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The Food and Drug Administration’s “black box” warnings and advisories give important safety information about drugs. But they can sometimes go too far and harm more people than they help.

Take the FDA’s highly publicized warnings that taking antidepressants increases the risk of suicidality (defined as serious thoughts about taking one’s own life or planning or attempting suicide) among children, adolescents, and young adults. We have evidence, as do many others, that these warnings have decreased youths’ access to mental health care and increased suicide attempts. So far, the FDA has refused to accept this evidence.

Depression in young people is a disabling and stigmatizing illness, both in the U.S. and around the world. It is the leading cause of suicide, which climbed by about 50 percent among adolescents between 2003 and 2016.

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Antidepressants help many people fight depression. But based on a controversial review of industry studies, beginning in October 2003 the FDA issued a series of health advisories warning that children and adolescents taking antidepressants were at increased risk of suicidality.

In October 2004, the FDA required a so-called “black box warning” of this risk to be printed on the labels of all antidepressant drugs. It was implemented in January 2005. Two years later, the FDA extended the same warning to include young adults, again based on industry studies. Each announcement was accompanied by a slew of media reports about the link between antidepressant use and suicide that exaggerated the danger message.

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All antidepressant prescriptions still contain this frightening black box warning, and the message is repeated in TV ads.

In an effort to monitor and reduce suicidality — including suicide attempts — among young people, the FDA also urged clinicians to ask about suicidal thoughts every time they prescribed antidepressants to a young person.

The FDA was undoubtedly acting with good intentions. But the warnings reduced the use of both antidepressants and talk therapy among young persons with depression, with the unwanted consequences of reducing its diagnosis and treatment. This was followed rapidly by an increase in suicidal behavior.

There’s no question that antidepressants can cause harm if used inappropriately. But the FDA failed to recognize — and still won’t acknowledge — that the harms of its public advisories and black box warning on antidepressants for young people more than outweigh the benefits. The evidence is strong that:

  • the warnings stopped many adolescents and young adults from seeking care for depression
  • many of those with depression didn’t seek help and so did not receive effective drug treatment
  • psychotherapy and other mental health visits declined
  • suicide attempts increased

We used a simple and clear way to measure the effects of these antidepressant warnings. Called the interrupted-time-series design, this rigorous method graphically displays how the warnings resulted in sudden and harmful breaks from existing trends.

Decline in diagnoses of major depressive disorder

Up to half of people with depression are not treated for it; some commit suicide as a result. In a study of 55 million managed care enrollees, the FDA warnings led to an almost 40 percent reduction in the identification of adolescent patients with major depressive disorder, an important predictor of suicide. The researchers also saw a significant reduction in diagnoses among young adults.

This began soon after the first FDA advisory in October 2003. It continued after the FDA black box warning for children and adolescents started in 2005 and the one for young adults began in 2007.

These data appeared in a different format in Archives of General Psychiatry. They are used here with permission from lead author Anne Libby of the University of Colorado at Denver and the journal’s publisher.

Decline in antidepressant use

In the years following the FDA’s first antidepressant warning in October 2003, there was a sudden, nearly 50 percent decline in the use of antidepressants among more than 400,000 poor children and adolescents in Tennessee who were covered by Medicaid. It’s hard to believe that this was not an unintended result of the warnings.

These data appeared in a different format in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. They are used here with permission from senior author William O. Cooper of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the journal’s publisher.

Reduction in psychotherapy

Mental health advocates hoped that any decline in antidepressant use following the FDA’s warnings would be matched by increases in face-to-face psychotherapy to treat depression and improve detection of suicidal behavior. But that didn’t happen. Psychotherapy among all patients with major depression declined after the warnings. The reduction was almost identical in adolescents and young adults.

Clearly, the FDA’s recommendation that clinicians increase monitoring of patients for suicidal thoughts and behaviors did not occur.

These data appeared in a different format in Archives of General Psychiatry. They are used here with permission from lead author Anne Libby of the University of Colorado at Denver and the journal’s publisher.

Increase in psychotropic drug poisonings

Based on data from 11 health plans with more than 7 million people, a study we published in BMJ demonstrated two dramatic outcomes of the FDA’s antidepressant warnings and the associated publicity over a 10-year period: a sudden 31 percent reduction in antidepressant use among adolescents and a 24 percent reduction in young adults, with a simultaneous increase in poisonings due to the use of psychoactive drugs such as tranquilizers like Valium and antipsychotic drugs, a method that adolescent girls often use to attempt suicide.

