By Martha Rosenberg | 6 March 2017
COUNTERPUNCH — It happens with regularity during citizen open-mike sessions at FDA drug advisory committee hearings. A queue of “patients” materializes out of nowhere to testify, often in tears, about the crucial need for a new drug or new use approval. Some are flown in by Pharma.
It can’t be a generic drug, cry the “patients” because, they are just not the same. It has to be the $1000 a month drug or even the $1000 a pill drug so that taxpayers and the privately insured prop up Pharma’s cred on Wall Street.
While more than 80 percent of patient groups are Pharma funded the New York Times reported this week including the National Hemophilia Foundation, the American Diabetes Association and the National Psoriasis Foundation, mental health front groups which include the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI) and Mental Health America are the most insidious.
Not only do psychiatric drugs represent four digit outlays per month per patient and sometimes much more, patients are kept on them for decades or life—with few medical attempts to determine if patients still need them or ever needed them. Side effects of the drug cocktails are viewed, thanks to Pharma spin, as confirmation of the “mental illness” not the side effects they almost always are. The use of such drugs in the elderly, despite their links to death in those with dementia, has become epidemic and is an underreported cause of falls. […]