Lawsuits, Just the Cost of Criminal Marketing of Antipsychotic Drugs
| Sunday, 03 October 2010 |
| "When you’re selling $1 billion a year or more of a drug, it’s very tempting for a company to just ignore the traffic ticket and keep speeding.” |
A New York Times report (below) reviews what has been accomplished by multiple civil and criminal lawsuits against Big Pharma companies that have relied almost entirely on fraud to market industry's worst pharmaceuticals--antipsychotic drugs--which have become industry's most profitable cash cow.
"The new generation of antipsychotics has also become the single biggest target of the False Claims Act, a federal law once largely aimed at fraud among military contractors. Every major company selling the drugs — Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson — has either settled recent government cases for hundreds of millions of dollars or is currently under investigation for possible health care fraud."
"Two of the settlements, involving charges of illegal marketing, set records last year for the largest criminal fines ever imposed on corporations. One involved Eli Lilly’s antipsychotic, Zyprexa; the other involved a guilty plea for Pfizer’s marketing of a pain pill, Bextra. In the Bextra case, the government also charged Pfizer with illegally marketing another antipsychotic, Geodon; Pfizer settled that part of the claim for $301 million, without admitting any wrongdoing."
But these lawsuits are no deterrent to crime, as Jerome Avorn, MD, Harvard medical professor correctly observes : "When you’re selling $1 billion a year or more of a drug, it’s very tempting for a company to just ignore the traffic ticket and keep speeding.”
The Times cites several psychiatrists who now validate what critics have been pointing out: the clinical value of antipsychotics is entirely "unclear" "greatly exxagerated" "completely ineffective".
How is it, one must ask, that industry's paid academic psychiatrists, who are referred to as "key opinion leaders" failed to see for two decades, the elephant before them?
Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of psychiatry at Columbia University, who not only vigorously denied the drugs' adverse effects, he excoriated Robert Whitaker, author of Mad in America, for writing what the scientific evidence shows, now Dr. Lieberman grudgingly acknowledges that the clinical value of antipsychotics--even for the treatment of schizophrenia (for which they were approved) was "greatly exaggerated".
1. The role of government:
The standard for FDA approval requires evidence of a benefit that outweighs the risks. By that standard, these drugs should never have been approved for use in human beings.
2. The role of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI, formerly called National Alliance for the Mentally Ill)
Vera Hassner Sharav
(Emphasis in red by Justice Lover)