Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Get the Story Right, Please

The Vancouver Sun should be given full points for writing an editorial this morning about the overdiagnosing of ADHD.

And full demerits for completely, totally, utterly missing the point.

The piece correctly points out the shocking and destructive rise in alleged cases being reported worldwide.

"U.S. doctors’ office visits for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder rose by 66 per cent between 2000 and 2010.

Yet as dramatic as that figure is, it’s dwarfed by one from Europe: According to one German study, the number of ADHD diagnoses between 1989 and 2001 increased by an astonishing 381 per cent."
The editorial then blathers on for several more paragraphs without ever once paying head to Basic Rule of Journalism 104 - FOLLOW THE MONEY!

Can you say Big Pharma, boys & Girls? Can you say Novartis?
This story is as old as the hills and twice as deadly. 
Ever since some guy in a striped suit has been hawking his Dr. Winkler's Magic Elixir from cow town to cow town on the back of a covered wagon (not to mention on the Appian Way a few centuries earlier), the fearful rubes have been buying up this swamp water and feeding it to the kids.

This story is all about RITALIN, its manufacturers, it multi-million dollar marketing campaigns and the sops, gifts and kickbacks that doctors have been enjoying these last few years.
Money is the driver here - forget about the health of children.

1 comment:

C. Ryckard said...

Good column David. Why don't we ever hear about the role of doctors in this epidemic of prescription drugs that is now plaguing our "developed" western countries? The media and authorities here just tip-toe around their role.

Here are excerpts from two BC stories, each raising disturbing questions about the epidemic drugging of our vulnerable populations, and authorities' dubious efforts to monitor or investigate doctors, or to enforce laws against such malfeasance by the medical industry.

Darrell Bellaart, Daily News
March 31, 2012

A Nanaimo doctor has been suspended for three months for prescribing morphine to a patient he never physically examined.

Dr. Brian Arthur White was suspended by the College of Physicians and Surgeons on March 1, although the college only posted the information on its website this week.

...A patient gave a "compelling story" to White, convincing him a relative who was in considerable pain needed the drug but was unable to get to the doctor himself.

..."There was a serious error of judgment, I would say," said Susan Prins, college spokeswoman.

A second concern was that the prescription was not disclosed to the patient's physician. Doctors need to know all drugs a patient is taking to avoid dangerous complications caused by mixing several drugs.
Also of concern to the college is the fact Dr. White made no record of the prescription.
"My understanding, he did this in good faith, he was genuinely trying to help," said Prin.

He cannot prescribe narcotics for a year, must pay the college $1,750 legal costs and comply with monitoring of his practice. ...

... more

– Ombudsperson, BCCLA and Greens criticize BC’s draconian laws
Rob Wipond, FOCUS Magazine, April 2012

I WAS READING THE CORONER'S REPORT on Kathleen Palamarek and something didn’t seem right. I’d been following her story since 2006. This was a diminutive, timid, 88-year-old nursing home resident with dementia and a heart condition, who’d been somewhat controversially diagnosed with dementia-related psychosis. She’d died of a heart attack. The coroner had found the antipsychotic olanzapine in her body.

Palamarek hadn’t been taking olanzapine willingly; she’d frequently complained about feeling woozy and “drugged up.” She couldn’t refuse the drug, though, because her doctors had declared her incapable and, when she’d protested, they’d certified her under BC’s Mental Health Act (MHA). Antipsychotics are being used increasingly in seniors’ homes as chemical restraints to pacify and control people. But Health Canada has issued the highest possible warnings to doctors that antipsychotics are “not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis” and that these powerful tranquillizers have been linked to a near-doubling of death rates in the elderly, mostly from heart attacks.

Yet here’s what coroner Stan Lajoie wrote about Kathleen Palamarek’s heart attack: “Death was clearly and unequivocally due to natural causes.” There was not so much as a hint anywhere in his seven-page report that her heart attack might have been linked to a drug known to dramatically increase heart attacks in the heart-weakened elderly. Why?

While I investigated that, new reports revealed in sharper detail the close relationships between BC’s staggering levels of antipsychotics use, and our province’s lack of legal protections for seniors’ basic human rights.

Focus last year uncovered that 47.3 percent of BC seniors’ home residents were being given antipsychotics, above the US and Canadian average of 26 percent, and four times the rate in Hong Kong. A December, 2011 BC Health Ministry report showed rates still climbing: 50.3 percent are now being given antipsychotics. Vancouver Island is highest at 51.5 percent.

... more