Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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May 15, 2004

Investigator Exposes Pharma Corruption - Loses Job

An investigator with the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General was removed from his post and sent home after he talked to the press about his discovery of a black bank account fed by pharma companies Janssen and Pfizer and apparently used to pay off FDA officials in charge of approving drugs.

The story is reported in the British Medical Journal.

Whistleblower removed from job for talking to the press
Jeanne Lenzer

New York (BMJ - original here)

A whistleblower who uncovered evidence that major drug companies sought to influence government officials has been removed from his job and placed on administrative leave.

Allen Jones, an investigator at the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General (OIG), was escorted out of his workplace on 28 April and told "not to appear on OIG property" after OIG officials accused him of talking to the press. Reports of Mr Jones's findings were widely reported in the New York Times, BMJ (7 February, p 306), and elsewhere.

His findings showed that the pharmaceutical company Janssen had paid honorariums to key state officials who held influence over the drugs prescribed in state-run prisons and mental hospitals.

Mr Jones filed a suit on 7 May against his supervisors charging that the OIG's policy of barring employees from talking to the media was "unconstitutional." Mr Jones claims, in the complaint filed in the Middle District Court of Pennsylvania, that he is being harassed by his superiors and Pennsylvania governmental institutions in order to "coverup, discourage, and limit any investigations or oversight into the corrupt practices of large drug companies and corrupt public officials who have acted with them."

Mr Jones had been earlier removed as lead investigator on the case after being told by a manager that "drug companies write cheques to politicians on both sides of the aisle."

In July 2002 Mr Jones was appointed lead investigator when he uncovered evidence of payments into an off-the-books account. The account, earmarked for "educational grants" was funded in large part by Pfizer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Payments were made from the account to state employees who developed formulary guidelines recommending expensive new drugs over older, cheaper drugs with proved track records.

One of the recommended drugs was Janssen's antipsychotic medicine risperidone (Risperdal)—a drug that has recently been found to have potentially lethal side effects. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Janssen on 27 April saying that Janssen's "Dear Healthcare Provider" letter about risperidone was "false or misleading" because it failed to disclose or minimised risks of the drug relating to "serious adverse events including ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar coma, and death."

Don Bailey, Mr Jones's attorney, said the case is a critical test of the right to a free press. "If they shut the employee up and they have all the documents locked up in a drawer there is no free press," he said.

Amy Wasserleben, spokeswoman for the OIG, said they would not comment on Mr Jones or the corruption allegations. When asked about the status of the corruption investigation she refused to answer. In response to a question about whether the state OIG could withhold information of public interest, she said, "The OIG is specifically exempt from right-to-know laws."

The Pennsylvania formulary is based on the Texas Medication Algorithm Project that has been exported to about 12 states and was recently commended as a model programme by President Bush's New Freedom Commission.

However, Dr Peter J Weiden, who was a member of the project's expert consensus panel, charges that the guidelines are based on "opinions, not data" and that bias due to funding sources undermines the credibility of the guidelines since "most of the guideline's authors have received support from the pharmaceutical industry."

See also:

A Lone Wolf Talks on the Drug Leviathan
An interview with Allen Jones

Eli Lilly, Zyprexa, & the Bush Family - The diseasing of our malaise 
By Bruce Levine
More than one journalist has uncovered corrupt connections between the Bush Family, psychiatry, and Eli Lilly & Company, the giant pharmaceutical corporation. While previous Lillygates have been more colorful, Lilly's soaking state Medicaid programs with Zyprexa—its blockbuster, antipsychotic drug—may pack the greatest financial wallop. Worldwide in 2003, Zyprexa grossed $4.28 billion, accounting for slightly more than one-third of Lilly's total sales. In the United States in 2003, Zyprexa grossed $2.63 billion, 70 percent of that attributable to government agencies, mostly Medicaid.  

Huge penalty in drug fraud - Pfizer settles felony case in Neurontin off-label promotion

Why you can't trust medical journals anymore

The Pharmaceutical Business With desease: Eli Lilly, Zyprexa and the Bush Family

Pharmaceutical Science Based Myth: how drug firms 'hoodwink' medical journals
Disease pharm | Junk Science

The Lancet: Negative drug research 'withheld'

Pharmaceutical Companies Offer Doctors Free Trips, Gifts for Prescriptions

Norwegian doctors rally against increased commercialising and corruption

Extracts from the manifesto, which appeared in major newspapers in Norway
14 May 2004 (sent by Tamara of MayDay - thanks)

250 Norwegian doctors have signed a manifesto calling for an end to improper influence on patient and society from the medical industry. Their action has been inspired by what they see as an increased corruption and secrecy in the health field that influence the decision process, influencing many but controlled by few.

