Time: Docs Pushing More Illegally Marketed Dangerous Hard Drugs on Kids


Time Magazine blows the lid off Big Pharma’s dangerous, unproven and illegal push of drugs on our kids which of which Wired notes ‘You should definitely read the whole thing — short, important, and sickening’.

Wired Science alerts use to a ‘short, important, and sickening’ Time magazine article detailing who Big Pharma used a combination of illegal marketing and paying off our corrupt government officials to push a whole new wave of dangerous and unproven anti-psychotic drugs on our children.

Perhaps the sickest part is although the drug-makers lost the battle – being forced to pay billions of dollars in legal settlement for their activities – it looks like they are winning the war.

A new psyche has been burned into the masses and turning to these drugs for treatments of all kinds of behaviors that were once considered a normal part of childhood continues to skyrocket.

Wired reports:

Docs Pushing More Hard Drugs on Kids

At Time, Maia Szalavitz tells of some really, really bad medicine:

[…]

Antipsychotics are enormously powerful drugs, and we’ve very little knowledge about what they might do to the growing brain. That anyone would prescribe them for ADHD beggars the imagination. That the rate should go up recently, when critiques of overdiagnosis and overprescription have skyrocketed, is just stunning.

And there’s more. You should definitely read the whole thing — short, important, and sickening — over at Time: Antipsychotic Prescriptions in Children Have Skyrocketed

From Time:

Illegal Marketing Caused Spike In Harmful Drugs Pushed On Teens

Antipsychotic Prescriptions in Children Have Skyrocketed: Study
The dramatic rise of antipsychotic prescribing in youth occurred in conjunction with the illegal marketing of the drugs by their makers, resulting in multibillion-dollar settlements with the government
Since 1993, the rate of antipsychotic drug prescribing to children increased by a factor of nearly eight, while prescribing to teens quintupled and in adults nearly doubled, according to a new study.Virtually all of this growth was seen in prescriptions for second-generation, or so-called atypical antipsychotic medications, which are often dispensed off label — meaning the drugs are prescribed for conditions that they are not specifically approved by the government to treat. Once a drug is allowed on the market, however, doctors are at liberty to use the drug for other conditions: antipsychotics were originally approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but these disorders are uncommon in adults and even more rare in children.

There is much evidence that the vast increases in atypical antipsychotic prescribing in recent decades were fueled by the aggressive marketing tactics of drug companies. In recent years, every major manufacturer of atypical antipsychotics has been involved in the illegal marketing of the drugs (while doctors can prescribe drugs off label, it is against the law for drug makers to market them for off-label uses), each ultimately paying hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in fines for their sales and marketing tactics. The settlements with the U.S. government were among the largest in history.

(MORE: Drugging the Vulnerable: Atypical Antipsychotics in Children and the Elderly)

In June, for example, Johnson and Johnson reportedly agreed to pay up to $2.2 billion for illegally promoting a variety of drugs, primarily the atypical antipsychotic Risperdal — and even that giant settlement with the government doesn’t resolve several other state lawsuits against the company, seeking billions more, for related offenses. In 2009, Eli Lilly was similarly made to pay $1.4 billion in fines related mainly to the illegal marketing of its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa — $615 million of that to settle criminal charges. Further, as we reported last year:

The charges against Lilly involved selling Zyprexa to doctors for use in children, despite the fact that it was not approved for this age group.

Bristol Myers Squibb paid $515 million in 2007 to settle charges that it also illegally pushed its antipsychotic Abilify to child psychiatrists. Pfizer paid out $301 million in a similar case related to its drug Geodon. AstraZeneca paid out $520 million to settle charges over the drug Seroquel. In all of these cases, the drugs were sold for unapproved use in youth.

The new study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found that in 2005-09 nearly two thirds of all antipsychotic prescriptions for youth were written for ADHD and other disruptive behavior disorders; these conditions accounted for 34% of all antipsychotic prescriptions for teens. Yet there is little data supporting the safety or efficacy of the drugs for those conditions. The drugs’ effect on children’s brain development is also not known, but their side effect profile is clear: aytpical antipsychotics are known to cause weight gain and diabetes, side effects to which children seem particularly prone.

“As the actual evidence base that would support [such off-label prescriptions of antipsychotics] is scant to non-existent, and the evidence of permeating undue influence of pharma on prescribing practices in psychiatry is abundant, one is led to the conclusion that this is another example of irrational prescribing that can be traced to both the overt and tacit influence of [drug companies] on practitioners,” says Dr. Bruce Perry, a senior fellow at the ChildTrauma Academy. [Full disclosure: Perry and I have co-authored two books.]

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Categories: GENERAL INTEREST

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