A commonly-held belief is that locking up and forcibly drugging people
diagnosed with mental illness is in their best interests as well as society’s as a
whole. The truth is far different. Rather than protecting the public from harm,
public safety is decreased. Rather than helping psychiatric respondents, many
are greatly harmed. The evidence on this is clear. Constitutional, statutory, and
judge-made law, if followed, would protect psychiatric respondents from being
erroneously deprived of their freedom and right to decline psychiatric drugs.
However, lawyers representing psychiatric respondents, and judges hearing
these cases uncritically reflect society’s beliefs and do not engage in legitimate
legal processes when conducting involuntarily commitment and forced
drugging proceedings. By abandoning their core principle of zealous advocacy,
lawyers representing psychiatric respondents interpose little, if any, defense and
are not discovering and presenting to judges the evidence of the harm to their
clients. By abandoning their core principle of being faithful to the law, judges
have become instruments of oppression, rather than protectors of the rights of
the downtrodden. While this Article focuses on Alaska, similar processes may be
found in other United States’ jurisdictions, with only the details differing.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………….. 53
II. MYERS AND WETHERHORN………………………………………………………….. 55
Dr. David Healy has spent decades delving into the dark corners of the pharmaceutical industry, where, for instance, drug companies have tried to hide the worrisome connection between antidepressant drugs and suicide. In the psychiatrist’s best-known previous books, The Antidepressant Era and Let Them Eat Prozac, Healy explored the often vexing history of the mental health field and its troubled relationship with Big Pharma. In his latest book, Pharmageddon, he presents an even bleaker picture of the way industry has co-opted medicine in general — not just mental health. Healthland spoke with Healy about his findings.
What do you mean by ‘pharmageddon’?
At the moment, treatment-induced death is the fourth leading cause of death [overall], and within the mental health field, it’s probably the leading cause of death.
It’s a little bit like climate change. It may feel great to have a car, the convenience you get is a thing we appreciate each time we hop in the car and drive down to the market. But the use of cars is contributing to the bigger picture of climate change. In the same way, quite a few medications we take produce good outcomes. But we’ve [had a] climate change in medicine, which runs the risk of completely destroying medicine as we’ve known it.
And the key tool in all of this is how companies use the scientific evidence. They construct trials to get the outcomes they want; they only publish positive trials. The study often shows the opposite of what the data actually shows.
In the book, you look at how drug companies sell us on reducing risks — like say, high cholesterol — that may not actually do much to keep us healthy because high cholesterol itself is just a marker for cardiovascular disease risk, not an illness itself.