The days of drug companies simply settling out of court every time they break the law may soon be coming to an end. In a move that represents a significant shift toward punishing individuals for crimes rather than faceless corporations, federal officials say they will begin personally going after CEOs and other company executives whose companies fraudulently bilk Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs out of millions of dollars, or that falsely market dangerous drugs.
SOME psychiatrists — the ones who don’t believe they are godlike creatures — are in a bit of a tizz these days. They are worried about all the damage they might have unwittingly done by misdiagnosing mental illness. Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi could help to ease their furrowed brows. Some background, before I explain that apparent non-sequitur: In a soul-searching analysis of his profession in Wired magazine recently, US psychiatrist Dr Allen Frances declares that mental disorders “can’t be defined”, and it’s “bull—-” to suggest otherwise. Frances is lead editor of the DSM-IV, the fourth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. It’s a publication that has been described as “the bible” and “the imperial doctrine” of psychiatrists.
It’s what shrinks use, in their godlike wisdom, to decide whether or not you are mentally ill — and then to prescribe powerful, dangerous drugs, and other treatments that can turn you into a shadow of your former self. In the gut-wrenching Wired article, Frances says: “We psychiatrists have made mistakes that had terrible consequences.”
Why are troops killing themselves? The long awaited Army report, “Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, Suicide Prevention” considers the economy, the stress of nine years of war, family dislocations, repeated moves, repeated deployments, troops’ risk-taking personalities, waived entrance standards and many aspects of Army culture. What it barely considers is the suicide-inked antidepressants, antipsychotics and antiseizure drugs whose use exactly parallels the increase in US troop suicides since 2005.