For people who were blown away to learn recently that the 11 largest global pharmaceutical companies made an astonishing $711 billion in profits over the last decade, here's another measure of the industry's greed.
Patients come into doctors' offices asking for something they've seen on TV. Big pharma's advertising blitz, coupled with its aggressive marketing to physicians (who all too often are readily seduced to prescribe), results in the ever-increasing number of prescriptions offered to patients.
I asked more than a dozen expert psychiatric colleagues, and myself, the questions they most frequently receive about psychiatric medications from people who take them or their families. Here are a dozen of those many questions; the responses are mine.
If you watched the SOTU, you might have missed the scheme that Obama unveiled that will ruin the Medicare prescription drug program, destroy pharmaceutical companies' incentive to develop new life-saving medicines and even imperil our country's economic growth. I know I missed it.
A recent blog of mine described how unethical and illegal drug company activities have driven the prescription of antipsychotic drugs to children. Now the "success" of this campaign has been documented in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
The capacity of government and its citizens to sue entities such as pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline for fraudulent practices is a necessary part of the checks and balances needed to restrain personal and corporate greed.
Although it is encouraging to see the legal system to some degree catching up with drug company malfeasance, there are a number of problems with the criminal and civil cases brought by the Department of Justice against drug companies.
If we are prepared to acknowledge the widespread bullying to which both science and sense are subject at the hands of the almighty dollar, we might commit ourselves to the systematic effort of distinguishing the two.
Giving a name to difficult problems that are poorly understood provides a kind of false comfort, but the label often doesn't really add to the understanding and may carry risks of its own -- especially unnecessary treatment, stigma and wasted resources.
There were approximately 662,000 children in foster care in the U.S. in 2010. Now, there is a Government Accounting Office report confirming that foster children in five states are receiving shocking amounts of psychiatric drugs.
Clinical trial data are typically collected by drug companies or academics specifically for their own trials on their own new potential medicines or pet theories. This means the data is often locked away in proprietary silos.