Psychiatric care inhumane to patients

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BBC NEWS
January 11, 2006

Psychiatric wards are unable to provide patients with acceptable levels of security or care, a report warns.

The Mental Health Act Commission said there was intense pressure on beds, understaffing and a lack of basic humane treatment.

The report was based on visits to detained psychiatric patients in all hospitals in England and Wales between 2003 and 2005.

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BMJ 2004;329:69
News
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/329/7457/69
Jeanne Lenzer
New York

Dr Stefan Kruszewski, a psychiatrist hired by the Bureau of Program Integrity in the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, filed a law suit on 1 July in a federal court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, charging that he was fired on 11 July 2003 after he uncovered widespread abuse and fraud in the bureau.

Dr Kruszewski's role at the bureau was to oversee the state's mental health and substance misuse programmes to protect against fraud, waste, and abuse. When he uncovered serious abuses, including deaths of children in the state's custody possibly due to substandard care and the off-label use of potent atypical antipsychotic medications, "they fired the messenger," Dr Kruszewski told the BMJ.

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Drug makers seek protection

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Home News Tribune Online
December 11, 2005
By Theresa Agovino
The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Large pharmaceutical companies are approaching development of vaccines and drugs for potential pandemics with trepidation, even as fears abound of a bird flu outbreak and doctors lament a shortage of treatment options.

Drug makers are especially afraid of lawsuits stemming from vaccines which, unlike drugs, are given to healthy people, making any harm they cause an even bigger legal risk.

Proposals in Congress would exempt companies that manufacture vaccines and drugs for pandemics from lawsuits. Senator Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is trying to put a rider on a spending bill that would immunize drug makers and another freestanding bill introduced by Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., seeks to accomplish the same goal.

That's a necessary safeguard to promote interest in developing those medicines, drug makers say.

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By David Evans, Michael Smith and Liz Willen
BLOOMBERG NEW
January 8, 2006

Oversight laxon clinical drugtrials, critics say

Big Pharma, as the world's largest drug makers are called, spends billions of dollars every year to test experimental drugs on humans.

In the U.S., 37 million people have been human guinea pigs.

Helped by human testing, drug makers have developed antibiotics capable of curing life-threatening infections as well as revolutionary treatments for diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Few doctors dispute that testing drugs on people is necessary: No amount of experimentation on laboratory rats will reliably show how a chemical will affect people.

These medical success stories mask a clinical drug trial industry that is poorly regulated, riddled with conflicts of interest -- and sometimes deadly.

Rules requiring subjects to avoid alcohol and narcotics and to take part in only one study at a time are sometimes ignored by participants, putting themselves at risk and tainting the test data.

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January 9, 2005
Baum - Hedlund
www.baumhedlundlaw.com

Below is the time-line presented to the jury in the Forsyth v. Eli Lilly Trial. It was presented during closing arguments by the plaintiffs. It lists Lilly's internal documents. The plaintiffs allege that it shows that Lilly knew about Prozac-induced suicidality and violence (even before Prozac was approved for marketing in the United States) and that this was withheld from the public.

1) Aug. 1978 - Team Meeting Minutes - "There have been a fairly large number of reports of adverse reactions . . . Another depressed patient developed psychosis . . . Akathisia and restlessness were reported in some patients." Exhibit 30 (2nd page, end of 2nd paragraph)

2) May 1984 - BGA Comments - "During the treatment with the preparation (Prozac) 16 suicide attempts were made, 2 of these with success. As patients with a risk of suicide were excluded from the studies, it is probable that this high proportion can be attributed to an action of the preparation (Prozac) . . ." Exhibit 42 (page 3, 6th paragraph)

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January 6, 2005
By: Janne Larsson
writer - investigating psychiatry
Sweden

The Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) knows that Gillberg's clinical trial of Strattera is a catastrophe. It has nevertheless been allowed to continue.

The agency does not have the mission to protect the authority of psychiatrists and the profit of pharmaceutical companies - it is supposed to make sure that patients and the public are getting safe and effective medications.

The famous Swedish Professor in Psychiatry Christopher Gillberg is doing a clinical trial for Lilly. They are testing Strattera for adults. Strattera is a failed antidepressant, which Lilly didn't succeed to get out on the market. It was recycled as an "ADHD medication". The drug is not approved in Sweden; can only be prescribed after special approval from the MPA.

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December 13, 2005
By Karl Grossman

Another NASA Plutonium Launch

NASA is again threatening the lives of people on Earth.

On January 11, the window opens for a launch from Cape Canaveral of a rocket lofting a space probe with 24 pounds of plutonium fuel on board. Plutonium is considered the most deadly radioactive substance.

Once it separates from the rocket, the probe, on what NASA calls its New Horizons mission, would move through space powered by conventional chemical fuel.

The plutonium is in a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) that is to provide on-board electricity for the probe's instruments--a mere 180 watts when it gets to its destination of Pluto.

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GM WATCH daily
Spilling the Beans, November/December 2005
By Jeffrey M. Smith

Other GM Foods are Not Tested for This and May Be Harmful


SUMMARY

Genetically modified (GM) peas under development created immune responses in mice, suggesting that they may also create serious allergic reactions in people. The peas had been inserted with a gene from kidney beans, which creates a protein that acts as a pesticide. When this protein is produced naturally in beans, it does not elicit a response from mice. When produced in the GM peas, however, it did cause a reaction.

Using sensitive testing methods, scientists discovered subtle differences between the bean and the GM proteins - the added sugar chains were slightly different. They speculate that this difference caused the immune reactions. Based on the results of the study, the Australian developers abandoned their 10-year, $2 million project.

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December 20, 2005
Courtesy the University of Washington
and World Science staff

An extract of the sweet wormwood plant used for centuries to fight malaria, and shown to target and kill cancer cells, may help prevent breast cancer, researchers have found.

The two bioengineers with the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash., found that the substance, artemisinin, seemed to prevent breast cancer in rats that had swallowed a cancer-causing chemical. The study appears in the latest issue of the research journal Cancer Letters.

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By John Heilprin, Associated Press Writer
December 20, 2005


WASHINGTON - Drinking water may have a lot more in it than just H20 and fluoride, according to an environmental group's analysis of records in 42 states.

A survey by the Environmental Working Group released on Tuesday found 141 unregulated chemicals and an additional 119 for which the Environmental Protection Agency has set health-based limits. Most common among the chemicals found were disinfection byproducts, nitrates, chloroform, barium, arsenic and copper.

The research-and-advocacy organization compiled findings from the states that agreed to provide data they collected from 1998 to 2003. That data comes from nearly 40,000 water utilities, serving 231 million people. The utilities were required by federal law to report that data to consumers.

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