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Johnson & Johnson not a trusted name these days

In a recently filed complaint, the U.S. Attorney in Boston, MA, Johnson & Johnson is alledged to have paid pharmacists kickbacks in several forms to prescribe more J&J drugs to nursing home patients from 1999 through 2004. 

One of the drugs, Risperdal, was later found to significantly increase the risk of death in elderly patient populations.  The reason it’s used in nursing homes (in many cases) is that it makes the residents nearly comatose and thus easier to handle with fewer staff members. 

How did bribing the pharmacists make any difference in prescribing rates when the doctors do the prescribing?  That was my question too…apparently in the Omnicare system (the run MANY nursing homes throughout the country) pharmacists regularly review the patients’ charts and make recommendations about medications they should be taking.   It has been reported that the doctors follow these recommendations 80% of the time. 

There are so many scary parts of this story, I don’t know where to start!  Go read the original article here, (http://www.courant.com/business/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-us-jj-kickback-charges,0,847770.story)  and let me know what YOU think.

That’s all for now.

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2 thoughts on “Johnson & Johnson not a trusted name these days

  1. I am a pharmacist, though not in MA, and I am extremely hurt by this news. I am offended myself since I would never consider making changes to a person’s drug regimen based on kickbacks, but ashamed that other pharmacists would. If this truly happened, I am disappointed.

    1. I understand your disappointment, but if it helps at all, I believe the complaint was initiated by one or more pharmacists in the Omnicare system that were not willing to “go along” with the whole process.

      I can’t imagine what pharmacists go through on a daily basis between the pressure to produce at work (sometimes with minimal staff), knowing you are dispensing medications that can be lifesaving to some, and overprescribed to others, all under the umbrella of the pharmaceutical companies that keep eroding the public’s trust. Yours is a profession truely caught in the middle. Thanks for doing what you do, with the professionalism I know you share with the majority of your coleagues.

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