By Edward Opton
“America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker” is The Huffington Post’s headline for the first installment of journalist/author Steven Brill’s 15-part series on the “antipsychotic” drug Risperdal.
The “lawbreaker” is Johnson & Johnson, the giant pharmaceutical and consumer products company, one of America’s oldest, most admired—and profitable—corporations. Brill accuses Johnson & Johnson of illegal promotion of Risperdal (risperidone) as a drug to control the behavior of children. The alleged behavior of this industry leader suggests an industry in dire need of reform.
The article is a must-read for everyone concerned with children, foster children, and children’s mental health. If you are an elected lawmaker, a child welfare administrator, a caseworker, a public health nurse, a children’s attorney, a CASA, a member of an organization that works for the interests of children, a parent, or a person concerned about children, Brill’s series will be an eye-opener. The focus is on one drug, Risperdal, and the company that sells it, Johnson & Johnson, but the implications are much broader. We expect to see Brill document the pharmaceutical industry’s wholesale distortion of the facts, the research, and the marketplace to maximize sales of its drugs at the expense of all other considerations, including, especially, the physician’s credo, primum non nocere, “first, do no harm.”
Don’t take our word for it. Click to read Brill’s Huffington Post piece. See an example of the unfortunate consequences of Risperdal. Let us know what you think and what people—including you—should do about it.