I joined several activist/advocacy groups following my rude awakening to the evils of the pharmaceutical industry that happened when my son was prescribed several drugs and suffered horrible side effects and adverse reactions, leading to his death in 2003. When I found out that these effects had been known by the pharmaceutical industry and doctors for years, I was livid. My son’s death, and tens of thousands more, could have been avoided. I joined these groups to share a common purpose: to bring to light the immoral, unethical, and perhaps even illegal activities of corrupt scientists, doctors. lawyers, corporate CEOs, and government regulators connected to the pharmaceutical trade.
You see, we (the groups I belong to) are really good at posting outrageous stories:
- About conflict of interest, such as the same people who are responsibile for approving drugs at the FDA being paid handsome salaries and receiving great perks for serving as “expert consultants” or “board members” for the same pharmaceutical companies they are supposed to be regulating.
- About children being forcibly removed from their perfectly normal households because their parents refuse to drug them.
- About children as young as 12 being charged as adults for committing crimes under the influence of these murder-inducing poisons.
- About the murder, suicide, and mayhem caused by people who are taking these meds…and not just “wackos” but respected people…cops, lawyers, firemen, teachers, judges, and elected officials who suddenly “blank out” and commit unspeakable acts such as a banker, who pled guilty to two couts of murder for stabbing his 5-year old twin daughters in the head after being switched from one medication to another. (See David Crespi’s story here.)
- We have ranted and raved about how unresponsive our government has been to our pleas for a thorough Congressional investigation into the unethical practices of hiding negative research data so dangerous drugs will be approved and the discounting of anecdotal evidence of severe side effects so they will stay on the market as long as possible.
- We have traveled to Washington, D.C. and testified before Congress, the FDA and anyone else who would listen.
- We have been interviewed for TV, radio, movies, and documentaries about these drugs and the unethical practices that not only allow them to be on the market but have caused the number of prescriptions for them to skyrocket (along with the drug companies’ profits).
- We have played key roles in getting the “Black Box” warnings about obsessive homicidal and suicidal impulses these drugs cause in children under 18. Then we kept up the pressure until that warning was revised to apply to anyone under 25.
- We have lobbied for warnings on ADD/ADHD medications and pain medications. We have signed petitions to ask Congress not to pass the “Mother’s Act” which would force all pregnant woment to be screened for post-partum depression so they can be medicated as soon as possible. (Following doctors’ orders certainly didn’t help Andrea Yates, did it? She was taking several psychotropic medications and at maximum doses when she killed her 5 children. Thanks, Doc.)
- We have focused a lot of attention on “TeenScreen” – a psychiatric tool used at public schools to label many of our teens with scientifically unprovable “mental conditions” for which they are then drugged – leading several school districts to refuse to allow the quacks from Columbia University to get their clutches on their kids.
- We have brought to light the exponential increase in the labeling and drugging of millions of pre-schoolers with these same labels – schizophrenic, bipolar II, SAD, GAD, ODD, ADD/ADHD…we’re talking 2 & 3 year olds here, folks….by the millions…with states paying billions for the drugs and treatments. Anyway, many lawsuits have been filed and settled over these unethical practices…thanks in some part to the groups I am a part of.
So, why am I griping?
Politics…and narrow-mindedness….and apathy…and I-don’t-know-what-the-hell-to-call-it – perhaps a fear of success? Surely not. Right? Few of us get any money for the work we do. Most of us are surviving family members or former patients. A few have made money as authors…but surely they are not as corrupt as those they rail against, right? Surely none of them are afraid that we will actually achieve our stated purposes and get our government to take a realistic, lobbyist-free look at this corrupt industry and create serious reform, right? Surely, no one is thinking “But how would I sell another book if these drugs are off the market? Who will want to interview me on TV or radio?” Surely not.
And surely we will take help from whomever will offer it, right? We have always prided ourselves on being what one pharmaceutical rep called a “curious coalition” because we are of all races, income levels, geographical origins (even international), and religious backgrounds. We are Red/Blue/Purple, liberal, conservative, Mormons, Scientologists, atheists, agnostics, Christians (evangelical, Catholic, mainstream), Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc…all in agreement on our purpose. Every government official who will give us the time of day hears our stories…our few champions include Sen. Charles Grassley, by the way.
I’ve always been so proud of the people I am associated with through these efforts…such dedicated, passionate advocates…such truth seekers…such “get-up-off-your-ass-and-do-something” kinds of folks.
But then I posted a link to www.change.gov – President-elect Barack Obama’s newly launched website that asks the American citizens to let him and his staff know what our concerns are and how government can best help address the issues that are important to us. Sounds like exactly what we’ve been screaming for, right?
WRONG! To a person, those who responded to my post expressed doubt or even animosity towards the President-elect and his new way of thinking and acting. “Good luck with that,” I heard. “He’s just like the rest,” I read. “He’s a co-sponsor of the Mother’s Act, so he’s in PhRMA’s pocket,” I was told.
Really? Well then what about those of you who took these pills when you took them? Were you in bed with your shrink? Asking to be poisoned so you would suffer permanent nerve and cognitive damage? Already going to murder your children, spouse, or other loved ones anyway? Anxious to live the rest of your life with the tics, pain, and fatigue caused by these toxins? No? Then how did you allow them to do this to you?
Were you, like me and, I believe, like President-Elect Obama, misinformed by your doctor, the media (whose paychecks are paid for through direct-to-consumer advertising of these drugs), the scientists and the FDA? Don’t you think he has been given the same false and/or flawed data we have spent the last several years debunking? (Some of us have been doing this work for more than 15 years…with very limited success, I might add. Greater success on your part might have kept Effexor from being promoted as the latest and greatest AD ever in 2003 when my son started taking it.)
I was hoping that I would see responses to my post similar to those that follow the posting of a particularly hideous story or in repsonse to a flawed opinion given by a PhRMA hack during an intervew. “Here’s my letter…” “Here’s what I posted…” “I attached the data from the Prozac lawsuit…” etc. But now, all I got was flack…negativity…nay-saying…
In my mind, I imagined the staff who are responsible for collating all of the emails saying to each other…”Wow, here are 40 more letters from people who say the FDA is corrupt, 243 more stories of anti-depressant induced murder/suicide and 67 letters saying that antipsychotics are causing many people to become diabetic.”
The power of numbers, I thought.
Instead, all I got were prejudicial, closed-minded pontificating on the flaws, weaknesses, and lack of action of a man who hasn’t even gotten into office yet. “No, we can’t”!” I heard. “No, I won’t!”
I am tempted to quit all of these groups…but I can’t. As flawed as they are….as much disappointment as I feel because I thought they were as passionate about this cause as I am…they are all I’ve got. They are the only ones who have come to see the truth.
So, onward…a lot more confused and alone than I thought I was.