December 15, 2009
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is on the defensive. After reports that most donations made to the big advocacy group came from drug makers in recent years, NAMI agreed to disclose its funding sources. The disclosure, however, came after protracted criticism of NAMI for coordinating lobbying efforts with drug makers and pushing legislation that also benefits the pharma industry.
The embarassing episode prompted NAMI’s executive director, Michael Fitzpatrick, to acknowledge industry donations were excessive and that things would change. Meanwhile, board member Richard Lamb resigned over the issue, complaining little was changing, saying NAMI’s dependence on drugmakers made some actions impossible, such as warning against the use of some mental health drugs with life-threatening side effects.