We have been collecting info about the unethical marketing of antipsychotics
by pharmaceutical companies and feeding that info to the media, FDA, and
offending companies. Two of the worst examples were the marketing of Zyprexa
(olanzapine) by Lilly and Risperidone (Risperdal) by Janssen Pharmaceutica.
(Novartis' marketing of Clozapine may be back soon. We'll keep you posted).
I'm delighted to report that at least Lilly has semi-mended their ways.
Following are the details.
When Olanzapine came out, Lilly said it was more effective than Risperdal.
The problem was, they did their research at 'sham' doses. They tested the
perfect dose of their med, against a less than perfect dose of the
competitors. But that wasn't the end of their unethical marketing
A while back Lilly announced a 'scholarship' program for people on Zyprexa.
They would have a pot of money to help people on Zyprexa pay for college. But
the program did not really exist. It was a press release and nothing more. A
simple call to the number they gave proved this. They sent their press
release to NAMI and numerous state newsletters who inadvertently (I hope)
publicized the sham program. Lilly did not say how much money would be
available, in what denominations, or what the criteria (other than taking
their med) would be. Applications were not even printed. The program did not
But it didn't stop there. There was a basic problem with the program,
it did exist (As one pundit put it, "I don't know which is worse: the fact
they announced a program they didn't have, or had the one they announced.)
You see, people on Meds often have to switch Meds. Zyprexa (olanzapine) may
or may not be the best med for you. But under the Lilly program, if you had
to change Meds, you'd lose your scholarship. It was basically a bribe to stay
on a med that may or may not be the right med for you. That was 100%
unethical. Another person described it as a lottery. But while most
lotteries are 'no purchase required', to enter this lottery you had to ingest
a med that may or not be useful.
This info was brought to the attention of FDA, Lilly, and the media.
result of this pressure, Lilly has now said they will make the program
available to anyone with Schiz, regardless of which med they are taking!
This is great news. I still do not know how much $, if any, they are going
to put against this, but at least individuals w/schiz will not be coerced
into taking a med simply to get a scholarship. The official announcement has
not been made, but I believe this info to be true.
I thank everyone who responded to prior I NET updates and provided info
this. And I thank Lilly for their support of NAMI, the NAMI Campaign,
numerous state and local AMIs, and most importantly, for backing down on this
horrific plan they had.