Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Monday, March 29, 2010

Inside the beautiful mind of a schizophrenic psychologist


"Schizophrenia gripped the mind of Frederick Frese in the usual fashion, with an abrupt psychotic break in his early twenties that felt like terrifying insight.

Now a prominent clinical psychologist and mental health advocate, who is still afflicted by his field's most mysterious delusional pathology, Dr. Frese was then a U.S. Marine captain with an advanced math and science education, fluent in Japanese, and assigned to guard nuclear weapons at the Jacksonville, Fla., naval base....

...his singular medical accomplishment, which is to provide psychiatry with a first-hand scientific account of psychosis, one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted medical conditions.

He understands, for example, why the bizarre writings of the prophet Ezekiel, "one of our people, no question," are most often favoured by schizophrenics, followed by the naked preacher Elijah. As for angels, he reports that Muslim schizophrenics tend to prefer Gabriel, and Judeo-Christians prefer Michael.

Dr. Frese cites the question of suicide in schizophrenia -- often by falls from a great height -- as a particularly misunderstood phenomenon, with so many investigations lacking the kind of sympathy his personal experience provides. He means that if someone believes he can fly, jumping off a bridge is not suicide, and in cases such as former U.S. Defense Secretary James Forrestal, who jumped out of a 16th-floor hospital window, what looks like suicide might in fact be medical negligence. Ever since that death, in 1949, windows on U.S. psychiatric wards are fitted with "Forrestal screens."


We would be interested in knowing Dr. Friese's thoughts on diagnosis of the physical causes of mental illness.

We don't think Dr. Frese's desire to dance - cited in the article - is a sign of mental instability; we think it is a sign of mental health.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

CBC: Pfizer ordered to pay $142M in damages

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has been ordered to pay $142 million US in damages for fraudulently marketing gabapentin, an anti-seizure drug marketed under the name Neurontin.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wachovia Bank - Money Laundering, Plea Bargain

This is a bit off our usual path, but Wachovia handles NAMI's money. Links:
Money Laundering, Plea Bargain

March 17, 2010

Bank Agrees to Pay $160 Million

Wachovia Bank, N.A. (“Wachovia”), one of the largest banks in the United States, has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida and the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice to resolve charges that it willfully failed to establish an anti-money laundering program. Today’s agreement is the result of an investigation into Wachovia’s transactions with Mexican currency exchange houses, commonly known as “casas de cambio” (“CDCs”), announced Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Lanny A. Breuer, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (“IRS-CID”), John C. Dugan, Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and James H. Freis, Jr., Director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The agreement also resolves Wachovia’s admitted failure to identify, detect, and report suspicious transactions in third-party payment processor accounts.

A criminal information, filed March 12, 2010 and unsealed today, charges Wachovia with willfully failing to maintain an anti-money laundering program from May 2003 through June 2008, in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). According to the information and other documents filed with the court today, including a detailed Factual Statement and a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“the Agreement”), Wachovia failed to effectively monitor for potential money laundering activity more than $420 billion in financial transactions with the CDCs.

As part of the Agreement filed today, Wachovia has agreed to forfeit $110 million to the United States, which represents proceeds of illegal narcotics sales that were laundered through Wachovia. FinCEN also assessed a $110 million Civil Money Penalty that is deemed satisfied by the forfeiture to the U.S. government, for serious and systemic BSA violations. Moreover, pursuant to the terms of the Agreement and the OCC’s separate Cease and Desist and Civil Money Penalty Orders, Wachovia has agreed to pay an additional $50 million fine to the U.S. Treasury. The total sum of $160 million is due within five days from the date of the Agreement.

In light of Wachovia’s willingness to acknowledge responsibility for its actions and omissions, its cooperation and remedial actions to date, and its promised continued cooperation and remedial actions in the future, the government has agreed to defer prosecution of the criminal charge in the information for 12 months. If Wachovia fully complies with its obligations under the Agreement, the U.S. agrees to dismiss the criminal information at the end of the 12 months. Earlier today, the Agreement was accepted in federal court in Miami by U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard.

