Some Kansas lawmakers are pushing for greater regulation of antipsychotic drugs, a class of medications that includes Risperdal. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, the Kansas legislature could consider a measure that would repeal a law that forbids the state Medicaid system from regulating such medications during the 2015 session.
The law in question was passed in 2002, and prohibits Medicaid from requiring prior authorization or using any other restrictions on medications that treat schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorders. Kansas Medicaid officials have long lobbied for repeal of the law, but their efforts have been blocked by the healthcare industry.
Last year, a report issued by the federal government revealed Kansas ranked third in the nation for the percentage of elderly nursing home patients being prescribed atypical antipsychotics.
“It’s used as a staffing device,” Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, told the Journal-World “If you under-staff your nursing homes, then you’re going to have to use something to provide safety and security to those patients, and one way to do that is through medication.”
The news out of Kansas comes just as hundreds of people are pursuing Risperdal lawsuits for complications that were allegedly caused by the medication, including gynecomastia. This is a condition which results in the excessive growth of breast tissue in men and boys. Many Risperdal gynecomastia victims allege that the drug resulted in the development of female-like breasts that grew as large as D-cups. In these severe cases, the victims were forced to undergo liposuction or mastectomies to remove the excess tissue. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress and more.
Among other things, Risperdal plaintiffs accuse the drug’s manufacturers of failing to warn patients and doctors about this potential complication. They are also accused of improperly marketing the drug for unapproved uses, including the promotion of Risperdal in children.
Risperdal was also among a number of drugs involved in a federal settlement announced last November by the U.S. Department of Justice. The $2.2 billion accord was one of the largest ever involving allegations of healthcare fraud.
Alleged victims of Risperdal gynecomastia still have time to file their own lawsuit. To contact a lawyer involved in this litigation, please call Bernstein Liebhard LLP today, at .