They state that the doctor's role in society is based on confidence; that the doctor handles the knowledge and resources on the basis of his/her best understanding and available knowledge.

Here is a comment from Ireland:
(19 May 2004)

Funnily enough there was a very hard-hitting documentary on RTE (Irish television) last night, highlighting the extent to which doctors are influenced by gifts, golfing trips, trips to see high profile rugby and soccer matches, and sent to "conferences" abroad by pharmaceutical companies. Apparently most pharmaceutical companies are now little more than giant marketing companies - they concentrate much more on trying to influence doctors, than R & D.

We all know this of course, but it refreshing to see a national TV station take up this issue.

See also more recent articles:

Bush To Impose Psychiatric Drug Regime

Bush-Backed Drug Marketing Schemes

Whistleblowers Reveal Over-Medicating For Profit Scam
In Pennsylvania, Whistleblower, Dr Kruszewski, discovered cases where adults and children in state care were prescribed as many as 5 psychiatric drugs at the same time. When he went to his superiors to report the over-prescribing and warned of the potential liability to the state if it was allowed to continue, he was told "it is none of your business." According to Dr Kruszewski, it was polypharmacy at its worst. "They were putting almost all the patients on the same concoction of antipsychotic and antiseizure drugs," he reports. But the discovery he found most disturbing was that many of the patients taking the drugs had never had seizures and had never been psychotic.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Saturday May 15 2004
updated on Tuesday December 14 2010

URL of this article:


Related Articles

Bush To Impose Psychiatric Drug Regime
Plans to screen whole US population for mental illness According to a recent article in the British Medical Journal, US president George Bush is to announce a major "mental health" initiative in this coming month of July. The proposal will extend screening and psychiatric medication to kids and grown-ups all over the US, following a pilot scheme of recommended medication practice developed in Texas and already exported to several other... [read more]
June 23, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

FDA Orders Antidepressant Suicide Warnings Over Psychiatric Association Resistance
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has been strangely resistant to the idea of warning patients of an increased risk of suicides when taking antidepressant drugs or SSRIs. One would think that psychiatrists should be the first ones to call for such warnings, but perhaps they fear to "lose ground" to natural alternatives in the treatment of mental disorders, which they have been persecuting for decades, concentrating their treatment efforts nearly... [read more]
October 16, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Antidepressants - Drugging kids in school
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, is a custom-made "disease" to start selling drugs quite legally to school kids. Have the doctor prescribe them. Your kid will be that much better off - or not? It appears that the real dough about the adverse effects of antidepressant drugs has been kept secret so as not to ruin sales. Violence and suicide are common side effects of those drugs, and... [read more]
February 11, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Addicted by prescription
You say a drug would surely not be approved if it was addictive? I thought so as well, but it appears that a whole class of drugs called the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibiitors (SSRIs) is actually addictive and there is even a name for the addiction. It is called SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome. Of course that is a nice way of saying you can't stop taking them, and in my book... [read more]
October 21, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger

Neurontin Suicides: FDA Still Turning A Deaf Ear Charges Rep Hinchey
Maurice Hinchey, Representative of the 22nd Congressional District of New York is calling for a thorough examination of the link between Neurontin, an anti-epilepsy drug that has been made a block-buster seller by off-label marketing, and suicides. The lawmaker blasted the FDA's failure to act in this matter in a letter to FDA acting Commissioner Lester Crawford dated 7 September 2004. According to a report by the Alliance for Human... [read more]
October 11, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger




Readers' Comments

I noticed you posted the May 15 BMJ article related to my being removed from my job as an Investigator in the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General.
BMJ ran another article on Friday. This article touches on the corruption I am attempting to expose, and provides a link to my full Whistleblower report.
Allen Jones

Posted by: Allen Jones on June 19, 2004 11:45 PM


thank you very much for your comment and for the pointer to the new article in BMJ.

I arrived at your report, which is linked in BMJ and downloaded it. After reading it, I decided to make a specific post on my site to help expose the scandal on psychiatric medication being shamelessly pushed on the whole US population. Here is the article:

Bush To Impose Psychiatric Drug Regime

My sincere thanks for taking a courageous stand on the corruption issue. We need more people who will bring transparency to what our governments are up to.

Posted by: Sepp on June 23, 2004 06:57 PM


Someone needs to believe Allen Jones and take care of these evil minded so called people i have a 12 year old son that he wants to die i need someones help right away please help!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Sheri Tunstall sHERI on August 3, 2004 05:58 PM


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