Johnson & Johnson once had the schizophrenia drug market cornered after marketing Risperdal in 1993. Prior to that, old-school generic anti-psychotics were all that were available to treat the mental illness. Johnson & Johnson (J&J), and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, decided the market was not large enough. They wanted more money.
J&J and Janssen knew that any drug could be prescribed for an “off-label” use. They decided to make certain that psychiatrists were told, through ghostwritten articles in professional journals and endorsements from research facilities’ doctors and department heads at prestigious universities all over Texas, that Risperdal was useful in children as young as two who were diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, for Dementia in senior citizens, in anyone diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder, and for stuttering.
J&J aimed to make people believe Risperdal was safe for children and the elderly
They infiltrated even Texas Medicaid’s formulary, so the drug would be among first line anti-psychotics and other psychotropic medicines. They used doctors involved in research instead of actual patient care and with huge donations to their research facilities and payment for speaking tours, ghostwritten articles in professional and pharmaceutical journals, to fool psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, as well as Medicaid, into believing the drug was safe for little children and the elderly, an untapped resource.
Risperdal deemed safe for infants, children, and the elderly
By ignoring and circumventing the FDA’s rules, Johnson and Johnson and Jenssen Pharmaceuticals were able to use foster children, elderly people in assisted living and nursing homes, and other highly vulnerable groups not just as guinea pigs for this dangerous drug, but to become the second most prescribed drug in Texas Medicaid Formulary.
- Infants in foster care were given Risperdal because their mothers had been drug addicted during their pregnancies.
- Toddlers were given Risperdal because they were difficult to handle.
- Elderly patients were given the drug to treat symptoms of dementia.
Texas Attorney General suing J&J for false information
The Texas Attorney General is currently suing Johnson and Johnson and Jenssen Pharmaceuticals for giving false information to the State Boards of Public Health, to the Department of Medicaid Services, and for covering up the severity of side effects, not to mention convincing people to use the drug in groups for which is not approved by the FDA. Our question is, since the Department of Child and Family Services, the State Department of Medicaid assistance Services, and the Texas AG’s office knows about the dangers of this drug, then why is it still allowed in the formulary for use in children and the elderly, and why are foster kids, perhaps the most vulnerable group of all, still being fed this awful and dangerous drug?
Big Pharma cares about its bottom line, not your health.
The reality is that pharmaceutical companies are a business – their goal is to make money and they do not hold a consumer’s best interest at heart, regardless of the fact that we trust them to. You are your own best advocate when it comes to your health. If a prescription drug has harmed you or your loved one order our free book to learn how you can take action after a prescription error or pharmacy error.