Zyprexa Anyone?

Profit over patients.
Let’s start with the pudding. Courtesy of Furious Seasons, who has been instrumental in breaking the story about some highly questionable marketing of Zyprexa, approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, and more recently bipolar depression and mania. Here are some quotes from the Attorney General of Connecticut, my italics:

Eli Lilly allegedly corrupted physicians, pharmacies and administrators at nursing homes and youth detention centers as part of a massive illegal marketing campaign to promote Zyprexa for unapproved off-label uses, including for the treatment of children.

The illegal marketing campaign exploited children and senior citizens – causing severe weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular problems,’ Blumenthal said. ‘This scheme involved payments to public officials, bogus educational events and ghostwritten promotional articles summarizing suspect studies. The drug was marketed for anxiety, depression and Attention Deficit Disorder in children when it was never approved for any use in children and caused serious side effects.

Eli Lilly adopted a sick marketing mindset: profits over patients, sales over safety. Driven by fierce greed, Eli Lilly corrupted doctors, pharmacies and public officials nationwide who easily abandoned integrity and decency for self-enrichment. My office will fight aggressively on behalf of Connecticut citizens who continue to pay the price of Eli Lilly’s illegal, senseless schemes.

Refocussing on psychotherapy.
I am somewhat dismayed that this blog has largely been taken over by stories about the pharmaceutical industry. Each time I consider giving it a rest some new story breaks. I don’t dispute that pharmacology is a useful adjunct to psychotherapy in extreme cases of depression, mania, or psychosis. But how is the public served when anyone with a challenging life transition or a disturbing thought or a case of the blues is downing a cocktail of SSRIs and atypical antipsychotics? What’s going on here?

Implicitly I’m advocating the judicious use of psychotherapy. There are no long-term health risks. Psychotherapy, so far as I know, won’t give you diabetes, arrhythmia, or shoot your cholesterol through the roof. The hidden costs of these not inexpensive psychotropic medications are considerable and unfolding before us day by day.

Kalea Chapman, Psy.D.

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