Big Pharma, Big Money, and Support Groups

Big Pharma. Can't live with them. Can't live without them. They gave us the covid vaccine. They also gave us the opioid crisis. Most people know that. But what they don't realize is the cozy relationship they have with well known and well reputed support networks.  

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is such a support network. It offers information on various disorders on its webpages. It offers support training. It publishes a magazine, engages in advocacy, and fights stigma and stereotypes in the media.

NAMI is also largely financed by pharmaceutical companies.  The New York Times found, at one point, that NAMI was getting 75 percent of its funding from Big Pharma, which seems like a conflict of interest.  For years NAMI has been promoting psychiatric medicines.  For instance, it has fought for Medicare and Medicaid coverage for psychiatric medicines.  Is NAMI doing the bidding of the pharmaceutical companies?  Of the elderly?  Both?

NAMI now discloses on its Major Foundation and Corporate Contribution Registry, which is on its website, all contributions over $5000.  The organization in my state, NAMI-Vermont, has sworn off pharmaceutical company donations since 2012.  

The Depressive and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) also is a network of support groups. DBSA also gets much of its funding from pharmaceutical companies. Furthermore, so does the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Suicide rates have been steadily increasing over the years, despite the proliferation of anti-depressants. Perhaps it would be worse without the anti-depressants. Perhaps the blackbox warnings of increased suicidal thoughts that accompany the anti-depressants should be taken more seriously.

One is left wondering what to think. Big Pharma. Can't live with them. Can't live without them.