According to the documents filed with the court, Wachovia was aware, as early as 1996 and through 2004, of the high risk that drug money was being of laundered through the CDCs. Wachovia was also aware that other U.S. banks had stopped doing business with the CDCs because of these concerns. Wachovia, however, continued to expand its business with the CDCs. Indeed, from at least May 2004 through December 2007, Wachovia provided correspondent banking services to various Mexican CDCs, including wire transfer, bulk cash, and pouch and remote deposit capture services, among others.

According to the documents, Wachovia allowed CDCs to wire transfer funds through accounts at Wachovia to recipients throughout the world. Wachovia also offered a “bulk cash” service to CDCs, through which the CDCs collected large sums of dollars that would be physically transported to the United States for deposit. In addition, Wachovia offered a “pouch” deposit service and later, a “remote deposit capture” (“RDC”) service, which allowed the CDCs to deposit at Wachovia items drawn on U.S. banks, including checks and traveler's checks, presented by their Mexican customers. According to the documents filed today, Wachovia did not have an effective anti-money laundering policy or procedure to monitor these transactions to detect and report potential money laundering activity, as required by the BSA. As a result, from May 1, 2004 through May 31, 2007, at least $373 billion in wire transfers were made from the CDCs to Wachovia accounts; more than $4 billion in bulk cash was transported from the CDCs in Mexico to accounts at Wachovia; and approximately $47 billion was deposited at Wachovia accounts through the RDC service. These monies included millions of dollars that were subsequently used to purchase airplanes for narcotics trafficking operations. Ultimately, more than 20,000 kilograms of cocaine were seized from these airplanes.

According to court documents, Wachovia also maintained account relationships with certain third-party payment processors for the telemarketing industry from 2003 to 2008. These processors deposited more than $418 million using remotely-created checks into Wachovia accounts on behalf of the telemarketers. Remotely-created checks are created when the holder of a checking account authorizes a payee to draw a check on that account but does not actually sign the check. In place of the account-holder’s signature, the remotely-created check generally bears a statement that the customer authorized the check. These checks were often returned as “unauthorized” resulting in return rates that, in some cases, exceeded 40 percent of the deposited checks. Wachovia admitted that it failed to identify, detect, and report the suspicious transactions in the third-party payment processor accounts, as required by the BSA, due to deficiencies in its anti-money laundering program. Specifically, Wachovia failed to conduct appropriate customer due diligence by delegating most of this responsibility to business units instead of compliance personnel. Wachovia also failed to monitor high return rates for remotely-created checks and report suspicious wire transfer activity from the processors’ accounts.

U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman stated, “On the heels of the UBS international banking case, in which we held accountable the largest bank in Switzerland, today we announce the deferred prosecution of Wachovia, one of the largest banks in the United States. Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations by laundering at least $110 million in drug proceeds. Corporate citizens, no matter how big or powerful, must be held accountable for their actions. Today’s historic agreement makes it clear that such conduct will not be tolerated and imposes the largest penalty in any BSA case prosecuted to date.”

“As this case demonstrates, financial institutions - no matter how large - will be held accountable when they allow dirty money to pollute the U.S. banking system,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. “With billions of dollars flowing through our financial institutions each day, it is imperative that banks maintain robust anti-money laundering controls to identify possible illegal activity.”

“A narcotics investigation always involves two things: drugs and money,” said Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division. “DEA Agents and our law enforcement partners investigating a multi-national drug trafficking organization were able to seize drugs and identify the associated financial trail. Diligent investigative work exposed how this organization capitalized on weak anti-money laundering practices at Wachovia to further their drug trafficking abilities.”

Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-CID in Miami, stated, “The law requires all banks, including Wachovia, to notify the Department of Treasury when they detect suspicious activity. By failing to maintain an adequate anti-money laundering program, Wachovia disregarded numerous financial transactions that should have raised "red flags" and caused their bank to act a as conduit to launder money.”

“The practices targeted by today’s enforcement actions reflect a totally unacceptable breakdown in the standards expected of banks’ anti-money laundering systems and compliance. Today’s actions by the OCC and other agencies demonstrate our firm commitment to the highest standards of compliance in this arena and the success of continued coordinated efforts by the Department of Justice, OCC, and FinCEN to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act,” said John C. Dugan, Comptroller of the Currency. “Financial institutions must maintain anti-money laundering compliance programs and policies that are adequate to identify, analyze and report suspicious activity and are commensurate with the risks being undertaken. With these actions, we are sending another strong message that we will not tolerate use of the U.S. financial system to launder illegal monies.”

