Antipsychotics, the Proven Treatment for Profit

Anti-psychotics drugs alone net the pharmaceutical industry at least $14.6bn dollars a year. Psycho-pharmaceuticals are the most profitable sector of the industry, which makes it one of the most profitable business sectors in the world. Americans are less than 5% of the world’s population, yet they consume 66% of the world’s psychological medications.

One drug that is a close cousin of Thorazine, Abilify, is currently the top-selling of all prescription drugs in the U.S. marketed as a supplement to antidepressant drugs, and alone generates 6.9 billion $ for the pharmaceutical industry. Not only is it amazing that an antipsychotic is outselling all other drugs, no one even knows how it works to relieve depression. The standardized United States Product Insert says Abilify’s method of action is “unknown” but it likely “balances” brain’s neurotransmitters. But critics say antipsychotics don’t treat anything at all, but zone people out and produce oblivion. They also say there is a concerning rise in the prescription of antipsychotics for routine complaints like insomnia.

Abilify is actually a powerful anti-psychotic given to people with severe mental illness.  While Abilify’s advertising depicts it as a kind of supplement to anti-depressants, with sad women giving it a try when mother’s little helper no longer seems to help, Abilify actually is like a bazooka to conventional anti-depressants’ revolver. Critics such as Britain’s Joanna Moncrieff have argued that anti-psychotics don’t treat anything at all; they just zone people out so they don’t notice much. They’re effective in the short term, but essentially, that’s because they are really just powerful tranquilizers.

A London NHS psychiatrist, Joanna Moncrieff, has endeavored to expose the “myth” of antipsychotics. Whereas Moncrieff has already highlighted antidepressant non-effectiveness, it is her research on antipsychotics that is more shocking. The evidence shows, she says, that antipsychotics not only do not work long-term they also cause brain damage – a fact which is being “fatally” overlooked. Plus, because of a cocktail of vicious side-effects, antipsychotics almost triple a person’s risk of dying prematurely.

Seroquel was first approved in 1997 for schizophrenia but subsequently approved for bipolar disorder, psychiatric conditions in children and finally as an add-on drug for depression like Abilify. The depression “market” is so huge, Seroquel’s last approval allowed the former schizophrenia drug to make $5.3 billion a year before it went off patent. But before the add-on approval, AstraZeneca, which makes Seroquel, ran a sleazy campaign to convince depressed people they were really “bipolar.” Ads showed an enraged woman screaming into the phone, her face contorted, her teeth clenched. Is this you, asked the ads? Your depression may really be bipolar disorder, warned the ad. Seroquel’s method of action is also “unknown”, according to the insert for the drug written by the drug manufacturer.

With the help of staggering profits and 1,100-plus paid lobbyists, the industry has gained powerful leverage on Capitol Hill. From 1998 to 2014, Big Pharma spent nearly $2.9 billion on lobbying expenses — more than any other industry. The industry also doled out more than $15 million in campaign contributions from 2013-14.

But the large amount of cash Big Pharma bestows on government representatives and regulatory bodies is small when compared with the billions it spends each year on direct-to-consumer advertising. The U.S. is one of only two countries in the world whose governments allow prescription drugs to be advertised on TV (the other is New Zealand).

What does all of this prove? One thing that it proves is that the ‘B.E.A.M treatment’ and any other treatment that eliminates the need for antipsychotic drugs will never be available in the U.S., and even any communication about it will be considered as a threat to the profitability of an obscenely corrupt and greedy industry. The American public is waking up to this reality; that they live under the control of an industry that not only has no valuation for curing the most chronic illnesses of our time, but has an invested interest in keeping people sick with these diseases.

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