US States Sue Atypical Anti-Psychotic Producers

The blog Mind Hacks has an interesting item on US state governments that are now suing major pharmaceutical manufacturers for allegedly misleading advertising campaigns in support of the new generation of atypical antipsychotic medications. The new drugs were billed as being more effective and as having fewer side-effects than the “old” (typical?) antipsychotics (Thorazine, Haldol, Lithium, etc.), However, atypicals are much more expensive than their older counterparts, in no small part because the patents on the older drugs have long-since expired allowing makers of generic drugs to produce cheaper copies. This might be a reasonable trade-off if the differences were great, but apparently a great deal of evidence has accumulated showing that the more expensive atypicals are neither more effective nor do they have fewer or less severe side-effects than the older, cheaper drugs, thus undercutting the benefits that were claimed to come along with the extra costs. The Mind Hacks piece has links to support for these counterclaims.This is, admittedly, not so much history of psychology as history-in-the-making. I predict that a few decades down the road we will be talking about this stuff as much as we now talk about the impact of the rise of the “old” antipsychotics.

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.