The excellent short video (below) of news programs coverage about the commonality of proscribing psychotropic medications to very young children (in Florida, over 1000 children 6 or under) clearly articulates the greed & criminality (3 billion dollar fine for Glaxo Smith Kline, Criminal and civil settlements for lying and hiding information) driving the over-medication of children in child protection systems and an overall horrifically negligent approach to children’s mental health in America.
My own experience includes a very concerned judge sharing with me the sheer volume of psychotropic meds proscribed to the children in her Hennepin County courtroom, a very large number of children in my caseload proscribed multiple psychotropics simultaneously, and the bizarre, sad, and frightening personal experiences I’ve had with children and these drugs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ISFPJL66p4c
1) the Palm Beach Post series on the medicating of youth in the Florida Juvenile Justice system (about 2 psychotropic meds per day per child if you go by the purchased numbers).
2) Video interview with Sharham Ahari, who described how psychotropic med salespeople criminally pushed these drugs for off-label use on children (resulting in the larges criminal fine for an individual corporation ever imposed in a U.S. criminal prosecution of any kind. )
To paraphrase Dr. Bruce Perry on this topic; if we do not address these problems quickly and effectively, 25% of Americans will be special needs people by the end of this generation; www.avahealth.org (this is a five year old statement).
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The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionGeorgia taxpayers stand to save millions — and help foster children in the process — under a new review being developed for the medications given to kids in care.A national foundation focused on child welfare is footing at least $75,000 of the bill to figure out the best way to conduct an independent clinic exam of children taking mind-altering drugs.
Better oversight of antidepressants, mood stabilizers and other psychotropic medications given to foster children is expected to reduce their usage — and their hefty price tag.
“You are going to save money, and you’re going to provide good medical care,” said Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur.
The state spends $7.87 million a year on psychotropic medications, according to Medicaid records. More than a third of foster children are prescribed the drugs, compared with about 4 percent of the general youth population.
Oliver first tried to tackle the problem with a bill this past legislative session. Republicans and Democrats lauded the idea but raised questions about how to pay for setting up a program.
House Bill 23 was put on hold, open for review next year, once it became clear that Casey Family Programs would step forward with money to develop the pilot program.
The foundation is also providing staff to work with state mental health experts and child advocates to figure out what should flag a review, such as children on multiple medications that do the same thing or children too young to be on certain drugs.
“All too often medications can be the first and only solution, and that in and of itself isn’t a solution,” said Page Walley, a clinical psychologist who heads Casey’s strategic consulting arm. “Georgia is really taking the lead on this and could create a system that can be repeated across the nation.”
Those working on the system are expected to develop a draft plan by late summer. The team includes Human Services Commissioner Clyde Reese, Melissa Carter of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center at Emory University, and Michelle Barclay with the state Supreme Court.
Gov. Nathan Deal, himself a former juvenile court judge, also has met with the team and expressed an interest in the issue.
“The governor looks forward to seeing how [this] unfolds,” Deal spokeswoman Stephanie Mayfield said.
That level of attention alone could lead to changes. Georgia has so far avoided a high-profile death like that of a 7-year-old foster boy who killed himself in Florida while taking three powerful psychotropic medications. None of the drugs Gabriel Myers was on had had been approved for use in children.
Still, a 2010 investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed several companies operating foster care homes in the state had repeatedly used psychotropic medications to “subdue” children.
“If anything, we’ve now got people talking about how a child ends up on a third medication or what it means to be on multiple drugs,” Barclay said. “It’s a starting point. We’re going to experiment and see how far it goes.”
Carl Elliott: ‘One scandal after another’
In a new book, a University of Minnesota bioethicist looks into the ways he says drug companies buy loyalty.
By JANET MOORE, Star Tribune
Last update: February 19, 2011 – 10:13 PM
David Brewster, Star Tribune
About Carl Elliott
With an unassuming, thoughtful manner, Carl Elliott hardly looks like a rabble-rouser.
