Pharma exploit the mentally ill… (make money from it and go unpunished)

Pharma exploit the mentally ill… (make money from it and go unpunished)

Pharma exploit the mentally ill… (make money from it and go unpunished)

Can you imagine giving people who are already suffering from mental illness a drug that you know will make them worse? Sounds like something out of a sadistic horror movie. Long-term mental illness sufferers experience such torturous states of mind that they might try just about anything to escape them – from the extreme of suicide, to taking just about any drug their doctor says holds the hope of helping them. It takes a particular brand of evil to exploit that condition. But  that’s exactly what Pfizer did with Neurontin (also prescribed as Gabapentin.)

Pfizer’s own studies showed that manic symptoms were significantly worse in bipolar patients on Gabapentin than on a placebo, but that didn’t stop them doing everything they could to get doctors to prescribe it off-label at very high doses for people suffering from bipolar disorder. This included publishing claims they knew were false or misleading, misrepresenting one study, rigging another, and suppressing the results of two more, according to John Abramson, author of Sickening (2022), who was an expert witness in court proceedings against Pfizer. In one leaked email, Pfizer’s own medical director referred to Neurontin as “snake oil.”[1]

Pfizer was eventually found guilty of fraud for the illegal off-label marketing of Neurontin. Foundation Health Plan, America’s largest HMO sued them. But, given that sales of Neurontin had reached $2.1 billion by 2003 in the USA, their total penalty of  a paltry $142 million could hardly serve as much of a deterrent from committing future fraud. No one was jailed, and the trail was barely mentioned in the news. So, guess what? Neurontin is still being prescribed off-label to treat bipolar by doctors who are just used to it.

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By Antony Sammeroff

Antony Sammeroff co-hosts the Scottish Liberty Podcast and has featured prominently on other libertarian themed shows including The Tom Woods Show, Lions of Liberty, School Sucks Podcast, and many more. His book Universal Basic Income — For and Against (with a foreword by Robert P. Murphy) is available in paperback and on Amazon Kindle. His previous self-help book Procrastination Annihilation is free to download from Antony blogs on economic issues at and his articles have also been published by the Scottish Libertarian Party, the Cobden Centre, The Backbencher, The Rational Rise, and

(Source:; October 24, 2023;