Putting Up With The Antics Of Rebecca And A Couple Of Other Crazies

Oh no, I found another one! Here’s an article from Kansas, from The Topeka Capital-Journal to be exact. The heading of this article reads, Topekan talks about living with schizophrenia.

A Topeka woman is sharing what it is like to live with schizophrenia in a 30-minute documentary that will air Sunday on Topeka’s public television station.

I wonder why people so seldom talk about living without schizophrenia? Ditto, bipolar disorder? Why don’t we have stories starting, ‘I once had a pet schizophrenia, but I got rid of mine. I Just didn’t care for it that much.’

Oh, I know…because they’ve got a drug to help people manage the symptoms now.

“Living with Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery,” featuring Topekan Rebecca Phillips and two other people diagnosed with the chronic brain disorder, will air at 3 p.m. on KTWU, Channel 11.

“The chronic brain disorder”, say people who want to sell you a drug “treatment”.

“It’s been a long journey,” Phillips, 37, said of her recovery.

What kind of “recovery” can there be to a “chronic brain disorder“? Isn’t this sort of like talking about seeking the “cure” for “incurable insanity”?

“Someone with schizophrenia can be active in the community. They can make a difference in other people’s lives,” she said. “There’s hope for people with schizophrenia. The end doesn’t have to be bad. They can be just like anyone.”

Anyone? Even people without a pet schizophrenia? Now here comes the scary part…

Phillips said she was asked to do the film in 2010 by officials at Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., which funded and produced the film. She previously had taken part in a shorter film about schizophrenia the company made for its sales representatives.

Jenssen Pharmaceuticals, if you don’t know, is owned by Johnson & Johnson. They are the not so wonderful people who brought you the neuroleptic drug Risperal.

Uh, considering the following, this isn’t the accident you might think it is, is it?

The years that followed were a mix of hospitalizations and medications to try to control the schizophrenia. That changed when she went to The University of Kansas Hospital and was prescribed risperdal consta, a drug she takes by injection every two weeks.

Living with Schizophrenia, the documentary, brought to you by Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Risperal.

This is the same Johnson & Johnson that just got sued for fraud to the tune of 158,000,000 smackeroos by the state of Texas for ‘off label’ prescription practices, notably of their neuroleptic drug Risperal.

I’m thinking about making my own film, Living without Schizophrenia. A film of which it could be said that no drug company, neither Eli Lilly, nor Johnson & Johnson, nor Pfizer, nor Bristol-Myer Squibb, nor Asta Zeneca, had any hand in the production.

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3 Responses

  1. And that $158 million buckaroos (as you so nicely put it) is just the tip of the iceberg! All told, J&J’s going to pay about $2.14 billion in settlements of various cases regarding fradulent off-label marketing. Wonder how much it would be if you threw in the wrongful death suits? Those settlements are currently undisclosed, of course.

    Great article.

    • Thanks, altmentalities. Hopefully people will click the above “$2.14 billion”, and get the real low down on J&J from your blog. Very informative.

      The post on the Occupy Medicine article in Psychiatric Times was another good one. I don’t see how anybody could be deceived by the original article, but it was amusing. I was thinking about posting something on it, and I may do so yet. My feeling was that maybe this doctor subconsciously realizes that psychiatry isn’t medicine if he’s going to have to occupy it. Your post sets the record straight on this matter. It exposes these doctors for what they actually are. You also point out that there is going to be a Boycott Normal protest rally, march and celebration in Philly on May 5 when the APA convention is going on. This event will be the real Occupation!

  2. Your post is a real eyebrow raiser.

    I was going to post the link for the following article but decided to post it here in its entirety. Damning articles like this have been known to disappear.

    From Bloomberg Businessweek Jan 20:

    “By Jef Feeley, Margaret Cronin Fisk and David Voreacos

    (Updates with Texas attorney general’s statement in sixth paragraph.)

    Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) — Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $158 million to settle Texas officials’ claims that the drugmaker fraudulently marketed its Risperdal anti-psychotic drug, ending a trial over the allegations.

