October 22, 2009
Sen. Charles Grassley is investigating the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the New York Times reports. He might want to look into Pfizer’s $2.3 billion Bextra settlement as one of the suits within it made some juicy claims about how NAMI works.
NAMI is supposed to represent mentally ill people, not drug companies, but executive director Michael Fitzpatrick agrees Big Pharma’s influence over the organization has been excessive. The Times:
“I understand that NAMI gets painted as being in the pockets of pharmaceutical companies, and somehow that all we care about is pharmaceuticals,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said. “It’s simply not true.”
To underline the point, the Times describes this NAMI gala at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington:
Tickets were $300 each. Before a dinner of roasted red bell pepper soup, beef tenderloin and tilapia, Dr. Stephen H. Feinstein, president of the alliance’s board, thanked Bristol-Myers Squibb, the pharmaceutical company.