Talk About Pulling The Plug On Grandma
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
The debate on health care reform is heating up. Americans are starting to pay attention to what is going on. Big Pharma, in a panic, has bought protection from the Obama administration. The Obama administration, fearing for its political life, has struck an 11th hour deal with the slimiest industry in the free world – change we can count on?
Last week Eli Lilly agreed to pay1 West Virginia $22.5 million dollars to end litigation on its illegal off-label promotion of its top-selling antipsychotic drug, Zyprexa. This latest settlement is part of a $1.42 billion dollar deal with the Justice Department struck in January of this year, $615 million to settle the criminal investigation and approximately $800 million to settle the civil investigations brought by the states for Medicaid fraud.
As part of the deal Eli Lilly agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for actions taking place between September 1999 and March 2001. “Specifically, the plea states that Lilly promoted Zyprexa in elderly populations as treatment for dementia, including Alzheimer’s dementia, although Zyprexa is not approved for such uses,” the company said in a statement.
Why would Eli Lilly take such a plea settlement? In my opinion it is because their illegal off-label marketing of Zyprexa actually killed numerous defenseless grandmas and grandpas; a misdemeanor plea is like getting off scott free. In May of 2008 it became obvious that even a single dose of Zyprexa2 for an older person with dementia raised the likelihood of a serious health event or death in the next 30 days by over 300 percent. This means numerous elderly Americans were needlessly injured or killed by Zyprexa.
The most common reason for giving an elderly person entering a nursing home Zyprexa was for another off-label use, to turn them into a drug zombie so they would not be upset or agitated because they were in the nursing home. Yes, it was a sicko behavior modification “tool.” Every stupid doctor writing an Rx is just as guilty as Eli Lilly. And it’s not a misdemeanor, its called manslaughter.
Zyprexa accounts for 25% of Eli Lilly’s sales, its top selling drug, raking in $4.5 billion a year. Eli Lilly has also illegally marketed this drug to children, resulting in obesity and type II diabetes. Eli Lilly has paid out over 700 million in “failure to warn” lawsuits relating to Zyprexa and diabetes. Of course, now that they are warning and still causing diabetes in children, they are no longer liable because the warning of injury is on the label. To place this issue in context, Big Pharma, in general, targets children with off-label drug sales paid for by taxpayers. Not surprisingly, the industry-corrupted FDA passively encourages Zyprexa injury of children.
Almost all of the drug sales for Zyprexa are paid for by Medicare and Medicaid, bilking taxpayers for billions every year (the drug costs $500 - $700 per month). While $1.42 billion is more than drug companies are used to paying for injuring and killing people, the market for Zyprexa and other atypical anti-psychotic medications is now “established.” This fine is only a small percentage of the sales that have occurred, and a small price to pay for keeping their market alive and well (something many of those taking it can’t say).
Eli Lilly’s second best-selling drug is an antidepressant called Cymbalta, one of the new-fangled anti-depressants that carry serious risks, which you could ask 19-year-old Traci Johnson about – except she is dead. In 2004 she was found hanging at an Eli Lilly research facility, a healthy non-depressed person who was trying to make some extra money for college by participating in an Eli Lilly Cymbalta experiment.
Wall Street profiteers are of course enamored with Eli Lilly, saying it looks “ready to bloom.” Eli Lilly’s CEO, Sidney Taurel, says it best, “Our drug-development strategy has worked very well. We’ve tripled our product portfolio over the past four years, and our key products [Zyprexa and Cymbalta] are safe from generic competition until the beginning of the next decade. All of this places us in a sweet spot in the industry.”
Wake up Americans, Eli Lilly is one of many Big Pharma companies with a similar track record of illegal sales promotion and creating “common use” for drugs that actually injure and cause great harm. A conservative estimate is $100 billion in fraudulent off-label drug sales per year with little or no benefit to the public health, sales that are either tax-payer subsidized or drive up the cost of private insurance. There is another $75 billion in injuries from the use of these drugs. The FDA has no clue which drugs are safe or not because they have never made Big Pharma do the follow up studies required by law.
Instead of implementing long-time Democrat agenda items in regards to Big Pharma (being able to negotiate drug prices with Medicare and allowing drug re-importation at cheaper prices), President Obama has decided he needs Big Pharma on his team so as to cram some form of health care “reform” down the throats of unwilling Americans. The White House now has a deal with Big Pharma, in exchange for $150 million in direct advertising by Big Pharma to promote health care reform, Big Pharma profits will not only be preserved but drastically expanded. Sure Big Pharma is offering $80 billion in less charges over the next decade, a very small amount (less than a sales commission) for locking in a trillion in new sales at inflated prices of drugs that oftentimes injure and kill.
Bottom line, the pharmaceutical industry is driven by fraudulent drug sales that cost the health care system hundreds of billions. They now have specific protection from the White House. And let’s not forget, it is a proven fact that over 100,000 Americans per year are needlessly killed by medications, mostly grandmas and grandpas.
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