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Psychopharmaceutical Nation

Cause of death: Unknown.
Regissør: Anniken Hoel

What does it do to extinguish a fire at one end when someone is at the other and rather on gasoline? Too much is wrong with the world's pharmaceutical industry.

This article is machine translated by Google from Norwegian

An increasing number of people in Norway are affected by anxiety and depression. Many of these psychosomatic disorders lie in borderlands between normal and morbid reactions. Of course, Norway is not alone. In the United States, the incidence of mental disorders caused by stress and insomnia has increased with aggressive speed over the past twenty years. One thing is to worry about this happening in several places in the western world – another thing is that drugs seem to be the only way out in all cases. These are approved drugs that the patients themselves are shockingly unaware of the side effects of. Serious side effects, we believe documentary filmmaker Anniken Hoel. She is not the first to open our eyes to the dirty system of the pharmaceutical industry when Cause of death: Unknown gets its world premiere under CPH: DOX in Copenhagen in March.

Eleven years ago Hoel lost his sister Renathe, but no one knew why. The cause of death was simply classified as "unknown". What they knew was that the sister was a patient in psychiatry and went on antipsychotics, which she had been prescribed by her psychiatrist. After sticking his nose in the medical record, Hoel finds that his sister's dosing – a cocktail of antipsychotics, including the popular drug Zyprexa – had increased significantly the time before the mysterious death occurred. This is how Hoel's detective journey begins to find some kind of justice for the sister and others who pay the price for an insane medical system. Not only is the pharmaceutical industry trumped by market forces and profits, but the approval of drugs is governed by a formula that if the effect is greater than the risk, ie the side effects, the drug is approved. This also applies if the side effects involve sudden death.

Misleading marketing. It won't be long before Hoel's hunt brings her to the United States. This is where the major companies that produce most of the drugs are located. One of these is Lilly, who among other things stands behind the "hit" Prozac. But because the monopoly on a drug expires after a certain period, one thus milks the drug for what one can to achieve maximum profit, through marketing and advertising. When Prozac became publicly owned and dropped in price, Lilly found out that Zyprexa was the new one to aim for. A small problem arose for Lilly since Zyprexa is a drug for bipolar disorders, which they planned to sell to the same user group who already used Prozac – which should thus help to alleviate depression. With a little misleading marketing in the best TV shop style, Lilly managed to work around this problem with good luck. Zyprexa was an even bigger sales success than its predecessor. Viva Zyprexa! But what about the side effects that can affect heartbeat and possibly cause death? In Norway alone, an estimated 2500 people under the age of 45 have had to remedy their lives after using drugs for mental illness.

All research is done exclusively by the companies that sell the medicines.

The battle for truth. The bizarre thing about the findings Hoel has made Cause of death: Unknown, is that the unpleasant truths about various approved drugs are withheld. Also for the psychiatrists who print these in good faith at home in Norway. One explanation for why the corrupt system is possible is that anyone doing medical research, not conducts independent research on drugs, but to some extent has contact with the industry. For example, one would think that the Norwegian Medicines Agency is undergoing investigations at home, but no. These lean on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which is subject to the EU. All research is done exclusively by the companies that sell the medicines. 87 percent of EMA is paid directly by the pharmaceutical industry. Those who control this are thus paid by the industry they are to control.

In addition, part of the research is done on the effect of drugs over very short periods. In such cases, it is not known what the side effects will be after prolonged use. Then we have the medical journals, which have great power and influence over what they choose to draw from research results. But these are also trapped in the dictatorial wheels of the pharmaceutical market, and must rely solely on the positive findings that are the only ones available. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates medicines in the United States, is also not independent – they are currently paid by the pharmaceutical industry when the tax money alone is not enough to pay the state actor. The end of the preliminary visa is that those who have enough resources to buy the "truth" about their drugs, have been given the exclusive right to it. The market trumps man.

When Prozac became publicly owned and dropped in price, Lilly found out that Zyprexa was the new thing to aim for.

Creepy pill development.
The trends that emerge about the pharmaceutical industry in Hole's grave documentary should call for greater attention from the Norwegian public than the one we see today. For while the pharmaceutical industry has both professionals and patients in its hollow hand, we continue to see a declining trend in which the threshold for being diagnosed with a mental illness is constantly being lowered, even when there is only mild mental illness. The problem also lies in the power to define the criteria for which diagnoses are to be made and the number of new ones that occur – which is also increasingly happening. As of today, 75 percent of those working with The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) have economic ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Based on this, it is questionable at the same time to see that the number of mentally ill has increased by 45 per cent over the last 20 years. We should care, because the American manual corresponds to the European manual. After all, we know that getting a mental diagnosis means prescribing drugs. There is little room for other forms of therapy. But what does it do to extinguish the fire at one end when someone is at the other and rather on gasoline?

We live in a society that is already ruled by the market giving us poor self-esteem for everything we are not, and then telling us what to buy to feel better. Human social status in society cannot be seen in isolation from its mental health. What does this do to the individual in an increasingly self-focused society – a society that is also based on market forces and which has an increasingly uncertain job market? Could a prescription be printed on things other than what seems easiest at the moment? What if printing a blue prescription on social relations care, increased welfare schemes and greater financial predictability would have an effect? If so, it is society that needs medicine – not those who take part in it.

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