7 Comments

Another Drug Company pays out but at what cost to us?

Manic Muses very kindly sent me notification of news of another Drug Company having to pay out big bucks over mis or incorrect branding.

This time it is for $1.6 Billion dollars and is Abbott Laboratories the makers of the drug Depakote.

The article reads…

“Abbott pleaded guilty to misbranding Depakote by promoting the drug to control agitation and aggression in patients with elderly dementia and to treat schizophrenia when neither use was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the Justice Department said.” 1

You can read the full article here and I am very grateful to Manic Muses for giving me the heads up on this.

Over recent months I have become aware of a number of cases like this.

There was the Pfizer settlement which I believe was for about $2.3 billion in 2010 2, and more recently the Johnson & Johnson $1.2 billion fine.3

Additionally this same article also goes on to state…

“Separate from the DOJ settlement, Abbott agreed to pay 45 states a total of $100 million to resolve liability under the state consumer-protection laws.” 1

But what this writer wants to know is, “What is all of this going to cost us?”

The need for drug companies to disclose proper and accurate information is unquestionable.  As is the need for them to operate ethically.

Likewise I wholeheartedly believe they should be held accountable when they are not.

BUT I am a realist and can’t help wondering just who will end up paying for all these fines and settlements?

Do you think that it will be the companies themselves?

The share-holders?

Or will it, as I suspect, be us – the end-user?   We who are in many ways held to ransom by our dependency on these seemingly incredibly over-priced medications?

It is an important and interesting question don’t you think?  It is also one whose importance may well, I fear, be going to increase as I predict that now these cases have happened there will be several more similar ones to follow in their wake.

According to the article ‘Abbott earned about $13 billion from Depakote sales during the period investigated’1 ,

Well I have an idea for the governing bodies and legislators….

How about now fining all these companies all the profits gained from such dodgy practices and using the money to fund proper legislation capping the amount of profit margins pharmaceutical companies can enjoy from the design, production and marketing of prescription medication?

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7 comments on “Another Drug Company pays out but at what cost to us?

  1. Reg-Abbott labs off-label promotion of Depakote.
    I took Depakote for 6 years was ineffective for my condition PTSD,the doctor kept telling to me take it.

    The saga of the schizophrenia drugs is one of incredible profit.Eli Lilly made $65 BILLION on Zyprexa franchise. Described as *the most successful drug in the history of neuroscience*.There is a whole underclass block of our society,including children in foster care that are the market for these drugs,but have little voice of protest if harmed by them.
    –Daniel Haszard

  2. I was also put on depakote for a short time. I have a list of everything I have been plied with since 2005 in my “Genesis of a Blog” post – I don’t have schizophrenia. I really find that practitioners have the liberty to employ any pharma for any number of conditions – if it has “anti-anxiety” or “stabilizing” properties. So “here’s a drug for something you don’t have, but since you have anxiety it may help.” I’ve also been put on hypertension & anti-seizure meds. But as for depakote, it made me feel worse, I called my doctor & sid “this is crap, give me something else.” & that was that.

    The problem is, when you have multiple disorders, there is no one drug, & if you take something to treat depression, it typically has some warning that it may inspire anxiety or something else that the patient already struggles with. So the clinicians are just trying everything they can think of. Beating up the drug companies makes me worry a little bit – I have been with the same medical/dental/psych practice for 15+ years & they are trending away from some drugs because of studies & lists of “bad drugs”, my pharmacist actually called my doctor yesterday before filling a prescription. Personally I’ve had it with the over-regulation – it makes for fewer choices, fewer options, & much more self-advocacy on the part of the patient. And I would bet that the majority of patients are not equipped for self-advocacy.

    So, its really a mixed bag. Tell me to shut up if I sound like an idiot. It happens.

    Hugs.

    • Hi J.

      Good to hear from you again.

      I can relate to a lot of what you have said although to be honest I cannot remember if I was ever given depakote for any long period of time. I do have a slight recollection ofg having been on it at some point for something or other. But my mind is not great at the moment so I am not able to recall properly. It happens like that with me when mymind starts to go.

      You are also very right when you say that “The problem is, when you have multiple disorders, there is no one drug, & if you take something to treat depression, it typically has some warning that it may inspire anxiety or something else that the patient already struggles with.”

      I think often I am reluctant to even read the side effects sometimes.

      In terms of over-regulation I understand where you are coming from and in fact I sympathize with your point of view to a large degree. But actually I think I am more of an advocate of proper regulation rather than over-regulation. It really does concern me greatly when drug companies do step outside of the law or the regulations that are put in place in order to protect the patients and likewise the cost of medications do concern me greatly also.

