If Pharma made cars

If Pharma made cars, the seat-belt warning signs would be removed, and the beeping noise if you moved without a seat-belt on would be silenced, as the start of a gradual process that would result in seat-belts being removed or made non-functional. The safety-bags would be removed or made ornamental. The car would be turbo-charged. The accelerator would be re-engineered so that the only options were travel at the upper end of the speed limit or faster.

The car would come with a Driver (Dr.). You could not get one without this option. The law would be adjusted so that in the case of any untoward event, legal liability falls on the Dr. rather than the manufacturer.

 There are four types of ‘Dr.’

You would have no real choice of car, your Dr. would choose it for you. There are 4 types of Dr. but depending on the country you were living in you might have little or no choice of type of Dr.

One type of Dr. is the Speedy Gonzalez model, who is programmed/trained to put experience over adherence to speed-limits and other regulations, who is likely to attempt exciting maneuvers in the course of travel, and who is imbued with what you might regard either as confidence or foolhardiness. If you voice nervousness at the driving this Dr. is likely to increase speed.

A second type is the Standard Model, who is most concerned with keeping things uncomplicated. Driving is a matter of getting from A to B – she is less interested in the onboard gadgets. She keeps an eye on the routes her colleagues take and follows these rather than taking short-cuts or other off-piste options in the face of traffic snarl-ups. This is not done with an eye to liability but it makes her legally invulnerable should anything go wrong.

A third type is the Guidelines-Based Dr. This Dr. has become more popular lately as cars have come with GPS installed to offer the Dr. advice on standardized driving. These computers are supposed to have Ruse Controls installed to manage the “tricks” that Pharma get up to but the computers are programmed by Pharma. Rigid adherence to the GPS often leads these Drs the wrong way up one way streets – once you start paying heed to the onboard voice it’s difficult to stop.

Finally there is the Traditional Model but this is being phased out, despite being celebrated in Dr. textbooks and routinely invoked by politicians and others.

A Dr. is no good without the latest car

The key personnel in terms of sales at the Trade Fairs, or in the showrooms, have more extensive training than the Drs. These are highly professorial staff whose brief it is to cover different company products but never mention any other form of transport such as bicycles or walking, even though their earlier training included exposure to these other forms of transport. They are central to company efforts to get over two messages – one that cars are the way to go – what other form of transport comes with a Dr? And at the same time a Dr. is no good without the latest car.

Companies are legally obliged to answer the question “Can cars kill?” with a “Yes”. They can usually evade this by answering instead the question “Will this car kill me?” or “Did it kill him?” with a “No – absolutely not – if things went wrong it was the Dr’s fault”. But ultimately they depend on their professors (who are carefully managed independent contractors under no legal obligation) to deliver the message “Cars Cannot Kill”.

 If Philip Morris made drugs..

If Philip Morris made medicines, all available drugs would come with prominent Black Box warnings that this product can kill consistent with the traditional medical view that Every Drug is a Poison, and the Art of Medicine lies in finding the right dose.

There would be a ban on all advertising including Direct to Consumer Adverts. The use of drugs for children would be severely restricted, and exceptional rather than common.

As company products are available over-the-counter rather than on prescription-only, doctors would be openly skeptical of the claimed benefits and would fully support ongoing research to demonstrate the risks. Somewhat more puritanically perhaps some doctors might be expected to attempt to get Philip Morris sponsorship of university activities banned.

 If American Airlines made drugs..

Unlike doctors, pilots have to take the same flight that those in their care take. As a result safety is a real issue for them; if the passenger is injured, the pilot is likely to be also. If American Airlines made medicines, doctors would have to sample all of the medicines they gave to patients. More generally doctors would need extensive retraining on safety issues.

Doctors would have to liaise with colleagues regarding near misses and other events that happen ‘in therapy’. The current Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) would be replaced by something closer to the Airline Safety Reporting System (ASRS). Not such a big change in reporting – but a world of difference in the way the reports are handled by regulators. AERS reports now dismissed as anecdotes would, like ASRS reports, be taken seriously by regulators – “Often, such lower-bound estimates are all that decision makers need to determine that a problem exists and requires attention.”

If the case of a drug disaster, the regulatory agency responsible for letting a drug on the market would not be one charged with investigating the problem. An independent Drug Safety Board would be set up.

The emphasis placed at present on the efficacy of drugs would be replaced by a focus on their safety. Airlines do not compete on the basis of who can get me to Kansas 30 minutes earlier. If an airline is perceived as being less likely to get me to Kansas safely – it goes out of business.

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Pharmaceutical companies have hijacked healthcare in America, and the results are life-threatening.


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  1. You see, anti-ds should never have been invented.

    They have allowed gps and psychiatrists to abuse the people taking them.

    It goes full circle: up with the dose, down with the dose, stop, start, the patient loses all sense of self and ends up with an altered state of mind which leads to all manner of discomfort and relationships breaking down.

    There are all types of doctor but all are in denial of the damage done by ssris.
    Doctors are people, they make judgements, they see someone who is deranged, hysterical, psychotic, all the symptoms in the patient information leaflets who have started, stopped, increased, decreased their dose and NOTHING will make them see the light and start to question the drugs.

    The doctors and psychiatrists are playing with fire and the ridiculous input by the MHRA with their pathetic little advice to clinicians, far too late, and far too feeble, does nothing but hint that there just might be something in this prescription drug abuse after all.

