Quantcast

An unprecedented 1 in 66 Americans is a diagnosed psychotic

By Business Insider
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 9:31 EDT
google plus icon
Gonorrheapills-afp
 
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

By Robert Johnson

Outselling even common drugs to treat high blood pressure and acid reflux, antipsychotic medications are the single top-selling prescription drug in the United States.

Once reserved for hard-core, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest type of mental illnesses to treat hallucinations, delusions or major thought disorders; today, the drugs are handed out to unruly kids and absent minded elderly.

A recent story in Al Jazeera by James Ridgeway of Mother Jones illuminates the efforts by major pharmaceutical companies to get doctors prescribing medicines like Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Abilify to patients for whom the drugs were never intended.

Focusing on psychiatrists because they rely on subjective diagnoses, the drug reps have been so successful that they’ve changed the criteria for mental illness and disability payments. Ridgeway quotes former New England Journal of Medicine editor Marcia Angell.

“[T]he tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007 – from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling – a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children.” Under the tutelage of Big Pharma, we are “simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one.” Fugh-Berman agrees: In the age of aggressive drug marketing, she says, “Psychiatric diagnoses have expanded to include many perfectly normal people.

Particularly vulnerable because medication decisions are often out of their hands the old and the young suffer most.

For kids: the number diagnosed with bi-polar disorder rose 40-fold between 1994 and 2003 and one in five comes away from a psychiatrist with a prescription for an antipsychotic.

Dosing the elderly at nursing homes has become so common that sales reps have coined the term “five at five” — meaning 5 milligrams of Zyprexa at 5 pm to sedate difficult residents.

For all their nefarious wrangling, in 2009, Lily agreed to pay $1.4 billion, including a $515 million criminal fine. The largest ever in a health care case and the largest criminal fine on any corporation in the U.S.

That year, Lilly sold $1.8 billion of Zyprexa alone.

Check out the 15 highest grossing drugs in America >

####

You might also like…

  • Romney’s Other Jobs Record
  • GOLDMAN: The Debt Ceiling Fight Is Already Hurting The Economy
  • House Republicans Make Political Statement As Time For Debt Deal Ticks Away
  • Politics In 60 Seconds: What You Need To Know Right Now
  • GOP Presidential Candidates To Debate Today — On Twitter
  • Business Insider
    Business Insider
    Business Insider is a new business site with deep financial, media, tech, and other industry verticals. The flagship vertical, Silicon Alley Insider, launched on July 19, 2007, led by DoubleClick founders Dwight Merriman and Kevin Ryan and former top-ranked Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget. Business Insider is dedicated to aggregating, reporting, and analyzing the top news stories across the web and delivering them to you at rapid-fire pace.
     
     
     
     
    By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
    and to abide by our commenting policy.
     
    Google+