Pills Are Not For Preschoolers
This week, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay the largest fraud settlement ever involving a pharmaceutical company for improper marketing practices, including illegally marketing its antidepressant drug Paxil to children. Details about the settlement were reported in an article in The New York Times on July 2.
Prosecutors said that the drug company employed a number of illegal tactics to influence doctors to prescribe the drug “off label” to children, including helping to publish an article in a respected medical journal that misreported data from a clinical trial of the drug. Trips to Jamaica and Bermuda as well as spa treatments and hunting excursions, were some of the ways the giant drug company used to win over doctors to prescribe their products.
New York’s attorney general Eliot Spitzer believes that monetary fines will not necessarily deter corporate bad behavior. He believes that in order for things to change, culpability needs to be enforced on CEO's and other company officials individually. This surely would be a good start, but it is not enough. A better solution, in my view, would be to require drug companies to use the fines imposed on them by the Justice department to fund independent research on safe and effective alternatives to drugs for troubled children.
For the past four decades, drug companies have had free reign over what is taught in psychiatry departments in medical schools, even to child psychiatrists and pediatricians. So long as doctors are taught that drugs are the only solution for childhood emotional problems, nothing will change as far as protecting children from the predatory practices of drug companies. Big Pharma will pay the fines imposed on them, however large, and march along with business as usual. What needs to change is education in medical schools, especially the education of physicians who are responsible for the care of children.
|The Great Psychiatrist and Pioneer Milton Erickson what would he have had to say about drugging so many children for their normal behaviours.
In early December, I joined an international gathering of more than a thousand therapists in Phoenix, Arizona. All of us had travelled to Phoenix to teach, to learn, and to honor the work of the late psychiatrist Milton Erickson on what would have been his 110th birthday.
Erickson is most well known for his brilliance in the art of medical hypnosis. His ability to heal his patients with the use of trance has inspired many generations of therapists. And for most of us, as we moved among presentations by some of the world's most skilled hypnotherapists, our time in Phoenix was spent mostly in trance--or at least in an altered mental state of one sort or another. I must believe that Erickson would have been pleased.
By the end of that summer, Erickson had traveled over 1000 miles. He could swim a mile and carry his own canoe. Later in his life, Erickson needed a wheelchair to get around. But that was only after many years of walking with his own strength and proving his doctors wrong.
During his polio attacks, Erickson had to lie in bed for weeks and months. During these times, he became very aware of muscle movements, skin tones and subtle inflections of voice. He experienced different states of his own consciousness. All of these experiences served him well later on when he used hypnosis with his patients. Erickson believed that solutions lie within the person, in the unconscious mind. This is his famous theory of "utilization." Therapy, in Erickson's view, merely allows the person to become aware of the strengths and resources within himself--very much like what Erickson himself experienced in his struggle with polio.