But the University of Minnesota bioethics professor is an outspoken critic of the pervasive relationships between pharmaceutical companies and doctors, academics and students. It’s a deeply entrenched alliance he documents in his new book, “White Coat, Black Hat, Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine” (Beacon Press).
Each chapter is devoted to a different constituency in what Elliott sees as a broad-based and highly effective con job perpetuated by Big Pharma to influence drug-prescribing patterns. These include professional “guinea pigs” — wily patients who enroll in clinical studies for cash — ghostwriters who anonymously pen positive articles about drugs using someone else’s name and other ethically challenged players. Big money is involved at every turn.
A native South Carolinian who retains a slight drawl from his home state, Elliott is a non-practicing physician with a doctorate in philosophy. Beyond penning four books, he’s contributed articles to national publications including the New Yorker, the Atlantic and Mother Jones.
Elliott is not afraid to criticize his own employer and colleagues. Recently, he and seven others in the U’s Bioethics Department sent a letter to the Board of Regents calling for an investigation into the death of Dan Markingson, a schizophrenic who committed suicide while enrolled in a drug study at the university.
The letter questions whether Markingson was fit to consent to research, and whether financial incentives from drugmaker AstraZeneca, which funded the study, presented a conflict of interest for the researchers.
QHow did you get interested in the relationship between business and medicine?
AI have a medical degree, my brother’s a doctor, my father’s a doctor, I grew up around drug reps and pharmaceutical stuff. I never liked it, but I wasn’t terribly concerned. What got me interested was finding out that bioethicists were working as consultants for pharmaceutical companies. How can ethicists justify this? On the one hand they’re saying it’s a conflict of interest for doctors to take money from the pharmaceutical industry, but it’s fine for me.
QWhat should I do if I discover my doctor is paid by a drug company?
AIf it were me, I’d get another doctor. But obviously, there are limitations on insurance plans, it’s a pain to change [doctors] and often you’re limited in whom you can pick.
QYou’re pretty unsparing about some colleagues at the U, what’s the response been?
AIt depends on which side of Washington Avenue you’re from. On the side where the humanities and social sciences and basic sciences are based, a lot of support. In the medical school? Not so enthusiastic.
QDid anything surprise you while researching the book?
AA lot of things — extraordinarily ingenious scams that I had no clue about. There’s a story about a drug rep, Gene Carbona, who managed to make an enormous amount of money by increasing prescriptions for [gastric drug] Prilosec. He brought in a financial consultant for a large [physicians’] group practice free of charge. They all thought he was such a great guy for doing that and wrote prescriptions for Prilosec like crazy. That was so successful, they took the scheme on the road.
QIs the medical device industry different?
AI don’t know enough to say.
QWhat do you think about U’s new conflict-of-interest policy overseeing relationships between business and academia?
AIt’s an improvement, but still not very good. Look at the Dan Markingson scandal — the kinds of relationships in place there, all of those would still be allowed — [payments for doctors] on [drug company] speakers’ bureaus, the consulting fees and the financial incentives for enrolling and keeping patients in clinical trials.
QHas anything changed at the U after these revelations?
AWe’ve had one scandal after another [involving payments to U doctors by drug and device companies]. It’s depressing; nothing really has happened. At other institutions, a panel is usually appointed to look into something. Here, the PR response is, “We don’t think we’ve done anything wrong.” I have some hope things will change with the new president coming in [at the U]. But, who knows?
Janet Moore • 612-673-7752
A British Medical Journal Journal article (below) points out the confusion in doctors duties regarding child protection. In Britain the welfare of the child is place highly only when a decision is governed by the Children Act statute, which has created an atmosphere of increased complaints against paediatricians. Doctors may be avoiding work related to abuse because of this.
As a guardian ad Litem in the U.S., I often found medical professionals unresponsive to the violence and dysfunction responsible for the condition of the child before them.
In the U.S. there is an organization trying to change that; The Academy on Violence and Abuse, www.avahealth.org is working diligently to better educate the medical profession about the signs of abuse and how to respond effectively.
Visit the Academy’s website and watch their videos, it is compelling.