Struggling To Curb Veteran Suicide, VA Approves Costly Depression Drug Amid Accusations It’s Rushing The Process
June 24, 2019
The agency is racing to get the drug through the approval process after President Donald Trump signaled support for the treatment. But psychiatrists and medical researchers, including some at the VA, raised questions about the drug’s effectiveness and safety, and Democratic lawmakers question why the decision-making on the drug has been so rushed.
The New York Times: Veterans Agency To Offer New Depression Drug, Despite Cost And Safety Concerns Confronted by a rising rate of suicides in some groups of veterans., the Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday decided to approve the use of a new and costly depression drug, despite concerns among doctors and other experts about the drug’s effectiveness. The decision to endorse the drug — called Spravato, and manufactured by Janssen, a unit of Johnson and Johnson — came days after President Trump offered to negotiate a deal between the drug maker and the agency. Johnson and Johnson reportedly was working with associates at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, and the company has been supporting V.A. suicide-prevention efforts. (Carey and Steinhauer, 6/21)
Center For Public Integrity: Controversial J&J Drug Pushed By Trump Is Nixed From VA's Pharmacy List A Department of Veterans Affairs panel has pushed back against efforts to rush a controversial anti-depression drug into use for its patients, voting not to include the drug, Spravato, on its list of drugs available through prescription at its pharmacies. The VA had been racing to get Spravato ready for patients after President Trump, according to VA sources, urged the agency to buy the Johnson and Johnson drug for treatment-resistant depression. But psychiatrists and medical researchers, including some at the VA, have raised questions about the drug’s effectiveness and safety. (Cary, 6/21)
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