Andrew Sperling, Long-time NAMI Legislative Advocate Resigns To Join Novel Drug Firm

(9-16-21) Andrew Sperling, the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses‘ long-time director of Legislative and Policy Advocacy, has resigned and accepted a new lobbyist job with Intra-Cellular Therapies, a biopharmaceutical company founded in 2002.

Sperling has been NAMI’s Capitol Hill advocate for 25 years and is well-known and respected in congressional circles. During his tenure overseeing NAMI’s federal policy agenda in Congress and before federal agencies, he worked on passage of the historical Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, and played a key role in getting Congress to approve the Frank Melville  Supportive Housing Investment Act. Those two major laws helped individuals with mental illnesses receive equable insurance treatment and assisted housing.

“I love NAMI and leaving was not an easy decision, but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to join an exciting company that is focused almost entirely on developing novel medications designed to help people with mental illnesses,” Sperling told me.

Although Intra-Cellular is a relatively small pharmaceutical company compared to such Big Pharma giants as Pfizer (Prozac), Eli Lilly (Zyprexa) and Otsuka (Abilify), it was cofounded by the late Dr. Paul Greengard, a neuroscientist and Nobel Laureate whose pioneering research helped  revolutionized scientists understanding of the brain’s biochemistry.  Its main drug, Caplyta (lumateperone) treats the symptoms of schizophrenia in adults without causing excessive weigh gain that often happens with other medications.

I frequently worked with Andrew, whose brother has a serious mental illness, and considered him one of the most effective mental health advocates in congressional affairs. He also serves as a consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and as co-chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force. Andrew received his B.A. from Tulane University, his M.A. from The George Washington University and his J.D. from Franklin Pierce Law Center.

NAMI has not named his replacement.



About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.