Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Prof David Healy's response to Mental Health (Scotland) Bill

Here is a link to Professor David Healy's response to the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill on the Scottish Parliament website.

"David Healy Background

My background is as follows. I am an internationally respected psychiatrist, and psychopharmacologist I have been a professor of psychiatry in Wales for the last 25 years, having studied medicine in Dublin, and at Cambridge University. 

I am a former Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, and have authored more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, 200 other pieces, and 22 books, including The Antidepressant Era and The Creation of Psychopharmacology from Harvard University Press, The Psychopharmacologists Volumes 1-3, Let Them Eat Prozac from New York University Press, and Mania from Johns Hopkins University Press, and Pharmageddon from California University Press.  

I have been an expert witness in homicide and suicide trials involving psychotropic drugs, and in bringing problems with these drugs to the attention of American and British regulators, as well as raising awareness of how pharmaceutical companies sell drugs by marketing diseases and co-opting academic opinion-leaders, ghost-writing their articles. 

I am a founder of Data Based Medicine Limited, which operates through its website, dedicated to making medicines safer through online direct patient reporting of drug effects."

[here are some excerpts but I recommend reading the whole 4 page response as there are many good points made as to why the general policy direction of the Bill is not enough. I agree with Dr Healy that "the mental health system is in need of radical reform"]

"I was approached by Autism Rights to submit written evidence for the committee stage of the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill because of my professional profile. I agreed because of my concern at the reports and information I have received about the treatment of people who are on the autistic spectrum within the Scottish mental health system, including patients who have consulted me from Scotland. This information tallies with reports in the rest of the UK and indeed generally within Western mental health systems." p1

"My main concern with mental health legislation is that it ignores the reality that, for many, the treatments do not work as intended and when this is the case the results can be destructive to the person’s physical and mental wellbeing. This reality makes any provisions about the `medical necessity` of treatment in a system that can enforce treatment questionable unless there is a properly independent system that can advocate for the patient and their carer. At present there is no such system." p2

"It is not generally known that 80% of the problems that are identified with drugs are identified by patients and their carers and sometimes their doctors, not by clinical trials. Randomised Clinical Trials (RCTs) are in fact not designed to pick up on adverse events and are the Gold Standard way to hide adverse events."p3

"As legislators, MSPs have a duty to take a balanced selection of evidence. I would be very happy to elaborate on the points above both as they apply to the psychotropic drugs given to people within mental health systems and as they might also apply to any drugs given to MSPs at present. There is a pressing need for some healthcare system to find a way to ensure that the rights all patients are acknowledged to have in principle are realized in practice. No legislation anywhere to date has found an answer to this issue – because no legislators have in fact addressed it." p4

Read complete response from Dr David Healy

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