The Huffington Post is in the midst of publishing a 15-part series that details Johnson & Johnson’s push of the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal. The drug was approved for sale in 1994 for patients with psychosis, but was not approved for use in adolescent or elderly patients. Skirting the Food & Drug Administration and the law became the crux of Johnson & Johnson’s aggressive marketing plan, which was designed to make Risperdal the best-selling anti-psychotic drug on the market.
The series is a bombshell. Three chapters of the 15-chapter series have been published by The Huffington Post so far. Every day brings a new chapter – and more tales of how one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies pursued sales at all costs. Selling the drug to approved patient groups for FDA-approved uses wasn’t enough for Johnson & Johnson. Drug sales representatives pushed the drug onto doctors who dealt with psychiatric illnesses in children and elderly, and pushed them to prescribe
d the drug for symptoms such as agitation in the elderly, which is not an approved use.