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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry: an unhealthy symbiosis

I am very impressed by the article I have just been reading online: Psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry: who pays the piper? (Psychiatric Bulletin (2005) 29: 84-85 © 2005 The Royal College of Psychiatrists. As you can see, it was written some years ago, but its message is even more urgent today.

The three writers of the article are psychiatrists, concerned about the increasing grip the pharmaceutical industry has on the training of psychiatrists, on drug trials, on the inventing of new mental illnesses to be treated with psychotropic drugs, on the influencing of prescribing physicians to prescribe certain drugs, etc. It is a short and very clearly written article. I do urge you to read it.

My personal concern focuses mainly on the terrible suffering that psychotropic drugs can and do cause. I have written many times about the side-effect of morbid obesity (plus all its attendant illnesses and disabilities) resulting from many of these drugs.

Thousands upon thousands of children, mainly in America, are subjected to drug treatment for the flimsiest of reasons, and their young lives are blighted almost before they have begun. That is not even counting the effects on their brains themselves, and all the other systems of the body. The problem is compounded in America by the fact that so many of their legislators are in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry and are lobbyists for it.

Children are not the only group who endure unnecessary illness, unhappiness and pain in order to swell the profits of Big Pharma. In my country, the UK, many elderly people in care homes are drugged with psychiatric coshes, bringing frailty, disability, indignities and hastened death, and the doctors who bring about this horrifying suffering incur neither censure nor sanction: EVEN THOUGH THE FACTS ARE WELL KNOWN BY THE GOVERNMENT.

We have had the thalidomide tragedies, the tranquilliser tragedies. We presently have the ever-increasing and reckless prescribing of anti-depressants, which complacent doctors delude themselves into believing 'save lives'. See Anti-depressants are no better than dummy pills and amitriptyline

The 'developed' world, that has nurtured the pharmaceutical industry until it has grown into a multinational malign entity 'too big to be allowed to fail', apparently, will come to rue its failure to nip corruption in the bud long ago.