MindFreedom International News - 06 April 2009


Bloomberg News reports that US Senator Grassley sent a letter 
today to one of the largest mental health industry organizations, 
NAMI, asking about their hidden funding from psychiatric drug companies.

MindFreedom International's director David W. Oaks said, "MFI has 
pointed out for years that NAMI is one of the main large mental 
health industry organizations to refuse to disclose, even to its own 
members, the amount of money they receive from the pharmaceutical 
industry. Sen. Grassley should be thanked for doing what NAMI's board 
of directors has refused to do!"
Bloomberg News - 6 April 2009
Grassley Probes Financing of Advocacy Group for Mental Health
By Nicole Gaouette
U.S. Senator Charles Grassley expanded his investigation into drug 
company influence on the practice of medicine by asking a nonprofit 
mental-health-advocacy group about its funding.
In a letter sent today to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, 
based in Arlington, Virginia, Grassley asked the nonprofit group to 
disclose any financial backing from drug companies or from 
foundations created by the industry.
The Iowa Republican, in a series of hearings and investigations, has 
focused on financial ties between the drug industry, doctors and 
academic institutions. His efforts have led New York-based Pfizer 
Inc. to begin disclosing consulting payments to U.S. doctors, and 
Harvard Medical School in Boston to reexamine its conflict-of-
interest policies. Now Grassley is expanding his inquiries to 
nonprofit groups.
"I have come to understand that money from the pharmaceutical 
industry shapes the practices of nonprofit organizations which 
purport to be independent in their viewpoints and actions," Grassley 
wrote in his letter.
Officials at the National Alliance for Mental Illness didn't return 
calls for comment.
The group identifies itself as the largest grassroots organization in 
the U.S. for people with mental illness and their families. The group 
came under scrutiny in 1999, when the magazine Mother Jones reported 
that 18 drug companies gave the group $11.7 million from 1996 to 
mid-1999. The article reported that at one point an executive of 
Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. worked out of the nonprofit 
group's headquarters.
A 2007 annual report showed that the group's corporate partners at 
that time included Madison, New Jersey-based Wyeth; London-based 
GlaxoSmithKline Plc; Eli Lilly, which makes Prozac; and the 
Washington-based trade group Pharmaceutical Research and 
Manufacturers of America.
Financial Report
A separate financial report shows the National Alliance for Mental 
Illness brought in $10.5 million in contributions in the year that 
ended June 30, 2007. The donors aren't broken out.
Vera Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, 
a New York-based nonprofit that promotes ethical research, said the 
National Alliance for Mental Illness may have drawn Grassley's 
attention because it lobbies Congress for mental-health funding.
"Academics and physicians give an appearance of authority," Sharav 
said by telephone. "Industry gives them the money. Grassley has been 
going after each group systematically, and the dots are being 
In January, Grassley and Senator Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, 
reintroduced the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which would require 
manufacturers to report on payments to doctors and any physician-
owned facility.
Pfizer Announcement
Grassley's investigations have led to changes in industry and 
academia. Pfizer made its announcement about disclosing physician 
payments in February. In March, the American Psychiatric Association 
said it would no longer accept industry support for symposiums and 
meals at its annual meetings.
On April 1, Stanford University School of Medicine, near Palo Alto, 
California, said it would post on a Web site all income faculty 
earned from royalty payments and outside consulting.
In the March 31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical 
Association, a group of researchers and physicians called for 
professional medical associations to transform their operations to 
avoid conflicts of interest posed by "extensive funding from 
pharmaceutical and device companies." The group included Steven 
Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Gaouette in Washington 
at ngaouette@bloomberg.net.
- end -
Thank Senator Grassley for investigating psychiatric drug money 
corruption, click here:
MindFreedom Keeps Count on NAMI
While NAMI refuses to disclose the drug money they receive, there is 
another revealing number:
The number of times NAMI's web site uses the phase "biologically 
based" over the years. The number is going up.
You usually do not hear, say, marital disputes being described as 
"biologically based." But when it comes to labels such as 
schizophrenia and bipolar, NAMI enforces the false idea that the 
problem is mainly chemical, so the solution must mainly be chemical.
Find out how many times NAMI's web site says "biologically based" 
over recent years: http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/psych-drug-corp/nami
To download a free MindFreedom flyer busting mental health system 
myths, see: http://www.mindfreedom.org/truth
Support Independence? Then Support MindFreedom!
MindFreedom International is one of the few totally-independent 
nonprofit organizations in the mental health advocacy field, with 
zero funding from the mental health system, governments, drug 
companies or religions.
That means your membership and donation are crucial to MindFreedom 
International's campaigns for human rights alternatives.
Join or donate now: http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate
Times are tough, so that makes it even more important that each and 
every person give what he or she can.
Benefits include MindFreedom Journal, special web and e-mail 
networking, discount on http://www.madmarket.org  purchases, 
MindFreedom Shield, member services office... and a nonviolent 
revolution in mental health.
Support voices for choices in mental health!
Mind Your Freedom!
Donate, join now or renew early here: http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate
Please forward this alert to all supportive people on and off the 
Internet, now!

DENDRITE is a public Internet alert system about human rights in psychiatry, sponsored by Support Coalition International, sending out notices to thousands of concerned people, many of whom take ACTION NOW!


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