The Texas J&J Risperdal Trial Begins - just the tip of the TMAP & TeenScreen iceberg
1 Boring Old Man blog has been writing with unbridled enthusiasm and dogged persistence about the pharmaceutical industry criminal collusion & corruption that has enveloped & consumed psychiatry, medicine, research, & scholastic institutions over the past several decades. This past week he informed his readers he was off to Texas to bear witness to the coined "TMAP Trial" for himself.
I strongly suggest you take the time to read Mickey's blog to become informed and empowered by the wisdom and knowledge he generously gifts the reader. He has invited us all to share his ring side seat to quite possibly one of the most important social policy trials of our times.
A background to the TMAP Journey...
Of course we know that the J&J Risperdal trial highlighted in this post & below is just one small piece of a much larger and darker puzzle of targeted malfeasance for profit by one of the most powerful industries in the world today. This is simply one more step in a long & arduous journey toward bringing back some integrity and justice to America; and our once trusted; yet now hopelessly lost & corrupted health care system.
State attorney general sued drug company
Abbott: state paid excessively to Johnson & Johnson for Risperdal
By Tim Eaton
Jan.8, 2012Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is pitted against one of the largest multinational pharmaceutical companies in a trial starting this week that could bring the state more than $1 billion one of its largest potential awards since a multibillion-dollar tobacco settlement in 1998. Abbott is charging that Johnson & Johnson Inc., its wholly owned subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical LLC and five other related companies defrauded the state in a "sophisticated marketing scheme" that caused the Texas Medicaid Program to pay too much for Janssen’s schizophrenia drug Risperdal, the lawsuit says. The state also questions the companies’ marketing practices and alleges that the companies misled state health officials about the drug’s effectiveness, the risk of side effects and its suitability for pediatric use. The trial is scheduled to begin 9 a.m. today in Judge John Dietz’s 250th state District Court in Travis County…Texas got involved with Risperdal litigation about six years ago, when Abbott’s office joined a lawsuit filed by corporate whistle-blower Allen Jones, who is a former employee of the office of the inspector general of Pennsylvania. Jones has questioned the process for how Risperdal was approved in Texas and how that information was used by other states in their approval processes. Jones filed suit in 2004 after his investigation in Pennsylvania led him to examine the companies’ track record in Texas. As a whistle-blower plaintiff, he alleged that the companies overcharged the states and overstated the drug’s effectiveness…The lawsuit says that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries employed suspect tactics in order to sell Risperdal in the public sector, which promised to be especially lucrative. Eighty-five percent of Risperdal’s revenue was projected to come from the public sector, because schizophrenic adults tend to be poor and uninsured. "Understanding the need to obtain significant government buy-in to achieve their financial goals for Risperdal, defendants set their sights on a state with one of the largest Medicaid populations in the country — Texas," according to the filing by the state and Jones. But getting a state like Texas to put a drug on a list of preferred medications — which the companies ultimately accomplished — can be a tremendous undertaking.The lawsuit discusses the challenge for the companies to persuade decision-makers in Texas’ public medical agencies to make the move — despite what it said was evidence that the drug is more expensive and no more effective than older medications, the state and Jones say in their lawsuit. Johnson & Johnson and the related companies even created a special business unit called the Public Health Systems and Reimbursement Department designed to push the drug in the public sector, the lawsuit says. The companies also had to navigate the Texas Medicaid Program’s cost-savings measures, and to do so the companies employed a campaign that included misrepresentations about the drug’s effectiveness and superiority over other drugs, the state alleges.The state’s case outlines allegations of kickbacks — "money going directly to key decision-makers," the lawsuit says — paid more than a decade ago to several doctors employed by the state’s Health and Human Services Commission to give Risperdal preference over other antipsychotic drugs. Jones’ lawsuit claims that Risperdal became part of the treatment plan because of the drug companies’ "improper influence" over Dr. Steven Shon, the former medical director for behavioral health at the Department of State Health Services. Shon had served as a paid Janssen consultant and traveled the country promoting the Texas plan… Jones’ legal team also charged that the company perfected its marketing skills in Texas before reaching out to the other states in which it pushed for expanded Risperdal prescriptions…