    J&J’s settlement will resolve claims it defrauded the state’s Medicaid program by promoting Risperdal for uses not approved by U.S. regulators, including for children with psychiatric disorders, the company said today. The state also claimed the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based drugmaker downplayed the health risk of Risperdal. The settlement was about one- quarter of the $579 million the state was seeking.

    “Under the terms of the settlement, Janssen will pay $158 million in full resolution of all claims in Texas,” Teresa Mueller, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “This settlement represents a resolution to claims brought by the state in 2004 for alleged Medicaid overpayment during the years 1994-2008, and will circumvent potentially lengthy and costly appellate activities.”

    The Texas settlement is the first time J&J and Janssen have agreed to resolve a state’s claims over Risperdal, Mueller said.

    J&J, the world’s largest health-care products company, and its Janssen unit agreed to the accord in the middle of a four- week trial of the state’s lawsuit.

    ‘Strong Message’

    “Today’s agreement sends a strong message that the state will pursue those who defraud Texas taxpayers,” Greg Abbott, Texas attorney general, said in a statement. “Johnson & Johnson’s scheme to profit from the Medicaid program by overstating the safety and effectiveness of an expensive drug and improperly influencing officials ended up costing taxpayers millions of dollars.”

    Texas joined a lawsuit filed in 2004 by a whistle-blower, Allen Jones, an ex-investigator for the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General. Jones said he was fired after probing company payments to a top pharmacist in Pennsylvania’s government who hid the money.

    “We’re not disappointed at all” by the size of the settlement, Tom Melsheimer, Jones’s lawyer said in an interview today. The settlement is “the largest in a Texas Medicaid fraud case brought by the state,” he said.

    ‘Tell the Story’

    Settling during trial provided a benefit to the public, he said. “We got to tell the story of Risperdal that we never could have been able to tell if we settled before trial,” Melsheimer said.

    The settlement will be split between the state, the federal government, Jones and his attorneys, Mueller said.

    “I’ve no idea what the distribution of the settlement will be,” Jones said in an interview today. He said his first reaction to the settlement was, “Damn, I wanted another two days of testimony.”

    The trial showed that Janssen “subverted science and induced others to betray the people they were supposed to take care of,” Jones said. “To me, that’s reprehensible.”

    Jurors began hearing evidence on Jan. 10 about Janssen’s efforts to promote Risperdal, which the Food and Drug Administration approved in 1993 for uses including schizophrenia. J&J made $34 billion on Risperdal sales after its introduction, Melsheimer told jurors in his opening statement.

    State Medicaid Program

    Lawyers for Texas and Jones sought to prove that J&J defrauded the state Medicaid program by promoting Risperdal for other uses, including children with psychiatric disorders.

    Janssen’s marketing to children continued until the FDA’s first approval for pediatric uses in 2006, testified attorney Arnold Friede, an expert witness for the state. Friede explained company documents and FDA letters and said Janssen repeatedly disregarded agency admonitions to not market Risperdal beyond its approved use.

    He said Janssen didn’t follow the drug’s label, which said: “Safety and effectiveness in children have not been established.”

    He reviewed an FDA letter that denied a 1996 application by Janssen to allow use in children. The Janssen application never said “for what child or adolescent psychiatric disorders Risperdal would be intended,” the FDA said.

    “Your rationale for proposing this supplement appears to be simply that, since Risperdal is being used in pediatric patients, this use should be acknowledged in some way in labeling,” according to the FDA letter in September 1997.

    ‘Flood Clinics’

    Janssen pushed salespeople in Texas to “flood clinics with Risperdal stuff” in a 2004 campaign to boost prescriptions for children and adolescents, according to a company memo. The goal was to position Risperdal to compete with rival anti-psychotic drugs, such as AstraZeneca Plc’s Seroquel and Eli Lilly & Co.’s Zyprexa, a former Janssen sales manager, Shane Scott, testified.

    Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist at Northwestern University Medical School who works with traumatized children, told jurors that young people “are more vulnerable” to the side effects of anti-psychotic drugs.

    Those conditions include weight gain, drowsiness and sometimes-severe withdrawal symptoms, said Perry, a former head of psychiatry at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. He testified as an expert for the state.

