Some readers of y1 have praised the story’s criticisms of the zealous marketing of prescriptions drugs in American, particularly mental health drugs to children and young adults. A couple of readers have taken issue with it. For me as a writer, the subject was representative of the larger issue of putting profit ahead of the well-being of our children. It was a vehicle to make a bigger point.
But as a mother, the idea of routinely prescribing drugs with serious side-effects and unknown long term consequences to children as young as two years old hits home with an emotional wallop of its own. Every once in awhile I come across an article that reminds me why I thought that pharmaceutical marketing targeting children would provide a good villain for my story.
Gwen Olsen, who worked for fifteen years as a drug rep for Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb, was recently quoted on Alternet as saying: “Children are known to be compliant patients and that makes them a highly desirable market for drugs, especially when it pertains to large profit-margin psychiatric drugs, which can be wrought with noncompliance because of their horrendous side-effect profiles.”
Great. Adults are allowed to follow their best instincts and listen to their own bodies, and therefore frequently stop taking drugs they find more harmful than helpful. Children can be ordered to take their medicine, and their parents can be scared into making them do so.
It is enough to make a healthy adult want to cry.