Alliance for Human Research Protection A Catalyst for Debate www.ahrp.org.
The reason antipsychotics have become blockbusters—cash cows for the drug industry—is that they are prescribed overwhelmingly for patients whose medical care is paid for by taxpayers.
An audit by Inspector General of DHHS found that:
83% of antipsychotic prescriptions for elderly nursing home residents were for uses not approved by federal drug regulators, and 88% were to treat patients with dementia—for whom the drugs can be lethal.
The IG report confirms that antipsychotics are widely misprescribed for unapproved uses and taxpayers are saddled with the high cost through Medicaid and Medicare.
Antipsychotics are used primarily as chemical restraints—to control behavior—not for any therapeutic, medically justifiable reason.
The claimed benefit for patients has never been supported by independent scientific evidence.
The life-shortening hazards of Antipsychotic drugs—for adults and children—have been documented and verified by the National Institute of Mental Health. Indeed, antipsychotis carry a black box warning label about sudden deaths in the elderly. This is not to say, that they are less dangerous for children for whom they are also widely misprescribed.
We strongly disagree with Dr. Daniel Carlat who is quoted in The New York Times report. He repeats the often heard, absurd defense, that psychiatrists offer when they are confronted with the harm produced by their prescribing practices. Dr. Carlat makes the absurd claim that toxic antipsychotic drugs that shorten life, “maximize quality of life” for patients.
That specious claim won’t wash!
Antipsychotics are NOT a way to “maiximize quality of life”—they are an inhumane way of shortening life.
It is the height of hubris for psychiatrists to claim that doctors have a right to decide to prescribe a drug “even if that means the patient will die a bit sooner.”
Clearly, the government needs to step in by cutting public funding for antipsychotic drugs. That move has the potential of both improving patients’ quality of life—and saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.