As a cancer survivor my tunnel vision often misses all the other areas of medicine that are totally screwed due to “Big Pharma” and the cozy relationships they have with doctors, hospitals and the rest of the medical establishment.
The drug Zyprexa (olanzaprine) is an antipsychotic approved by the FDA for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Turns out Zyprexa is also widely marketed off-label for dementia.
A family member’s mother is in her 90’s and unable to live alone. She resides in what we refer to as a “rest home or assisted living center”. At the time, other than being diabetic and getting somewhat forgetful, she was in relatively good health.
Unfortunately, she fell and broke her arm a few months back. The family took her to a rehabilitation facility for help with the broken arm and the rehab’s staff requested the women be given something for her high level of anxiety. Her doctor prescribed Zyprexa off-label.
It wasn’t long after the lady developed pneumonia and heart failure. She was in a rapid downward spiral and her decline in health was moving fast. Soon she was in a wheelchair full-time and needed supplemental oxygen to breath.
Fortunately the women’s son got on the Internet and started doing what he should have done before letting his mom be subscribed Zyprexa. He rapidly found every symptom he mother was suffering was attributable to the Zyprexa.
By David Evans
Sunday, March 21, 2010
In January 2009, Indianapolis-based Lilly, the largest U.S. psychiatric drugmaker, pleaded guilty and paid $1.42 billion in fines and penalties to settle charges that it had for at least four years illegally marketed Zyprexa, a drug approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, as a remedy for dementia in elderly patients.
In five company-sponsored clinical trials, 31 people out of 1,184 participants died after taking the drug for dementia — twice the death rate for those taking a placebo, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“Marketing departments of many drug companies don’t respect any boundaries of professionalism or the law,” says Jerry Avorn, a professor at Harvard Medical School. “The Pfizer and Lilly cases involved the illegal promotion of drugs that have been shown to cause substantial harm and death to patients.”
Lilly Sold Drug for Dementia Knowing It Didn’t Help, Files Show
June 12, 2009
By Margaret Cronin Fisk, Elizabeth Lopatto and Jef Feeley
Lilly pleaded guilty in January to a federal misdemeanor charge of illegally marketing Zyprexa for off-label uses to elderly consumers. The company admitted illegal promotions from September 1999 through March 2001, while denying such practices beyond that date.
She is 94, so causation would be hard to prove, but her family and I are convinced Zyprexa is the root of her problems. It is incomprehensible that Lilly paid a $1.4 B (yes billion) fine for marketing Zyprexa in 2009 “off-label” and doctors are still prescribing the drug for the same off-label purposes today.
The trial shows numerous deaths and complications attributable to Zyprexa’s off-label use. Lilly paid the fine and treated it as a cost of doing business, since the drug has provided such high revenues from off-label uses – in fact they made far more money from the off-label uses than from its intended use. Our healthcare system is a disgrace.
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