invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

Senator Grassley is not backing down April 6, 2009

Filed under: corruption,news — clementine @ 3:29 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Thanks to Gianna and Duane for this amazing news. According to this report at Bloomberg, Senator Chuck Grassley is now investigating NAMI. Excellent! I would write more but I need a nap and I need to let this sink in:

April 6 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Senator Charles Grassley expanded his investigation into drug company influence on the practice of medicine by asking a nonprofit mental-health- advocacy group about its funding.

In a letter sent today to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, based in Arlington, Virginia, Grassley asked the nonprofit group to disclose any financial backing from drug companies or from foundations created by the industry.

The Iowa Republican, in a series of hearings and investigations, has focused on financial ties between the drug industry, doctors and academic institutions. His efforts have led New York-based Pfizer Inc. to begin disclosing consulting payments to U.S. doctors, and Harvard Medical School in Boston to reexamine its conflict-of-interest policies. Now Grassley is expanding his inquiries to nonprofit groups.

“I have come to understand that money from the pharmaceutical industry shapes the practices of nonprofit organizations which purport to be independent in their viewpoints and actions,” Grassley wrote in his letter.

Officials at the National Alliance for Mental Illness didn’t return calls for comment.

of course they didn’t

The group identifies itself as the largest grassroots organization in the U.S. for people with mental illness and their families. The group came under scrutiny in 1999, when the magazine Mother Jones reported that 18 drug companies gave the group $11.7 million from 1996 to mid-1999. The article reported that at one point an executive of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. worked out of the nonprofit group’s headquarters.

A 2007 annual report showed that the group’s corporate partners at that time included Madison, New Jersey-based Wyeth; London-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc; Eli Lilly, which makes Prozac; and the Washington-based trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Financial Report

A separate financial report shows the National Alliance for Mental Illness brought in $10.5 million in contributions in the year that ended June 30, 2007. The donors aren’t broken out.

Vera Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a New York-based nonprofit that promotes ethical research, said the National Alliance for Mental Illness may have drawn Grassley’s attention because it lobbies Congress for mental-health funding.

“Academics and physicians give an appearance of authority,” Sharav said by telephone. “Industry gives them the money. Grassley has been going after each group systematically, and the dots are being connected.”

click the Bloomberg link above to continue reading….

 

Oh Jesus H. Joe… March 21, 2009

I’m pretty much speechless here. Actually, I’m also quite tired and simply cannot find the words. Sooo….

From the IN VIVO blog:

Do you remember Joseph Biederman?

He’s the Harvard University psychiatrist who is one of several prominent academics being investigated by the US Senate Finance Committee for allegedly failing to properly disclose payments from the pharmaceutical industry, while also conducting grants for the National Institutes of Health (see background).

In Biederman’s case, he allegedly failed to fully report approximately $1.6 million in consulting fees from various drugmakers between 2000 and 2007, according to the committee. And court documents released late last year suggested he also pushed Johnson & Johnson to fund a research center at Massachusetts General Hospital that would advance J&J’s commercial goals (take a look).

As a result, Biederman is currently enmeshed in litigation in the Superior Court of New Jersey, where three drugmakers – AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and J&J’s Janssen unit -are being sued in connection with risks associated with their antipsychotic medications. Attorneys for the families who filed suit fought to interview Biederman under oath because his work has been crucial to the widespread acceptance of the pediatric usage of antipsychotics.

Now, though, Biederman is hoping Superior Court Judge Jamie Happas will agree to have his deposition sealed, because he doesn’t want the extent of his involvement with the companies publicized. However, we understand The New York Times is already gearing up for a story, which prompted Biederman’s attorneys to write this letter to Happas.

What’s in the deposition? Dozens and dozens of pages of detail relating to Biederman’s activities, but we encourage you to peruse both sections of the document.

Please visit the IN VIVO blog to download the deposition.

When Biederman is quizzed about his professional ranking at Harvard, well, here is his response:

Lawyer: “What does that mean?”

Biederman: “To move in the ranks from one rank, for example, at Harvard, there is instructor, from instructor you move to assistant professor, from assistant professor you move to associate professor, from associate professsor you move to full professor.”

