"All Truth passes through Three Stages: First, it is Ridiculed...
Second, it is Violently Opposed...
Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer (1778-1860)

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All Truth passes through Three Stages: First, it is Ridiculed... Second, it is Violently Opposed...Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident.- Arthur Schopenhauer (1778-1860) By Charly Groenendijk
April 17, 2004

  AHRP response to a psychiatrist's blustering criticism  

Response to a Psychiatrist's Blustering Criticism
Unconscionable and arrogant attitude from a medical physician...

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An AHRP Infomail: RATE OF PRESCHOOL KIDS PRESCRIBED ANTIDEPRESSANTS SKYROCKETS April 2, elicited vitriolic criticism from Dr. John Halpern (below). A response by Dr. Loren Mosher, board member of the Alliance for Human Research Protection follows.

APRIL, 17  2004
It appears that AHRP's role in highlighting important data that might otherwise be missed and promoting full disclosure has raised the ire of at least one member of the psychiatric establishment.

Dr. John Halpern, Instructor at Harvard Medical School and a substance abuse researcher at McLean Hospital took exception to our reporting on the publication of a survey by Express Scripts that revealed the prescription of antidepressants to children and adolescents had almost doubled in 5 years. Further, the survey revealed that the greatest increase (64%) was among pre-school children. (AHRP April 2, 2004). This report must be seen in the context of the emergence of clear evidence that SSRI's are ineffective for children and carry a very substantial risk of inducing adverse events in the under 18 age group.

Dr. Halpern wrote (in part):

"Dear Vera,
Let me remind you yet again that as a non-physician you are not properly qualified to judge whether or not a physician is adhering to the Hippocratic Oath and the Code of Medical Ethics. The first law, Primum non nocere, is not performed exclusive of all other laws. The second law, is: Remember to do some good. To fail to act in the face of illness is also potentially negligence. Your observations appear to yet again betray your bias and lack of objectivity. I suppose you feel it preferable to let people commit suicide without the benefit of any attempts of helpful medical intervention. It appears that the "protection" you seek is for equal-opportunity suffering of all; that it is preferable for all to suffer without any care rather than have even one case of a person harmed by a medical intervention. While medical practice may be "unfathomable" for you, it is most definitely not "medically unsupportable." Such spurious charges actually contribute to the harm of others and I recommend that you commence an investigation of how you are threatening the welfare of others...such comments must be protected against if an "Alliance for Human Research Protection" is to serve its stated function. I strongly encourage the AHRP (aka you) to investigate you for failing to protect human research...it appears that efforts such as below's email are designed especially to put humans at risk.." From: John Halpern
Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2004 12:04 PM

Response from Dr. Loren R. Mosher to Dr. Halpern:

As a Harvard trained, board certified psychiatrist with more than a hundred publications, five books and a member of AHRP's Board of Directors I believe a response to Dr. Halpern's inaccurate, intemperate and unprofessional remarks is in order. I believe the arrogance and condescension he displays when he believes his status as an "MDiety" is being questioned illustrate why the existence of AHRP is so important.

If only an M.D. can establish that harm is being done-as Dr. Halpern arrogantly asserts--why are courts making rulings on a daily basis as to whether harm has been done to an individual in the course of medical treatment? Perhaps Dr. Halpern might study the history of the "medical treatment" of "schizophrenia" for a few sobering lessons in how much harm was done under the guise of medical treatment.

Without outside independent review many desperate "cures" have been attempted--with nearly always harm being done to the unwitting recipients. Requiring that research must be ethically and scientifically sound will not prevent its being done. It will only ensure that the research addresses an important question and that participants are fully aware of what they are getting themselves into.

Dr. Halpern's rambling, confused and confusing accusations about AHRP's "preferring to allow suicide," "equal opportunity suffering", "contributing to harm of others" etc. are simply unsupportable. I am tempted to attribute his remarks to youthful hubris or ignorance but his attitude is all too common among physicians, especially psychiatrists, to be allowed to go unanswered.

Given the context for his response, as a physician and psychiatrist, it is unfathomable to me how he can support giving ineffective, potentially harmful drugs to children. The evidence on that matter, regarding the use of the SSRI's by children and adolescents, has been verified by independent authorities, and is now quite clear. Acknowledged of the evidence by the British medicines authority and by more than one manufacturer of antidepressants (e.g., GlaxoSMithKline, manufacturer of paroxetine / Paxil) led the FDA to issue advisory warnings. Apparently the good doctor Halpern does not concern himself with evidence. Would he recommend an SSRI for a five-year-old child of his own?

Could it be that yet another psychiatric pharmaceutical company shill is speaking up to protect the hand that feeds him? Or, is there a skeleton in the McLean drug abuse research program closet that he fears being exposed?

