Monday, November 30, 2009

Pediatric Zyprexa Brochures Embarrass British Health Service

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Extracted from OpEdNews.com, by Martha Rosenberg

"Your medicine is called Olanzapine. Pronounced 'o-lan-za-peen,'" says the lime green kids' brochure for the antipsychotic Zyprexa, published by Britain's National Health Service (NHS). "Many children, teenagers and young people need to take medicines prescribed by doctors to help them stay well and healthy," says the text amid cartoons of happy children skating, roller blading and playing soccer.

Similar brochures educate children about "ris-perry-done" (Risperdal), another antipsychotic and "ato-mox-e-teen" (Strattera), an ADHD drug. But when mental health advocate Ben Hansen tried to "educate" US children further by posting the brochures on his web site bonkersinstitute.org, he got a love letter from the NHS.

"I have been informed that you are using our leaflets on your web-site," wrote Deputy Chief Pharmacist with the Central and North West London NHS Trust Sue Eccles in an email this month. "Our objective is [sic] provide written materials to support the verbal counselling given by healthcare professionals -- they are not meant to stand alone as sources of information," says Eccles requesting that only the "front page and our contact details," be shown.

Unfortunately, the NHS caught Hansen on a day he didn't take his meds. "We posted the NHS leaflets to stimulate public scrutiny of your agency," replied Hansen, who writes under the pseudonym Methodius Isaac Bonkers, MD. "We call upon the NHS to stop promoting harmful psychotropic drugs for children. In a spirit of full disclosure and transparency, we have now posted your letter as well."

No wonder Hansen's four-year-old site, the Bonkers Institute, is considered a leader in sunshine activism. Hansen's zeal for unearthing and posting pharma sleight-of-hand even landed him on the front page of the New York Times two years ago in an article called,

"In Some States, Maker Oversees Use of Its Drug."

Twenty states take advantage of the Pharmacy Quality Improvement Project, a "free" program from Eli Lilly that shows states how to save money on...drugs from Eli Lilly. But Hansen, says the Times "obtained documents through a Freedom of Information request that showed a Lilly account executive had asked to take part in planning sessions and offered to have Lilly representatives brief doctors."

Lilly dropped the program in states daring to require doctors to seek permission to prescribe Zyprexa which at $300 a month is the single biggest drug cost for state Medicaid budgets according to the Times.

Hansen also received FOIA documents from the state of Michigan showing the number of psychiatric drugs prescribed to children under 6 and the number of Medicaid patients on 5 or more psychiatric drugs but they did not name the drugs.

How does pharma vault a drug only indicated for the one percent of the population with schizophrenia and four percent with bipolar disorder to be the biggest line item in the Medicaid budget? As in your tax dollars? Just good off-label marketing--promoting a drug for a non-FDA approved use which is illegal in the US.

And speaking of non-approved uses, how can Britain's National Health Service produce a brochure for kids taking Zyprexa when kids are not supposed to take Zyprexa? "ZYPREXA is not for patients who are under 18 years," says the prescribing information. "Keep out of the reach and sight of children."

Are the healthy, active kids shown in the cartoons "befores" since 30 percent of Zyprexa patients gain 22 pounds or more, 16 percent, 66 pounds or more and some gain over 100 pounds according to Lilly's own published data? Zyprexa "may make you feel like eating more food," says the NHS brochure in what might be considered classic British understatement. "If this happens, try not to eat more than usual and talk to an adult or your doctor about this." Any questions?

And how about Zyprexa's notorious soporific effect or zombie factor? "It is a good [sic] to take olanzapine at bedtime, as it can make some people feel sleepy," says the brochure.

Hansen's war on pharma disease mongering comes from first hand experience. He was misdiagnosed with "bipolar disorder" and denied release in a Michigan hospital after a reaction to the death of his father and a suicide of a friend on the same day. "The psychiatrist refused to treat me without drugs," says Hansen and "I was held in the hospital involuntarily for the next 39 days, totaling a bill of $23,000."

Take one look at the Bonkers Institute's gallery of vintage psychiatric drug advertising, the Nearly Genuine and Truly Marvelous Mental Medicine Show--one of the best on the web--and you see the roots of today's pediatric bipolar/depression/ADD/ADHD "epidemic" decades ago. Thorazine syrup was given for vomiting in kids, antidepressants for bedwetting and Ritalin for "mischief" and "juvenile pranks." Like the NHS brochures, kids are shown happy and playing with soccer balls.

Martha Rosenberg is columnist and cartoonist based in Chicago.

References:

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Attack on Scientology Website Sends New Jersey Man to Jail on Felony Charges

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Karin Pouw
Church of Scientology International
(323)960-3500
mediarelations@scientology.org

Attack on Scientology Website Sends New Jersey Man to Jail on Felony Charges

The United States District Court in Newark, N.J., sentenced a New Jersey man today to one year and one day in federal prison on a felony conviction for his part in a cyber attack against Church of Scientology websites in January 2008 [Case No. CR 09-87-01]. i ii

He carried out the attack with others calling themselves “Anonymous,” a hate group targeting Scientology and others individuals and organizations iii, including the website of the Prime Minister of Australia iv.

Dmitriy Guzner, 19, of Verona, New Jersey, who in May pleaded guilty to one count of computer hacking, was sentenced for his role in the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against Scientology websites. A DDOS attack occurs when a large amount of malicious Internet traffic is directed at websites, overloading their capacity and making them unavailable to legitimate users.

