Deceptive advertising, unethical research practices, “brain shrinkage” — have we had enough of Big Pharmacy yet?

By Saybrook University

Seroquel BigPharma hasn’t admitted doing anything wrong – but their mask got pulled off all the same this month.

Drug company AstraZeneca agreed to settle lawsuits brought by 37 states – effectively they’re paying $67.5 million to avoid having to go to court and defend themselves against charges that their marketing was deceptive and their research practices unethical. 

The lawsuits centered around AstraZeneca’s illegal business practices with the antipsychotic medication Seroquel:  the company marked the drug for conditions including depression and anxiety, both of which were used it was not approved for by the FDA.  Further, AstraZeneca failed to publicize three studies showing mixed results on the effectiveness of Seroquel overall. 

It is not the first time a major drug company has been rightly accused of such wrong doing (AstraZeneca alone agreed to a $520 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice last year) and it won’t be the last. 

In fact, the lawsuit comes in the backdrop of

  • Research that proves the efficacy of psychotherapy without psychotropic medications for folks with schizophrenia
  • dramatic increases in physician’s prescribing patterns (estimates suggest that twenty-five percent of patients in nursing homes have been prescribed antipsychotic medications!)
  • disturbing “off label” uses of antipsychotic medications—all with perilous and anti-human side effects.

For many who walk into their doctor’s office, brain shrinkage and weight gain were not on their “to do” list for the day. Recent research proves that in a few years time these side effects become the reality for many who fall for the hidden research and deceptive Big Pharma tactics. Clearly, you are not the “patient” with an issue to them – you are a client with a bank account at your local pharmacy, a number with a money sign.

See for yourself.  Here’s the research, you be the judge. 

Psychotropic Medications for Schizophrenia: Editor and Chief of the American Journal of Psychiatry, Nancy Andreasen, released startling findings and implications for the etiological basis of schizophrenia and use of antipsychotic medications. Andreasen’s research in the early nineties hypothesized that “progressive brain volume brain reduction” and cell loss were thought to be the result of schizophrenia and other such mental illnesses; a worsening of functional and cognitive decline. 

Recent research of two-hundred and eleven persons diagnosed with schizophrenia over a period of seven years proved this wrong. The results? The greater the dose of the antipsychotic medications, the greater the decrease in grey brain matter and the greater the cell loss. Brain shrinkage is caused by antipsychotic medications, not mental illnesses.

And more, a recent report by the National Institute of Mental Health—found that three quarters of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia stop taking their medication three to eleven months after initial diagnosis and drug prescription. The lack of compliance with medication is said to result from intolerable side effects, cost, and delusional states.

Psychotherapy for Schizophrenia without medication: In Treatment of Acute Psychosis without Neuroleptics, authors Bola and Mosher use comparative analysis to measure outcomes and success of residential treatment programs with minimal anti-psychotic medications compared to standard hospitalization and drug treatment for acute early episode patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Utilizing multivariate analyses, scales, and assessment measures, two year follow-ups of the sample populations showed statistically better outcomes and high correlates on eight measures; including psychopathology, for the population treated by the residential treatment programs at Soteria establishments

Check out Soteria here:

And, its work to humanize psychiatry through validated alternative psychiatric and mental health treatments:

It’s free of BigPharma’s gravely unethical tactics, it maintains a person’s “brain volume” and best yet—it validates the self-actualizing tendencies of all human beings. 

With the ravaging side effects of antipsychotic medications and the scams of BigPharma,  residential treatment programs such as Soteria are the hope of tomorrow for those diagnosed with debilitating conditions such as schizophrenia. It’s money well spent—it’s ethical, free of BigPharma, and it’s promising.

— Liz Schreiber