These were the consequences not only of reductions in medication, but also of reductions in diagnosis, psychotherapy, and monitoring, as well as a general chilling atmosphere for depression treatment created by overblown media reports of a link between antidepressant use and suicide.

Reproduced with permission from lead author author Christine Lu of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and The BMJ.

Additional data

Researchers have been evaluating the impact of the FDA’s antidepressant warnings for years. A 2008 study, for example, documented possible increases in completed suicides as a result of the warnings. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that suicide attempts among teenagers have doubled in the last decade. While this research wasn’t intended to isolate the effects of the warnings, it suggests that suicide deaths increased simultaneously with the continuation of the black box warnings.

Data from the National Vital Statistics Reports, June 1, 2018.

There are now even more high-quality studies, some up to a decade long, from diverse environments and involving tens of millions of individuals, showing increased harm following the warnings, sometimes almost immediately.

It’s time to rethink the warning

The FDA knows that drug warnings are seldom totally harmless, and it carefully weighs the tradeoffs. The antidepressant warnings may have made sense to the FDA at the time, though critics have long charged that the data on which the FDA based the warnings are flawed. But the body of evidence that has been accumulated since then overwhelms the analysis that prompted the FDA’s decisions.

The risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors and suicide attempts among youths, adolescents, and young adults due to taking antidepressants was never as high as the risk due to untreated depression.

Yet just this spring, an FDA representative, rather than admitting the error, dismissed the effects of the warnings on antidepressant use in an article in the journal Medical Care, ignoring the threat to the mental health of young people.

It’s time for the FDA to acknowledge this miscalculation. Going forward, FDA policymakers should consider working with researchers who study the antidepressant black box warning about suicide. Because it continues to dampen effective drug and non-drug treatment and monitoring for depression — and because teen suicide attempts are accelerating — it’s appropriate to think about removing this warning.

Stephen Soumerai is professor of population medicine, founding and former director of the Division of Health Policy and Insurance Research, and teaches research methods at Harvard Medical School. Ross Koppel is adjunct professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute, the Institute of Biomedical Informatics, and the Center for Public Health Initiatives. Caitlin Lupton, an administrative specialist for the Division of Health Policy and Insurance Research, created the graphs for this article.

  • This tactic, using the opinion section, to advertise products, and mislead the public, is very deceptive. The industry can use any amount of “Alternate Facts’ to market a products as long as it gets published in the opinion section. This is not an opinion, it is carefully written marketing piece, based on cherry picked data. It is designed to mislead, misinform, and lie to the public. This tactic is done in all sorts of publications, and often there is a financial component. This one could mean billions for the pharmaceutical industry, and lead to a lot of ruined lives, and deaths.

    • Of course, this is utter nonsense, and probably intentional spin. The rate of antidepressant prescriptions has INCREASED since the late 2000s, and the suicide rate has risen with it. It is amazing that STAT would publish such an idiotic and intentional misinterpretation of facts. The authors should have any scientific credentials stripped from them, as they are not acting as scientists, but as marketing agents for pharmaceutical companies.

  • I hope new psychiatric drug prescriptions fall to zero soon – not just for children but for everyone. Also, I find it interesting that there isn’t a single comment here supporting this article. I have found that the only “evidence” people who support psychiatric drugs present are either “they work for me” or that “they work for my patients.” Yet, ‘real world’ studies of people treated with antidepressant medications indicate that the proportion of people who stick to recommended treatment, recover and don’t relapse within a year is staggeringly low (108 out of the 3110 people) – [Reference: Pigott HE, et al (2010). Efficacy and effectiveness of antidepressants: current status of research. Psychother Psychosom, 79(5):267-79]

    Also, many studies have indicated that there is hardly any difference between psychiatric drugs and placebos. The drugs simply lead to emotional numbing.

    Also, meta analyses that are sometimes conducted to demonstrate that drugs work are using lousy, highly biased studies that have been conducted by profit-driven big pharma.

    By the way, below is a 2018 article I came across that relate specifically to paediatric antidepressants:

    Healy, D., Le Noury, J., & Jureidini, J. (2018). Paediatric antidepressants: Benefits and risks. International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, 1-7.

