VA Spent $717 Million for Useless Post-Traumatic Stress Drug
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Risperdal, an anti-psychotic drug used to treat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is about as effective as a placebo, say medical researchers.
Experts with the Department of Veterans Affairs published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association which concluded that the anti-psychotic medication risperidone (the generic version of Risperdal) did not reduce PTSD symptoms. The drug was developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson.
Risperdal, like so many other drugs, has been caught up in the shadow area of “off-label marketing”, in which pharmaceutical companies are allowed to sell drugs for uses other than those approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the case of Risperdal, the FDA gave the go-ahead for it to be prescribed for treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and certain symptoms of child autism…but not for PTSD.
Janssen is currently under investigation for by the Justice Department and several state attorneys general for its possibly illegal marketing of Risperdal.
Unfortunately for the VA, it already sunk $717 million over nine years into the medication, apparently believing it would help veterans trying to recover from their service in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The VA is also questioning the effectiveness of another anti-psychotic drug, Seroquel (quetiapine), for which it has spent $846 million. Over the past two years, AstraZeneca, the maker of Seroquel, has paid more than $600 million to settle lawsuits related to its safety and marketing.
VA Spent $717 Million on a Drug Deemed as Effective as a Placebo (by Bob Brewin, NextGov)
Adjunctive Risperidone Treatment for Antidepressant-Resistant Symptoms of Chronic Military Service–Related PTSD (by John Krystal, Robert Rosenheck, Joyce Cramer, Jennifer Vessicchio, Karen Jones, Julia Vertrees, Rebecca Horney, Grant Huang and Christopher Stock, JAMA) (pdf)
Seroquel is So Profitable, AstraZeneca is Glad to Pay Millions in Penalties (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
Doctors Alarmed by Military’s Use of Mind Drugs on Troops (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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