ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION (AHRP)
Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, and Accountability
Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
1. Pringle, E.TeenScreen - Angel of Mercy or Pill-Pusher for Drug Industry,
OpEd News, April 15, 2005: http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/05/04/14.php
2. Pringle, E. Meet Laurie Flynn: TeenScreen's Top Pusher, CounterPunch,
June 6, 2005: http://www.counterpunch.org/pringle06062005.html
3. See, Allen Jones Report at:
4. See: Penn State Pharmacist Fined for Ethics Violations & Taking Cash
from Pfizer http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/05/04/15a.php
Evelyn Pringle: TeenScreen - The Law Suits Begin
Monday, 13 June 2005, 12:33 pm
Opinion: Evelyn Pringle
TeenScreen - The Law Suits Begin
By Evelyn Pringle
The scheme concocted by the pharmaceutical industry and pushed forward by
the Bush administration to screen the entire nation's public school
population for mental illness and treat them with controversial drugs was
already setting off alarms among parents all across the country. But in the
state of Indiana, the alarm just got louder.
Tax payers had better get out their check books because school taxes are
about to go up as the law suits against school boards start mounting over
the TeenScreen depression survey being administered to children in the school.
The first notice of intent to sue was filed this month in Indiana by
Michael and Teresa Rhoades who were outraged when they learned their
daughter had been given a psychological test at school without their consent.
In December 2004, their daughter came home from school and said she had
been diagnosed with an obsessive compulsive and social anxiety disorder
after taking the TeenScreen survey.
Teresa Rhoades always viewed her daughter as a happy normal teenager. “I
was absolutely outraged that my daughter was told she had these two
conditions based off a computer test,” said Rhoades.
Attorney John Price, who is representing the Rhoadeses, confirmed that he
had sent a notice of tort claim to both the school and Madison Center,
which worked with the school system to administer the test.
This action means that the Rhoadeses are declaring their intent to file a
lawsuit against both entities. Price said state law requires a notice of
claim to be sent to any governmental agencies, including schools, before a
lawsuit can be filed against them, according to the June 9, South Bend
In the notice, Teresa and Michael Rhoades claim the survey was erroneous,
improper, and done with reckless disregard for their daughter's welfare and
that they did not give the school permission to give the test.
The parents allege that when their daughter took the test, she was
improperly diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety
disorder. That diagnosis, they claim, caused both the teen and her parents
emotional distress, and the family intends to seek the "maximum amount of
The Indiana child was diagnosed with two disorders in one crack but there
are many more.
If a teen doesn't like doing math assignments, parents should not worry.
TeenScreen may determine that the child simply has a mental illness known
as developmental-arithmetic disorder.
There's also a diagnosis for those children who like to argue with their
parents, they may be afflicted with a mental illness known
And for anybody critical of the of the above 2 disorders, they may be
suffering the mental illness called noncompliance-with-treatment disorder.
No kidding, these illnesses are included in the more than 350 "mental
disorders" listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the insurance billing bible for
Tax Dollars Already Being Funneled To Pharma
In addition to lawsuits, tax dollars are already funding TeenScreen and
many of the drugs purchased by the new customers it recruits.
While promoting TeenScreen to Congress, its Executive Director, Laurie
Flynn, flat out lied when she told members of congress that TeenScreen was
free and its website statement that "The program does not receive financial
support from the government and is not affiliated with, or funded by, any
pharmaceutical companies," is also a blatant lie.
On Oct 21, 2004 Bush authorized $82 million for suicide prevention programs
like TeenScreen and a report in Psychiatric Times said the administration
had proposed an increase in the budget for the Center for Mental Health
Service from $862 million in 2004 to $912 million in fiscal 2005.
TeenScreen is sure to get a cut of those tax dollars.
Federal tax dollars are also being funneled through state governments to
fund TeenScreen. On Nov 17, 2004, Officials at the University of South
Florida Department of Child & Family Studies said $98,641 was awarded to
expand the TeenScreen program in the Tampa Bay area.
In Ohio, under the governor's Executive Budget for 2006 and 2007, the
Department of Mental Health has specifically earmarked $70,000 for
TeenScreen for each of those years, reports investigator Sue Weibert.
On June, 2002 the Update Newsletter published by the Tennessee Department
of Mental Health, reported that 170 Nashville students had completed a
TeenScreen survey. The Newsletter said the survey was funded by grants from
AdvoCare and Eli Lilly. Last I knew, Eli Lilly was a pharmaceutical company.
The great news for Pharma was that 96 of the 170 students who took the
survey ended up speaking to a therapist which no doubt resulted in the
recruitment of 96 new pill-popping teens.