    • Unlike the callous drug peddlers here, a lot of us have friends, relatives and acquaintances who died by suicide. In my community a young many of color, walked in front of a train. He worked at a fast food restaurant, that had recently fired their immigrant workers. The local paper claimed he needed “Mental Health.” In our community that would have been random antidepressants.
      These drugs ave been off label marketed for all kinds of things, in the case of Drug Addiction, the overdoses on anti depressant are attributed to opiates. In Fact few if any of the overdose on Anti Depressants are counted. This is anecdotal, but in my community there are people who have overdosed on anti depressants, in failed suicide attempts over 20 times. These incidents were never counted nor addressed by the pharmaceutical, medical, or hospital industries, even though they required multiple hospitalizations. I have a neighbor, who is brain damaged, after injecting antidepressants, given to him as a replacement for Heroin. His mother is his caregiver now. These drugs were marketed for Opiate Addiction, even though they do not work. The deaths and brain damage were conveniently not counted.
      These drugs are being marketed as a Panacea, which they clearly are not. The US is in the middle of a Suicide Epidemic, and clearly this kind of deceptive marketing is meant to cash in on death and despair.

    • I know about this review – it reviewed existing studies funded by big pharma and these studies are known to have several shortcomings including selective reporting and data mischaracterization (I can provide many references that list details of these biases that operate in drug trials). Also the following articles mentation issues relating to this review article (they cite the Lancet review article you mention):

      Moncrieff, J. (2018). What does the latest meta-analysis really tell us about antidepressants?. Epidemiology and psychiatric sciences, 1-3.

      Adlington, K. (2018). Pop a million happy pills? Antidepressants, nuance, and the media. BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online), 360.

  • You have to be suspicious of an article that doesn’t provide up-to-date statistics, which is true of this article. The graphic in this article tells of how the suicide rate for youth 10 to 19 years old rose from 4 per 100,000 population in 2007 to 6 per 100,000 in 2016. What the article doesn’t do is provide information on adolescent use of antidepressants during this period of rising suicide rates.

    Here is the data, from a 2016 article published in Pediatrics. From 2007 to 2014, the percentage of adolescents 12 to 17 years that suffered a major depressive episode rose from 8.2% to 11.3%. The percentage who got treatment of some kind rose from 37.2% to 42.0%. The percentage who were prescribed an antidepressant rose from 17.8% to 20%.

    So, in fact, during this time of increased suicide among adolescents, the percentage of adolescents with major depression who got treated rose, and the percentage who took an antidepressant also rose. This data on the increase in treatment and the increase in antidepressant usage, of course, does not fit with the authors’ argument. It is also noteworthy that the percentage of depressed adolescents who found the “prescription medication helpful” declined from 43.9% in 2007 to 37.7% in 2014.

    See R. Mojtabai, “National Trends in the Prevalence and Treatment of Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults,” Pediatrics 2016; 138 (6):e20161878

    • • The conclusions of our essay were based only on the two, rigorous published JAMA and one BMJ interrupted time series studies (first four graphs) that the warnings reduced diagnosis and treatment of depression (both psychotherapy and medications), and increased psychotropic drug poisoning. They produced these adverse effects at the same time in different populations.

      • We did NOT conclude that that there was a causal relationship between the warnings and suicides through 2016. We included a recent CDC graph of the 50% increase in suicides from 2004 to 2016 because it is the worst outcome of depression. It should be studied because it continues to suggest that child and young adult mental health care is clearly insufficient in the US.

      • BTW, you misread the article re treatment trends. It indicates a sizable increase in depression that is not being treated in overall mental health care among both adolescents and young adults. It further indicates a rise in hospitalization. The care gap is getting worse, not better, and we need to examine all possible causes for the rise in suicides.

  • The treatment model for mental health has been corrupted by “cost-saving” measures for the past 25 years. “Take this pill, you will feel better and I will see you in 3 months” is not the reality of what it takes to be effective. Yet that’s what psychiatrists are forced to do now at most facilities. Prescribing psych meds during a 20 min “med check” makes psych meds dangerous for most. No surprise here. These are serious illnesses and meds. This current model dictates a doctor prescribes for someone you don’t know , likely won’t see again in less than 3 months. The doctor will not have the time to “treasure hunt” the medical and psychiatric records, regardless of whether they are buried in encrypted digital files or stacks of folders.
    This system is set-up to fail. The “suicidality” of depressed patients from antidepressants occur when patients are not seen frequently, an akathisia (internal restlessness) develops, which is then mistaken for anxiety so meds are increased.
    Mental health treatment will fail totally when patients see “Computers,” which will be cheaper than “Prescribers.”
    From appearances, the goal for this model treatment is to save money and loose patients. We are succeeding.
    Personally, I don’t see people for less than an hour visit, including follow-ups. i don’t make lots of money but can afford the luxury of doing more good than harm.
    Peggy Finston MD
    http://www.acu-psychiatry.com

  • Neither on of the authors is a physician or expert in epistemology. Association is not causation. Wearing a dress is associated with having 2 XX chromosomes however it does not cause this genetic pattern. Men can wear dresses (Guliani is a good example) but doing so does not make them female.

