A subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has pleaded guilty in federal court to misdemeanor charges of marketing a drug for unapproved uses. The guilty plea comes as part of a larger, $81-million settlement signed by J&J to settle government allegations that it illegally marketed its anti-seizure drug Topamax for the treatment of conditions including bipolar disorder and drug and alcohol addiction.
Last week, the New York Times ran a sad yet compelling story about a boy named Kyle, who at 18 months was put on antipsychotic drugs to quell severe temper tantrums. By the time he was 3, the poor kid had been diagnosed with autism, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, insomnia and “oppositional defiant disorder” (um, isn’t that a fancy phrase for “normal toddler behavior”?). He was on the antipsychotic Risperdal, the antidepressant Prozac, two sleeping medicines and a pill for attention-deficit disorder. Did you read that?! Prozac! Sleeping pills!
Popular anti-seizure drugs may seriously increase a patient’s risk of suicide and violent death, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. During the course of the study, there were 801 attempted suicides, 26 successful suicides and 41 violent deaths.
Patient advocates filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday charging that New Jersey psychiatric hospitals routinely medicate patients against their will without a review by an outside arbiter, a practice that is banned in most other states.
You may think there is enough disease in the world already, and that no one would want to add to the diseases that we humans must deal with. But there is a powerful industry in our society that is working overtime to invent illnesses and to convince us we are suffering from them. This effort is known as “disease mongering,” a term introduced by health-science writer Lynn Payer in her 1992 book Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, and Insurers Are Making You Feel Sick.