Bonkers Institute takes on the stealth marketing of pediatric zyprexa

Bonkers Institute gets under the skin of the NHS and pharma. Go Dr. Bonkers!

Here is the picture of the brochure on the Bonker’s website.

For OpEdNews: Martha Rosenberg

“Your medicine is called Olanzapine. Pronounced ‘o-lan-za-peen,'” says the lime green kids’ brochure for the antipsychotic Zyprexa, published by Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). “Many children, teenagers and young people need to take medicines prescribed by doctors to help them stay well and healthy,” says the text amid cartoons of happy children skating, roller blading and playing soccer.

Similar brochures educate children about “ris-perry-done” (Risperdal), another antipsychotic and “ato-mox-e-teen” (Strattera), an ADHD drug. But when mental health advocate Ben Hansen tried to “educate” US children further by posting the brochures on his web site bonkersinstitute.org, he got a love letter from the NHS.

“I have been informed that you are using our leaflets on your web-site,” wrote Deputy Chief Pharmacist with the Central and North West London NHS Trust Sue Eccles in an email this month. “Our objective is [sic] provide written materials to support the verbal counselling given by healthcare professionals — they are not meant to stand alone as sources of information,” says Eccles requesting that only the “front page and our contact details,” be shown….

…How does pharma vault a drug only indicated for the one percent of the population with schizophrenia and four percent with bipolar disorder to be the biggest line item in the Medicaid budget? As in your tax dollars? Just good off-label marketing–promoting a drug for a non-FDA approved use which is illegal in the US.

And speaking of non-approved uses, how can Britain’s National Health Service produce a brochure for kids taking Zyprexa when kids are not supposed to take Zyprexa? “ZYPREXA is not for patients who are under 18 years,” says the prescribing information. “Keep out of the reach and sight of children.” read the whole article here

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