FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

How Big Pharma Infiltrated the Boston Museum of Science

Photo by Helena | CC BY 2.0

Do you overeat? Did your boyfriend just break up with you? Does no one return your emails? Do you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning? If so, you may be suffering from mental illness! Mental illness is a highly stigmatized, life-long condition, that millions do not even realize they have and only a pharmaceutical drug can fix says Pharma and its operatives.

Few marketing gambits have been as successful as Pharma’s elevation of everyday symptoms into “mental illness.” It has enabled it to aggregate “patient” groups to petition lawmakers, insurers and Medicaid and Medicare for payment of high-priced psychiatric drugs. It has allowed groups like the Pharma-funded Active Minds and NAMI to infiltrate college campuses and proclaim the ups and downs of growing up and college life “mental illness”––growing the market. And now it has allowed it to infiltrate Boston’s Museum of Science.

Last spring an exhibit called Many Faces of Our Mental Health debuted at the museum, taking Pharma’s everyone-is-mentally-ill message to museum goers and the general public. Visitors to the  exhibit “might gain new insights and better understand the complex nature of mental health,” said the press release. They might “reflect on how mental health affects their own lives or the lives of friends and family.” Hey, they might have “mental illness” too!

Funders of the exhibit included the Pharma-backed NAMI and the Sidney R. Baer, Jr. and Sidney A. Swensrud foundations both of which stress screening and early intervention for childhood “mental illness.” Both mechanisms are widely seen as a way to grow the market for psychiatric drugs. In fact, the Baer Foundation funds the Pharma-funded Joan Luby who not only finds mental abnormalities in toddlers, she thinks they are present in “late preterm” babies!

There is no biological test for “mental illness”––whether depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder––and until recently, depression and anxiety were not even considered “mental illness.” Now, television drug ads, faux patient groups and faux public service announcements and online quizzes have produced a groundswell of self-diagnosed “mentally ill” people. Pharma funded patient groups like Active Minds and NAMI have even made the badge of mental illness “cool” on high school and college campuses.

“When insurers balk at reimbursing patients for new prescription medications,” says the Los Angeles Times, these groups “typically swing into action, rallying sufferers to appear before public and consumer panels [and] contact lawmakers.”

With an estimated one quarter of the population now taking expensive psychiatric drugs, Pharma’s everyone-is-mentally-ill ploy enriches Wall Street and raises our health care costs. Gone are the days when bad moods were attributed to problems with finance, romance, debt, jobs, housing, careers, family, marriages and health. Worse, Pharma’s everyone-is-mentally-ill ruse siphons off legitimate, activist anger at a government system that keeps people poor and powerless by suggesting they have a personal problem and the answer is a happy pill. Also known as––retreat into individualism.

“People living with mental illness can lead very productive lives and this exhibition highlights this important concept,” said Christine Reich, vice president of exhibit development and conservation, about the Museum of Science exhibit adding this commercial for expensive Pharma drugs: “Mental illness is greatly affect[ed] by the treatment options that are available.”

More articles by:

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
Wade Sikorski
Oil or Food? Notes From a Farmer Who Doesn’t Think Pipelines are Worth It
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of Vengeance
Hilary Moore – James Tracy
No Fascist USA! Lessons From a History of Anti-Klan Organizing
Linn Washington Jr.
Ridiculing MLK’s Historic Garden State ‘Firsts’
L. Michael Hager
Evaluating the Democratic Candidates: the Importance of Integrity
Jim Goodman
Bloomberg Won’t, as They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then Neither Should Trump
Olivia Alperstein
We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is
Jesse Jackson
Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Home Sweet Home: District Campaign Financing
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Latest BLM Hoodwinkery: “Fuel Breaks” in the Great Basin
Wendell Griffen
Grace and Gullibility
Nicky Reid
Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe
David Yearsley
Dresden 75
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail