Maybe the system does not work anymore? I don’t know. What I do know is that Western Civilization TM has watched companies screwing with the lives of millions, without interfering. Because they pay our politicians, most likely. And because people don’t pay attention, and don’t seem to care. Maybe because they don’t understand.
In any case, there is yet another case of a pharmaceutical company paying a large amount of money to avoid a sentence in court.
“AstraZeneca has agreed to pay $520 million to settle a federal civil lawsuit in which the company was accused of illegally promoting its antipsychotic drug quetiapine, marketed under the brand name Seroquel, for unapproved indications.”
– Source: psychiatryonline.org
Think about that for a second: a company pays over half a billion dollars to settle a lawsuit. That’s that then. They committed a crime against humanity. They actively and on purpose poisoned many thousand people (I can’t find numbers, but probably many more than many thousand – Seroquel is a very common drug), just for the money. And now they pay a ridiculous sum – ridiculously high for us, ridiculously nothing for them – to make “up” for it. How can you make up for such a thing?
AstraZeneca promoted a drug for conditions it had not been tested on, and (much worse) without any proof that it might actually do any good, and (worst) without any proof that it would not do harm. It is like promoting antibiotics for concentration problems, or suicidal thoughts – just much worse.
“Federal prosecutors alleged that from 2001 through 2006 AstraZeneca promoted quetiapine for treating unapproved conditions, including aggression, agitation, dementia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and insomnia.
In the settlement of the federal suit, AstraZeneca denied any wrongdoing. The company continues to face more than 10,000 civil suits filed by individuals alleging personal injuries, primarily development of diabetes, due to taking quetiapine.
There have been many of these cases before. We really need to start doing something about this.
Last fall, Pfizer paid a record $2.3 billion to settle cases involving illegal promotions of four drugs, including ziprasidone (Geodon) and pregabalin (Lyrica) (Psychiatric News, October 2, 2009). Previous cases involving off-label promotions included ones against Eli Lilly for marketing olanzapine (Zyprexa), BristolMyers Squibb for marketing aripiprazole (Abilify), and Cephalon for marketing modafinil (Provigil).
It is safe to assume that Lamarck wasn’t all that wrong, after all. We know that epigenetic processes not only do exist, but we also have gathered very convincing evidence in the last five years or so that parts of our epigenomes are transmitted to subsequent generations. Screwing with our brains might mean screwing with the brains of our unborn children. That is what you do when you eat shitty food all your life as well, by the way. Or it might be.
So what is happening here is not only a crime against the people who are affected by this, but also very likely a crime against future generations of unborn children. Most leading psychiatrists agree that we don’t know what these drugs are doing, exactly.
That does not mean we shouldn’t use drugs like Seroquel or Prozac, at all. But we have to study the effects much better, and be more careful who gets a prescription.
The largest study ever conducted on antidepressants – STAR*D, the results are available online – found that in a trial of over 5.000 depressed patients, in stage 1, only about 35% of the subjects were positively affected by antidepressant treatment. Placebo level lies about 30%. Go figure.