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C-6 Senators

Profiting From Pain #2



Welcome To TReVoices Blog By, Scott Newgent

If you believe in what we are doing, consider helping us with a gift.

 

By Concerned Parent


Profiting from Pain


The first blog post in this series covered marketing within the pharmaceutical industry, showing how drug companies are jockeying for dominance in the lucrative puberty blocker and cross-sex hormone markets. Worldwide, the US is already the most profitable market for those drugs and is on track for dramatic growth over the next decade. This alarming trend is fueled by lavish pharma lobbying budgets, a combined $92 million in the first quarter of 2021 alone (for all drug types)—that’s a staggering $30 million per month. This obscene sum is used to purchase outsized government influence and lax regulation. Drug companies also pour many millions into direct advertising and aggressive marketing, aimed at doctors and patients alike. These are some of the same companies that have devastated families all over the United States by flooding communities with highly addictive opioids. As our nation struggles to recover from the ongoing damage of that deadly crisis, companies are “organiz[ing] sales and marketing efforts by identifying the best opportunities for gender dysphoria.” (1) (Italics mine.)


Drug Pushing and Legal Loopholes


Like the opioid crisis, the dysphoria drug boom is poised to generate much more pain and tragedy than it relieves. Drug companies are regularly caught misrepresenting and downplaying the dangerous side effects of their drugs. In July 2017, a jury found that AbbVie, Inc., maker of AndroGel testosterone gel, had engaged in “fraudulent misrepresentation” of the drug. (2) The decision was set to cost AbbVie $150 million in damages. The suit was one of over 6,000 filed at the time against AbbVie and other testosterone manufacturers for “push[ing] testosterone drugs off-label and put[ting] patients at unnecessary risk.” (3) Many other people damaged by the drugs have come forward since then.


But remember the pharma industry’s lobbying budget? The $150 million in damages represents just five months of lobbying costs at the current rate of approximately $30 million per month. That’s a slap on the wrist for these drug giants—a slap on the wrist that, in the end, was reduced to the equivalent of a disapproving glance. Six months after the jury found for the plaintiff, Illinois Judge Matthew Kennelly “overturned the $150 million verdicts in the case of Jesse Mitchell because the jury only issued punitive damages and no compensatory damages.” (4) In other words, the judge decided that, because the jury only fined the company (punitive) and did not award funds for the harm caused to the plaintiff by the drug (compensatory), the plaintiff’s legal team had not convinced the jury that he had “been damaged.” (5) Common sense tells us that the original high-dollar verdict against AbbVie meant the jury absolutely was convinced that the plaintiff had been harmed. The judge’s decision was based on a dubious interpretation of legal precedent that favoured the drug makers, an outcome that is all too common. In the end, the judge reduced the punitive damages to just $3.2 million. These drugs are so profitable—AndroGel hit “blockbusterearnings status—that even judgments in the hundreds of millions are considered a reasonable cost of doing business. Though the amount of money spent on lobbying is staggering, it clearly pays off.


Young People Pay the Highest Price


Most of the people who sued AbbVie and the other companies were adult males, a population for whom at least some AndroGel drug trials had been conducted. For the young females prescribed AndroGel, the dangers could be even greater, and the risks are certainly less well understood. Young women pursuing transition have reported serious and even life-threatening side effects from AndroGel and other products, including adrenal gland failure/critically low cortisol, fatty liver, high blood pressure, type-1 diabetes onset, and others, necessitating treatment and even hospitalization. And yet, the “Transgender Teen Survival Guide” website has anAndroGel Q and A” page that includes the following exchange:


Q: How do you get Androgel or testosterone gel from your doctor?


A: ...I have heard of some doctors being uncomfortable with putting patients right on the gel; one of the reasons behind this is that they don’t have a lot of experience with the gel and are unsure about the dosing. Most doctors, in my experience, don’t really have a strong preference either way and will listen to the patient’s requests.


At the end of this Q and A, a young commenter who has reposted the conversation on their own blog writes:


Someday my T will come…*Disney tune montage plays in the background*


Clearly, the gravity of the decision to risk cross-sex hormone changes and side effects is lost on lots of young people and not emphasized strongly enough by many entrusted with their care.


Experimentation on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults MUST Stop!



What does this mean for the futures of gender-questioning and gender-non-conforming young people? Unfortunately, without effective organizing and fierce pushback against gender profiteers—and the trans activists who enable them—it means that our young people will continue to be fodder for an unprecedented and reckless experiment. Under the so-called “affirmative care” model, pharmaceuticals are the first line of treatment for gender-questioning youth. But for the majority of youngsters, dysphoria typically resolves without drug interventions, so in most cases, drug interventions should come last, only after all less-invasive, less-harmful treatments have been tried. (6) Alarmingly, puberty blockers and hormones are used even on patients with comorbidities. For those unfamiliar with the term, “comorbidities” are simply coexisting conditions presenting simultaneously in a patient. So, for example, a young person may come in having self-identified as gender-dysphoric or transgender, but they also have a history of anxiety/depression, ADHD or autism, an eating disorder, abuse or trauma, etc.


