GAP Client Allen Jones Vindicated After Years of Voicing Concerns of Financial Corruption 

(Washington, DC) – The director of the federal government’s mental health agency announced last week that his department no longer endorses the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP), a controversial drug treatment regime supported by President Bush. The reversal by Charles Currie, director of the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), came in a meeting on October 17 with numerous nonprofit health organization representatives. Among those present who witnessed Currie’s remarks was Government Accountability Project (GAP) client Allen Jones, who has been critical of TMAP for years and was fired as a result of investigating the program’s inner-workings.

Jones, a former fraud investigator for the state of Pennsylvania, blew the whistle on financial inducements given by drug companies to entice state officials to favor hyper-expensive “atypical” drugs in treating depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. A government-funded study released last month confirmed Jones’s findings that atypical drugs are no better in treating schizophrenia than older, off-patent medications that sell for a fraction of the cost. Jones initially began his investigation in 2002, went public with his findings in February 2004, and was terminated that following June as a result.

The development and marketing of TMAP was financed by ten major drug companies. All of the atypical drugs are recent issues and under patent to the same drug companies that promoted the adoption of TMAP around the country. The program has come under fire from numerous therapists and citizens groups in recent years.

“It is high time that the federal government realizes the sham that TMAP really is,” stated Jones. “This program has been a blatant example of how big corporations can manipulate and corrupt our government officials into acting in the best interest of businesses instead of the public. The states that still operate TMAP should end this corruption immediately in the interest of taxpayers everywhere.”

While an investigator at the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General, Jones discovered that drug companies were showering gifts on officials in charge of determining which drugs were to be prescribed to persons in state custody suffering mental illness. The exorbitant costs of these atypical drugs are being borne by taxpayers via Medicaid. Jones discovered a hidden bank account created by pharmaceuticals for Pennsylvania officials to receive monetary gifts for implementing TMAP. Jones was fired for his persistent investigating and exposing of the program.

“SAMHSA’s rejection of TMAP completely vindicates Allen’s disclosure,” stated GAP Food & Drug Safety Director Mark Cohen, continuing “We anticipate the courts will agree.” GAP represents Jones in a federal suit in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in which he alleges he was fired for exercising his free speech rights.

For a more detailed account of last week’s meeting in which SAMHSA officials signaled a change, please see the Alliance for Human Research Protection’s press release.