Writing for Z Magazine–but here posted on AlterNet–Bruce Levine, a clinical psychologist, takes on the psychopharmaceutical-industrial complex:
In Eugene Jarecki’s documentary film Why We Fight, about the U.S. military-industrial complex, U.S. foreign policy critic Chalmers Johnson states: “I guarantee you when war becomes that profitable, you are going to see more of it.” Similarly, as mental illness has become extremely profitable, we are seeing more of it.
On September 4, 2007, the New York Times reported, “The number of American children and adolescents treated for bipolar disorder increased 40-fold from 1994 to 2003 … Drug makers and company-sponsored psychiatrists have been encouraging doctors to look for the disorder.”
Not too long ago, a child who was irritable, moody, and distractible and who at times sounded grandiose or acted without regard for consequences was considered a “handful.” In the U.S. by the 1980s, that child was labeled with a “behavioral disorder” and today that child is being diagnosed as “bipolar” and “psychotic” — and prescribed expensive antipsychotic drugs. Bloomberg News, also on September 4, 2007, reported, “The expanded use of bipolar as a pediatric diagnosis has made children the fastest-growing part of the $11.5 billion U.S. market for antipsychotic drugs.”
Psychopathologizing young people is not the only reason for the dramatic rise in sales of such antipsychotics as Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa and Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal (each, in recent years, grossing annually from $3 to $4 billion). Much of Big Pharma’s antipsychotic boon is attributable to generous U.S. government agencies, especially Medicaid. The Medicaid gravy train has been fueled by Big Pharma corruption so over-the-top that it has been the subject of recent media exposures. [full text]