Thursday, October 21, 2004

FDA reluctantly blackboxes antidepressant use in kids: one step forward but two steps backwards

FDA finally issued a warning on all antidepressant use in kids last week. I think this is a big deal for this BigPharma influenced governmental agency for these two reasons.

1. It took them long enough.

It was not a trivial thing for a Republican Congressman, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), to call them the 'foot dragging and alibi' group.

The FDA has been holding back on issuing any warnings or limits on antidepressant use for many many years, not just recently.
Officials of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first suspected an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors linked to antidepressant use in children and adolescents in March 1996—eight and a half years ago. Yet no apparent action was taken by the agency until a pattern seemed to emerge in the first half of 2003.

During a dramatic pair of hearings before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight last month, FDA officials were repeatedly put on the defensive as to whether there existed a conspiracy to cover up the link between the drugs and harmful behaviors.
In fact, some critics call for a complete ban, except for Prozac, for kids, just as it is in England.

2. This affects the other Dubya plan.

I suspect the FDA might've been a tad reluctant to issue such a warning, especially in light of the new Big Government plan to get even more involved in our lives. One might wonder whether the real Big Government supporter was the Republican party.

Trial tested in Texas as the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), the new mental health project is called 'New Freedom'.
The plan's full details have yet to emerge as the Action Agenda still "has not been publicly released," according to A Kathryn Power, director of the Centre for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Bush administration body spearheading the effort.

Developed by the President's New Freedom Commission On Mental Health, the effort, critics charge, is a pharmaceutical industry marketing scheme to mine customers and promote sales of the newest, most expensive psychiatric medications.

Under 'New Freedom', mental health screening of adult Americans is slated to occur during routine physical exams while that of young people will occur in the school system. Pre-school children will receive periodic "development screens."
Dubya promised us more freedom and we're getting it.

Please call your US Congressman and Senator to holler. I'm sorry to say that I believe many Democrats support this. Say that you don't want your kids to be forced to be screened for mental illness at school.

The funny thing is that the FDA ruling makes it more obvious that the New Freedom program is irrelevant, useless, and even dangerous. Hey, let's screen all the kids for mental health and here's the required drug, but oops, these drugs are not safe for you to use.

In any case, please write your Reps.