MindFreedom International News - 05 May 2009


US Senate Probe Discovers:
Most NAMI Money is From Psychiatric Drug Industry
by MindFreedom News
NAMI has admitted to a US Senate probe that a majority of their funds 
over the last five years, 56 percent on average, have been from drug 
corporations. NAMI has agreed with the probe to immediately begin 
quarterly postings to their web site with a list of drug company 
donations and amounts.
MindFreedom obtained a letter sent last week by NAMI executive 
director Michael J. Fitzpatrick  to "NAMI Leaders and Members." The 
letter is a response to the probe of NAMI by US Senator Charles 
Grassley (R-IA) initiated on 6 April 2009.
In the 28 April letter, copied below, Mr. Fitzpatrick wrote, "As 
reported to Senator Grassley, pharmaceutical companies contributed an 
average of 56% of national NAMI's budget annually for the period 2005 
- 2009."
Mr. Fitzpatrick passionately defends the drug company donations, but 
says NAMI has a strategic plan to lower the percentage.
Commented MindFreedom director, David Oaks, "The NAMI board should 
have listened to its own Consumer Council which voted for full 
disclosure many years ago, but was ignored."
MindFreedom maintains a count of the number of times the NAMI web site 
uses the phrase "biologically based" when referring to mental health 
problems. Said Oaks, "There are as many theories about the cause of 
extreme mental problems as there are colors in the rainbow. 
Unfortunately, NAMI's rainbow is mainly green -- drug company money 
green. Now we know why."
MindFreedom is encouraging an international "thank you" from everyone 
to Senator Grassley for investigating psychiatric drug money 
corruption, click here: http://grassley.senate.gov/contact.cfm
Listen and call-in live to a special free online MindFreedom web radio 
show this Saturday, 9 May 2009, about protesting psychiatric drug 
company corruption. More info is available here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/davidwoaks
Letter from NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick:
April 28, 2009
Dear NAMI Leaders and Members,
On April 6, 2009 Senator Charles Grassley asked NAMI national to 
provide information about support it receives from pharmaceutical 
companies. For the last three years, Senator Grassley has been 
interested in various aspects of the pharmaceutical industry and has 
made similar requests to other non-profit groups.
NAMI shares Senator Grassley's interest in transparency and has 
cooperated fully with this request. Since the request was made, three 
basic questions have been posed that are worth sharing and answering.
Does NAMI accept contributions from pharmaceutical companies?
Yes, we do -- and we're delighted to have this critical support for 
our many programs and important work all across the country.
NAMI accepts charitable contributions from individuals, foundations 
and corporations, including the pharmaceutical industry, for one 
purpose -- to improve the lives of people with mental illness and 
their families. These relationships are governed by NAMI's Guidelines 
for Business Support Relationships, a NAMI policy originally developed 
and approved by the Board of Directors in 2004. This policy ensures 
that at all times NAMI will maintain an independent position on issues 
affecting the welfare of people with mental illness. A copy of this 
policy is available online at http://www.nami.org/BusinessGuidelines.
As you know from our strategic plan ( http://www.nami.org/stratplan  ), 
NAMI's goal is to reduce the percentage of our budget that is 
supported by charitable donations from pharmaceutical companies.
While we deeply appreciate the support we have received, we set this 
goal because we understand the value of diversifying our funding 
sources -- both for fiscal stability and because we want to shed any 
lingering, unfair accusations that somehow NAMI has been "bought" -- I 
can assure you: nothing could be further from the truth. NAMI's 
advocacy voice is loud and clear and uncompromised.
As reported to Senator Grassley, pharmaceutical companies contributed 
an average of 56% of national NAMI's budget annually for the period 
2005 to 2009. Many of NAMI's signature education programs, including 
Family-to-Family, Peer-to-Peer, NAMI Connection, In Our Own Voice and 
NAMI Basics have national corporate sponsors.
These programs are the essence of your work in your communities. They 
are offered free of charge to thousands of consumers and families who 
participate in them each year. Without support of these companies, we 
would be hard-pressed to bring you these vital programs. Corporate 
grants and charitable contributions also support the NAMI Web site, 
Mental Illness Awareness Week, and other public education and advocacy 
Can we see who is giving NAMI what?
Yes, you can.
NAMI National has long made public lists of major corporate and 
foundation donors in our annual reports, which you can view online:
http://www.nami.org/governance .
In 2009, we have begun posting on the NAMI Web site on a quarterly 
basis all foundation and corporate grants and corporate contributions 
over $5,000 received by NAMI national. The first list covers January-
March 2009 and can also be viewed at http://www.nami.org/governance.
Now what?
We continue our incredibly important work together, at the national, 
state and local level, on behalf of one of the most vulnerable and 
discriminated against populations in our country.
NAMI has long enjoyed a great national reputation. In fact, NAMI is 
one of only 248 national non-profit organizations that received the 
BBB Wise Giving Alliance Charity Seal this year from the charity 
monitoring organization affiliated with the Better Business Bureau. 
Perhaps you saw BBBs ad in USA Today two weeks ago which heralded 
the exclusive list. NAMI also received three out of four stars from 
Charity Navigator and is its number one rated mental health 
Thank you for the tremendous work you do, day in and day out. If you 
have any thoughts or questions, I hope you will be in touch.
Michael J. Fitzpatrick, MSW
Executive Director
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
2107 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 2201
- End letter  -
More Info:
 To track the number of "biologically based" references on the 
NAMI web site over the years click here: http://tinyurl.com/nami-biologically-based
For a news report by Bloomberg from 6 April 2009 about the letter 
by Sen. Grassley to NAMI click here: http://tinyurl.com/grassley-to-nami
To thank Sen. Grassley for investigating NAMI funding click here: 
To read the above alert online with live links and photo, click 
here: http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/psych-drug-corp/nami

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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