By Rhonda McBride
February 11, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska attorney who has gone up against a drug giant and won has a new target.
Jim Gottstein is taking on psychiatry in Alaska for over-prescribing medicine to children.
Gottstein was the attorney who forced Eli Lilly to pay more than $1 billion in settlements over the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.
He also heads up a group called the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, which filed the lawsuit. The group claims over-prescribing is disabling children for life.
A growing number of children are prescribed psychiatric drugs, and a growing number of mental health advocates say we should be alarmed, because those drugs are often unnecessary
“They’re really a chemical lobotomy, because that’s what they do to the brain,” Gottstein said.
The list of those named in Gottstein’s lawsuit is long: More than a dozen child psychiatrists, health agencies, state officials, and pharmacies that include Walmart, Fred Meyer and Safeway.
“Eighteen-year-olds are having heart attacks from these drugs,” Gottstein said.
He says he’s tried to get the state and Alaska psychiatrists to use more restraint.
He says they are using powerful drugs on children that are intended for adults.
“People put on these drugs have a life expectancy of 25 years shorter than the general population. These drugs are so harmful, that they literally kill people,” Gottstein said.
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