      I am all for a reasonable mark-up being enjoyed and I understand that it goes towards such things as securing financial security, maintainig employment, funding research and development etc. But I thik it is difficult sometimes to justify the levels of profits being made – especially in a world where so many of us are under great financial strain and where we need these meds so badly.

      And I say that as someone not with any specific axe to grind as I m very fortunate to be someone who enjoys a lot of financial assistance in respect of my medication and as somene who lives in a part of the world were legislation and regulations don’t seem as prominant.

      In terms of your last comment, “So, its really a mixed bag. Tell me to shut up if I sound like an idiot. It happens.” You certainly don’t sound like an idiot and I certainly wouldn’t tell you shut up. Everyone has a right to an opinion and what you said is very valid. We come from slightly different perspectives and there is nothing wrong with that at all in my book 🙂

      Kind Regards,

      Kevin.

      • Dear Kevin,

        Re. the pricing, couldn’t agree more. It may sound like more regulation, but I wish research was government funded. I work with SO many pharmaceuticals in my field, including a couple of the biggies – AstraZeneca & Boehringer Ingelheim – so I actually know how much it DOES cost & how much time goes into getting something even into clinical trials, never mind before the agencies. For every responsive receptor they hit upon to explore a little further, they have spent a year eliminating 10,000 others. The pharma research, scale up, production & market time & cost is truly extraordinary, & while there are billions of dollars in grants & charitable organizations for diabetes and cancer & heart disease, there is no money out there for psych therapies except for private investment companies. And in order for those investment firms to invest the millions it costs to even get through a year of research (aside from the obvious, think of new equipment & instrumentation & other peripheral things that don’t necessarily occur to most people), the investors have to get assurance of return on investment.

        So we are kind of marginalized when it comes to funding for therapies. And there’s only so much the pharma companies can do about it 😦 Although, with the bigger companies there is certainly room. Or should be.

        I don’t know, I started doing extraordinary ability cases for foreign born scientists & researchers 12 years ago & to do it well I have had to learn everything about it, right on down to mechanisms, etc., so it has been a real education. Working in pharma research can almost be equated to Treatment Resistant Depression – a massive percentage of research fails in the end, & that is someone’s work, money, time. Sometimes I think it must be very frustrating for them.

        And then if you think about the differences between treating mental illness & cancer – often the trials are inconclusive or based exclusively on patient reporting, not tangible results that can be seen under a microscope.

        I may be the only person alive who will defend the pharma companies. I just know that until I started to work with them, I had no idea what went into getting valium on the market. And it is beyond most of our imagining.

        More hugs (sorry, went from “Best” to “Hugs” – must be the mom in me!)

        j

        • Hi J,

          Good points well made and well received also.

          I have no difficulty with anyone defending the drug companies and phram companies. Open discussuion provides informtation and information accommodates education. I am always willing to be educated 🙂

          As for the hugs – cyber hugs are perfectly fine by me, ity is physial hugs I struggle with. And as for the mom in you – never lose it. I am convinced that often the very reasons some of us lose the ability to be a kid is because our parents have lost the willingness or freedom to be parents. LOL But then I know of plenty of parents who lost the willingness or freedom to be a parent because their kid or kids lost the ability or willingness to be a kid sometimes. Either way we all need to be a kid sometimes and we all need parents. I am blessed with having good parents who try so hard to be good parents LOL I am just not so sure they are blessed wih a son who knows how to be a son.

          Kind Regards

          Kevin

  3. Dear Kevin,
    Always so insightful! So glad I found you here. Very happy to hear you have great parents, I really have no one. And loving parents never consider their children to be in any way a burden, so don’t think for one moment of what brand of son you are! Good parents love to do what they can and sometimes suffer when they can’t do more. Treasure that relationship – certainly your mom and dad do.
    Hope tomorrow is better for you, as you know, and as demonstrated through my absurd machinations over the last few days, it can lift overnight.
    My bestest hugs,
    j

    • Hi J.

      I am truly sorry you have no-one – want to buy mine? LOL sorry couldn’t resist it and not meaning any disrepect in my humor.
      Remember, for what it is worth, you have at least one crazy Englishman here in Ireland on your side.

      Truth is if they saw that comment about myself I would be in trouble with them so yes they are very good parents.

      Yes I am hoping my current episode is just that and a short one. We can but pray.

      Kind Regards and safe cyber hugs.

      Kevin

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