New guidelines for mental illness turn shyness in children from a personality trait into a mental disorder that warrants drug treatment. Drug companies already target children, who fidget too much in class or have trouble concentrating on their homework, with stimulant drugs for treating attention deficit disorder. Now children who sit too quietly or are more withdrawn than their peers will also be targeted with medication for social anxiety disorder or depression.
Antidepressant Caused a Stimulant-like Syndrome Leading to Manic-like Behavior, Suicidality and Violence— Judge Robert Heinrich listened to expert psychiatric testimony for the defense by Peter Breggin, MD and issued his opinion regarding the sixteen-year-old who stabbed his friend to death, “His basic normalcy now further confirms he no longer poses a risk of violence to anyone and that his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac.” Consistent with Dr. Breggin’s testimony, the judge observed, “He has none of the characteristics of a perpetrator of violence. The prospects for rehabilitation are good.”
This is the first criminal case in North America where a judge has specifically found that an antidepressant was the cause of a murder.
Thursday’s deal is the second multimillion-dollar Seroquel settlement brought by government prosecutors in the past two years. Last April AstraZeneca agreed to pay $520 million to settle similar allegations brought by the federal Department of Justice.
The new settlement stemmed from a separate three-year investigation led by the Attorney General of New Jersey. As part of the agreement AstraZeneca must publish any gifts or payments to physicians on a public website. The company also agreed to make sure that payment incentives to sales representatives do not encourage off-label promotion.
Allegations of off-label drug marketing have become increasingly common in the past decade, with the drug industry eclipsing all others as the source of fraud-related settlements with the federal government. Approximately 80 percent of the $3.1 billion in penalties collected last fiscal year by the government came from the health care sector, including drugmakers, insurers and hospitals, according to Taxpayers Against Fraud.
The most glaring omission in this study is whether the children who were having sleep problems, and who were all under psychiatric “care”, were being prescribed psychostimulants (Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta) in the first place. These drugs are in the same category of highly addictive substances as cocaine according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. That would account for the children’s inability to sleep. And instead of referring to this condition as “sleep disorder” a term which enables psychiatrists to prescribe even more drugs, we should demand to know what drugs psychiatrists had prescribed these children that stripped them of one of the most vital natural functions every child needs—sleep.
The suicide rate among troops is astonishing. In 2009 there were 160 active duty suicides, 239 suicides within the total Army including the Reserves, 146 active duty deaths from drug overdoses and high risk behavior and 1,713 suicide attempts, says the Army’s suicide report, released in July. Not only are more troops dying from their own hand than combat says the Army report, titled Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, Suicide Prevention, 36 percent of the suicides were troops who were never deployed. Also astonishing is the psychoactive drug rate among active duty-aged troops, 18 to 34, which is up 85 percent since 2003 according to the military health plan, Tricare. Since 2001, 73,103 prescriptions for Zoloft have been dispensed, 38,199 for Prozac, 17,830 for Paxil and 12,047 for Cymbalta says Tricare 2009 data, which includes family prescriptions. All of the drugs carry a suicide warning label.