invincible summers

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

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.

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antipsychotics and oprah on bipolar September 25, 2007

In what some are calling ZyprexaGate…another state is bringing forth a lawsuit against Eli Lilly, Janssen and Astra Zeneca for a marketing scheme involving the antipsychotics Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel. To date, nine states are suing antipsychotic makers. Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia are suing Eli Lilly regarding Zyprexa. Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania are suing Janssen regarding Risperdal. Pennsylvania and South Carolina are also suing AstraZeneca regarding Seroquel. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is planning a lawsuit against three pharmaceutical companies, you guessed it… Eli Lilly, Janssen and AstraZeneca.

From the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

McDaniel said the companies engaged in a “marketing scheme that was very effective to where a drug that was never approved by the [federal Food and Drug Administration ] for children… the elderly… or run of the mill behavioral disorders like depression, all of a sudden was touted to America’s doctors, Arkansas ’ doctors, as a miracle drug. So, a child that has [attention deficit disorder ] is taking a drug that was never authorized for that child, causing serious complications… that could last a lifetime.”

He said the state Medicaid program has spent $200 million on those drugs over the last eight years and, under Arkansas’ Medicaid fraud law, the state could collect three times that much.

These antipsychotics are being prescribed for everything from depression to anorexia to bipolar and they’re just making us sicker. I am not a doctor but I do have firsthand experience with one these medications and twenty years of experience living with a mental illness. It’s quite obvious to me these drugs should be used in extreme cases or short term. We know that these drugs have killed more than 6,000 people. If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is. (more…)