invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

antipsychotics and oprah on bipolar September 25, 2007

In what some are calling ZyprexaGate…another state is bringing forth a lawsuit against Eli Lilly, Janssen and Astra Zeneca for a marketing scheme involving the antipsychotics Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel. To date, nine states are suing antipsychotic makers. Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia are suing Eli Lilly regarding Zyprexa. Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania are suing Janssen regarding Risperdal. Pennsylvania and South Carolina are also suing AstraZeneca regarding Seroquel. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is planning a lawsuit against three pharmaceutical companies, you guessed it… Eli Lilly, Janssen and AstraZeneca.

From the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

McDaniel said the companies engaged in a “marketing scheme that was very effective to where a drug that was never approved by the [federal Food and Drug Administration ] for children… the elderly… or run of the mill behavioral disorders like depression, all of a sudden was touted to America’s doctors, Arkansas ’ doctors, as a miracle drug. So, a child that has [attention deficit disorder ] is taking a drug that was never authorized for that child, causing serious complications… that could last a lifetime.”

He said the state Medicaid program has spent $200 million on those drugs over the last eight years and, under Arkansas’ Medicaid fraud law, the state could collect three times that much.

These antipsychotics are being prescribed for everything from depression to anorexia to bipolar and they’re just making us sicker. I am not a doctor but I do have firsthand experience with one these medications and twenty years of experience living with a mental illness. It’s quite obvious to me these drugs should be used in extreme cases or short term. We know that these drugs have killed more than 6,000 people. If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is. (more…)


update on mental health parity bill September 24, 2007

Last week the Senate passed legislation that would require equal health insurance coverage for mental and physical illnesses when policies cover both. One day after the Senate approved the bill (S 558), the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health approved the House version (HR 1424) of mental health parity legislation. There are a few differences between the House and Senate bills. Most notably is the House legislation includes a broader definition of conditions that insurers would be required to cover. The Senate legislation is a little more vague, it seems their bill leaves it up to the insurance companies to decide what is covered. Under the House version, the policy would go into effect Jan. 1, 2008, while the Senate bill states that it would begin one year after it becomes law.

Click here to read my previous blog on the House version. And you can read the side-by-side comparison of the two bills here. Of course, they’re both better than what we have today. If only someone would introduce a bill that will reimburse the mentally ill the money we have paid out of our pockets for years. Take action to see change! Write your local congress members and the president. You’ll find their email addresses here.


owen wilson, suicide, stigma September 21, 2007

Rarely a day passes that I don’t see evidence of the stigma which still exists with mental illness. I wish we could come up with a new label for mental illness. Maybe then we could start the process of forcing insurance companies to cover the illness like they would diabetes. Categorize it under an illness or disease of the brain and treat it as so. I can’t think of a label but I’m sure someone could. Society continues to associate the word mental with: insane, crazy or mad. Because of this, those with a mental illness are rarely taken seriously and are sometimes discarded, avoided or mocked. But most of all, they are sadly, misunderstood. (more…)


hillary clinton’s health care plan September 19, 2007

Filed under: health care,politics — clementine @ 1:30 pm
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Desperate times call for drastic change and that is not what Hillary Clinton’s new health care plan (American Health Choices Plan) calls for. Our health care system is broken and we need to see big change in order to fix it. We need to take the profit out of health care. Leaving health care in the hands of insurance companies is not the way to do it. Insurance companies need to be taken out of the equation. Hillary’s solution is a combination of tax credits, unspecified encouragement to drug companies to “offer fair prices,” and promoting “consumer price consciousness in choosing health plans.” Those tax credits will mostly benefit higher income Americans. And people like me, who struggle with the ever-increasing cost of medical bills, insurance premiums and deductibles will likely choose the cheapest plan that provides the worst coverage. Sounds pretty much like what we have now in this broken system.

If you’re in doubt our health care system is broken, check out the statistics here or here or here. Or note American Cancer Society’s plan to spend their entire 2007 advertising budget addressing the health care crisis. Dr. Otis Brawley, incoming chief medical officer of the cancer society, said 1 in 10 cancer patients lack insurance. Almost 560,000 Americans will die from cancer this year, and the American Cancer Society estimates 36,377 cancer patients will die without insurance. (more…)


children and bipolar September 12, 2007

Filed under: antipsychotics,mental illness — clementine @ 1:33 pm
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i still have nothing interesting or unique to say. on some days i spend an hour or so reading blogs, my favorite online news sources (bbc, nyt) and on occasion a few gossip sites like tmz to get my dose of trashy hollyweird news. oh, and i’m obsessed with the huffington post.

there is so much going on in this world and there’s so much i want to say and do and, well, it’s a bit overwhelming. the petraeus report. this war that seems will never end. the presidential campaign. the media telling us who the “real” candidates are. (and i can’t really get started on the media, especially after watching “all the presidents men” the other day—mainstream media should be ashamed). our nation’s health care system. big pharma. big corporations. lobbyists. the list goes on and on. i can’t believe we sit back and take it. i do know this. until we stand up and storm the streets. until we say, enough is enough, it will continue. and this really frightens me. depresses me. i wonder what will it take?

included in the recent dreary headlines has been a subject i have been very vocal on for over a year now. children and antipsychotics. recent studies are showing a dramatic increase in bipolar treatment/diagnosis for children under 19. in 1994 there were 20,000 doctor visits and in 2003 there were 800,000 visits. there are several reasons. #1 would be the pharmaceutical companies advertising the latest antipsychotic like seroquel or zyprexa. #2 parents/teachers believing the ads and the “warning signs”. (more…)