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19 April 2012

News from Geneva: Lecture on "The Marketing of Madness": Psychiatric Medications Dominate Mental Health

On 18 April 2012, the Citizens’ Commission for Human Rights (CCHR) organized a lecture in Geneva, Switzerland, on the marketing of psychiatric diagnoses and medications and their adverse effects on health.  Dr. Nicolas Franceschetti, President of CCHR, Geneva, introduced the evening by referring to recent developments such as the British Medical Journal article published on 27 February 2012 warning about the deadly adverse effects of regular ingestion of hypnotics (sleeping pills) which include shortening of lifespan and cancer.

A nurse who works at a “home” for aged persons (EMS) in Switzerland gave testimony of the over-prescription of medications to the elderly in these establishments.

Extracts of the documentary, “The Marketing of Madness” were shown. (YouTube access to the 177-minute film is available at the end of the article).  The film discusses “how psychiatric medications with deadly side effects and no known rate of cure came to dominate the field of mental health”, for example through the drawing up of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).  This manual creates “disease out of everyday suffering and as a result, pads the bottom lines” of pharmaceutical companies (ref: “Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness”, by Gary Greenberg, 27 December 2010, Wired Magazine).  Another example is the prescription of atypical antipsychotics to some 2.5 million children in the United States.  This new type of psychiatric medication, which includes Risperdal and Zyprexa, can cause weight gain, cardio-vascular dysfunction and Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms.  These drugs sometimes require the prescription of other psychotropic medications to lessen side-effects, a practice called “poly-pharmacy”.