Today’s in-depth article by the Huffington Post on the billions of dollars in fines and judgments paid out by big drug companies on civil and criminal complaints for promoting drugs (not even established as safe and effective for adults) to pediatricians & school guidance counselors) for use by children needs to be understood and taken a step further.

From this guardian ad-Litem’s perspective, the most serious drug abuse facing Americans today are the psychotropic medications being prescribed to children (even three and four year olds).  The side effects can be awful, the drugs often cause more harm than good and seldom does adequate therapy accompany drug usage – and they are used for a bad reason; because drugs are cheaper than therapy (but much more costly in the long run).

Johnson & Johnson has settled thousands of cases for their “illicit promotion of Risperdal” (3 billion dollars) and are currently litigating over four thousand cases (and only a fraction of damaged people ever sue).

The safety and efficacy of Risperdal was promoted for use by children when it had not even been established that it was safe or effective in adults and J&J will continue to sell these drugs, lose these lawsuits and make boatloads of money.

These fines to multi billion dollar companies are just factored into corporate expenses as a cost of doing business (read the article above to see pharma exec comments).  The company leaders involved in these decisions are more likely to be promoted than punished and there are dozens of drug companies selling off label use of drugs that are not safe for the people they are selling them to.

Pharma has an even stronger hold on politicians than the gun lobby (at least there are a fair number of politicians who believe in some form of gun control).

Because people don’t like the topic of mental health, conversations about problematic issues (that have repeatedly been sanctioned as civil and criminal malfeasance) are few, poorly understood and vastly underappreciated for the damage being caused by what is now acceptable behavior by big pharma.

Few readers will read the article above, but I suggest keeping it around for the day you want to understand why there are so many troubled people, suicides, shootings, felons and unhappy schools and neighborhoods.

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1 Comment

  1. Mike,

    One does not have to speculate about the prediction that “the company leaders involved in these decisions are more likely to be promoted than punished.” It has already happened. The head of Johnson&Johnson’s Risperdal marketing campaign was, or became, the company’s chief of sales and then the Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, he was, and remains, the man at the top of one of the world’s (financially) most successful corporations.

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