Big Pharma paid $500,000 to Chicago psychiatrists who used children as guinea pigs

Friday, December 18, 2009 by: E. Huff, staff writer
Tags: psychiatrists, Seroquel, health news

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(NaturalNews) A federal lawsuit has been filed against pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for its role in paying Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Michael Reinstein nearly $500,000 over the course of a decade to conduct research and to promote its anti-psychotic drug, Seroquel. Reinstein is being accused of wrongfully preying on thousands of mentally-ill patients in order to rake in profits for AstraZeneca.

Reinstein has a long history of working with AstraZeneca, receiving regular payments for speeches he would make across the country promoting the drug. AstraZeneca was also paying a for-profit research company, Uptown Research Institute, who in turn was paying Reinstein consulting fees for his services.

Cited in the lawsuit was the fact that Reinstein would continually prescribe roughly double the amount of drugs other psychiatrists would prescribe for the same conditions. When patients would report their pain and suffering due to the tremendous side effects of such drugs and their abnormally high dosages, Reinstein would largely ignore their concerns.

Other accusations include illegitimately prescribing Seroquel for various other conditions, including losing weight, despite the fact that studies show the drug actually causes weight gain. Reinstein was found to have made numerous false claims about Seroquel in promotional material, claims that would result in the destruction of people's lives and health.

When all was said and done, more than 1,000 patients a year received Seroquel prescriptions from Reinstein at a cost of $7.6 million to taxpayers. It is unknown how many billions of dollars AstraZeneca has made from the widespread efforts of Reinstein in promoting the drug nationwide for all those years.

Despite all of his wrongdoings, Reinstein is not even a defendant in the case. AstraZeneca, the perpetrator which funded Reinstein, is the defendant in the lawsuit. While both Reinstein and AstraZeneca appear guilty of unethical and illegal behavior, AstraZeneca is rightfully bearing the brunt as it knowingly continued to fund Reinstein and rake in the profits of his misconduct.

The case brings up an important issue that plagues the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical money trail is never transparent, leading to questionable study results and improper marketing tactics. There is no accountability in the drug sector and this entire segment of the economy seems to be driven by deception and greed. Until people begin to demand restitution, the corruption will continue.

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