1. Treatment Facts 2. Preying on the Elderly for Profit 3. Real Solutions 4. What You Can Do In today’s high-pressure world, tradition is too…
While sipping drinks from coconut shells, psychiatrists from around the world recently met in Honolulu to discuss more ways to capitalize on human behavior and promote drug dependency. The occasion was the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), held in a Hawaiian convention center lined with mental disorder displays and pharmaceutical booths.
Sen. Charles Grassley recently sent a letter to the administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He wants some answers after a federal report Grassley requested found many nursing home residents with dementia are given antipsychotic drugs. These drugs are not approved to treat dementia. They can be lethal for those afflicted with it, and Medicare has been paying for them.
Nearly one in seven elderly nursing home residents, nearly all of them with dementia, are given powerful atypical antipsychotic drugs even though the medicines increase the risks of death and are not approved for such treatments, a government audit found. More than half of the antipsychotics paid for by the federal Medicare program in the first half of 2007 were “erroneous,” the audit found, costing the program $116 million for those six months. “Government, taxpayers, nursing home residents as well as their families and caregivers should be outraged and seek solutions,” Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, wrote in announcing the audit results.
A federal judge has refused to toss out a whistleblower lawsuit backed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), which accuses Johnson & Johnson of involvement in an illegal kickback scheme to push their antipsychotic drugs on elderly nursing home residents that did not need them. The DOJ filed a civil False Claims Act compliant against J&J on January 15, 2010, saying that the company paid millions to Omnicare, Inc. as kickbacks for selling Risperdal to nursing home patients.
According to a recent report from the United Kingdom, side effects of Risperdal and other similar antipsychotics, like Seroquel, Zyprexa and Abilify, could be linked to as many as 1,800 deaths and 1,620 strokes per year in elderly patients with dementia.