“In the recent past, Wachovia was the fourth largest commercial bank in the United States, and held itself out as a global leader in correspondent banking,” said James H. Freis, Jr., FinCEN Director. “During FinCEN’s joint investigation with our law enforcement and regulatory agency partners, it became evident that, despite such a prominent role in the domestic and international banking sectors and accompanying resources, Wachovia did not institute systems, controls and other measures to manage risk commensurate with the scope and magnitude of its products, services and business lines, particularly foreign correspondent banking.”

Wachovia Bank will merge into Wells Fargo Bank later this month. The Agreement binds Wells Fargo, as Wachovia’s successor, to continue to implement remedial measures to fully bring Wachovia into BSA compliance.

The CDC-portion of this matter was investigated by the DEA’s Miami Field Division, IRS-CID’s Miami Office, FinCEN, and OCC. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea G. Hoffman and Jared E. Dwyer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The investigation of the third-party payment processors was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Constantine Lizas and Matthew Haslinger of the Criminal Division's Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section. This portion of the case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Philadelphia Field Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Philadelphia Division.

Information (PDF)
Agreement (PDF)
Statement (PDF)
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

Technical comments about this website can be e-mailed to the Webmaster. PLEASE NOTE: The United States Attorney's Office does not respond to non-technical inquiries made to this website. If you wish to make a request for information, you may contact our office at 305-961-9001, or you may send a written inquiry to the United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida, 99 NE 4th Street, Miami, Fl. 33132.

Senator Charles Grassley is investigating NAMI's funding ties,
three-quarters of which may come from Pharma.

Now we look at this NAMI PDF on donations in a different light...

Aluminum and neurologial disease

We always suspected that the "Alzheimer's" of our dear aunt who used M****** deodorant for years was due to aluminum... but in this video interview with Dr. Mercola, scientist Dr. David Ayoub reveals that aluminum can cause many other neurological disorders - and from a very early age.
Dr. Mercola's site is at

We use Epsom Salts dissolved in water as a deodorant. It's magnesium, so it is healthy - and makes skin silky like talcum powder.

Microchipping: Pets, People and Cancer

Is your pet microchipped? Have you thought about getting a chip implanted in yourself or a loved one? Then you will definitely want to have a look at this information.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mental Health and Micronutrients - Revolution or false hope?

From the Montreal Gazette
“The normalization of the mentally ill via nutrient supplementation would be the most significant breakthrough in the field of mental illness since the beginning of time,” states Bonnie Kaplan – a professor in the faculty of medicine at University of Calgary who has conducted research into Stephan’s micronutrient treatment – in conference materials for Micronutrients for Mental Health, held in San Francisco in December.

Kaplan co-authored a study with New York University economics Professor Dermot Gately, published in November 2009, examining 358 adults with bipolar disorder who were using Stephan’s approach. The study showed that symptoms of bipolar disorder were “45-per-cent lower after six months” of taking micronutrients, according to their report in the journal Clinical Medicine: Psychiatry. This involved daily doses of vitamins and minerals that could be sourced from almost any drugstore.

Although this treatment originated in Canada, other countries might be in the process of legitimizing it.


We think good nutrition is common sense.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Patton Report

Report on conditions at a California mental hospital, presented to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006

Excerpt from page 5 -
"Initial assessments at Patton are not individualized and fail to provide a basis for a diagnostic process that hassufficient reliability and validity. Moreover, initial assessments are routinely completed within 24 hours of admission to Patton, before the treating psychiatrist would be able toobtain input from other disciplines. The practice of finalizingassessments within 24 hours deprives the psychiatrist ofpotentially critical diagnostic information.
Annual update assessments are likewise inadequate. Many are based on outdated information and, therefore, do not provide anaccurate guide for the patient’s treatment. In fact, we found that Patton’s overall approach to ongoing psychiatric assessment reflects a lack of critical thinking and clinical inquiry. In many cases we reviewed, the psychiatrist failed to evaluate important developments in a patient’s condition that would suggest that the diagnosis assigned to the patient is not accurate. Without a proper understanding of a patient’s condition, Patton’s psychiatrists cannot make appropriate treatment decisions. Additionally, Patton fails to adequately assess the presence and impact of seizure disorders when formulating psychiatric diagnoses and assessments.
As a result of the deficiencies in psychiatric assessments and diagnoses at Patton, patients’ actual illnesses are not being properly treated and are permitted to progress. Additionally, patients are exposed to potentially toxic treatments for conditions from which they do not suffer, patients are not provided appropriate psychiatric rehabilitation, and patients’options for discharge are seriously limited."



