CBS 48 HOURS—A Mouthpiece for the Psychiatric/Pharma Cabal

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(Courtesy of CCHR)

It is no wonder that a recent CBS 48 Hours show claimed that “schizophrenia” was a physically based mental “disease” requiring debilitating antipsychotic drugs. CBS receives nearly $600 million a year in drug-company advertising revenue and the antipsychotic drugs manufactured by CBS’s sponsors are very profitable.

Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug specifically identified on the 48 Hours show as being helpful in preventing or curbing violent behavior, has side effects including agitation, anxiety, aggressive reaction and akathisia, an extreme restlessness associated with violent behavior. In April 2003, the manufacturer of Risperdal was also forced to send letters to thousands of U.S. physicians warning of an increased risk of stroke for elderly patients who took the drug. Blood clots, hemorrhages and 16 deaths have been attributed to Risperdal alone.

Further, since 2001, there have been 21 international drug regulatory agency warnings and studies exposing the very serious risks associated with antipsychotic drugs, including life-threatening diabetes and use by the elderly could cause premature death. The FDA’s Adverse Drug Reaction Reports also cite 45 child deaths from antipsychotics between 1995 and 2002 and a further 1,328 reports of other side effects, including life threatening convulsions and low white blood cell count. Other psychiatric drugs manufactured by CBS sponsors are well known to cause violence, not prevent it.

Ms. Jan Eastgate, president of CCHR International, was interviewed for the program, yet her discussion of these warnings, which would have informed viewers and provided a balanced report, was omitted from the show.

Conflicts of Interest

 The CBS’ “Business Conduct Statement” policy says that its employees “must avoid all conflicts of interest between the best interests of [their] company and CBS and [their] own personal relationships or interests. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest can undermine our integrity in the minds of the public.” CBS completely ignored this code. The following is only a sample of the conflicts of interest found with executives of 48 Hours and with CBS itself.

       CBS received $592.6 million in advertising revenue in 2005 from drug companies marketing direct-to-consumer drugs. This comprises more than 22% of its total advertising income.

       The 48 Hours producer Miguel Sancho has familial mental health connections. His sister’s father-in-law is psychiatrist Robert Lobis. In 1982, Lobis, without ever examining a patient, Francis E. Basile, 26, authorized his release from Leonard Morse Hospital in Massachusetts, against another’s medical advice. Most likely the  patient, being hospitalized, was prescribed powerful psychotropic drugs. A day after his release, Basile killed his parents using a baseball bat and violently stabbing them with a knife. Lobis is now the head of in-patient psychiatry at Boston Hospital.

      Despite this, Sancho, as one of the show’s producers, argued through the show that patients should be prescribed antipsychotic drugs to “prevent violence.” Many studies were provided to 48 Hours that proved otherwise.

      In 2005, CBS began a marketing campaign, “CBS Cares,” which includes Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and a website that promotes “post partum depression” and “depression” as “medical diseases,” stating, “[S]erious depression is a medical disease that requires treatment. There may be life events that are catalysts to depression, but experts reiterate that it is largely a physical disease, affected by brain chemistry and function, and it is a medical disease as much as diabetes or a heart condition.” [Emphasis added]

     “CBS Cares” advocates psychiatric drugs and electroshock as treatment, even though ECT has killed thousands of people and brain damaged millions more, while psychiatric drugs in recent years have caused thousands of deaths.

       The website provides no information about the more than 50 drug regulatory agency warnings and studies over the past three years about psychiatric drugs causing hostility, aggression, violence, suicide, heart attacks, stroke and death. The campaign was developed in partnership with the New York Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell Universities. 48 Hours Executive Producer Susan Zirinksy’s mother, Cynthia Zirinsky, is affiliated with the Presbyterian Hospital system as a Director on the Board of Gracie Square Hospital, which is part of the system and one of the largest privately owned psychiatric hospitals in the United States.

     Cynthia Zirinksy and her husband, Richard, built, owned and ran Gracie Square Hospital until they sold it in approximately 1992 for millions of dollars. The facility used ECT and also conducted experiments on its use on helpless patients. Ms. Zirinksy studied psychology and hospital administration and was also president of the Queens County Mental Health Society and secretary of the Mental Health Association of New York for nearly 20 years. She is currently Vice President of the Mental Health Association.

      Fellow Gracie Hospital board member is Herbert Pardes, CEO of the Presbyterian Hospital System and former head of the National Institute on Mental Health (1978-1984.) In the 1970s, Pardes elevated the role of psychiatric “consumer” groups, but only those that advocated mental disorders were biologically based requiring drugs and using such groups to lobby the government for increased psychiatric research. Pardes is an advisor to the national Mental Health Association that has received millions of dollars from pharmaceutical companies that manufacture psychiatric drugs. He is also the president of the Scientific Council of the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) and an advisor to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), two prominent psychiatric front groups funded by pharmaceutical companies.