Treat the Whole Person and Do No Harm


From anecdotal evidence, it appears that the vast majority of detransitioners were grappling with comorbidities when they self-identified as trans. But for many, the physical and mental health issues they had in addition to gender confusion were either glossed over or completely ignored by the doctors, mental health practitioners, and gender clinics from whom they sought help. In the worst cases of fast-tracking pharmaceuticals, patients got prescriptions for hormones on their first or second visit with no counselling whatsoever. Detransitioner social media posts, subreddit comments, interviews, and YouTube videos are full of these stories. To make matters worse, there are numerous pieces of legislation meant to ban mental health professionals from using talk therapy to explore gender identity with young people, arguing that doing so amounts to “conversion therapy.” Yet even the staunchest advocates of child and adolescent “affirmative care,” when pressed, admit that they have no way to accurately determine who will persist and who will desist in transition. Nonetheless, they continue to prescribe as though they do, committing serial violations of the Hippocratic oath in the process.


The Trans Radical Activist (TRA) Narrative About Detransition Unravels Under Scrutiny


It is important to acknowledge that detransitioners’ very existence is often denied by TRAs. On occasions when they are acknowledged, detransitioners’ numbers are minimized and their experiences dismissed by TRAs, often using threatening and/or misogynist language. Young people learn online and elsewhere that people mostly detransition due to societal/familial pressure, financial reasons, or discrimination. But a 2021 study published in the Journal of Homosexuality turns that narrative on its head: in it, those three were the lowest-ranked reasons for detransitioning (listed by 13%, 12%, and 10% of respondents respectively). The top three were 1) “Realized that my gender dysphoria was related to other issues” (70%); 2) Health concerns (62%); 3) Transition did not help with my dysphoria (50%). (7) All of the real top-three reasons argue persuasively for counseling and watchful waiting rather than hormones. Young people need time to sort through their other issues and explore the root causes of their dysphoria, to see if they can resolve the antagonistic crisis among parts of their whole self. After that process, a (likely small) percentage will still decide that transition is the best path, and for them, the drugs will be there.


Next Steps: Turning Things Around


The next instalment of this series will focus on the medical industry. I will explore not only its role in the dysfunctional approach to gender-non-conforming youth, but the way trans ideology has affected teaching in medical schools, and the long-term risks for all humans’ health when sex-based differences are erased from clinical research.


But right now, I want to take a moment to honour the time and energy that everyone working on this issue has given. I do believe that together we are making a difference. Please continue to do whatever you can, whether it is talking to others, contacting legislators, or donating to folks like Scott and the TREVoices gang. And when you feel like it’s all too much, take care of yourself and know that others are in this fight with you. They will be there to take up the work, and when you feel restored, rejoin and reinspire them in return!


In the meantime, here is a step you can take today:


Call or write your legislators! You can easily find your federal, state, and local government representatives here. Tell them your concerns about the medicalization of minors. Request that they go to TREVoices.com and listen to the diverse coalition of people who also have genuine (non-transphobic) concerns. Ask them what they are prepared to do to protect our gender-questioning young people from irreversible harm.


Notes:



  1. Sagonowsky, Eric. Jury Smacks AbbVie with $150 verdict in AndroGel’s Bellwether Low-T Trial. Fierce Pharma. 25 July 2017, https://www.fiercepharma.com/legal/abbvie-hit-150m-verdict-bellwether-androgel-case. Accessed 06 July, 2021.


  1. Ibid.


  1. Sagonowsky, Eric. Judge Overturns $150 Million AndroGel Verdict Against Abbvie. Fierce Pharma. 29 December 2017, https://www.fiercepharma.com/legal/judge-overturns-150m-androgel-verdict-against-abbvie. Accessed 14 July 2021.


  1. Ibid.


  1. Kaltiala-Heino R, Bergman H, Työläjärvi M, Frisén L. Gender dysphoria in adolescence: current perspectives. Adolesc Health Med Ther. 2018;9:31-41. Published 2018 Mar 2. doi:10.2147/AHMT.S135432. Accessed 28 June 2021.


  1. Vanderbussche, Elie. Detransition-Related Needs and Support: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey. Journal of Homosexuality. 30 April 2021. DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2021.1919479. Accessed 16 May 2021.



Transman
Scott Newgent

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