    Another expert for the state, Joseph Glenmullen, said J&J hid three studies showing some patients using Risperdal developed diabetes. As early as 1999, Janssen had researchers’ findings that about half the patients taking Risperdal in a study comparing its risks to those of Zyprexa developed diabetes after a year on the medication, said Glenmullen, a psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School instructor.

    ‘Serious Weight Gain’

    That study concluded Risperdal caused “medically serious weight gain” that led patients to develop diabetes, Glenmullen said. At the same time, Janssen salespeople told doctors that researchers concluded the drug didn’t cause the disease, he said.

    Jurors also heard evidence that J&J played a central role in the development of Texas guidelines advising doctors that a newer class of drugs like Risperdal were a “first choice or option” for schizophrenia.

    Development of the guidelines, known as Texas Medication Algorithm Project, or TMAP, was funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which donated $2.8 million to TMAP, and J&J and Janssen gave $375,465, said Margaret Hunt, an investigator in the state Civil Medicaid Fraud division.

    TMAP Promotion

    Janssen paid $942,659 to three doctors and their company, which helped develop and promote TMAP, another witness said. Another doctor who played a key role in TMAP was Steven Shon, who was medical director of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Janssen paid Shon for several years to tout the TMAP guidelines to other states, he testified.

    The Texas settlement comes less than a month after J&J officials agreed to pay more than $1 billion to the U.S. and a number of states to end a civil investigation into Risperdal marketing practices, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News Jan. 6.

    The U.S. government has been investigating Risperdal sales practices since 2004, including allegations the company engaged in so-called off-label marketing of the medication, J&J has said in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company said it has been negotiating with the U.S. to resolve the investigation.

    Louisiana, South Carolina

    Officials in Louisiana and South Carolina sued J&J partly over marketing letters the company sent to doctors in those states touting Risperdal as superior to rival drugs. Those states’ attorneys general alleged the company falsely claimed Risperdal didn’t cause diabetes to charge a premium for the drug.

    In June, a South Carolina judge ordered J&J to pay $327 million after a jury found the drugmaker liable for damages over its Risperdal marketing. The drugmaker vowed to appeal that award.

    The company also lost a Risperdal case in Louisiana in October 2010, where on top of a $257.7 million jury award, a judge ordered the company to pay $73.3 million in attorneys’ fees and costs.

    A Pennsylvania judge threw out the state’s case against J&J and Janssen in June 2010.

    J&J and Janssen also have been sued over their Risperdal marketing by Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Utah. The Arkansas case is set for trial in March.

    The Texas case is Texas v. Janssen LP, D-1GV-04-001288, District Court, Travis County, Texas (Austin).

    –Editors: Glenn Holdcraft, Andrew Dunn

    To contact the reporters on this story: Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware, at jfeeley@bloomberg.net; Margaret Cronin Fisk in Detroit at mcfisk@bloomberg.net; David Voreacos in Newark, New Jersey, at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

    –Editors: Glenn Holdcraft, Andrew Dunn”

    How sickening to target children with a drug they knew would cause them harm. These people should be in prison. As should all individuals who took bribes along the way.

    The settlements will hardly dent their balance sheet. Together they account for less than Johnson & Johnson’s quarterly net profits.

    From NJ.com:

    “J&J has been under pressure over a string of more than 25 product recalls that have especially cut into consumer product sales. But the company maintained its profit forecast for 2011, at $4.90 to $5 per share. That excludes the impact of one-time items. Analyst expect $4.95 per share, on average.

    Sales were up in all three of its businesses, led by prescription drugs, which saw sales jump 12 percent to $6.23 billion. That was mainly due to higher drug sales overseas and a big benefit from favorable currency exchange rates.

    “Our recently launched pharmaceutical products continued to achieve strong growth and contributed to our solid second-quarter results,” William C. Weldon, chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “We continue to invest in building leadership positions and capabilities, and our pending acquisition of Synthes demonstrates our ongoing commitment to serve patients while enhancing shareholder value.””

    Gotta love that commitment to serving patients.

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