“UC studies drug for depressed women” (June 28) reported that a new antidepressant affecting the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine is being investigated. The article included a sidebar informing women how to participate in the study. But it excluded important facts that might give a woman pause before enlisting.
The Diseasing of our Malaise
More than one journalist has uncovered corrupt connections between the Bush Family, psychiatry, and Eli Lilly & Company, the giant pharmaceutical corporation. While previous Lillygates have been more colorful, Lilly’s soaking state Medicaid programs with Zyprexa—its blockbuster, antipsychotic drug—may pack the greatest financial wallop. Worldwide in 2003, Zyprexa grossed $4.28 billion, accounting for slightly more than one-third of Lilly’s total sales. In the United States in 2003, Zyprexa grossed $2.63 billion, 70 percent of that attributable to government agencies, mostly Medicaid.
The article titled “Pay Attention: Ritalin Acts Much Like Cocaine” was published in August 2001 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). It’s not likely you’ve heard about it. Pharmaceutical companies do their best to ensure we hear something altogether different, something like this: “Psychiatric medication—just like insulin—restores the chemical imbalances that cause mental illness.” To get that message across, they spend billions of dollars on TV commercials. They also spend billions of dollars on drug representative visits to doctors’ offices, advertisements in medical journals, and seminars for doctors. Pharmaceutical companies even help fund the American Psychiatric Association, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and other mental health institutions. Nearly one in four American adults are taking prescription psychotropic drugs, while America’s “war on drugs” has led to more people imprisoned in the United States (in total and per capita) than any other industrialized nation.