    It is abuse by clinicians; only the patient knows how distorted life has become and it is cruel, heartless and it is the most terrible and horrifying place in the world to be. In a surgery howling in agony from prescription drugs and all that is offered is abuse that your sanity is leaving you and it is you who is at fault.

    So, they give you another drug and another drug and another drug until in the end you are so completedly off the wall that nothing has any sense at all.

    Thank god, I ditched all these drugs and got my mind back to where it belonged because the abuse by clinicians taking you down the road of drug after drug after drug is not the way it should be done at all.

  2. Ruse Control!!!! If only.

  3. Mick Bramham adds:
    If Pharma made cars would it be a Toyota?! The braking scandal: Deaths, denial, slow response, profits b 4 people mentality?!

  4. Dr. Healy, your analogies and comparisons are right on the money. Even the tricycle industry is under closer scrutiny than Pharma.

    The medicalization and psychiatrization of psychosocial problems, trauma and toxic exposure resulted in a pharmaceutical monopoly of the “mental illness epidemic”.


  5. Dr. Healy,
    There is a an additional group or subset of Drs that must be recognized. They may fall into any of the above categories. They have had no reason to question the quality of cars that they have been asked to drive previously and, therefore, have a trust in the manufacturers and overseers of the manufacturers. They have come to rely on their GPS that has safely them and passengers from Point A to Point B in the past. They probably know of notsoreputable or problem cars and steer away from them and use ‘safe cars’ instead. They take their family members and friends for rides in the ‘safe cars’ and, like airline pilots, go on that same ride. The car appear to be safe aside from sluggish and an occasional vague feeling that something is ‘off’. The feeling is pushed aside because no warning lights are coming on and even the mechanic finds nothing wrong. The car seems to be functioning, albeit not to the promises of the manufacturer, but no car ever gets the mileage stated on the new car sticker. All sorts of environmental factors come into play, especially in, say…Southern California. Everyone who drives a car in Southern California knows that stop-and-go traffic (aka ‘sig alerts’) and air pollution impact performance. Frequently, the dr upgrades to a new model which performs for awhile and then experiences the same deterioration. Then one day, while feeling that vague sense of something wrong, the GPS goes on the fritz. Recalculating…recalculating…as other cars with drivers whiz by, their GPSs still functioning ‘properly’. The dr finally pulls out the operator’s manual that now appears to be full of instructions and information that doesn’t add up. The dr slowly realizes that s/he’s gotten so used to how the car drives with clogged arteries that expectations have diminished. The GPS is spinning, recalculating…. The dr’s family is in the car in a dangerous neighborhood. They can’t get out and walk to safety and no other drs seem to notice there is a problem or won’t talk about it. Afterall, what would they say to one another…. ” I never read the information referred to in the operator’s manual and the car drivers’ journals didn’t cover this….”?? NO! Everyone trusts drivers…

    Everything the dr trusted in and learned at driver school seems like a mirage. The manufacturers were our FRIENDS and made donations to our driving program. Some drivers even married manufacturer’s representatives and the MRs went for rides in their own cars so they must have trusted….

    (Excuse if this reposts. Couldn’t tell if it went through.)

  6. Stop.Psychiatry says:

    First of all I apologize for posting anonymously. The email provided is real so I can be contacted there.

    I am relatively new to the anti psychiatry movement. As most people, I went through life assuming everything the pharmaceutical companies said was true because prominent psychiatrists prescribed their drugs. As it so happened, I was forcibly put into a heavy regime of antidepressants to treat OCD (how that happen is a story by itself, but I’ll keep it out for the moment). For those who are unaware, in the case of OCD treatment, antidepressants are prescribed at very high doses (2-3 times what would be normal to treat depression). I was also given anxiolytic lorazepam and antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine); in the words of the psychiatrists that treated me “to increase the effect of the SSRI”. I was medicated for ~ 1 year before I decided to get out of the drugs. These drugs did nothing to improve my condition. It was my will that made me get better of OCD. I am still doing CBT therapy. What these drugs did was to cause a severe series of side effects I am still trying to recover from. In my case, it was all physiological: kidney failure, liver failure, weight gain an high cholesterol? How do I know? Because I had comprehensive blood tests performed before I was put into drugs; without changing my lifestyle, all these bad things began to show up. If that weren’t enough, I experienced severe withdrawal effects (again all physiological) when I got off the drugs.

    I have a doctoral education in a scientific field from a top notch university (it shows in the top 20 of this ranking http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2011.html ). In my scientific field, a theory (chemical imbalance of mental disorders) with such a poor record of explaining cause-effect and with such dismal record of unwanted effects would have been discredited long ago; the promoters of the idea would have been expelled from the ranks as well. How is that this is going on in psychiatry? It escapes my understanding.

    The funny thing is that I came up with a similar metaphor to the one presented here to explain what I mean to non scientists. I said, suppose one is in the business of designing planes. One would expect that the plane designers would design planes that fly in 100 % of the cases (as it is the case) with the sole unproved assumption that the laws of physics don’t change. Who in his/her right mind would like to take a plane whose designer tells you that there is no better probability than chance that the plane flies? Nobody. How is that then that people are so willing to take antidepressants when the data shows that they are no better than placebos for most people (meta study by Irving Kirsch)?

    Oh, and so you know, the antidepressant I was prescribed is the SSRI sertraline, on which Dr Healy has done a superb job exposing the corruption of those promoting it.

    As conclusion all I can say is that I am appalled at the corruption that I have found.

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