Tax Dollars Spent On Drugs
Unbeknownst to many, tax payers are already paying an enormous price as a
result of marketing schemes designed to get students hooked on
antipsychotic drugs. A list of drugs that must be prescribed for kids is
already set up, modeled after a list used in Texas since 1995 called the
TMAP. The list contains the most expensive drugs on the market.
In 2002, national sales of antipsychotics reached $6.4 billion in 2002,
making them the fourth-highest-selling class of drugs, according to IMS
Health, a company that tracks drug sales, in the May 2003, New York Times.
By 2004, sales had jumped by over $2 billion with antipsychotics sales
totaling $8.8 billion -- $2.4 billion of which was paid for by state
Medicaid funds, according to the May/June 2005 issue of Mother Jones Magazine.
Here's how this part of the scheme works. The drug companies bribe state
officials and donate money in the form of "educational grants" to the
states to approve and implement these TMAP drug programs, and then in
return, state Medicaid programs fund the cost of the drugs with tax dollars.
For instance, in Texas, Pfizer awarded $232,000 in grants to the Texas
department of mental health to "educate" mental health providers about
TMAP, and in return, the Texas Medicaid program spent $233 million tax
dollars on Pfizer drugs like Zoloft.
Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Pharmaceutica) gave grants of $224,000 to Texas
and Medicaid spent $272 million on J & J antipsychotic drug, Risperdal.
Eli Lilly awarded $109,000 in grants to "educate" state mental health
providers and as a result, Texas Medicaid spent $328 million for Lilly's
antipsychotic drug Zyprexa.
The TMAP was approved in Texas in 1995, and by February 9, 2001, an article
in the Dallas Morning News, titled State Spending More on Mental Illness
Drugs reported: “Texas now spends more money on medication to treat mental
illness for low-income residents than on any other type of prescription drug.”
In addition to covering nearly 40% of the drugs for Medicaid recipients,
the state also spends about another $60 million a year on "hundreds of
thousands of prescription drugs for other state-funded programs at the
Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice,” the paper reported.
By the time the 2002-2003 budget was established, Texas lawmakers had to
increase the amount of money allocated to the department of health and
human services by $1 billion with a significant portion earmarked for
prescription drugs, according to Texas officials.
In 1999, Ohio adopted its version of TMAP and by 2002 Ohio's Medicaid
program was spending $145 million on schizophrenia medications alone.
California spent over $500 million on the Atypicals Risperdal, Zyprexa and
Seroqual in 2003.
In 2002, Missouri Medicaid spent $104 million on three TMAP drugs alone.
The three topped the list of all other medications covered by Medicaid,
including HIV, cancer, and heart drugs.
Chickens Come Home To Roost
Pennsylvania taxpayers are now saddled with PennMap, its own version of the
Texas list of expensive drugs, for the treatment of mentally ill, as a
result of a the pharmaceutical scheme used to infiltrate public
institutions and influence state officials and treatment practices.
It has since been revealed by whistleblowers Allen Jones and Stefan
Kruszewiski that the Pennsylvania officials who approved the drugs for
PennMap were receiving improper or illegal financial rewards from drug
companies involved in promoting the program.
Dr Stefan Kruszewski was hired as a psychiatric consultant for the
Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services. He was in charge of
the state's mental health and substance misuse programs to protect against
fraud, waste, and abuse. He was fired after he uncovered corrupt relations
between Pennsylvania politicians and pharmaceutical representatives and has
since filed a Whistleblower suit against the state.
Allen Jones was an employee of the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector
General, and revealed that state officials with influence over the PennMap
program received financial benefits from drug companies that had a stake in
getting PennMap accepted. Jones was fired after he made his discoveries
known to the BMJ and the New York Times when his superiors ordered him to
stop his investigation. He also has filed a Whistleblower suit.
Well, it looks like the chickens have finally come home to roost in
One of the officials that Jones named was Steven Fiorello. On April 15,
2005 the Associated Press reported that Pennsylvania's top pharmacist
repeatedly took money from Pfizer and other outside sources, violating
ethics laws, a government panel found.
The State Ethics Commission fined Fiorello more than $27,000 and referred
the case to the state attorney general's office for possible criminal
The commission cited repeated conflicts between Fiorello's unofficial
activities and his official duties, which included serving on a panel that
decides which drugs may be given to patients at the nine state mental
hospitals. The report also cited repeated failures to disclose his income
from drug companies, Pfizer and Janssen, and other outside sources.
It seems Fiorello became a member of Pfizer's "advisory council'' around
the same time he joined the PennMap panel. The council held annual
meetings, apparently "to solicit input from health-care professionals to
help Pfizer define its commercial strategies for its products," the
commission said in the report.
