Johnson & Johnson Will Pay $2.2 Billion to Settle Charges of Illegally Promoting Antipsychotic Drug
This past month Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion in fines to settle accusations that it improperly promoted the antipsychotic drug Risperdal to older adults and children.
It is the third-largest pharmaceutical settlement ever in the U.S. and the largest in a string of cases involving the marketing of antipsychotic drugs. It also reflects a decade-long effort by U.S. authorities to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for illegally marketing drugs to older patients with dementia as well as children, despite the grave health risks of the drugs.
The U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, recently announced that the rate of mass shootings in the U.S. is increasing. Although the information could hardly come as a surprise to most Americans, what is interesting is that the nation’s top cop provided no clues as to what may be causing this severe increase in deadly violent acts.
A beginning point might be to ask if there is a common denominator among the shooters. For instance, at the same time that mass-shootings have increased in the U.S., so has the use of prescription psychiatric drugs.
Psychiatrists prescribe antipsychotic drugs to children in one third of all visits, which is three times higher than during the 1990’s, and nearly 90 percent of those prescriptions written between 2005 and 2009 were prescribed for something other than what the Food and Drug Administration approved them for. Antipsychotics such as the Risperdal improperly promoted by J&J have been described as a chemical lobotomy because of their ability to disable normal brain function.