Patricia Weathers — (FDA HEARINGS 2004)

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DR. GOODMAN:  Thank you.  Speaker 65, please.

MS. WEATHERS:  My name is Patricia Weathers.  I am a New York mother and president and co-founder of, a national grassroots parent organization representing over 900 members, such as Mrs. Vicky Dunkle whose 10 year-old daughter died in her mother’s arms as a direct result of the antidepressant prescribed her.

I am one of the lucky ones.  My child is still alive.  My own story has been featured on “Good Morning, America,” “The Today Show,” A&E investigative reports and “The New York Times,” just to name a few.  I have testified before state legislatures and twice before Congress.  My activism began after my son’s school coerced me to place him on Ritalin, a drug that caused him to become extremely withdrawn.  The school psychologist and psychiatrist then diagnosed him with social anxiety disorder and recommended Paxil as a, quote, wonder drug for kids.
On Paxil, he began hearing voices in his head, drew violent pictures and even attacked me.   I could no longer recognize my own son.  He pleaded  with me at one point, “Mom, make it stop.”  I finally realized that it was the Paxil that put him in a drug-induced psychosis so, naturally, I removed him from the drug.  I was then charged with medical neglect when there was no proof that anything was medically wrong with him.  I soon discovered social anxiety disorder, like bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder, are not medical conditions.

Parents are told that their child has a chemical imbalance or a neurobiological illness.  We risked our child’s life based on this fundamental lie.

I now know this is not true but, more importantly, so do you.  The FDA is well aware that there are no x-rays, biopsies, blood tests or brain scans that verify these mental disorders as a disease or illness.  My point is simple.  The FDA should not be condoning or approving these drugs without evidence of disease, illness or physical abnormality that would justify risking our children’s lives with a harmful and potentially lethal drug.

We are gathered here today, discussing warning labels on antidepressant drugs.  Why?  The FDA had enough evidence 14 years ago to issue these warning labels on these drugs and you know this.  Now the FDA must do more.  The FDA’s own mission statement says that it is responsible for helping the public get accurate science-based information.  It is failing.  The FDA is risking our children’s lives based on nothing more than junk science.  The   FDA is responsible for protecting the public  health, not vested interests.  I remind you that children’s lives are in your hands and I call…