Loren R. Mosher M.D.
Director, Soteria Associates
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry,
University of California at San Diego
Member, AHRP Board of Directors

Another Response to Dr. Halpern:

Dr Halpern,

As a University Lecturer in Medical Ethics I can authoritatively tell you that Halpern is completely wrong about Primum non nocere. First do no harm is an absolute and is performed exclusive of all other ethical principles. The Primum does not refer to a chronological sequence, i.e. first do no harm, but second do as you like. It means primarily in the sense of "above all".

Further the right to judge ethics (right and wrong) is reserved to those who are ethical not exclusively to physicians, especially ones who themselves commit ethical breaches and justify it by claiming "research" It is never justified in any code of medical ethics to cause harm whether in the cause of research or in any other cause. Every code of Medical Ethics in History from Imhotep through Hammurabi to the present day adheres to the DO NO HARM ETHIC. All those who break it are condemned as unethical. The Nuremberg Code also categorically commits physicians to DO NO HARM making clear that "research" can never justify willfully injuring a patient. The Tuskeegee syphilis experiment was carried out by evil and perverse racist physicians who claimed it was research for the good of mankind.

The problem with medical research today as we all know is that it has precious little to do with the good of the patient and more to do with the stock value of drug companies. The ethical doctrine of DO SOME GOOD now frequently means do some good to your bank balance with no shortage of physicians queuing up for a piece of the action.

The continuing extension of 'psychiatric syndromes' and the defining of normal behaviour as illness to justify the ever increasing drugging of the population is an outrage to all who are involved in real research. The disgraceful hiding of adverse reactions and side effects, some of which are life threatening is one of the greatest infamies perpetrated in the modern world and represents an unforgivable betrayal of patients by people who swear oaths to Autonomy, Beneficence, Non malificence and Justice.

We rightly hold traitors in opprobrium. All doctors who breach the trust of patients by engaging in unethical research and endorsing unnecessary treatments in order to join the big pharma gravy train are traitors to their peers, to the medical sages of the past and most seriously to their patients. A righteous plague on them all!


Response from Dawn Rider (Aspire) to Dr. Halpern:

Dr Halpern,

Your letter to AHRP is unconscionable. Is it any wonder that we are fast losing our trust in the medical community and turning to alternative means of healing in light of medical "practice" that is failing miserably?

Your statement, "I strongly encourage the AHRP (aka you) to investigate you for failing to protect human research..." especially enraged me.

Protect human research?

I do not take my children to doctors so they can be part of some "experiment" or "research" project. It was my understanding that the research has already been done.

Thank God the truth is finally coming out.

I lost my beautiful 14 year old son to Prozac. His death has been "officially" recorded as a suicide. It was not my intent to have him sacrificed so that others might benefit.

You and others like you belong in the hall of infamy.

Dawn Rider
Lehi, UT

Response from Frank van Meerendonk, Netherlands:

Dear Vera,

From several sources, I have received a letter that, apparently, has been sent to you by a Dr Halpern (never heard of him..), who, apparently, has had the arrogance to accuse you (!!, out of all people..) of possibly damaging people because of your messages in which you warn against possible risks of prescription drugs. If I understand things correctly, you -as a laywoman- are too stupid to deal with the highly complicated and learned matters Dr Halpern's enlightened brain is better equipped for.

Please allow me to make a few comments in this matter:
a: If Dr Halpern and the like were prepared to study the history of his and his colleagues' medical practices, he might one day find out what is common knowledge to you and many others nowadays: iatrogenic disease has always been, and still is, widely spread.
b: If highly learned doctors like Dr Halpern had been prepared and willing to contribute to providing adequate warnings for certain risks of certain prescription drugs, you, I, and many others would have been able to spend our time and energy on more pleasant matters than on trying to help those have unnecessarily fallen/are still unnecessarily falling victim to these same prescription drugs.

If Dr Halpern is trying to prove that now, because of your, my and others' actions, discussions are taking place and warnings are being spread that may, unfortunately, mean that some people may not benefit from medication which may indeed be helpful in exceptional cases, then I fully agree wih him. But if Dr Halpern and the like had not exaggerated the benefits versus the risks, if they had listened to victims, if they had taken them seriously, this silly, confusing situation would never have arisen.

You may indeed sometimes be a bit too 'pro-active' in spreading warnings, but it is not YOU who is to blame!! I am, and will always be, very grateful for your news. In my modest opinion, you are a most important 'counterbalance' versus all the pro-drug-propaganda that is so prevalent nowadays.

Even though I do not always fully agree with you,

With sincere thanks and great admiration for your unique, most important work,

Frank van Meerendonk
consumer advocate
director Stichting Prozac Survivors Support Group Nederland (Netherlands)

P.S.: Please feel free to use this e-mail in any way you like.