After publishing Electroboy, a 2002 account of his electroshock therapy to treat bipolar disorder, Andy Behrman spent a couple years flacking Abilify for Bristol-Myers Squibb to doctors and drug reps. Originally a schizophrenia drug, it was often prescribed “off label” for bipolar patients like him. And now he’s about to shop a tell-all called Adventures in the Drug Trade: I Was a Big Pharma Pusher. “To have a behind-the-scenes look at their marketing techniques was more shocking than anything I’ve ever experienced,” he says. In 2007, the company doled out over $515 million to settle a civil suit alleging that it had illegally marketed Abilify to pediatric and elderly patients and paid doctors “illegal remuneration.” In the first nine months of 2008, Abilify’s U.S. sales were $1.186 billion. A Bristol-Myers Squibb spokeswoman says its internal review of Behrman’s claims “concluded that our conduct was appropriate and within compliance of the law.”
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