Apparently, Johnson & Johnson is being fined by an Arkansas judge for “hiding the risks associated with Risperdal, which can include weight gain, an increased risk of diabetes, and stroke, in older patients.”
I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with Risperdal (its generic form is Risperidone), but it is considered an antipsychotic and is approved to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and behavioral problems in teenagers and children with autism. It is fairly commonly used for episodes of mania in bipolar disorder, so you may have hard of it in from your psychiatrist in passing, or you may have even tried, or might currently be taking it.
“They were trumpeting it as a miracle, breakthrough drug,” said Thomas Melsheimer, a lawyer who represented the whistle-blower in the Texas Risperdal case. Instead, he said, it was no better than cheaper generic alternatives. “It was grossly overpriced in relation to its qualities.”
–The New York Times
This case is being compared to some degree with a recent case involving Eli Lilly’s antipsychotic, Zyprexa.
Personally I am really glad that these drugs, antipsychotics in particular, are being taken seriously and beginning to be policed more for their ridiculously high prices and dangerous side effects. From my own experience, I can’t get within five feet of Zyprexa without gaining ten pounds, so since then I have been prescribed Risperidone for emergency/overwhelming manic episodes. I take the generic version, I couldn’t afford the brand name version if I tried.
Want to read more? Check out the full article at the New York Times here…