PsychRights Seeking Plaintiffs to Sue Physicians for Off-label Prescribing to Children

Jim Gottstein

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is eager to provide advice or assistance to US citizens who may wish to sue their physicians for prescribing off-label psychiatric drugs to children, said lawyer James Gottstein in an interview with Mad In America. Gottstein was speaking after giving a presentation at the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy conference in Seattle this week.

In his presentation, Gottstein pointed out that the federal government has settled numerous lawsuits with drug companies in which the companies admitted improperly promoting the prescribing of psychiatric medications off-label to children and youth. Yet the physicians who were actually doing the off-label prescribing of these medications that are not approved for use in children and youth never faced any penalties. Gottstein said he believes those physicians can and should be sued for submitting “false claims” to Medicaid — essentially, he argued, they’ve been billing the government for prescribing drugs in situations which the government itself has already determined are not legal or appropriate in most cases.

Gottstein said the massive financial settlements with drug companies have done little to curtail these practices, because they’re seen as just the cost of doing business in the pharmaceutical industry. “From my perspective, it’s just a wink and nod game between the government and drug companies,” said Gottstein. He suggested that, conversely. just a few successful lawsuits against individual doctors could change prescribing patterns around the country.

PsychRights has taken a number of such cases against physicians and pharmacies to court over the past five years under the False Claims Act, a Civil War-era statute that allows citizens to sue “on behalf of” the government. Though the courts have so far “actually agreed with the whole concept,” said Gottstein, certain judges have also betrayed an attitude of, “The federal government knows all about the fraud and doesn’t care, so why should we?” Nevertheless, these cases have now clarified key issues and laid the groundwork for admissability, said Gottstein, and he’d like to provide assistance to more US citizens who might want to consider launching such cases. He noted that under the Act, the plaintiffs get a percentage of any settlements. “I still think this is a viable approach,” said Gottstein.

The slide presentation from Gottstein’s talk and complete set of legal backgrounders are available on the website of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights. Gottstein clarified that he is “on hiatus” from taking on much legal work until March of 2015, but is still willing to provide advice and assistance in the meantime.

PsychRights’ Medicaid Fraud Initiative Against Psychiatric Drugging of Children & Youth (Law Project for Psychiatric Rights)

National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy


  1. I think this is a great idea. Not only do I agree with Jim that if some individual psychiatrists get sued, it will do a lot to end this practice. But I also think that this whole issue is a good one for protests, civil disobedience, and other actions to bring this practice to the attention of the public.

    I have been saying for some time now that the psychiatric abuse of children makes more of an impression on the general public than the abuse of adults. It is hard for people like Torrey and Biederman to portray toddlers as “walking time bombs” just waiting to shoot someone.

    Go, Jim!!!!!

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  2. How could these kids be contacted ?

    Is it correct that the statue of limitations only starts at 18 ?

    I am also thinking that addiction treatment centers/ AA NA are a good place to look for plaintiffs because I ask every single young person I meet in recovery if they were victims of child psychiatry and the majority >50% answer yes. It sounds like a very personal question but its very easy to ask, I just ask something like “how did you become addicted, did they start feeding you pills in school for attention or a so called mood disorder?” and more often the not the answer is ya I was 7 or 8 when they started giving me Ritalin/ Adderal… Did they give you more pills for the crash and insomnia ? That’s the part where they start listing all the off label stuff.

    Child psychiatry is creating teen and adult drug addiction, why ? I don’t have any medical test to confirm this obviously but the childhood drug exposure I believe is advancing progression , that addictive hunger reaction kicks in right away when a young person exposed to psychiatric drugs tries addictive recreational drugs like so many young people do these days.

    Dual diagnosis fans will tell you these kids are “self medicating” because of so called mental illness, bullsh^t ! , they already have the brain damage that IS drug dependence and addiction from years of exposure to Rx psychotropic drugs.

    This could also be a project for you Jim, suing these doctors for the cost of drug rehabilitation and making them take responsibility for destroying so many lives in this manner.

    No one else that I know of is tracking the number of young people exposed to child psychiatry showing up in drug and alcohol treatment centers except me that I know of but to me the cause and effect is obvious.

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    • Copycat

      Great post. I completely agree about the connection between childhood drugging by psychiatry or pediatric doctors and later life addiction. Bad habits can start young; in this case forced on young children by the medical establishment.

      The reward pathways in the brain can be developed at an early age and it becomes like the “riding a bicycle” analogy when children experiment with other mind altering substance later on in life; they are simply “lubricating” already established pathways which have great potential for addiction to consume the unsuspecting youth. I have been doing addiction work with people (in community mental health) over 21 years and have heard these stories many times.

      Biological Psychiatry feeds off of and expands our culture of addiction; it is a very profitable business.


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      • Met a young woman at a meeting tonite and again after the small talk about what got you into addiction recovery, (benzos – pain meds) from doctors, then about psych drugs did rehab put you on those? then I find out the drugging for her started at 11yo for so called ADD.

        Now her pill intake is Wellbutrin Visteral Nuerontin (snake oil) and Remeron .

        It’s psychiatry and the medical profession destroying most of these young lives, NOT that scary drug dealer targeted by the so called war on drugs.

        Someone tell me why if untreated ‘mental illness’ is the reason for substance abuse why is it that the majority of the young people showing up at drug rehabs are the ones who were subjected to child psychiatry , why is that ? It should be the ones who ‘fell through the cracks’ and went untreated right ?

        Anyone can do what I do, you goto these meetings and engage in the small talk about drugs and addiction long enough to ask if the young person you are talking to was subjected to child psychiatry and anyone can confirm it’s the majority. It’s easy.

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  3. Dare you to sue NAMI for promoting the off label prescribing to kids for it’s drug company sponsors,

    “Antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers have been proven to be effective in treating oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. ”

    That’s written on the NAMI page for “ADHD and Coexisting Conditions “. I called up NAMI and asked if the FDA has approved the use Antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers for so called “oppositional defiant disorder” just to mess with them because the answer is no they are not.

    Why does your website say “proven effective” when the FDA has not approved this ?


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  4. I too believe we can make a difference. This whole drug industry is creating drug addicts instead of truly helping people which is their goal. They are trying to get as many people addicted to these drugs, which is highly profitable for both doctors/psychiatrists/BIG PHARMA. They don’t want to actually cure you ~ that’s why they tell you you’ll have to take these medications for the rest of your life because they KNOW that you’ll soon be addicted(not because of your so called “illness”). It is so SICKENING that so many doctors/psychiatrists are selling themselves out for the sake of GREED and have turned themselves into legalized drug dealers ~ PATHETIC!

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