The targeting of preschoolers by the academy is an integral part of a disturbing tendency to advocate medical and pharmaceutical intervention as a legitimate option for the management of childhood behaviour. The campaign, which has as its premise the conviction that children’s behavioural problems represent a marker for mental illness, implicitly assumed a coercive and intrusive form. In Australia, draft guidelines being considered by the National Health and Medical Research Council threaten parents who refuse to medicate children diagnosed with ADHD with being referred to child protection authorities. The proposed guidelines assert that “as with any medical intervention” the “inability of parents to implement strategies may raise child protection issues”.
FOR decades, antipsychotic drugs were a niche product. Today, they’re the top-selling class of pharmaceuticals in America, generating annual revenue of about $14.6 billion and surpassing sales of even blockbusters like heart-protective statins. Lawyers suing AstraZeneca say documents they have unearthed show that the company tried to hide the risks of diabetes and weight gain associated with the new drugs. Positive studies were hyped, the documents show; negative ones were filed away. According to company e-mails unsealed in civil lawsuits, AstraZeneca “buried” — a manager’s term — a 1997 study showing that users of Seroquel, then a new antipsychotic, gained 11 pounds a year, while the company publicized a study that asserted they lost weight. Company e-mail messages also refer to doing a “great smoke-and-mirrors job” on an unfavorable study.
The NYT Sunday magazine crowned Dr. Joan Luby as the queen of preschool depression this weekend, but failed to mention that Luby has taken cash from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Shire (SHPGY) and AstraZeneca (AZN) to study using atypical antipsychotics in young children. The article is significant because of the outsize role that the Times magazine plays in creating and naming new social trends.
Children as young as one are being prescribed powerful anti-psychotic drugs that have been linked to deaths overseas. The strong medication is designed to quell psychotic episodes normally experienced by adults with schizophrenia and bi-polar. There are concerns some doctors are illegitimately writing scripts for pre-schoolers and primary school children for unapproved medical reasons, such as behavioural problems or ADHD.
CHILDREN as young as two are being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs that have been linked to deaths overseas. Almost 2000 children aged under 18 were prescribed the drugs in Victoria in 2007-08.