How Pharma Captures Bereaved Mothers

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
November 26, 2012 | 9 Comments


  1. Thank you so much for this article. I related to it greatly. It is a perverse aspect of our culture that the people who are supposed to be helping us (and to whom we pay so much money to) are actually setting us up for more suffering and even death. I have my own story about how antidepressants changed the trajectory of my life from one of relative success and vibrant family life to a homeless vagrant who got lost in the streets. Thankfully I am back but it wasn’t through the help of doctors and medicine it was through trusting my own intuition and instincts. Thanks Again

  2. Thanks, Julie, for having the guts to speak up about the agenda of this group. They offer themselves as a source of support for people grieving over a suicide, and then take advantage of you. I had a similar experience with AFSP in 2006 — at that time they were much more high profile in our area with a big “Out of the Darkness Overnite” walk planned for Chicago. A group of us who got together online, including one man who lost his daughter to Effexor-induced suicide, decided to see if we could participate. Raise the quality of the discussion, so to speak, by carrying pictures of his daughter and other victims of drug-induced suicidality. We found the group to be incredibly secretive about the start and finish points of its highly publicized fundraising walk (weird!) so I went to an organizing meeting.

    What I found there was truly sad. Several families had gathered, looking for support. They’d been sold a vision of the Overnite Walk as a real healing, transformative experience that they wanted to do in memory of their loved one. Alas … it seemed no one could form a team and participate in the walk unless they committed themselves to raise well over $1,000 per person. “Healing” apparently unavailable to the working class. I said I was there on my own behalf, due to some recent drug-induced experiences that had pushed me to the brink, and wanted others to know there was hope. The hyper-cheerful and attractive organizers looked as though I had handed them a dead fish of course … A couple of the families and I commiserated after the meeting, and I don’t think anyone joined the Walk. As for our fledgling flash-mob … it was kind of defeated by all that security.

    I think their basic funding is just as much Pharma as before, although they do take advantage of grieving middle-class families to raise money. They have numerous special projects paid for by pharma grants: a gay & lesbian outreach campaign funded by the Johnson & Johnson and Lilly foundations, and a depressed physician awareness project funded by Pfizer. Their Chairman David Norton is a former J&J executive who left to form Savient Pharma, and their vice chairman Rogoff appears to be Eli Lilly’s #1 go-to defense lawyer.

    Right now they have a project putting up billboards in key neighborhoods. There’s one at Clark & Diversey in Chicago — don’t know if this is part of their gay & lesbian outreach, since that’s the character of the neighborhood. It says DEPRESSION: if not treated it can be fatal! See your doctor. After hearing your story, it occurs to me this billboard is not aimed mainly at untreated depressed people, who tend to know if we are thinking of ending it all or not. No, it’s aimed at terrifying our families and friends, especially parents. How sick is that?

    Hope you can find a few people who have “been there” to share and help lighten the load! Thanks again for your efforts. I am going to send an email to Charity Navigator, who has given this outfit a top four-star rating, and complain about the “transparency” level…

    • Hi Johanna,
      Thank you for the great comment, I had not heard of Charity Navigator, but I will now check in with them as well. That is great information about the AFSP. How do you suppose they get such a high rating? I guess they have only been rated by their “friends”.

      I was surprised about what they did to you about the overnight walk, you would think that they would at least pretend to care. However maybe more people will see through them, when they think about why they are not encouraged to join unless they raise $1,000.

      I bet you are right about the posters. The video was definitely aimed at family dragging their loved ones in to get a diagnosis. Yes, that’s pretty sick alright.

  3. Thank you for an excellent article, it further highlights the problem that most people are walking round in a trance believing that pharmaceutical companies are working to find cures for their ailments. Nothing could be further from the truth. The two things these powerful organisations don’t want is for people to be well, or dead…. both seriously affect their bottom line! I am theoretically a perfect customer for the pharmaceutical industry (and the medical equipment manufacturers) as I have had Parkinson’s disease for the last 10 years. Unfortunately for them I don’t buy into their so called research for a cure, and have been following my own path with incredible success, so much so that the PD speciallist nurse describes me as “amazing”. She and my daughter both agree that I am more flexible and mobile than they are (they are in their thirties and I am 63). I have developed some techniques to stop dyskinesia instantly. I made a video showing how effective these techniques are (Youtube search: Parkinson’s Relief1.mp4). Despite the obvious usefulness of these techniques no one is interested! I have sent a link to major PD websites, I have shown Doctors, and told individuals with PD about the techniques, and although it has been on YouTube for 2 or 3 years (295 hits) I have had no questions or responses to speak of. This led me to believe that with each major illness, once you have “the diagnosis”, you join a self-maintaining “eco system” of well meaning doctors and nurses, fund raisers and volunteers. The Pharmaceutical companies play a major part in maintaining the status quo. This is why I say that most people are in a trance accepting incomplete and misleading information that is fed to them. This is why the work you are doing is so important. Thank you again, and best regards Paul Davis

    • Hi Paul,
      I watched your video (I guess I was #296) and that conditioned response is quite extraordinary. However you figured out this strategy, it certainly highlights that there is more to solving life’s problems than drugs. I do not know anything about the medication for Parkinson’s but common sense would say that the right thing to do is figure out what works best for you and you seem to have done that. Your point about drug companies not really wanting us cured is interesting. With antidepressants I know several people who have been told they need to stay on them forever. That does not sound much like getting better to me. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Hi John,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Sadly, your story is not unique, we have heard other people tell of loss of family, jobs, etc. This is one of the reasons RxISK believes so strongly in capturing at all aspects of drug effects on the site so he has information to argue what he already knows from listening all the people he has treated over the years. More than once I have heard him question whether drugs that supposedly are working really help people get back to work, strengthen their marriage, and other things that are not physical but are REALLY important. The FDA and Health Canada are interested in drug effects that kill you or cause you serious physical injury but they often skip over some of the key issues relating to whether your life is better with drugs.

  5. Amazing insight. I’ve only recently begun to scrape the surface of SSRIs and their side effects but what a rabbit hole this has turned out to be. The SSRI stories website pointed me here. I went there because of a hunch that I had about SSRIs and the massacres that have been carried out by medicated people in the US and around the world. It’s truly the elephant in the room and no one is talking about it. Keep up the good work.

  6. Thank you for this information. It supports what I’ve suspected since 2004 when my husband commit suicide after 4 days of Paxil withdrawal. Ironically we did an AFSP walk to honor his memory several years ago when the walk happened to fall on his birthday.

  7. Some of the other pharma “front” groups I discovered when testifying at FDA advisory committees and being involved in prescription drug safety efforts after losing my child to Zyprexa were Mental Health America and NAMI. What a shameful thing – to prey on people’s difficult circumstances, and especially after a loved one is lost BECAUSE of the lethal side effects of prescription drugs.

    Thank you for this website of honesty and real life experiences. How refreshing it is.

Leave a Reply