Church websites were made unavailable to valid users for 24 hours, with the attacks continuing for 12 days, requiring the Church to hire a computer security company to protect against the attacks and to reroute traffic. Due to the severity of the crime, Judge Joseph Greenaway in U.S. District Court in Newark sentenced Guzner to the 366-day prison term, plus two years probation following his prison term, and ordered Guzner to pay $37,500 restitution to the Church. v vi

On October 31, another Anonymous follower, Brian Thomas Mettenbrink, 20, was indicted by a Grand Jury at the US District Court for Central California for the same attack on Scientology websites, for conspiracy and “transmission of a code, information, program, or command to a protected computer.” The indictment states that he obtained a computer program from an Anonymous website and executed a DDOS attack from his dormitory at Iowa State University against the Church computers in Los Angeles. He is awaiting sentencing. vii

Anonymous is an underground hate group that, in addition to the cyber attack, targeted Churches of Scientology and members with death threats, bomb threats and fake anthrax mail. In addition to Scientology Churches and the Prime Minister of Australia viii, Anonymous has also targeted The Epilepsy Foundation, hip-hop music websites and others. ix x
_______________________

Scientology is a worldwide religious movement with more than 8,000 Churches, Missions and groups in 165 countries. The Church and its members dedicate their time and resources to numerous humanitarian programs that Scientology has become known for around the world, including combating drug abuse, immorality, illiteracy and human rights violations.

For more information about Scientology, visit www.scientology.org.


i Dmitriy Guzner, Minutes of Sentencing Procedure, 21 October 2009, Case No CR 09-87-01
ii Star Ledger, 18 November 2009
http://www.nj.com/news/local/index.ssf/2009/11/verona_teen_sentenced_to_a_yea.html
iii Wired Magazine, 19 September 2008 (attacks on Epilespy foundation and others)
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/09/palin-hacker-gr/
iv Wired Magazine, 9 September 2009 (attack on Australian Government, Prime Minister)
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/09/anonymous-hacks-australia/
v Star Ledger, 18 November 2009
http://www.nj.com/news/local/index.ssf/2009/11/verona_teen_sentenced_to_a_yea.html
vi Associated Press, 18 November 2009
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gZx5MaXVm7cYrXW5R7q1i1UZNuIgD9C25LHO0
vii United States of America vs. Brian Thomas Mettenbrink, Indictment of Grand Jury at US District Court for Central California, filed 28 October 2009, Case No. CR 09 01149.
viii Wired Magazine, 9 September 2009 (attack on Australian Government, Prime Minister)
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/09/anonymous-hacks-australia/
ix Wired Magazine, 19 September 2008 (attacks on Epilespy foundation and others)
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/09/palin-hacker-gr/
x MTV Info, 30 June 2008 (attack on rap music sites SOHH.com and AllHipHop.com)
http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1590117/20080627/id_0.jhtml

Saturday, November 07, 2009

We call upon the NHS to stop promoting harmful psychotropic drugs for children

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The NHS react to the fact that their leaflets, that promote Atomoxetine (brand name "Strattera"), Olanzapine (brand name "Zyprexa") and Risperidone to children, are being publicly displayed.

About a year ago, I came across a series of NHS-produced leaflets which encourage children to take certain psychiatric drugs, the safety of which has not been studied on children. Disgusted, I blogged about the situation here.

A few months later, the Bonkers Institute for Nearly Genuine Research, a group that campaigns against psychiatry and psychiatric drugs, found my blog post and left a comment as follows:

We've added these NHS leaflets to our Marvelous Mental Medicine Show's "Kid Stuff" page:
www.bonkersinstitute.org/medshow/kidstuff.html

We're always looking for similar items to include in the Institute's Medicine Show, so please drop us a line if you come across anything else which might be of interest to us.

Best regards,
Ben Hansen
Special Assistant to Dr. M.I. Bonkers, M.D.
Institute for Nearly Genuine Research
www.bonkersinstitute.org

Then, a few days ago, the Institute for Nearly Genuine Research received an e-mail from Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, as follows:

Central and North West London NHS Trust email correspondence
regarding NHS children's leaflets posted at bonkersinstitute.org

From: Eccles Sue (Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust) sue.eccles@nhs.net
To: methodius@bonkersinstitute.org
Date: Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 11:53 AM
Subject: Our Patient Information Leaflets

I have been informed that you are using our leaflets on your web-site. Whilst I think your intention is to draw attention to the material which is available for patients and their parents/carers (I have read your end-piece about copyright) you have nevertheless uploaded the whole text of our leaflet. Could I please request that you amend the site so that it is no longer possible to access the whole leaflet -- the front page and our contact details would be appropriate. I'm sure you appreciate that the only way that we will be able to produce more materials for patient benefit is by recouping the cost from other organisations which want to use them -- our objective is provide written materials to support the verbal counselling given by healthcare professionals -- they are not meant to stand alone as sources of information. We charge a reasonable fee for full access to all the children's leaflets and so it not in our interest, or necessarily, patients and parents to have access to them on your website without the professional support intended.

I hope this explanation makes sense to you and that you will amend your site quickly. I would appreciate your response and compliance with this request as soon as possible.

Sue Eccles
Deputy Chief Pharmacist
Central and North West London NHS Trust
Greater London House
Hampstead Road
LONDON
NW1 7QY
Tel. 020 3214 5898

Dr. Bonkers responds:

We posted the NHS leaflets to stimulate public scrutiny of your agency. We call upon the NHS to stop promoting harmful psychotropic drugs for children. In a spirit of full disclosure and transparency, we have now posted your letter as well.


Psychiatry is to medicine what astrology is to astronomy. ~ Leonard Roy Frank
Bonkers Institute for Nearly Genuine Research www.bonkersinstitute.org




How do you feel about the NHS encouraging children to take medication that has not been tested for use by children?