Market for schizophrenia drugs may be peanuts, but so is the Risperdal settlement


J&J Said to Agree to $1 Billion Accord in Risperdal Sales
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) will pay more than $1 billion to the U.S. and most states to resolve a civil investigation into marketing of the antipsychotic Risperdal, according to people familiar with the matter.

J&J, the world’s largest health products company, reached an agreement last week with the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, according to the people, who weren’t authorized to speak about the matter. Negotiations over a possible criminal plea are still under way, they said.

The U.S. government has been investigating Risperdal sales practices since 2004, including allegations the company marketed the drug for unapproved uses, J&J has said in Securities and Exchange Commission filings (JNJ). The company said it has been in negotiations with the U.S. to settle the investigation.

Read the rest here.

Ablechild and breaking the monopoly on psychiatric treatment with medication

Below is a press release from Ablechild about the prioritizing of issues on the Connecticut Governor’s 2012 agenda.

“The most important thing Connecticut can do now is to break the monopoly on psychiatric treatment,” (co-founder Sheila) Matthews says. “Medication shouldn’t be the first option addressing behavioral or learning issues and it certainly shouldn’t be the only one.”

Some readers may question why a press release about the over-proliferation of medication use in the child foster care population is reprinted in a blog on schizophrenia. While it is true that diagnosing schizophrenia in children is still rare, the diagnosing of ADD, ADHD and bipolar (schizophrenia’s look-alike twin) has grown by leaps and bounds. Most psychiatrists accept and promulgate the notion that there is a rare psychiatric condition called childhood schizophrenia. Up until now, the public has tended to accept this, just as it has accepted the pharmaceutical companies ‘ pronouncement that schizophrenics need antipsychotic medication just like diabetics need insulin. Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic, revealed that pharmaceutical salesmen promoted this self-serving and false comparison in order to keep people from going off their medication.

I strongly suspect that the push to stop medicating children stops at schizophrenia, which is always upheld as a “special case,” just as it is in adults. When the public stops buying into the notion that adult schizophrenia is always a special case, effectively treated by drugs, the childhood schizophrenia diagnosis and the use of drugs to “treat” it will also be questioned. Childhood schizophrenia can be treated and should be treated, like any other childhood emotional disorder like ADD, ADHD and bipolar, without resorting to drugs. Ablechild is doing excellent work. Let’s make sure that treating childhood schizophrenia without drugs is part of its agenda.

Ablechild Urges Adding Overmedication of Children in State Care to Governor’s 2012 Agenda

Parent advocacy group to educate State of CT healthcare providers on the over-prescribing of psychotropic drugs to children in foster care.

WEBWIRE – Tuesday, January 03, 2012

WESTPORT, CONN., JANUARY 3, 2012—Ablechild co-founder Sheila Matthews will brief Connecticut State Healthcare Advocate Victoria Veltri today on the organization’s research into the over-prescribing of psychotropic drugs to children in foster care.

The parents’ rights organization is a sitting member of the Connecticut Behavioral Health Committee that reports directly to Governor Malloy. In today’s meeting, Matthews will share data from last month’s ABC News 20/20 report, which Ablechild helped develop. The show provided a first look at a new Government Accountability Report that found:

• Foster children were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates nearly five times higher than non-foster children.

• More than a quarter of foster children were being prescribed at least one psychiatric drug.

• Hundreds of foster children received five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time, despite no evidence that this is safe or effective.

The meeting’s agenda includes a report on the $29,766,625,000 spent on psychiatric services by Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families, and Ablechild research showing how making educational, language and vision and hearing/speech solutions available can cut costs while enabling true informed consent for parents. “The most important thing Connecticut can do now is to break the monopoly on psychiatric treatment,” Matthews says. “Medication shouldn’t be the first option addressing behavioral or learning issues and it certainly shouldn’t be the only one.”

In a November briefing with Malloy’s legislative aide, Michael Christ, Matthews also pressed for action on Proposed Bill 5007. If passed, the landmark legislation would require the state to inform parents of their rights regarding diagnosis and treatment of behavioral and mental health disorders in children.

Since 2005, Proposed Bill 5007 has remained stalled in the Connecticut Legislative Education Committee subject to reintroduction by long-time committee chair, State Representative Andy Fleischmann. Matthews says, “It’s extremely frustrating that no action has been taken on this bill for over five years while special-interest and industry-backed legislation not only moves through committees rapidly, its backers have been given fast-track access to the legislative process itself.”

Malloy is preparing his 2012 agenda, which will be announced shortly before the legislature convenes in February. “Ablechild is pleased to support Governor Malloy as he sets his course for the year ahead,” says Matthews. “Connecticut was the first state to prohibit schools from recommending the use of psychotropic drugs, three years before it became federal law. We hope Connecticut will continue to show leadership through best-practice guidelines that protect its most vulnerable residents.”

About AbleChild

AbleChild is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to parents, caregivers, and children’s rights alike. The organization is a clearinghouse for objective information regarding ADD, ADHD, and other behavioral issues. All services AbleChild provides are free to the public. To learn more, visit

Acting helps soldier cope with post-traumatic stress disorder

I’m holed up here in my vacation pad (LOL) with only my Blackberry to link electronically to the blogging world. There is an interesting story in on the value of acting for overcoming PSTD. Schizophrenia is essentially post-traumatic stress disorder, except the trauma that precipitates the psychosis is the former case is usually less obvious in the latter case. There is a time and a place for acting as part of a person’s recovery. As the article states, recovery is individualistic. People have to go with what works for them. My son, Chris, was introduced to acting classes in his two year recovery program, and his psychiatrist observed that Chris really “came alive” in this class. But it was only four or five years later that Chris started to seek out activities that put him on the stage. Recovery is personal. A good approach to it is the holistic one. Try a little bit of everything.