Psychiatrists’ Failure to Inform:
Is There Substantial Financial Exposure?
James B. Gottstein, Esq., JD
Psychiatrists regularly fail to obtain informed consent by not fully informing their patients
of the risks of psychotropic drugs as well as overstating their benefits.
As the wave of lawsuits
against manufacturers for failure to warn wane, will such psychiatrists be next and do
they risk substantial Iiability?
Psychiatric drugs are causing huge amounts of physical harm, including severely
limited lives and early death. Tragically, this is not offset by corresponding benefits,
because the ability of psychiatric drugs to successfully treat the conditions for which
they are prescribed is limited. In fact, they are often counterproductive. This is particularly
true of the neuroleptics, often also called by the misnomer “antipsychotics.” It is also true
of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRl) antidepressants and their cousins, as
well as the stimulants used to treat children and now adults with attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In addition, these antidepressants and ADHD drugs cause people
to become psychotic in a substantial percentage of cases, which often leads to
misdiagnosing an underlying mental illness and results in ever increasing doses of the stronger, more
The scope of the harm is immense. It is likely the toll greatly exceeds that from Vioxx.
The neuroleptics, old and new, disable many people who take them and substantially
reduce life spans (Joukama et aI., 2006; Straus et aI., 2004; Waddington et aI., 2003).
Similarly, it has been reliably estimated the antidepressants have caused 23,000 suicides
These facts are virtually never disclosed to patients, thus breaching the obligation to
obtain informed consent, and often legally constituting battery. In forced drugging proceedings,
psychiatrists testifying as witnesses regularly testify untruthfully, which
constitutes perjury. This results in the courts being duped into forcing hundreds of thousands
of unwilling people to take harmful drugs. The threat of involuntary commitment for
failure to comply keeps many more taking these drugs in spite of their desire to reduce or
eliminate them. People’s lives are being ruined and shortened needlessly, because there are
better alternatives. The legal system has not yet done much to hold psychiatrists accountable
for this harm, but that may change.
© 2007 Springer Publishing Company