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Monday, June 13, 2005

Getting drugs into schools

Evelyn Pringle writes about how Big Pharma has convinced (conned, bribed) many states into widespread screening of public-school students for "mental illnesses," resulting in--surprise!--many of Big Pharma's products being prescribed to these children.
On Oct 21, 2004 Bush authorized $82 million for suicide prevention programs like TeenScreen and a report in Psychiatric Times said the administration had proposed an increase in the budget for the Center for Mental Health Service from $862 million in 2004 to $912 million in fiscal 2005. TeenScreen is sure to get a cut of those tax dollars.

Federal tax dollars are also being funneled through state governments to fund TeenScreen. On Nov 17, 2004, Officials at the University of South Florida Department of Child & Family Studies said $98,641 was awarded to expand the TeenScreen program in the Tampa Bay area.

In Ohio, under the governor's Executive Budget for 2006 and 2007, the Department of Mental Health has specifically earmarked $70,000 for TeenScreen for each of those years, reports investigator Sue Weibert.
On June, 2002 the Update Newsletter published by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health, reported that 170 Nashville students had completed a TeenScreen survey. The Newsletter said the survey was funded by grants from AdvoCare and Eli Lilly. Last I knew, Eli Lilly was a pharmaceutical company.

The great news for Pharma was that 96 of the 170 students who took the survey ended up speaking to a therapist which no doubt resulted in the recruitment of 96 new pill-popping teens.
In Texas, Pfizer awarded $232,000 in grants to the Texas department of mental health to "educate" mental health providers about TMAP, and in return, the Texas Medicaid program spent $233 million tax dollars on Pfizer drugs like Zoloft.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Pharmaceutica) gave grants of $224,000 to Texas and Medicaid spent $272 million on J & J antipsychotic drug, Risperdal.

Eli Lilly awarded $109,000 in grants to "educate" state mental health providers and as a result, Texas Medicaid spent $328 million for Lilly's antipsychotic drug Zyprexa.

The TMAP was approved in Texas in 1995, and by February 9, 2001, an article in the Dallas Morning News, titled State Spending More on Mental Illness Drugs reported: "Texas now spends more money on medication to treat mental illness for low-income residents than on any other type of prescription drug.