PRESCRIPTION FOR TROUBLE
By CHRIS WILLIAMS
Detroit Source Staff Writer
More than a decade ago, drugs such as Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac were known only to a handful of patients. Today, the medications are household names, prescribed to millions of people across the country, including teenagers and children.
In 1993, documentarian Kevin P. Miller came across a series of videotaped testimonies involving parents who were suing the Food and Drug Administration for what they claimed were harmful side effects caused by the medications.
Over the years, Miller accessed nearly 400 pages of transcripts from the proceedings and amassed material he said proves the FDA has approved the medications, even though they are aware the medications have harmful side effects that can cause aggression, depression and even suicide in younger patients.
“It planted a seed in me and I knew I wanted to explore it as a film,” said Miller, the director of “Let Truth Be the Bias” and “The Promised Land.” “I really wanted to explore these things further and let people know what the issues are.”
The result was “Generation RX,” a documentary that debuted in 2008 and will play at the AMC Forum 30 in Sterling Heights on Feb. 23. The film employs the expertise of journalists, academic professionals and medical doctors to discuss the collusion between drug companies and the FDA, and the effect on families whose children have been affected by the use of prescription medication.
“What we hope to do is present a common-sense path toward questions we really should be asking ourselves,” said Miller. “Are we experimenting on our kids with these massive uses of prescription drugs and antidepressants?”
In the film, Miller talks to a handful of experts about the dangers of prescription drugs, and shares faxes and other evidence he said represent collaboration between the FDA and drug companies to get medicine approved even though harmful side effects were known to exist. One side that refused to participate, however, were officials at the FDA.
“I didn’t have a chance to talk to the people who were involved in the trials in 1991 and 1993 because it was so long ago that it was nearly impossible to locate them. And the sad reality is that the FDA doesn’t talk to the press,” he said. “They only talk to the media when they have an agenda ... It saddens me, really. There’s no reason for it. I believe in medical freedom of choice. If you share all the scientific information that’s available to consumers, good or bad, they should be able to make their own decisions.”
Miller said that, despite the FDA’s repeated assurances there is no cause for concern, there have been hundreds of cases about teenagers who were prescribed medication who experienced depression, including suicidal tendencies. He said it’s shocking that young children are being prescribed this medication and that they are not being warned of the effects of withdrawal from antidepressants; most suicides occur within three weeks of stopping the medication.
“It’s bad enough when it happens in adults, but when you’re prescribing antidepressants to an 11-year-old girl and she hangs herself in the garage, it’s unthinkable,” he said. “My vision of an 11-year-old girl does not include her hanging herself. And yet, that’s what is happening.”
The film was finished in 2008 and has begun being sold from Miller’s Web site as well as being entered in film festivals across the world. Miller said the reaction has been strongly positive, including raves from “Crash” director Paul Haggis.
“We’ve gotten some great reviews and we’ve been accepted into several festivals,” he said. “I get letters every day from people who say they’re so thankful for this film because it helps them know that they’re not alone. It’s really heartening hearing that.”
“Generation RX” will screen Feb. 23 at the AMC Forum 30 in Sterling Heights at 7:30 p.m. with producer and director Kevin Miller in attendance. The event is sponsored by Maximized Living Doctors. Tickets are available for $5. For more information, call 978-8088 or visit www.generationrxfilm.com
Click here to read story:
Labels: Generation RX