According The Tennessean (see here), “Health officials believe that too many patients with dementia are being given antipsychotics in an ‘off-label’ use to control behavior instead of treating their dementia symptoms through non-pharmacologic therapy. Prescribing antipsychotics — approved by the FDA to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder among conditions — can expose a patient to medical risks.”

I found this story interesting because of (1) recent news about the pharma industry promoting drugs off-label (see here), (2) the quest for an FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drug that has so far failed to deliver (see here and here), and (3) a segment I saw on Comedy Central’s Daily Show about the “Silver Tour,” which demonstrates benefits of medical marijuana to old folks in nursing homes (see below).

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A Daily Finance article titled “Will National Legalized Marijuana Help or Hurt Big Pharma, Tobacco and Alcohol?” reiterated the “Silver Tour” claim that there are many medical conditions “where the ingestion of marijuana has been believed to help alleviate or control the symptoms. These include glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS-related complications, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, chemotherapy complications and others.” You can also add Alzheimer’s Disease and depression to that list. Since many of these conditions are common in the elderly, senior citizens may benefit the most from the legalization of marijuana.

Pharma companies, however, are very actively pursuing drugs for the treatment of the most common maladies of senior citizens. This may be why Pfizer, for example, created its “Getting Old” campaign (see here).

“The last thing [pharma] companies want see is current product lines that are producing dependable revenue flow to be dented by legal marijuana,” says Lee Jackson, author of the Daily Finance article cited above. “The big pharmaceutical firms have a lot of money to spread around, so when it comes to lobbying efforts, very few have this group’s clout. One thing it wants is for marijuana to remain illegal.”

Aside from the medical need, another reason why legalizing marijuana makes sense: the “war” against it has failed.

Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group and member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, says about the “war” on drugs, “let’s make 2013 the year we Break The Taboo.”

“If a business strategy were failing and instead of curbing a problem made it worse, would you keep it going or would you stop and consider an alternative course? Strangely, the trillion dollar war on drugs has persisted for 40 years even though it is the most dismal global policy failure of our time” (video below).

What’s you opinion regarding the legalization of marijuana?