The ethics committee also discovered a "Medical Director's Education
Account," which was funded by unrestricted educational grants from
pharmaceutical companies and that Fiorello himself had solicited funds for
It was recently announce that these "educational" grants that have
benefited state officials who were in positions to approve the TMAP lists
are finally going to be investigated by a senate committee.
On June 10, 2005, Senators Chuck Grassley and Max Baucus issued a Press
Release that said they have asked a number of large drug makers to explain
a marketing practice where the companies give money to state governments
and other organizations in the form of grants. The drug companies call the
awards educational grants, but the senators are concerned that the dollars
are more focused on product promotion than education, the release said.
Grassley is chairman and Baucus is ranking member of the Senate Committee
on Finance, which has legislative and oversight responsibility for the
Medicare and Medicaid programs.
In addition, on June 9, 2005, the senators sent a letter to drug companies
that states in part, "The Committee seeks further information on this topic
so that it can assess how educational grants are used, in what contexts and
for what purposes, and who receives them."
It was sent to the following drug makers: Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson
& Johnson, Merck & Co, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Bristol-Myers
Squibb, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Amgen, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly,
Sanofi Aventis, Eisai, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals,
Schering-Plough Corporation, Hoffman-LaRoche, Forest Pharmaceuticals,
Abbott Laboratories, Genentech, Biogen Idec, Genzyme Corporation, Chiron
Corporation, Serono, and TAP Pharmaceutical Products.
The Senators said their inquiry is based on reports that some companies
have awarded these grants to health care providers as inducements to those
providers to prescribe medications the companies produce. In other cases,
such grants to state agencies may have prompted those agencies to develop
programs leading to over-medication of patients at the expense of patient
health or to unnecessary expense for taxpayers.
"We need to know how this behind-the-scenes funneling of money is
influencing decision makers," Grassley said, "The decisions result in the
government spending billions of dollars on drugs. The tactics look
aggressive, and the response on behalf of the public needs to be just as
This committee was needed because Pennsylvania is merely the tip of the
iceberg. Many of the same tactics have been used in other states like
Florida with Jim McDonough, Director of the Florida Office of Drug Control,
who is listed as an “advisor” to TeenScreen on its website. TeenScreen
gifted McDonough's office with $180,000 to get TeenScreen set up.
However, Executive Director, Laurie Flynn, is now crying foul because she
doesn't feel the money has been put to good use since McDonough failed to
get the program in all the schools as promised, in large part because he
met his match in Ken Kramer.
In Ohio there's Mike Hogan, Director of the Ohio Department of Mental
Health. He's hooked in with Parexel Medical Marketing, a front group that
takes Pharma money to set "advisory panels" for Pharma. The panel
memberships are made up exclusively of Mental Health, Medicaid and other
Directors from the various states. Michael Hogan is listed as an advisory
The panel members are treated to trips, first class accommodations and
other perks in exchange for showing up and listening to a spiel by Janssen
sales personnel who direct the course of the meetings. The same kinds of
meetings that Fiorello attended.
Hopefully will be just a matter of time before the new senate committee
disbands this gang of pharma-backed government pill-pushers.
Trying To Save The Children
Dire warnings against mass mental health screening are coming from every
segment of society, including parents, physicians, academics, journalists,
and human rights groups because the influence of the pharmaceutical
industry in this scheme is so patently obvious.
People are particularly worried about saving the children from senseless
and dangerous drugging. According to long-time anti-child drugging
advocate, Doyle Mills, "Psychiatry has a long history of abject failure.
Psychiatric treatments - drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, lobotomies -
have harmed millions and robbed them of any hope of a normal life."
Expert records researcher, Ken Kramer, has been fighting against child
drugging for years has conducted a research project on child suicides in
Florida that determined that medicating kids with the types of dangerous
mind-altering drugs on these lists is causing suicide. He helped defeat
TeenScreen's attempt to gain access to schools in 2 of Florida's largest
counties. Ken has a TeenScreen website at
Dr Karen Effrem, a pediatrician and strong opponent of mandatory screening
recently warned, "Universal mental health screening and the drugging of
children ... needs to be stopped so that many thousands if not millions of
children will be saved from receiving stigmatizing diagnoses that would
follow them for the rest of their lives. America's school children should
not be medicated by expensive, ineffective, and dangerous medications based
on vague and dubious diagnoses."
In a letter to the editor in the Washington Times on October 31, 2004,
Effrem summed up the dangers of using tax dollars to fund mass mental
health screening of children:
"Given the very real problems of already existing coercion, subjective
criteria, dangerous and ineffective medication, and the failure of
screening to prevent suicide ... Congress would be wise to withhold the $44
million requested for state grants."
The nation's first law suit has been filed and let it serve as a warning to
other schools across the country to think twice before allowing the
TeenScreen recruitment scheme to zero in on their students.