FOR decades, antipsychotic drugs were a niche product. Today, they’re the top-selling class of pharmaceuticals in America, generating annual revenue of about $14.6 billion and surpassing sales of even blockbusters like heart-protective statins. Lawyers suing AstraZeneca say documents they have unearthed show that the company tried to hide the risks of diabetes and weight gain associated with the new drugs. Positive studies were hyped, the documents show; negative ones were filed away. According to company e-mails unsealed in civil lawsuits, AstraZeneca “buried” — a manager’s term — a 1997 study showing that users of Seroquel, then a new antipsychotic, gained 11 pounds a year, while the company publicized a study that asserted they lost weight. Company e-mail messages also refer to doing a “great smoke-and-mirrors job” on an unfavorable study.
The US Department of Justice is scrutinising payments by leading pharmaceuticals companies for hospitality, consultants, licensing agreements and charitable donations in markets around the world as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe. GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly, among others, have disclosed being contacted by the DoJ and Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the investigation.
One of the most controversial proposed disorders for the upcoming revision of psychiatry’s billing bible of mental disorders, (the DSM-5) is Psychosis Risk Syndrome (PRS) a “mental disorder” that, if voted into DSM, would confirm the allegations that psychiatry is manufacturing a Brave New World for itself—heavily backed by Big Pharma—of drugging children before they develop a “mental illness.”
The FDA plans to increase misdemeanor prosecutions of industry execs as it looks to refocus its Office of Criminal Investigations. The move comes in response to a new report from the General Accountability Office that the OCI suffers from lax oversight, despite increased in funding and staffing over the past decade. In fact, the FDA hasn’t reviewed most OCI offices in more than three years. The OCI investigates counterfeit drugs and other bad stuff, as well as misconduct by FDA employees.
Prescriptions for psychiatric drugs increased 50 percent with children in the US, and 73 percent among adults, from 1996 to 2006, according to a study in the May/June 2009 issue of the journal Health Affairs. The CIA “World Factbook” estimate the world population to be about 6.8 billion and the US population to be a mere 307 million. In an April 2008 report, the market research firm Datamonitor reported that the “US dominates the ADHD market with a 94 percent market share.”