For years NAMI — the National Alliance on Mental Illness — has had an official secrecy policy on the amount of funds NAMI receives from psychiatric drug companies. Because of a US Senate probe in April 2009, NAMI has now disclosed that for the past five years a majority of their funds — 56% — are from the pharmaceutical industry.
Because of a Senate probe, Michael J. Fitzpatrick, NAMI Executive Director, disclosed that a majority of NAMI money is from pharmaceutical corporations.
US Senate Probe Discovers:
Most NAMI Money is From Psychiatric Drug Industry
NAMI has admitted to a US Senate probe that a majority of their funds over the last five years, 56 percent on average, have been from drug corporations. NAMI has agreed with the probe to immediately begin quarterly postings to their web site with a list of drug company donations and amounts.
MindFreedom obtained a letter sent last week by NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick to “NAMI Leaders and Members.” The letter is a response to the probe of NAMI by US Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) initiated on 6 April.
In the 28 April letter, copied below, Mr. Fitzpatrick wrote, “As reported to Senator Grassley, pharmaceutical companies contributedan average of 56% of national NAMI’s budget annually for the period2005-2009.”
Mr. Fitzpatrick passionately defends the drug company donations, but says NAMI has a strategic plan to lower the percentage.
Commented MindFreedom director, David Oaks, “The NAMI board should have listened to its own Consumer Council which voted for full disclosure many years ago, but was ignored.”
To track the number of “biologically based” references on the NAMI web site click here:
For a news report by Bloomberg from 6 April about the letter by Sen. Grassley to NAMI click here:
MindFreedom maintains a count of the number of times the NAMI web site uses the term “biologically based” when referring to mental health problems. Said Oaks, “There are as many theories about the cause of extreme mental problems as there are colors in the rainbow. Unfortunately, NAMI’s rainbow is mainly green — drug company money green. Now we know why.”
MindFreedom is encouraging an international “thank you” from everyone to Senator Grassley for investigating psychiatric drug money corruption, click here:
LISTEN and CALL-IN LIVE to a special free online MindFreedom radio show this Saturday, 9 May 2009, about protesting psychiatric drug company corruption. More information is available here:
Letter from NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick:
April 28, 2009
Dear NAMI Leaders and Members,
On April 6, 2009 Senator Charles Grassley asked NAMI national to provide information about support it receives from pharmaceutical companies. For the last three years, Senator Grassley has been interested in various aspects of the pharmaceutical industry and has made similar requests to other non-profit groups.
NAMI shares Senator Grassley’s interest in transparency and has cooperated fully with this request. Since the request was made, three basic questions have been posed that are worth sharing and answering.
Does NAMI accept contributions from pharmaceutical companies?
Yes, we do — and we’re delighted to have this critical support for our many programs and important work all across the country.
NAMI accepts charitable contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations, including the pharmaceutical industry, for one purpose – to improve the lives of people with mental illness and their families. These relationships are governed by NAMI’s Guidelines for Business Support Relationships, a NAMI policy originally developed and approved by the Board of Directors in 2004. This policy ensures that at all times NAMI will maintain an independent position on issues affecting the welfare of people with mental illness. A copy of this policy is available online at http://www.nami.org/BusinessGuidelines.
As you know from our strategic plan (http://www.nami.org/stratplan), NAMI’s goal is to reduce the percentage of our budget that is supported by charitable donations from pharmaceutical companies.
While we deeply appreciate the support we have received, we set this goal because we understand the value of diversifying our funding sources –- both for fiscal stability and because we want to shed any lingering, unfair accusations that somehow NAMI has been “bought.” I can assure you: nothing could be further from the truth. NAMI’s advocacy voice is loud and clear and uncompromised.
As reported to Senator Grassley, pharmaceutical companies contributed an average of 56% of national NAMI’s budget annually for the period 2005-2009. Many of NAMI’s signature education programs, including Family-to-Family, Peer-to-Peer, NAMI Connection, In Our Own Voice and NAMI Basics have national corporate sponsors.
These programs are the essence of your work in your communities. They are offered free of charge to thousands of consumers and families who participate in them each year. Without support of these companies, we would be hard-pressed to bring you these vital programs. Corporate grants and charitable contributions also support the NAMI Web site, Mental Illness Awareness Week, and other public education and advocacy efforts.
Can we see who is giving NAMI what?
Yes, you can.
NAMI National has long made public lists of major corporate and foundation donors in our annual reports, which you can view online: www.nami.org/governance. In 2009, we have begun posting on the NAMI Web site on a quarterly basis all foundation and corporate grants and corporate contributions over $5,000 received by NAMI national. The first list covers January-March 2009 and can also be viewed at http://www.nami.org/governance.
We continue our incredibly important work together, at the national, state and local level, on behalf of one of the most vulnerable and discriminated against populations in our country.
NAMI has long enjoyed a great national reputation. In fact, NAMI is one of only 248 national non-profit organizations that received the BBB Wise Giving Alliance Charity Seal this year from the charity monitoring organization affiliated with the Better Business Bureau. Perhaps you saw BBB’s ad in USA Today two weeks ago which heralded the exclusive list. NAMI also received three out of four stars from Charity Navigator and is its number one rated mental health organization.
Thank you for the tremendous work you do, day in and day out. If you have any thoughts or questions, I hope you will be in touch.
Michael J. Fitzpatrick, MSW
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
2107 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 2201
– end letter –
Here is the link to the “scorecard” on the number of “biologically based” references on the NAMI web site:
Here is a link to a news report by Bloomberg from 6 April about the letter by Sen. Grassley to NAMI: