatric Times, Vol. XXXIII, No. 13, 4 July 1997, p. 31.

[3] “National Institute of Mental Health: Appropriations: Grants and Direct Operations,” NIH 1999 Almanac, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services — NIMH Funding: 1978-1986 $1,764,300,000 and 1987 – 1997 $5,699,210,000; “National Institute of Mental Health: Appropriations: Grants and Direct Operations,” NIH 2008 Almanac, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services — 1987-2008 $18,988,401,000.

[4] “Challenging Schizophrenia,” NARSAD Research Newsletter, Summer, 1994, p. 1; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herb_Pardes.

[5] http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/99/12/herbertPardes.html; http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/news/press_releases/pardes.html.

[6] “NMHA and the History of the Mental Health Movement,” National Mental Health Association, http://www.nmha.org/about/history.cfm, accessed: 12 Dec. 2000; “Columbia’s Herbert Pardes Named President and CEO of New York Presbyterian Hospital,” http://www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/news/99/12/herbertPardes.html.

[7] “About ADAA–Who Are We?,” Anxiety Disorders Association of America website, http://adaa.org/aboutadaa/whoarewe/.

[8] “Columbia’s Herbert Pardes Named President and CEO of New York Presbyterian Hospital,” http://www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/news/99/12/herbertPardes.html.

[9] http://www.adaa.org/AboutADAA/Boards/SAB.asp.

[10] http://books.google.com/books?id=WpcU_MlpC78C&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=when+did+NDMDA+change+its+name+to+Depressive+and+Bipolar+Support+Alliance%3F&source=bl&ots=iYO1TMi7nY&sig=jO1i1QwZt8xwb8A1M7D1QaHQMf4&hl=en&ei=iA4HS8nXCZP2sgOfjPXACQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=when%20did%20NDMDA%20change%20its%20name%20to%20Depressive%20and%20Bipolar%20Support%20Alliance%3F&f=false.

[11] http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=dbsa_scienceboard.

[12] “Challenging Schizophrenia,” NARSAD Research Newsletter, Summer, 1994, p. 1; NARSAD website, http://mhesourve.com.narsad/narsadinfor/html.

[13] http://www.moshersoteria.com/index.pdf.

[14] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A63107-2004Jul19.html.

[15] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A63107-2004Jul19.html.

[16] http://nyp.org/news/hospital/236.html.

[17] Douglas Montero, “Shrinks for Sale,” New York Post, 26 Feb. 1999.

[18] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146861.php.

[19] http://www.narsad.org/?q=node/11225/latest-research.