June 20th, 2004


Free drugs for all!

Bush apparently intends to have everyone in the US tested for mental health problems and then given anti-psychotic drugs made by his campaign contributors.

The president's commission found that "despite their prevalence, mental disorders often go undiagnosed" and recommended comprehensive mental health screening for "consumers of all ages," including preschool children. According to the commission, "Each year, young children are expelled from preschools and childcare facilities for severely disruptive behaviours and emotional disorders." Schools, wrote the commission, are in a "key position" to screen the 52 million students and 6 million adults who work at the schools.

The commission also recommended "Linkage [of screening] with treatment and supports" including "state-of-the-art treatments" using "specific medications for specific conditions." The commission commended the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) as a "model" medication treatment plan that "illustrates an evidence-based practice that results in better consumer outcomes."

But the Texas project, which promotes the use of newer, more expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, sparked off controversy when Allen Jones, an employee of the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General, revealed that key officials with influence over the medication plan in his state received money and perks from drug companies with a stake in the medication algorithm (15 May, p1153). He was sacked this week for speaking to the BMJ and the New York Times.

Eli Lilly, manufacturer of olanzapine, has multiple ties to the Bush administration. George Bush Sr was a member of Lilly's board of directors and Bush Jr appointed Lilly's chief executive officer, Sidney Taurel, to a seat on the Homeland Security Council. Lilly made $1.6m in political contributions in 2000—82% of which went to Bush and the Republican Party.

Jones points out that the companies that helped to start up the Texas project have been, and still are, big contributors to the election funds of George W Bush. In addition, some members of the New Freedom Commission have served on advisory boards for these same companies, while others have direct ties to the Texas Medication Algorithm Project.

(no subject)

I finally got around to installing AdBlock for Firefox. Not only does it have instantaneous flash-blocking, but will also block pretty much anything based on a pattern you give it. So far I'm blocking:


which between them have taken out 95% of the ads I see on a daily basis.

Add in the fact that Firefox blocks popups and surfing has become much less cluttered and annoying.

(no subject)

PJ O'Rourke talks in his typical amusing style here about how pundits on boths sides of the fence have stopped trying to persuade and are now playing to their existing audiences.

Have the political parties stopped trying to persuade each other and started to merely preach to their own crowd?