Who Determines ‘Safety and Efficacy’ of Psych Drugs?

Are Criminal or Board Disciplined Psychiatrists Determining “Safety and Efficacy” of Psychiatric Drugs?

Another breaking New York Times story published June 3rd, “After Sanctions, Doctors Get Drug Company Pay,” revealed that psychiatrists disciplined for criminal fraud convictions and “reckless, if not willful disregard” for the welfare of patients are remaining on the payroll of pharmaceutical companies and continuing to conduct drug tests on patients and serve as paid speakers. With 10 million children prescribed dangerous, mind-altering drugs, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a mental health watchdog group, is asking how much information about drug safety and efficacy are based on studies conducted by psychiatrists with a proven record of fraudulent and unethical practices.

In 1997, former president of the Minnesota Psychiatric Society, Faruk Abuzzahab, had his license temporarily suspended after five patients died in his care or shortly thereafter. Further, the FDA concluded that this psychiatrist had violated the protocols of every FDA-reviewed study he led and had inaccurately reported data to drug manufacturers. Despite this, Abuzzahab is still being entrusted and paid by drug companies to conduct research and drug tests—since the restrictions on his license were lifted in 2000, Abuzzahab has been involved in 11 publications or research presentations. Abuzzahab admitted assisting with the study of popular psychiatric drugs, including Paxil, Prozac, Risperdal, Seroquel, Zoloft and Zyprexa; drugs which have all recently been revealed to have dangerous even deadly side effects. CCHR says that conflicts of interest and corrupt researchers may be the reasons why it has taken so long for these side effects to be made public.

Even leading psychiatrists such as Steven Sharfstein, former president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), have pointed out the financial corruption in their field by publicly admitting that psychiatry is improperly tied to the pharmaceutical industry. Sharfstein stated in 2006, “We have allowed ourselves to be corrupted in this marketplace with lucrative consulting to industry, speaker panels, boards of directors and visits from industry representatives bearing gifts.” Daniel J. Carlat, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts University, recently said, “Our [psychiatric] field as a whole is progressively being purchased lock, stock, and barrel by the drug companies: this includes the diagnoses, the treatment guidelines, and the national meetings.” CCHR says the vested interests of the APA explains why the organization continues to vehemently oppose stronger psychiatric drug warning labels — despite the fact that such information could save children and consumers lives.

Despite heavy protest by the profitable psycho-pharmaceutical industry, public pressure has resulted in governmental warnings about the serious side effects of psychiatric drugs—including suicide, mania, psychosis, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and sudden death. These dangerous drugs are prescribed to the general population, including small children, based on subjective diagnoses—without any physical tests, such as blood tests, brain scans or X-rays, which can confirm the existence of any “mental disorder.” Read CCHR’s publication, The Report on the Escalating International Warnings on Psychiatric Drugs , to find out more about the dangers of psychiatric drugs.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York, to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights.

You can contact CCHR at 800-869-2247 or email humanrights@cchr.org .

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