Lawyer: “Full professor?”

Biederman: “Hm…mmm.”

Lawyer: “What rank are you?”

Biederman: “Full professor.”

Lawyer: “What’s after that?”

Biederman: “God”

Lawyer: “Did you say God?”

Biederman: “Yeah.”

yeah. you read that correctly.

and then there’s this:

Q. And do you agree that you are one of the most forceful advocates of the aggressive treatment of preschoolers?

A.(Biederman)It is her statement about me.

Q.I didn’t ask you if it was her statement about you.I’m asking you if you agree that you are one of the most forceful advocates of the aggressive treatment of preschoolers.

A.(Biederman) I am.

lock this guy up now for the love of, um, GOD…

opinions of this story are all over the place. here’s the NY Times piece, Furious Seasons, Beyond Meds, soulful sepulcher, The Carlat Psychiatry Blog and the Boston Globe to name a few.

 

Eli Lilly and 1.4 Billion dollar settlement? January 14, 2009

Filed under: antipsychotics,big pharma — clementine @ 2:10 pm
Tags: , ,

From the NY Times:

Eli Lilly is rumored to be near a $1.4 Billion U.S. settlement on their drug, Zyprexa. The amount of the settlement is a record sum for so-called corporate whistle-blower cases, which are federal lawsuits prompted by tips from company employees or former employees. Details of the agreement were provided by people involved in the negotiations.

In my opinion no amount of money is worth the lives destroyed by this drug but it does send a clear message. I hope this is the beginning of the end of big pharma and their illegal tactics.

Eli Lilly, the drug company, is expected to agree as soon as Thursday to pay $1.4 billion to settle criminal and civil charges that it illegally marketed its blockbuster antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for unauthorized use in patients particularly vulnerable to its risky side effects.

Among the charges, Lilly has been accused of a scheme stretching for years to persuade doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to two categories of patients — children and the elderly — for whom the drug was not federally approved and in whom its use was especially risky.

In one marketing effort, the company urged geriatricians to use Zyprexa to sedate unruly nursing home patients so as to reduce “nursing time and effort,” according to court documents. Like other antipsychotics, Zyprexa increases the risks of sudden death, heart failure and life-threatening infections like pneumonia in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.

In October, Lilly agreed to pay $62 million to 32 states and the District of Columbia to settle consumer protection claims related to Zyprexa. It paid Alaska $15 million and agreed to pay $1.2 billion to 31,000 Zyprexa plaintiffs. Some private Zyprexa claims remain unresolved.

 

eli lilly in hot water December 18, 2006

i haven’t felt like blogging recently. just so much going on between my sister’s surgery and christmas shopping for families in need. but, when my mailbox is flooded with headlines like these from the new york times, eli lilly said to play down risk of top pill or lilly encouraged off – label zyprexa use or drug files show maker promoted unapproved use . well, i can’t sit quiet. (more…)

 

investigating big pharma November 7, 2006

california’s top law-enforcement official is investigating drug makers’ marketing practices for blockbuster antipsychotic medications.

at least four pharmaceutical companies – AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer Inc have disclosed in recent days they received subpoenas from the california attorney general’s office seeking information about their respective antipsychotics. the drugs are approved to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

eli lilly, which makes zyprexa, and astraZeneca, maker of seroquel, indicated that the subpoenas received in september sought information about their marketing practices for the antipsychotics, as well as the drugs’ status on california’s “formulary,” or list of preferred drugs for a state insurance program. bristol-myers “has received a subpoena seeking documents in connection with” abilify, their antipsychotic. Pfizer also has received a subpoena seeking information about the geodon antipsychotic.

newer antipsychotics have become big moneymakers for drug companies, with zyprexa posting $4.2 billion in sales and seroquel generating $2.76 billion last year. abilify, a newer drug, posted sales of $912 million in 2005.

as stated here before, these drugs have faced scrutiny over their effectiveness and safety.
several are linked to severe weight gain and higher blood sugar. diabetes. suicides. last year, Lilly established a $690 million fund to settle lawsuits that generally alleged zyprexa led to diabetes or related problems in people taking the drug.

this should get interesting, more later…