Seems as more Americans routinely google the side effect profile of prescriptions they end up at commercial websites offering drug alternatives and class action lawsuits. You might think this is a good thing, but an editorial in Clownhall worries that it’s wrecking patient confidence in their drugs oh noes! The real problem is not the injury to people who are forced by court order to ingest drugs that make them sicker, but the problem of transparency that might lead to a rational and informed refusal on the part of the person so ordered:
In 2003, I wrote about state Medicaid programs cutting access to the newer forms of schizophrenia drugs, such as Eli Lily’s Zyprexa and Janssen’s Risperdal, after trial lawyers filed lawsuits alleging that these valuable drugs may increase a patient’s risk of developing diabetes. Never mind that the often crippling, even dangerous, effects of schizophrenia are well-established, and the link to diabetes was merely a theory.
In 2004, during a controversy in Mississippi over whether local TV stations should run trial lawyer ads recruiting plaintiffs for Zyprexa and Risperdal lawsuits, mental health professionals told the Biloxi Sun-Herald that patients had had to be recommitted after not taking their medications.
“People see these ads and they think that [Zyprexa and Risperdal are] bad for them, so they quit taking them,” Teri Breister, executive director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Mississippi, told the Sun-Herald. The paper reported that Breister “said she has heard of at least five people who have been recommitted after stopping the medications. Mental health professionals in Jackson, Hattiesburg and on the Coast have all expressed concerns about the ads, she said.”
The paper reported that Michael Maxey, director of the Crisis Stabilization Unit in Gulfport, said he has had two patients be recommitted to mental institutions after not taking their medications, and that Maxey knew of at least nine patients who quit taking their medications after seeing the trial lawyer advertisement.
In 2007, an Eli Lily-funded survey of 402 psychiatrists who treat patients with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia found that, in the words of an Associated Press report, “More than half of the participating psychiatrists said they believed their patients who stopped medication or reduced the dosage did so after seeing lawyers’ advertisements about anti-psychotic drugs.”
…As Edmund F. Haislmaier has written for the National Center for Public Policy Research, “Class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies over prescription drug side effects… distort the public understanding of drug safety. In fact, no drug is ever completely “safe.” Even aspirin is harmful if taken in the wrong dose or by the wrong person.
Very true. We are compelled to point out Jeffrey Dahmer had a soft side, too.
H/T: Sadly, No!