Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's 2009. The Year of the Zyprexa Settlement.

Been a long time since I've written a post for this blog. Work, a new romance, and the holidays have been at the forefront. But I'm well and happy, even during this miserable time of year for us bipolars. God, winter sucks and this one is just too damned cold so far.

I just read about the Zyprexa lawsuit settlement. I haven't been in touch much with bipolar news lately but having never taken this med, I think I let the news slip through my brain when the lawsuits were first filed.

I have a real problem with pharma companies, although I work as a consultant for one of them that makes only vaccines. The advertising on TV is obnoxious and frankly, often misleading. The ads for bipolar medication, such as Abilify, have one positive affect--they do help bring bipolar disorder into the mainstream, which "normalizes" it to some degree. As with the depression medications, depression became more acceptable as an illness once the drugs were advertized and celebrities such as Brooke Shields and others discussed their problems with it publicly.

Still, pushing drugs to be used in situations where they have not yet been proven useful or safe is unethical, to say the least. Yes, I take an anti-convulsant, Lamictal. However, there is much evidence these days that bipolar disorder is related to epilepsy. And God knows, for me it works. So at times, a little drug creativity done with thoughtfulness on the doctors' part may be beneficial.

But the question is, how deep is the love fest between the pharma companies and doctors? I know that my doctor hates the TV ads and refuses to be swayed by drug salespeople. He prescribes medication based on what he knows about psychotropic drugs, which is vast. Dr. B keeps up with them all. I hated the Cymbalta he put me on last November and I stopped it within a week, before I had taken enough so that I would have had to been weaned off of it. He was fine with that. As he says, I know how I feel better than he does.

Of course the drug companies are in it for the bucks. And with the economy nosediving, people can't afford to have their prescriptions filled and are stopping medications. It's time for the pharmaceutical companies to stop the bullshit, get a little more ethical, and realize that they could go the way of Detroit and Wall Street if they don't wise up. I'd be lost without my meds but I'm also concerned about the nature of this business. I'm not going to be some drug company's guinea pig, for sure.