Psychiatrist who pushed Risperdal is tainted by e-mail
Court filings allegedly reveal that Dr. Joseph Biederman of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical Center was actively pushing a research center at Mass General in order to "move forward the commercial goals of Johnson & Johnson", according to his own messages. While Mass General was publicly denying that the research center had any commercial purpose, this wouldn't seem like such a big deal, except that Biederman has used his position to fuel a forty-fold increase in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder and a concomitant rise in the use of powerful, risky, expensive and unproven antipsychotic medications (particularly Risperdal) in children. A panel of scientists recently criticized the overuse of these medications and called for new restraints on, and education of, prescribing physicians.
Combined with the payment of enormous compensation to Biederman by the pharmaceutical industry, which Biederman both denied initially and failed to disclose to the University, the whole episode helps to illuminate the problem that pharmacy profit has created within the medical field. The sale of legal drugs in the U.S. is so ridiculously lucrative, and so poorly supervised by the FDA, that it even taints the ethics of the most respected institutions and the standard of care for children.