Monday, August 22, 2011

VA spent $717 million on a drug deemed as effective as a placebo

Link
That paper, whose lead author is Dr. John H. Krystal, director of the clinical neurosciences division of VA's National Center for PTSD, concluded: "Overall, the data do not provide strong support for the current widespread prescription of risperidone to patients with . . . military-related PTSD symptoms, and these findings should stimulate careful review of the benefits of these medications in patients with chronic PTSD." The study included 193 Vietnam veterans and 63 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

While the paper focused on risperidone, it also questioned the effectiveness of other second-generation anti-psychotic drugs, including Seroquel, also known by its generic name quetiapine. VA told Nextgov it spent $846 million on Seroquel over the past decade for more than 6.6 million prescriptions.

Besides prescribing Seroquel for use as an anti-psychotic drug, both VA and Defense Department physicians prescribe it as a sleep aid, despite the fact the drug has been implicated in the deaths of two Marines who took large doses of it.