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If Depression Hurts, Eli Lilly Is Killing Us
December 28, 2005
by Tony Zizza

I would have thought that as we close the door on 2005, Big Pharma would be looking towards 2006 with a new dedication to honesty, sanity, and common sense.

Oops. Sorry, I must have been drinking too much egg nog while watching yet more television propaganda from pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly.

Eli Lilly has really outdone themselves with their latest marketing campaign to sell us depression and drugs. I have come to the point where I believe pharmaceutical companies that sell depression and drugs actually think we cannot live our lives without their lies. Count on Eli Lilly to always come up with the slickest of slick ways to convince virtually every member of the human race that they have the answer to helping you cope with an illness called depression.

Enter the latest insanity from Eli Lilly:


Log onto this website and you will learn that depression is now a "physical" illness. Interestingly, it seems that for years a backlash has properly emerged putting pharmaceutical companies on notice with the fact depression is not a physical illness, that you cannot treat depression like you would a broken leg or a sprained ankle. One is physical, the other is mental.

Eli Lilly wants to (and what a surprise!) have their cake and eat it too. Sure, depression hurts. This isn't news. Try being a stepfather, you'll learn either pretty quick or years down the road what depression is. It's no fun to come face to face with your own shortcomings or realize that you have a lot of failed relationships to deal with that most certainly cause you to feel down. This is natural. There is nothing wrong with feeling depressed because there is always something you can do about it. In fact, it's better to experience depression and learn from it, rather than fail to deal with things that did not at least for the moment turn out as they should have. How you deal with challenges will likely determine what becomes of your future.

Eli Lilly's Self-Assessment Checklist was developed by "depression experts" at the University of Michigan. Aren't we lucky to have their expert opinion ask us if we are having "nagging aches and pains that don't get better, no matter what I do." You see, Eli Lilly has decided that as a marketing tool of sorts, they are going to lump the physical with the mental as it pertains to convincing you - you're depressed to the point of needing "their drugs." This is another beauty from the Checklist you are supposed to check off: "I have trouble concentrating or making simple decisions." We have graduated from the class of Prozac Nation to ADHD Nation. How pathetic and sad can we get?

Perhaps the slickest portion of the http://www.depressionhurts.com website is the Symptom Body Map. This is quite a hoot. We are supposed to, "Use this tool to explore information about some of the common emotional and painful physical symptoms of depression." Furthermore, "When you finish, you'll be able to print out your symptoms and share this information with your doctor." I am not even sure I am believing what I am seeing. There is a colorful stick figure with eight marks of alleged depression problem areas. It's like Eli Lilly is now manufacturing video games.

However, this isn't a game. Our lives are at stake here. What Eli Lilly is doing is both shameful and harmful. It's one thing to market products, but why is depression being treated like a market? Why do we want more depressed people in this country? How did we all get so depressed in the first place? Why are we now labeling infants as mentally ill?

2005 was an interesting year in that the psychiatric and pharmaceutical (what's the difference?) industry came under attack on many fronts. Say what you will about Tom Cruise, at least he did not lie. Again, Eli Lilly is now mixing the physical with the mental regarding depression because people are getting a little wiser to the game of: a pill for every ill.

When we realize that there really isn't a mental disorder for every American, this is not good news for Eli Lilly. It is, however, good news for us and our children. It's good for the heart and soul of America. We are a nation whose individual members of society experience depression from time to time, but we do not let it define us. This is what it means to learn from an endless number of life lessons.

Let's stop the semantics. Depression is not an illness we must live with for the rest of our lives or get out of only with the digestion of drugs. If depression hurts, Eli Lilly is killing us. Their carefully crafted website, http://www.depressionhurts.com is a form of propaganda that speaks to how low Big Pharma will go to keep us in chemical handcuffs.

Zizza serves as Vice President for the State of Georgia for the non-profit organization, Parents For Label and Drug Free Education.

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