    The warning was based on a causal association of suicide and drug treatment of depression something the sociologist and economist trained authors do not mention. It is possible and hopefully likely that psychiatrists and primary care doctors based their change in prescribing on the lack of studies showing that long term drug treatment (studies longer than 8 weeks) for depression actually reduced depression rates in those who were treated and the studies that showed increased suicide rates in youth who were treated.

    The fact that GSK manipulated data in the key efficacy trial became public around the time of the decline in use may also have influenced practice. https://study329.org/ and https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/glaxosmithkline-plead-guilty-and-pay-3-billion-resolve-fraud-allegations-and-failure-report

    Disclosure: I am a board certified internist. I teach on corporate corruption of public health. I have no financial conflicts.

    Health decisions should be based on data not libertarian ideology.

    • • Both Ross and I have taught research design for decades and we know that simple cross-sectional associations or associations of two trends are not trustworthy in estimating the effects of interventions.

      • All published studies used the same interrupted time series (ITS) design—the strongest design for natural experiments because it controls for most threats to validity.

      • Most policies, including nationwide drug warnings, cannot be studied experimentally. Since many commenters apparently are not acquainted with this design promoted by Cochrane systematic reviews, we link to an introductory perspective article on this method.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5264670/

      In addition, here is a “how-to” paper with the most citations of any ITS methods article (about 1,400). See link:

        https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2710.2002.00430.x.
      We have published hundreds of ITS studies, often in the top medical journals.

  • I would like to see a conflict of interest statement by the authors, and would like to see funding sources for this article. It certainly reads like drug company information.

    • • Neither Steve Soumerai nor Ross Koppel have any conflict of interest and no financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry. Neither of us received any funding for this article. Steve receives an academic salary. Ross receives funding from research on topics related to medical informatics and cybersecurity, neither of which is related to this topic.

  • This article implies when people see the black box label, this leads to increased suicide – note: this is a ‘psychological cause.’ So, clearly antidepressant medications cannot override this psychological cause. But there are many other “psychological causes” that lead to depression in the first place, and these are causes that CAN be addressed through psychological interventions.

    Another huge ‘psychological cause’ that can lead to worsening of depression is the current practice assigning psychiatric labels to people. Labels give a sense of ‘permanency’ (to the ‘disorder’), and disempower the individual, as well as take away hopes of recovery. We need to remember that stigma and discrimination exists when people distinguish and give labels to human differences that are associated with negative stereotypes.
    If psychiatrists really need to use a label, they should simply record that label (perhaps in the form of a code) in the patient’s medical record (code reflecting stress ratings, etc.), instead of telling the patient “you have this mental disorder” (as if it is some objective ‘thing’ that exists).

    By the way, according to a brand new article (it is a 30-year prospective study) antidepressant use is related to poorer long-term outcome for depression [Reference: Hengartner, M. P., et al. (2018). Antidepressant Use Prospectively Relates to a Poorer Long-Term Outcome of Depression: Results from a Prospective Community Cohort Study over 30 Years. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.].

  • For about ten years both antidepressant prescription and suicide rates have been rising in youth. The correlation is strongly positive, not negative. Both rates are as high as never before now, so this line of evidence certainly does not suggest that reduced prescription rates led to increased suicide rates. Most importantly, right after the FDA warning in 2004 the suicide rate fell (along with the prescription rate). Afterwards both increased again (see Stone 2014).
    Moreover, there is evidence from various epidemiologic studies that the suicide risk is higher in youth who take drugs (see for instance meta-analysis by Barbui et al, 2009). Finally, various meta-analyses of clinical trials confirm that suicide risk is higher in antidepressant recipients than in placebo recipients (eg Hetrick et al, 2012).
    In view of such a consistent body of evidence I really wonder how the authors could possibly conclude that antidepressants can reduce the suicide risk in children and adolescents. It‘s more likely the other way round (ie antidepressant increase the suicide risk).

    References:
    Barbui et al, 2009. CMAJ, 180(3):291-297.
    Hetrick et al, 2012. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 11:CD004851.
    Stone, 2014. New England Journal of Medicine, 371:1668-1671.

    • • We do not write about the effects of antidepressants on suicide, but the effects of warnings on depression diagnosis rates, treatment (psychotherapy and medicines), and psychotropic poisonings – as a proxy for suicide attempt. This is a health policy study, not a drug efficacy trial. However, our brief critique of industry trials that had missing suicidality outcomes stands.

    • It is exceedingly disingenuous of the authors claiming that we are somehow “ignoring the harm of the [black box] warning” in the title, and yet claim they are not implying a connection between the warning and increased suicide rates. What other “harm” could they be referring to? And how do they know that a decrease in diagnosis rates is harmful? By what measure? Is there the slightest evidence cited anywhere connecting fewer diagnoses per capita with more suicides? Are the suicides in the “untreated” population? The “undiagnosed” population?

      Again, the lack of a scientific attitude toward these questions is disturbing. If they are not in the pay of the pharmaceutical industry, as they claim, the authors are providing some excellent free marketing and ought to perhaps contact one of these companies for some well-deserved remuneration for their work.

  • This is a very narrowly-read position. Some version of this argument seems to resurface every few years somewhere, always accompanied by some tortured new statistical analysis intending to marshal the complex evidence concerning suicide with an utterly responsible and necessary box of understated, self-contradicting language, a warning providing the bare minimum of informed consent. The authors make no attempt to explain what is wrong with the original studies that led to the warning, studies which vastly underreported the problem of akathisia-induced suicide, and seem preposterously out of touch with the fact that prescribing has never been higher. The drugs have an excess of suicide compared to placebo in the trials, are associated with suicide in healthy volunteer studies, and elicit countless post-market reports of inducing suicidal thinking. If taken, the advice in this article would place kids in great danger. Please see the recent Suicide in the Age of Prozac by Robert Whitaker for a thorough analysis of suicide, warnings and antidepressants.

    • • We discuss the behavioral effects of the warnings, not drug efficacy. This was clear in our essay. One gets the feeling that many commenters want to use warning studies as way to advocate for their criticism of antidepressants. We assume there are probably many people who benefit from antidepressants, and we agree that there are some unintended effects of antidepressants. Again, our focus was on the effects of the warnings.

    • Your article definitely implies that a reduction in “treatment” led to an increase in suicide rates, in contradiction to the data. Claiming it was a behavioral study is totally disingenuous. The assumption that increases in “treatment” would correlate with decreases in suicide is just that, an assumption. You should know that this assumption is countered by the data that led to the black box warning in the first place. There is little to no data suggesting that drug interventions even have an antidepressant effect on adolescents, leading to recommendations in the UK to prescribe antidepressants only as a last resort, and only Prozac is even considered as a legitimate option. This piece clearly is aimed at creating anxiety that a smaller percentage of adolescents are seeking treatment. Is it possible that they are not seeking “treatment” because it has not been shown to be effective?

      Real scientists don’t have hidden agendas. They consider all possibilities and include all data before making a report.

    • Sorry, science has a context. This is an article that makes the brazen assertion patients should be told LESS about the identified harms of a drug, and out of an assumption that a greater good lies in doing so. That’s a high bar. And yet the authors seem uninterested acknowledging in the long, partisan context for a shopworn, intuitively problematic argument that would repress the news of a ghastly safety problem (which they minimize), in light of some new conclusion about timelines for suicide incidence and drug labeling. It’s not something a link to the latest systematic review can fix up.

      Not without some recognition of the disqualifying structural problems within industry trials that comprise the ideological foundation for the supposed safety and effectiveness of the drugs — assertions that prop up your suggestion the warnings cause harm and that the drugs actually prevent suicide. These trials systematically inflated efficacy and minimized side effects through a host of well-noted mechanisms, especially in the case of children and adolescents.

      When the warning first arrived, this argument fell apart after it was determined that a much cited drop-off in prescriptions leading to more suicide actually preceded the arrival of the warning. After that it seems as though researchers have repeatedly dived in to attempt and prove the same point through some other means. Again, please know that the suggestion to repress informed consent in the name of presumed greater good as evidenced by advanced biostatistics is, well, kind of offensive. Perhaps what commenters here want to advocate for is not the criticism of antidepressants but the criticism of studies of antidepressants. Studies that were created in an industrialized context which has yet to face reform or even acknowledgment from the world of behavioral biostatistics.

