The real NAMI: Relentlessly pushes drugs, gets millions from Pharma, and lobbies/supports Pharma’s vested interests

NAMI continues to receive hefty contributions from the drug industry but it no longer reveals the specific donors in its annual report, published online. So Senator Grassley’s team has asked the organization to disclose the specifics of its funding so that people with mental illness and their families can see for themselves how conflicted this advocacy group is.

Alison Bass
April 9, 2009

Earlier this week, Senator Charles Grassley announced a probe into the nation’s largest advocacy group for people with mental illness, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, asking the nonprofit group to disclose the funding it has received in recent years from the drug industry. The fact that NAMI is heavily dependent on drug company money is old news, but Grassley’s investigation, first reported in Bloomberg News, may shed a welcome spotlight on an lobbying organization that masquerades as grassroots.

In Side Effects, I reveal that drug company contributions have always been a substantial portion of NAMI’s revenues. I also tell the story of how Jim McNulty, president of NAMI from 2002 to 2004, failed to disclose the fact that he was being paid thousands of dollars from drug makers for promoting their products to NAMI members and others at various speaking engagements. In a particularly intriguing twist, McNulty laundered this drug company money through a state chapter of NAMI.

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