      Richard Zirinsky, Susan Zirinksy’s father, was labeled with “bipolar disorder,” underwent a brain operation during the last 4-5 years of his life and was under the care of Dr. Igor Galynker, head of the Department of Psychiatry of the Beth Israel Hospital. After Richard died, his wife donated money to the hospital to fund the establishment of the “Zirinsky Mood Disorder Center” which Dr. Galynker oversees. The hospital website says that the Center uses “state-of-the-art approaches, including pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy and electro-convulsive therapy.”

       Susan Zirinsky and her husband, Joseph F. Peyronnin III, also a journalist, are major donors to the Mental Health Association of New York, along with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly & Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Celltech Pharmaceuticals, Jannsen Pharmaceutica, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, Forest Pharmaceuticals, and Pfizer Inc. Peyronnin is also a board member of the Mental Health Association of New York.

      Cynthia Zirinsky and Peyronnin are affiliated with the Center for the Advancement of Children’s Mental Health that advocates psychiatric treatment of the young. CACMH partners with the Columbia University, the New York Psychiatric Institute and the NY State Office of Mental Health.

The “CBS Cares” website quotes psychiatrists such as:

      Max Fink, an advocate of electroshock who has received royalties for two videos about ECT and sold the rights of these to Somatics Inc., the manufacturers of ECT machines, for $18,000. Fink admits, “The usual thing that patients complain about and the family complains about is the patient has a loss of memory and that occurs in every patient. Every patient has a loss of memory for the treatment itself.” Fink also stars in Somatics’ ECT videos that sell for about $350 each.

      Dr. David Schaffer is chief of the Department of Child Psychiatry and the Irving Philips Professor of Child Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. Dr. Schaffer invented the “Teen Screen” program that he admits has an 84% failure rate in identifying children and teens as being at risk of suicide. Schaffer’s TeenScreen has also partnered with NAMI, which is funded by Wyeth, Novartis, and Eli Lilly to name a few. In 2006, at a conference supported in part by pharmaceutical manufacturer, AstraZeneca, TeenScreen, reported that 24% of the referred students were prescribed psychiatric drugs.

      Several of the psychiatrists interviewed for the “treatment” section for depression on the CBS Cares website are paid consultants for pharmaceutical companies. Philip R. Muskin  is Chief of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center of the New York Presbyterian Hospital and a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is a consultant for  Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, Inc., has received research grants from Bristol-Myers Squibb and has been on the Speakers Bureau for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Glaxo Wellcome, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc., Parke-Davis and Pfizer, Inc.

      Dr. Steven Roose is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University and Director of the Neuropsychiatry Research Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He has received research grant support from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Forest Laboratories and is a consultant for Forest Laboratories, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.


 

It is no wonder that a recent CBS 48 Hours show claimed that “schizophrenia” was a physically based mental “disease” requiring debilitating antipsychotic drugs. CBS receives nearly $600 million a year in drug-company advertising revenue and the antipsychotic drugs manufactured by CBS’s sponsors are very profitable. Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug specifically identified on the 48 Hours show as being helpful in preventing or curbing violent behavior, has side effects including agitation, anxiety, aggressive reaction and akathisia, an extreme restlessness associated with violent behavior. In April 2003, the manufacturer of Risperdal was also forced to send letters to thousands of U.S. physicians warning of an increased risk of stroke for elderly patients who took the drug. Blood clots, hemorrhages and 16 deaths have been attributed to Risperdal alone. Further, since 2001, there have been 21 international drug regulatory agency warnings and studies exposing the very serious risks associated with antipsychotic drugs, including life-threatening diabetes and use by the elderly could cause premature death. The FDA’s Adverse Drug Reaction Reports also cite 45 child deaths from antipsychotics between 1995 and 2002 and a further 1,328 reports of other side effects, including life threatening convulsions and low white blood cell count. Other psychiatric drugs manufactured by CBS sponsors are well known to cause violence, not prevent it. Ms. Jan Eastgate, president of CCHR International, was interviewed for the program, yet her discussion of these warnings, which would have informed viewers and provided a balanced report, was omitted from the show. Conflicts of Interest The CBS’ “Business Conduct Statement” policy says that its employees “must avoid all conflicts of interest between the best interests of [their] company and CBS and [their] own personal relationships or interests. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest can undermine our integrity in the minds of the public.” CBS completely ignored this code. The following is only a sample of the conflicts of interest found with executives of 48 Hours and with CBS itself.

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