Since the 1980's, the drug industry has been one of the most profitable industries in the world, on par with oil and banking industries. IMS Health, a company that heralds themselves as "the one global source for pharmaceutical intelligence", stated that in 2005, North American pharmaceutical sales were at $265.7 billion.
Drug companies hammer us with the propaganda on how much money is spent on research, and that out of the millions spent on research, few drugs make money. One could easily be led down this path of deception but careful research shows that the real drug company spending is not research, but marketing.
The top ten pharmaceutical companies invest about 14% of their profits in R&D (Research and Development). However, about 35% is spent on marketing. For every $1.00 spent on research, $2.50 is spent promoting the drugs to the public. These billions of dollars in marketing include drug promotions during nearly every television commercial break, handing out free samples and propaganda to family doctors, sponsoring lavish medical conferences at expensive resorts, and "research grants". Millions are also spent on helping to create and support various front groups like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) which forward the drug company's marketing message covertly. Millions more are spent in lobbying Congress to protect drug company profits. The U.S. government is the largest bulk buyer of drugs, after Wal-Mart, but the "Social Security Prescription Drug Benefit Program" forbids the government from negotiating drug prices with Big Pharma!
A typical "breakthrough" in drug research is merely a drug company in partnership with a university announcing and marketing their own version of a previously released drug for the same disorder. The FDA will approve the new drugs, when provided with short-term studies where the drug companies purportedly show that the drug performs better than a placebo. In 2002, the FDA approved the use of seventy-eight new drugs but only classified seven of these drugs as improvements over older drugs.
Drug company money is funneled into all kinds of research. For instance, the doctors who created "Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder" (PMDD) were funded in part by Eli Lilly Corporation. By "proving" their drug Prozac treats a new "disease", Lilly was able to extend the patent on the drug for seven more years. Now the exact same drug is marketed under a new name, "Sarafem", to treat women with PMDD. Their slogan became, "Think it's PMS? It could be PMDD." Think it's a marketing ploy? You bet it is! Patented drugs are sold at drastically higher prices than non-patented drugs.
Another marketing ploy used is to advertise the name of the drug without stating its use. This allows the company to avoid mentioning the huge list of side effects.
Big Pharma doesn't stop there. They are now busy making huge donations to pseudo-scientific and official-sounding mental health organizations and screening programs to push even more customers onto their drugs.
"Signs of Suicide" is a program developed by the non-profit group "Screening for Mental Health, Inc." Tax records show that donations from 2001-2004 included money from Solvay Pharmaceuticals: $27,500, Pfizer: $750,000, Abbott Laboratories: $35,000, Forest Labs: $153,000, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals: $100,000, and Eli Lilly: $2,157,925. Why would drug companies donate millions to implement mental health screening if not to increase revenue and profits?
TeenScreen, an invention of psychiatrist David Shaffer, is a screening program which uses questionnaires on children as young as nine, asking questions like, "Have you often felt very nervous when you've had to do things in front of people?" and "Are you Hispanic or Latino?" Based on their answers, TeenScreen routes these kids to mental health "professionals", who inevitably decide that these children have symptoms defined as "mental disorders", justifying prescriptions for antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs for many of these children. TeenScreen's staff and advisory board are loaded with ties to Big Pharma. See: http://www.teenscreentruth.com/teenscreen_advisory_board.htm.
TeenScreen's Director, Laurie Flynn was formerly the head of NAMI National. Between 1996 and mid 1999, NAMI received over 11 million dollars from the drug companies: Janssen ($2.08 million), Novartis ($1.87 million), Pfizer ($1.3 million), Abbott Laboratories ($1.24 million), Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals ($658,000), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($613,505) and Eli Lilly $2.87 million.
The scandals of TeenScreen are not limited to drug company connections. Laurie Flynn also perjured herself in front of a Senate Subcommittee, stating that TeenScreen had partnered with the University of South Florida and were piloting the program in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Yet there were never any pilot programs in these two counties. In fact, the school board of Pinellas County soundly rejected TeenScreen, partially because of Flynn's false testimony. One school board member was quoted as saying, "I will not do business with an organization that has gone to Congress and told them something that is not true."
In 2003, drug regulators in the United Kingdom recommended that antidepressants not be used to treat children under eighteen years of age, because of studies showing that the risks greatly outweighed any possible benefit. This is now law and included in their drug warnings. However, at the request of Pfizer, TeenScreen's David Shaffer created a letter which attempted to block the findings of the U.K. drug regulators.
The results of pushing these dangerous drugs on children and adults include: murder, psychosis, brain damage, liver and heart damage, suicidal thoughts, attempted suicides and actual suicide all known side effects of psychiatric drugs. How many children and young adults have to be permanently damaged or killed before we just say "NO!" to these legal drugs and to TeenScreen? Now ask yourself, "Who are the criminals?"
Everyone knows that drugs are big business, and the only difference between street dealers, drug lords and Big Pharma is that Big Pharma is legal. Whether your child is hooked by a dealer or by a psychiatrist, the end result will be the same.
For the time being, the psychiatric drug trade is legal. As long as this is the case, drug companies have a legal right to market their wares and make a profit. They do not have a right to slither into schools in order to find new profit centers amongst our children. The public has a right to know the truth about these criminal activities and we all have a responsibility to protect our next generation from unwanted intrusions into their lives for profit.
Special Note: Thousands of concerned citizens have already recognized who the criminals are and have taken decisive action to stop their intrusion into the lives of young people. Join them by clicking on this link: http://www.petitiononline.com/TScreen/petition.html