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  Summer 2009

Mama's Health News

Renowned Drug Pushers Target Children

 World famous Harvard Child Psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Biederman fueled an explosion in the use of powerful anti-psychotic drugs for children. He and his colleagues promoted aggressive diagnosis and drug treatment of childhood “bipolar disorder.”

Congressional investigator Senator Charles Grassley recently exposed Biederman for failing to report the $1.6 million he received from drug makers from 2000 to 2007. He never reported this income to Harvard.

Biederman’s colleague in the Harvard Medical School’s child psychiatry department, Dr. Timothy E. Wilens, also earned over $1.6 million. And after being investigated, Dr. Thomas Spencerr reported earning $1 million from drug companies.

These three Harvard docs are the most prominent group of child psychiatrists in the world.

Their drug company payments may be understated. They conflict with higher figures finally reported by the drug companies. Harvard requires doctors to reveal these earnings. But they have no system to oversee it. They depend on the honor system!

Biederman’s influential research resulted in 40 times as many diagnosis of pediatric “bipolar disorder”. In 2007 doctors prescribed anti-psychotics drugs to over 500,000 US children. This included 20,500 children under 6 years old!

The renowned Harvard group published results of a string of drug trials from studies. Oddly the studies were so small and loosely designed that they were actually inconclusive. Patient advocacy group, Alliance for Human Research Protection, believes the three psychiatrists gave “the Harvard imprimatur to commercial experimentation on children.”

More Fake Drug Studies 

Massachusetts’s anesthesiologist Dr.Scott Ruben has admitted faking 21 medical studies used by drug companies. Pfizer, Wyeth, and Merck used the fake studies to market drugs like Bextra, Lyrica, Effexor and Vioxx.


Ask Congress to Vote for Paid Sick Days

The Healthy Families Act --H.R. 2460--would guarantee seven paid sick days per year for workers at businesses with 15 or more employees. Sick days could be used for illnesses, care for a sick family member, or to deal with partner violence. 

H.R. 2460 has 101 co-sponsors. But more are needed. And House members need to hear that you would like to see this bill passed soon.

57 million full- and part-time workers don't have even one single paid sick day. About half of both private and government employees have NO sick leave.


• Insurance companies have DOUBLED premiums in the past eight years.

• The US people pay more for health care per person than any other country in the world..

• US health care ranks 37th in the world.

• Insurance companies create huge profits by aggressively denying doctor-prescribed treatments to sick people.

• The fastest-growing component of health care is corporate overhead. Private insurance companies spend 30% of their funds on administration and billing, exorbitant CEO pay, advertising, lobbying and campaign contributions. Medicare, Medicaid and the VA are administered for far less. 

• In the past 3 years, 25 times more health care administrators have been hired than doctors.

• CEO pay for the top 7 health insurance companies averages $14.2 million. Nick Turkal, CEO of Aurora Health Care gets $2,020,814 a year.

• From 2003 to 2007, the profits of the major US health insurance companies increased by 170%.

• Many members of Congress are beholden to the insurance and drug companies. So they push for more profits for them.  For example, Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) chairs the Senate health care hearings. Yet he received $2.1 million from the insurance industry, $547,000 from the pharmaceutical industry, and $467,000 from health care professionals throughout his career. 

• Thirty congressional members on the committee to decide on health care all have huge investments in health care companies.

• The best way to provide health care to all is by following most of the countries in the world who have universal health coverage.  We can not do this with private insurance companies. Money, not people’s health, is the name of their game.

Media Distorts US Support for Single-Payer Health Care 

 Single-payer national health insurance would remain private. But it would be paid for by a single federal health insurance fund (much like Medicare). In a recent survey (NY Times/CBS, 1/11-15/09)), this system was preferred by two-to-one over a privatized system. Single-payer is also preferred by 59 percent of physicians, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Yet FAIR found that out of hundreds of mass media health care stories, only five included support for single-payer. No story appeared on the television networks. The insurance lobbyists and politicians funded by them do not want to talk about single-payer. But that makes it even more important that the media do. Let your local Dailies hear from you.

Health Care Funds Big Business 

About $2.3 trillion of the current $14 trillion that the US spends on health care pays for non-health care. Instead it goes to insurance companies, drug companies and for-profit hospitals. They are also responsible for the double-digit annual price increases in the industry. In cities like Milwaukee, the biggest profit-making businesses are three for-profit hospitals. 


Warning: Insurance Companies Fraud Customers  

The Senate Conference Committee revealed an insurance company scam in June. They found that US health insurance companies forced consumers to pay billions of dollars for medical bills that the company should have paid.

The companies use a scam called the “usual and customary rates for services.”  They pay that amount and require the insured to pay the rest..

Ingenix…a company owned by UnitedHealth Group, a huge insurance company! Ingenix was of course motivated to “low ball” the “customary rates.” This shifted costs from insurers to customers. (They often “scrubbed” the data to remove valid high charges.)

In New York alone insurers underpaid customer’s bills by 28%. 


Top Selling Drugs in the US: 

• 233 million antidepressants

• 221 million drugs to lower cholesteroll

• 186 million drugs like codeine to relieve pain

• 158 million beta blockers to treat high blood pressure

Drug Store for Women 

She noticed that women were often embarrassed at drug stores. So Caryn Duncan of the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective opened up North America’s first women’s only pharmacy in Vancouver. It has female pharmacists and narrow counter consultation areas with privacy. It also has a resource area and a nursing practitioner for consultations.  


Sources: The Sparrow Sings ~ FAIR@@fair.org ~ Rock Creek Free Press ~ Washington Post ~ New York Times ~ Who Cares?

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