Celebrities involved in mental illness activism toe the meds line

Bringchange2mind, an American mental illness/anti stigma charity, appears to offer no real information about the causes of mental disorders. The group's celebrity figureheads are Glenn Close and Ron Howard.
From its site:


One of the best ways you can help someone with mental illness is by understanding what it is – and what it isn’t. After all, myths about mental illnesses contribute to stigma, which often prevents those who are living with it from seeking help.

The fact is, a mental illness is a disorder of the brain – your body’s most important organ – And 1 in 6 adults suffers from brain-related illness including depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD and schizophrenia.

Like most diseases of the body, it has many causes – from genetics to other biological, environmental and social/cultural factors. And just as with most diseases, mental illnesses are no one’s fault. The unusual behaviors associated with some illnesses are symptoms of the disease – not the cause.

But most importantly, mental illnesses are treatable through medication and psychosocial therapies – allowing those who suffer from them the opportunity to lead full and productive lives."

Mr. Howard's dishonesty about mental illness we have dealt with here. John Nash, the subject of Howard's film A BEAUTIFUL MIND, recovered from schizophrenia without drugs.

When Miss Close LEARNS THE FACTS - that medications can disable and kill and that many of the people she is trying to help may in fact have acquired Bipolar Disorder and other disabilities like Tardive Dyskinesia as a result of taking antidepressants or other psychoactive medications - she is sure to be furious.

Bringchange2mind links to pro-meds government and charity sites. It doesn't raise any questions about the real causes of mental disorders and how to do physical tests to screen for schizophrenia or other disorders, and does not oppose the promotion of psychotropic meds for young children.

We wish Bringchange2mind would promote healing that does no harm. For example, this link has a collection of articles on fish oil and mental health.

Finally, Bringchange2mind states that "1 in 6 adults suffers from brain-related illness including depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD and schizophrenia."

Where did this figure come from?

The UN's WHO puts the frequency of schizophrenia at about 1 in 100. And WHO studies have indicated that Third World country patients can recover better and faster from schizophrenia without treatment than with Western-style intervention.

Bringchange2mind seems to be a screen for promotion of the Pharma status quo.

UPDATE: The UK has a similar initiative,
Time To Change.

Psych meds or exercise will not cure thyroid conditions, a copper overload, a Niacin deficiency. Real change will come when people can get proper diagnoses and the treatments they need - and get well.

Follow the money...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Vitamin D Theory of Autism

"In addition to the current epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, say another epidemic—an epidemic of autism—was upon our children? What if the autism epidemic began at the same time the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency began? What if both epidemics had worsened in unison? What if one theory explained all the unexplained facts about autism? What if both epidemics had the same root cause: sun avoidance? What if both were iatrogenic, that is, medical advice to avoid the sun had caused both epidemics?Be warned, what follows is not light reading—autism is not a light disease.
The theory that vitamin D deficiency, during pregnancy or childhood, causes autism is just a theory. However, the theory has a plausible mechanism of action, explains all the unexplained facts about autism, subsumes several other theories, implies simple prevention, and is easily disprovable—all components of a useful theory.A genetic lesion (abnormality) in some component of the vitamin D system—a lesion vitamin D's unique pharmacology could overcome—would explain why monozygotic (identical) twins are highly affected while fraternal twins are not. Varying brain levels of activated vitamin D during later life would explain why some identical twins get severe disease while others are barely affected.Falling vitamin D levels over the last 20 years due to sun-avoidance explain autism's rapid increase in incidence during that same time. The very different effects estrogen and testosterone have on vitamin D metabolism may explain why boys are much more likely to get it than girls are. Lower vitamin D levels in blacks may explain their higher rates of autism. The vitamin D theory has tenable explanations for all the epidemiological features of autism."
Read more at Link

