Another Study Fuels Speculation US Kids Being Overdrugged

Released on: October 21, 2008, 11:48 am

Press Release Author: Citizens Commission on Human Rights

Industry: Non Profit

Press Release Summary: The recent study, "A three-country comparison of psychotropic
medication prevalence in youth," found U.S. children were up to three times more
likely to be on psychiatric drugs than children in Germany or the Netherlands.
Additionally, a report issued in May in the journal Pediatrics found U.S. children
are 6 times more likely to take antipsychotic drugs than children in the UK. The
psychiatric watchdog organization, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International
(CCHR), says that both these reports fuel current speculation in the United States
regarding the fact that pharmaceutical funding heavily influences psychiatrists'
prescribing habits in the U.S.

Press Release Body: This concern was called into serious question after it was
revealed that psychiatrists top the list of all medical professionals getting drug
company funding in the two states that require such reporting, Vermont and
Minnesota. A report made by the Vermont Attorney General on Pharmaceutical
marketing disclosures, revealed that $3 million was spent on drug promotions in
Vermont in 2007. A New York Times article on these reports found that
"psychiatrists who took the most money from makers of antipsychotic drugs tended to
prescribe the drugs to children the most often." An article in the Vermont Rutland
Herald quoted Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell, "It is particularly troubling
that the industry is paying large sums of money to influence prescribing practices
involving psychiatric drugs."

Examples of how high profile psychiatrists influence prescribing by heavily
promoting the use of psychiatric drugs include child psychiatrists Melissa DelBello
and Joseph Biederman. Last year, a Senate investigation into pharmaceutical
payments to medical researchers revealed that DelBello had under-reported $180,000
that she made from AstraZenca, the maker of the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel, in
2003 and 2004. An August 2007 New York Times story reported that DelBello's studies
of Seroquel have "helped fuel the widespread pediatric use of antipsychotic" drugs.
The results of her studies were inconclusive, but, according to the Times, "she has
described them as demonstrating that Seroquel is effective in some children."
Harvard Medical School Professor of Psychiatry, Joseph Biederman, whose work was
reported by the New York Times to have "fueled an explosion in the use of powerful
antipsychotic" drugs in children, failed to report $1.6 million in consulting fees
he earned from drug makers that he conducted research for between 2000 and 2007.
One example is Johnson & Johnson, whose Janssen Pharmaceutica branch sponsored a
clinical study into the effects of the antipsychotic Risperdal on children, which
Biederman led between 2002 and 2005. Biederman reported to Congressional
investigators that in 2001, he received only $3,500 from the company, but reports
from Johnson & Johnson showed that they had in fact paid him over $58,000 that year.

In a June 2007 Boston Globe article entitled "Misguided standards of care," Dr.
Lawrence Diller, who practices behavioral and developmental pediatrics in Walnut
Creek, CA, and the author of The Last Normal Child: Essays on the Intersection of
Kids, Culture and Psychiatric Drugs, charged Biederman and his colleagues at Harvard
as "the professionals most responsible for promoting...diagnosing preschool children
as young as 2 with bipolar disorder and treating them with multiple medications."
Biederman has been largely responsible for promoting "bipolar" disorder as
justification for administering powerful antipsychotics to children. According to
Diller, the ultimate absurdity is "diagnosing bipolar disorder in 2 year olds" and
"saddling young children as chronic mental patients condemned to a lifetime of
psychiatric drugs." The capacity to pathologize behaviors in order to justify
prescribing drugs is not exclusive to Dr. Biederman - psychiatry's entire foundation
rests on this premise.

Unlike medical diseases, which are discovered through verifiable physical conditions
or abnormalities, disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (DSM) are invented by codifying key behaviors and repackaging them as
diseases: literally voting them into existence by a show of hands from DSM task
force members. The influence of pharmaceutical funding over these task force
members in "creating" the disorders was exposed in a 2006 study reported in a USA
Today article entitled "Study: Medical manual's authors often tied to drugmakers,"
which revealed that 56% of the medical experts who created the two most recent
editions of the DSM had one or more financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Researchers also found that some panels overseeing disorders that require treatment
with prescription drugs, - such as schizophrenia and "mood disorders" - were 100%
filled with experts financially tied to the pharmaceutical industry." According to
IMS Health, antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs, which are used to treat "mood
disorders," have sales around $40 billion a year worldwide. A 2007 study based on
hospital discharge records referenced in a story entitled, "Debate Over Children and
Psychiatric Drugs" in the New York Times, also noted that "the practice of
aggressive drug treatment for young children labeled bipolar has become common
across the country. In just the last decade, the rate of bipolar diagnosis in
children under 13 has increased almost sevenfold...."

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International says that the DSM is the basis
of needless, rampant drugging by psychiatrists, and because of this the DSM panel
members should be investigated for their financial ties with the pharmaceutical
industry and has a website documenting this unholy alliance
Recently, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has revealed that
more than half of the 28 new members of writers of the next edition of the American
Psychiatric Association's (APA) DSM have some financial connection to the drug
industry, and the conflicts of interest ranged from small to extensive. John M.
Grohol, Doctor of Psychology, said, "Remember, many of the experts chosen to sit on
these committees are the same professionals who have made their livelihood studying
these disorders. Nobody's career is going anywhere if the disorder they've
dedicated their life to researching is suddenly downsized or kicked out of the DSM

When psychiatrists sitting on DSM panels are funded by pharmaceutical companies that
must have new disorders in order to market their drugs, there can be no denying that
a conflict of interest exists. Without any blood test, brain scan, x-ray or lab
test that can verify any mental disorder on par with regular diseases or illness,
psychiatrists can pathologize any behavior and repackage it as a disease, while
getting paid by the pharmaceutical companies that create the drugs to treat them.

This message is a public service announcement provided by the Citizens Commission on
Human Rights International (CCHR(r)). CCHR was established in 1969 by the Church of
Scientology to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. For
more information go to or

CCHR are trademarks and service marks owned by Citizens Commission on Human Rights

Web Site:

Contact Details: CCHR International, 6616 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
800-869-2247, 323-467-4242, FAX 323-467-3720

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