A federal lawsuit has been filed against pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for its role in paying Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Michael Reinstein nearly $500,000 over the course of a decade to conduct research and to promote its anti-psychotic drug, Seroquel. Cited in the lawsuit was the fact that Reinstein would continually prescribe roughly double the amount of drugs other psychiatrists would prescribe for the same conditions.
The fact that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has paid $1 billion to settle lawsuits related to Paxil was disclosed by Bloomberg and not the company itself illustrates how lousy financial disclosure rules are in Europe and why drug companies based there cannot be trusted to tell the truth about what is going on with their litigation liabilities and, by extension, the safety of their drugs.
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.”
A study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found the drugs caused children and adolescents to gain an average of 19 pounds in 11 weeks of treatment. The concern with weight gain seen with most antipsychotic drugs is whether it causes additional problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A top Food and Drug Administration official said Tuesday the agency is considering strengthening the labels of antipsychotic drugs to warn about weight gain and diabetes amid concerns the impact could be stronger in children compared to adults.
FDA drug reviewers said medical researchers have found a direct link between the use of so-called atypical antipsychotics (Seroquel, Zyprexa, Abilify, Risperdal) in younger children and weight gain, high cholesterol, and increased blood pressure.