Scientist Offers Compelling Images of Gulf War Illness

Since the early 1990s, some 175,000 U.S. troops have returned from service in the first Gulf War reporting a host of vague complaints, notes Richard Briggs, a physical chemist at UT Southwestern involved in the new imaging. Their symptoms ranged from mental confusion, difficulty concentrating, attacks of sudden vertigo and intense uncontrollable mood swings to extreme fatigue and sometimes numbness – or the opposite, constant body pain.

With funding from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Haley has assembled a team of roughly 140 researchers. Many work with patients. Others are developing new animal, biochemical and genetic studies to identify the biological perturbations underlying Gulf War Illness. But the vast majority – some two-thirds of these scientists – are now involved in brain imaging.

As a result of these studies, Briggs says, “In the last two years we have learned more about Gulf War Illness than we did in the previous 15.”

What’s emerged is evidence to suggest “that there are three major syndromes responsible for Gulf War Illness,” he says. They appear loosely linked to at least three different types of agents to which many troops were exposed: sarin nerve gas, a nerve gas antidote (pyridostigmine bromide) that presented its own risks and military-grade pesticides to prevent illness from sand flies and other noxious pests. But Briggs acknowledges that no one knows for sure which combination of agents or environmental conditions might have conspired to trigger Gulf War illness.

Link to article and images

Army Pesticides in the Military

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pharmalot: FDA May Prosecute More Pharmaceutical Execs

By Ed Silverman // March 4th, 2010 //
The FDA plans to increase misdemeanor prosecutions of industry execs as it looks to refocus its Office of Criminal Investigations (see this letter to the Senate Finance committee). The move comes in response to a new report from the General Accountability Office that the OCI suffers from lax oversight, despite increased in funding and staffing over the past decade. In fact, the FDA hasn’t reviewed most OCI offices in more than three years. The OCI investigates counterfeit drugs and other bad stuff, as well as misconduct by FDA employees.
The GAO concluded the FDA “has relied largely on the OCI director to determine which aspects of OCI’s operations and investigations are made known to FDA’s top management.” The GAO found assessments of six OCI field offices aren’t being done on a timely basis. Of 24 total office assessments that should have been completed by August 2009, only 7, or about 30 percent, were completed and one office hadn’t been assessed in over 10 years.

Continues at Link
Thanks, Ed!

Ah, but... who is watching the watchers?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Mental Illness

David Granirer's comedy training for individuals with mental illness is proving to be a hit - a report from Canada's THE TYEE

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

USA: HHS Report - One in nine senior citizens goes hungry

So many physical and mental ills are made worse by poor nutrition...

Senior Citizen Politics
One in 9 Senior Citizens Going Hungry Says Report to Senate Aging Committee
Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) says 35 million Americans going hungry, senior citizens are ‘disproportionately affected’

March 10, 2008 – One out of every nine senior citizens in America is going hungry, according to testimony last week at a hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which was called by the ranking member, Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-OR). Smith said 35 million Americans are going hungry and senior citizens are “disproportionately affected.”

A major reason for the hearing was to showcase the release of findings by the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) Foundation, which quantifies the problems and causes of hunger that seniors face and how these trends will continue into the future as our society ages.

“Hunger is a disease that is affecting our country, but unlike other diseases we have a cure for hunger today. Because of Senator Smith's leadership on this issue, we now have a national forum to present these findings,” said Enid Borden, President and CEO of MOWAA.

Key findings included:

● In 2005, over five million seniors, 11.4% of all seniors, experienced some form of food insecurity (i.e., are marginally food insecure).
>> Of these, about 2.5 million are at-risk of hunger (i.e. are food insecure), and about 750,000 actually experienced hunger (i.e., very low food security) due to financial constraints.

● Seniors are more likely to be at-risk of hunger if they are ages 60 to 65, poor, African-American or Hispanic, divorced or separated, living with a grandchild and/or renters.

● In 2025, an estimated 9.3 million senior Americans will experience some form of food insecurity, almost double the number in 2005.

Link to HHS Report - PDF