Michael Reinstein, a well-known doctor who was paid to prescribe Clozaril (aka Clozapine) to his elderly patients, has pleaded guilty to accepting kickback monies from a pharmaceutical company. The Daily Mail is reporting that 71-year old Michael Reinstein lived an incredibly lavish lifestyle all because he agreed to promote a risky anti-psychotic drug that had detrimental effects, and ended up killing at least three of his patients.
According to the federal court documents, Reinstein was paid exorbitant fees for randomly prescribing the drug. The pharmaceutical companies Ivax and Teva paid for boat cruises, expensive dinners, and trips for Reinstein because he was so good at prescribing the risky drug to elderly victims, which included nursing home and mental health patients, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Now the elderly Chicago doctor faces up to four years in prison and must pay back almost $600,000 for the scheme. In 2012, Reinstein was accused of defrauding Medicaid and Medicare by filing false claims. In March of 2014, Teva was ordered to pay almost $28 million dollars because high paid consultant Dr. Reintein over prescribed anti-psychotic medication. The court documents paint Dr. Michael Reinstein as a greedy, money-hungry psychiatrist whose only goal was to make money off of his elderly patients in order to pad his rich lifestyle. The doctor is currently under suspension.
Clozapine should not be prescribed at whim, but only when it is a last alternative for patients who have severe cases of schizophrenia, psychosis, and bipolar disorder, and who are showing signs of suicidal tendencies. The accompanying side effects could cause fainting, seizure, and even death in some patients.
Medcinenet states the following regarding the high-risk drug.
“Because of concern for the side effect of agranulocytosis clozapine should be reserved for patients who have failed to respond to other standard medications or who are at risk for recurring suicidal behavior.”
Alison Cobb, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at Mind, told the Times the following information.
“There are health risks and side-effects associated with all anti-psychotic medications but it is chilling to see this number of deaths associated with clozapine and the month-on-month increases.()The figures refer to heart disease, strokes, cancer and other long-term health problems that cannot be explained simply by suicides or an increased overall risk of death.”
The MHRA has stated that they are aware of the community’s concern and the problems associated with the use of the Clozapine, and admit that patients who are currently taking the drug must be monitored closely by their doctors, according to the Sunday Times. The stats suggest that there has been at least 4,300 adverse reactions to the drug and at least 3, 277 deaths reported.
[Photo Credit: Twitter]