  • This is truly horrific, they are casting about looking at ways to deceive the public and increase market share. The US is in an Epidemic of Despair, as suicide rates climb, not only in the young as the mass media has misled the public to believe. Older Americans are also dying in droves too. Instead of looking at why, the industries are focusing on their “Black Box Warnings.”
    The number of people hospitalized or that have been hurt by these drugs are not counted. The Medical industry considers them benign. The false correlation here with less talk therapy is deceptive too. Providers decided that talk therapy was too expensive and time consuming so instead the forced these drugs on anybody at all. Doctors were told that making a notation about side effects could lead to liability, and that these drugs were so beneficial, it was unimportant. When these people showed up at ERs time after time, their conditions, “overdoses” and side effects were all attributed to a nebulous “mental illness.”
    The industry ties are too strong now to view any of this objectively, after all the decline in quality of life, failure to engage and hopelessness many of these people experience is viewed as a mental disorder or wrong thinking. The low income clinics are very different from what the general public believes is mental health treatment, as portrayed by the mass media.
    The Pharma industry contributed to the Epidemic of Despair, and they see the failure to keep the public informed as an opportunity to market their wares, and increase profits. Pharma marketers did the same thing with the “Gun Debate” and even the “Opioid Epidemic.” They used the fear, ignorance and created confusion, to peddle useless cures. Now they have the administration following mass media and parroting Mental Health, every time there is another shooting. That way they can continue to market guns, and sell useless or dangerous pharmaceuticals. This is a marketing bonanza for Pharma and the NRA.
    Useless drugs were marketed for off label use, and with no evidence that these drugs helped in any way, they were peddled as a replacement for pain medications or even heroin. These populations were disposable anyway, so no agency counted the deaths, overdoses or wasted lives. The number of suicides should have been an indicator, but they were under-counted or explained away too. The so called Opiate Epidemic, was used to confuse the number of suicides with drug overdoses. They continue to leave out inconvenient facts, like the number of suicides, or overdoses in older sick people.

    No government agency was allowed to collect data on the number of deaths or hospitalizations that occurred. Collecting data that could be bad for Pharma was described as government overreach, by pharma lobbyists.

    Physicians chose to believe that anything is better than suicide or addiction, so any kind of brutality and dehumanization was justified. People who took these prescribed drugs became targets for exploitation, watched their futures end, and were even encouraged to join churches. A fake study done years ago and spread by mass media, led people to believe that prayer was a healthy. That study was used to justify giving federal money to religious organizations to provide mental health services for low income people. Many of these people were not only stigmatized, they were taken advantage of by these clinics, where any warm body could be a billing opportunity. Since these were organized as non profits, they could not be held countable or even asked to justify the deaths of their clients.

    Long term studies were inconvenient, and could cut into Pharma bottom line, and Physicians went along with it gladly. The negative results were not for public consumption. Now the Epidemic rages, a few profiteers, with the ear of our regulators who choose pharma money over science, or facts, found another marketing tool.

    • Thank you so much for speaking truth Mavis. As a patient gravely harmed by unwarranted psych med prescriptions, it makes my blood boil reading articles such as this spouting their false statistics. In my personal journey trying to find out why my health was rapidly declining, I was in the hospital 7 times and saw over 30 medical professionals. I have read every single word in my hundreds of pages of medical records. Not one word, by any doctor, attributes my various conditions to the adverse effects of prescription meds. I had almost no health issues before taking these meds. The horrific torture of the withdrawal from them has lasted 27 months, so far. I had to get away from ‘healthcare’ to save my own life. I’m healing, but I have little expectation of returning to my former level of cognitive function. This is brain damage, plain and simple, as these are brain disabling drugs. As certain as I am that my injuries were never attributed to taken as prescribed meds, there are many others just like me. There are currently at least 60,000 PTs in dozens of online support groups trying to help each other heal from the damage done to them by these drugs with little to no help from their doctors. I promise you they are not being counted either, and many of us will spend the rest of our lives trying to change that.
      One comment you made seriously jumped out at me, if there is ANY way to prove this I beg you to reply. “Doctors were told that making a notation about side-effects could lead to liability….”
      Please keep speaking your truth, as often and as loudly as possible. I’ve seen a fairly recent ‘shift’ in awareness, I think huge public outrage will be the only way to change things. We have to keep screaming. Peace to you.

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