Friday, May 06, 2011

Facts about NAMI funding

In my previous post, I noted that reviewers of Richard Bentall's book Doctoring the mind, which I recommend on my Critical Psychiatry website book recommendations page, criticised him, amongst other reasons, for indicating that the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is funded primarily by Big Pharma. According to an article in the NewYork Times, "drug makers from 2006 to 2008 contributed nearly $23 million to the alliance, about three-quarters of its donations".

NAMI now lists on a quarterly basis in its website registry all major corporate and foundation grants and contributions above $5,000. What NAMI emphasises is that, as a matter of policy, it does not endorse any specific treatment or service.

NAMI-Vermont has recently decided to diverge from national policy and no longer accept direct corporate contributions from pharmaceutical companies (see message to the membership). On their website, NAMI-Vermont Board President Ellen Vaut of South Burlington explains: “Though NAMI-Vermont has only received between three and seven percent of its total revenues from pharmaceutical companies in each of the past six years and none during the past fiscal year, we voted to dispel any concerns or public perception that our programs and/or organizational practices are influenced by pharmaceutical company money.”

I guess that the national organsiation will find it difficult to follow this lead because of the higher proportion of pharmaceutical funding. Still, quite why the reviewers of Richard's book criticise him for stating the truth is not clear. Perhaps the truth is "incendiary and divisive".

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