Church of Scientology group warns Illawarra doctors

By Angela Thompson
Updated November 5 2012 - 9:43am, first published August 3 2009 - 3:14pm

Illawarra doctors have been warned against prescribing mind-altering drugs, including anti-depressants, in a DVD mass-mailed by a watchdog group founded by the Church of Scientology.The film, Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging, appears to have been mailed to all doctors listed in the region's Yellow Pages last month.The DVD claims psychotropic drugs are harmful and includes testimonies from the family members of people who have committed suicide while medicated.It claims psychiatrists "occupy the lowest rung of the medical profession".It was mailed with a letter from the Citizens' Commission on Human Rights, a group established by the Church of Scientology "to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights".In it, executive director of the commission in Australia, Shelley Wilkins, warns doctors risk "huge liabilities" by prescribing psychotropic medications."You've no doubt read about the controversy over these drugs - the profits they generate and the harm they can cause," she writes. "In 2007 Rex John Schultz won $255,561.95 in damages after his GP in NSW wrongly diagnosed him as being in a psychotic state and prescribed him an anti-psychotic."Illawarra ophthalmologist Dr Michelle Gajus watched the DVD after it arrived at her Figtree rooms about three weeks ago. She said she was concerned by the "anti-medicine" message."Its basic tenet is that psychotropic drugs are evil," she said."My concern is that this is a misleading propaganda, very expensively made, designed to spread a pseudo scientific and quasi-religious system of beliefs. "I think it's anti-medicine and it's not appropriate."However Ms Wilkins pointed out that the DVD included interviews with health care professionals."It is doctors and psychiatrists actually speaking out against it," she said.

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