The Pill Merchants: The Relentless and Tragic Marketing of Psychiatric Drugs - The Mothers Act

Author // John Breeding, PhD & Amy Philo

Article Index
The Pill Merchants: The Relentless and Tragic Marketing of Psychiatric Drugs
Further into the Abyss
The Mothers Act
Hopelessness into Hope
All Pages

The Mothers Act

The MOTHERS Act is a new federal law that seeks to increase screening of all new moms for perinatal mood disorders (during and after pregnancy), and which promotes public awareness and “research” on postpartum depression.

This law was allegedly inspired by the story of Melanie Block- er Stokes, a pharmaceutical sales rep who became extremely dis- tressed after the birth of her daughter in 2001. Melanie’s doctors gave her four different cocktails of antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds and anti-psychotics, as well as repeated electroshock sessions. She jumped from a 12th-story hotel window when her daughter was only 3- months old. Some time before her suicide, Melanie told her husband that the treatments were killing her. It only took 3- months for psychiatry to destroy this woman and devastate her family forever, yet our government offers more psy- chiatry as its “answer” to emotional problems after birth—in the name of Melanie Stokes.

If the government were to initiate a “Take Your Zoloft” aware- ness campaign, we would understand that it is merely for the benefit of Pfizer. Yet somehow, many have been fooled into buy- ing the notion that a screening program for some “mental illness” like depression is for public health.

Screening is considered a medical diagnostic procedure, which requires the due process of informed consent. This due process right cannot legally be ignored without an emergency mental health situation (which gives authority to a doctor to screen), or when a court determines a person is incompetent to consent to screening. Because mothers as a group cannot be considered incompetent to consent, nor can their collective due process rights be bargained away by Congress, mass screening programs without individualized mandatory informed consent and refusal procedures are not only a bad idea, they are constitu- tionally impermissible.

New Jersey’s 2006 mandatory postpartum depression screen- ing law implements the use of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depres- sion Scale (EPDS). In practice, the EPDS has been demonstrated to triple the number of women diagnosed with postpartum depression. Due to its subjectivity, almost anyone can be termed depressed or at risk of depression and treatment would be rec- ommended. Swedish researchers Ingela Krantz et al examined the subjectivity of the EPDS and found:

Routine EPDS screening of Swedish postpartum women would lead to considerable ethical problems due to the weak scientific foundation of the screen- ing instrument. Despite a multitude of published studies, the side-effects in terms of misclassifications have not been considered carefully. The EPDS does not function very well as a routine screening instrument…. Public health authorities should not advocate screening of unproved value. Screening is not just a medical issue but also an ethical one.

Advocates of this instrument have even admitted that based on screening results, categories of varying risk are established such that 100 percent of new mothers are at risk of depression and candidates for treatment!

Postpartum depression is not a distinct disease of its own; even the preamble to the MOTHERS Act states that we don’t know what causes PPD. Rather, it is a convenient label for widely varying circumstances. The label is used by doctors to excuse their lack of investigation into possible underlying physical diseases, and by society to absolve us of our responsibility to support new mothers, many of whom will undoubtedly have sig- nificant difficulty adjusting without proper support.

So many factors can cause a mother’s sadness. How much of so-called postpartum depression is the effect of a stressful, un- supported pregnancy, or of a birth with labor-inducing drugs and painkillers, or unnecessary Cesarean deliveries with anesthesia and forced separation from the baby, and on and on? This is not to say that moms don’t get depressed. But you can’t “treat” something with medicine if you don’t know what’s causing it— and simply giving someone an addictive psychiatric drug is not going to treat depression. Rather than “cure” depression, this drugging can sometimes lead to tragedy or devastating injury of our babies, as in the cases of Matthew Schultz, Manie McNamee and Indiana Delahunty (see sidebar).

Drug company funding of “educational” activities on perinatal depression and other mood disorders has resulted in misin- formed doctors placing pregnant and breastfeeding mothers on drugs toxic enough to cause fatal serotonin syndrome in adults. These can cause such effects in breastfeeding babies as exces- sive vomiting, seizures, coma and death.

In a recent article titled “Prescription Drug Epidemic Spreads to Babies,” Dr. Mary Newport stated that the number of babies being treated for prescription drug withdrawal in the past two years exceeded the number she had seen in the past 25 years combined. Prescription drug withdrawal treatment for babies involves more medication than for heroin or cocaine. In addition, sudden withdrawal of a drug during the pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, or the baby could have a seizure and die.

According to the FDA, from 2004 to 2008 more than 7,000 cases of birth defects, spontaneous abortions and intra-uterine deaths, heart disease and premature births were reported as linked primarily to exposure from psychiatric drugs during pregnancy.

Acting for Mothers

In the world of modern mental health treatment, “at-risk” labels assume a biological or genetic defect, which means drug treat- ment. It is astounding how many mothers already get “treatment.” The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists esti- mates that one third of pregnant women are exposed to psycho- tropic drugs at some point during pregnancy. In addition, at least 13 percent of U.S. women take antidepressants during pregnancy. This is due in part to unplanned pregnancies, but many women continue consuming medications while breastfeeding or pregnant. Drug companies ensure increased profits by drugging toddlers for so-called ADHD when these children grow up and become la- beled with “bipolar disorder,” and they further ensure increased profits when the administration of antidepressants, stimulants, mood “stabilizers” and neuroleptic drugs results in increasing cases of diabetes, for which the drug companies have treat- ments. Likewise, drug companies will benefit exceedingly from the MOTHERS Act. The MOTHERS Act is not really for Melanie Stokes. Nor is it for moms and babies. It is for pHARMa.

The Ability to See and Act

Valid answers to the question of prevention can only come from the ability to see past the smokescreen and translate the Or- wellian language that perverts reality and results in poisoning our children. Here is an example of that translation:

Treating a mentally ill child with medicine for ADHD. This means…

  • Drugging a child judged as behaving poorly to control or alter his or her behavior.
  • Labeling and drugging a child to reduce adult discomfort.
  • Labeling children to create product points, to sell a product for profit.
  • Drugging a child to sell a drug.

Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #30.

Yes, I want this Issue!

Order Here.