Last week, Janssen Pharmaceuticals announced an interesting partnership with the International Mental Health Research Organization (IMHRO) to support One Mind for Research with $3 million in funding. One Mind for Research a program of IMHRO that fosters neuroscience research, education, and awareness-building programs.
Janssen is the developer and manufacturer of a number of psychiatric medications, including Concerta, Invega, and Risperdal. Janssen is a division of Johnson & Johnson.
As part of the Healthy Minds efforts, Janssen will become the first private-sector partner to support the One Mind for Research program, which was started by former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Garen Staglin, Vice President, Board of Directors, IMHRO.
The goal of One Mind for Research is to help to de-stigmatize mental-health conditions and improve understanding of their molecular and cellular origins. Janssen plans to work with One Mind for Research to develop research programs, expand data sharing among scientists and physicians focused on the brain or central nervous system, break down barriers to understanding the molecular and cellular origins of mental and neurologic disorders, and help combat the stigma faced by those affected by brain diseases.
According to the news release, Janssen will contribute $2 million in cash to the One Mind for Research program and $1 million in matching funds for donations raised in support of the program from other private-sector partners.
Janssen plans to participate in the program’s efforts to create collaborative neuroscience networks and data-sharing programs that enhance basic discovery and speed clinical translation.
Janssen has been working on psychiatric medications designed to help treat mental disorders since the 1950s, with the discovery and development by Dr. Paul Janssen of one of the first breakthrough treatments for schizophrenia.
Sadly, the groundbreaking research conducted by Dr. Janssen and his team through hard work and a tireless devotion to finding new and effective treatments for mental health concerns is a tradition that may be lacking in the modern-day Janssen company. In August, Pharmalot reported on a Massachusetts lawsuit over illegal marketing of its antipsychotic medication, Risperdal. Massachusetts Attorney General Coakley said in a statement at the time: “Janssen put profits ahead of patient safety by promoting Risperdal for uses that had not been approved and by failing to disclose serious risks associated with Risperdal’s use.”
Janssen isn’t the first pharmaceutical company to be caught in the snare of the spotlight into its sales and marketing practices for its medications. It’s an unfortunate consequence of companies that seem to be more concerned about profits over patient safety.
Nevertheless, Janssen commits more than $12 million annually to public and professional education about mental illness and brain disorders, and sponsorships and philanthropy in the field of neuroscience and mental health, according to their news release.
We believe the $3 million is a good start to help fund this important research initiative.
But in comparison to the $4.5 billion the company made in just one year of Risperdal sales, we also think it’s a drop in the bucket.