The Antidepressant Era: the movie

No apologies here, this article (and videos) have been lifted straight from David Healy’s excellent website.

It’s important that as many people as possible have the chance to read the piece and take time to watch the film.

As far as the pharmaceutical industry is concerned, I can tell you from first hand experience that the industry still believes in its own hype… do more, feel better and live longer is Glaxo’s strapline and no one in that company thinks there’s even a hint of irony in that.

Now for Dr Healy’s piece:

The Antidepressant Era: the movie

The Antidepressant Era was written in 1995, and first published in 1997. A paperback came out in 1999. It was close to universally welcomed – see reviews 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 . It was favorably received by reviewers from the pharmaceutical industry, perhaps because it made clear that this branch of medical history had not been shaped by great men or great institutions but that other players, company people, had been at least as important.

Nobody objected to it, perhaps because at this point I had not agreed to be an expert witness in a pharmaceutical induced injury case. There were likely no PR companies who had a brief to manage Healy. I knew before The Creation of Psychopharmacology came out in 2002 that the response to it would be very different.

Disease Mongering & the Myth of Lowered Serotonin

Many of the ideas in The Antidepressant Era had appeared earlier. The idea that a lowering of serotonin (chapter 5) was a marketing myth and had nothing to do with science, first appeared in my doctoral thesis in 1985, and later in Psychopharmacological Revolutions in 1987. The idea that companies market diseases as a way of marketing medicines (chapter 6) first appeared in 1990 in Notes toward a History and The Marketing of 5HT.

The Antidepressant Era in turn contained many of the elements of Pharmageddon – the key role of the 1962 amendments to the Food and Drugs Act which, through product patents, prescription-only status for new drugs and the role of clinical trials, have created modern healthcare.

Is Valium a better drug than Prozac?

In 2000 I was approached by Duncan Dallas, an independent television producer from Leeds who wanted to do something critical on the antidepressants. Prozac was still at this point widely seen as a miracle of modern medicine, rather than an inferior drug to older antidepressants. Bioethicists and social scientists were still lining up to herald the creation of the New Man through modern genetics and modern psychotropic drugs.

Saying that what we were witnessing was a triumph of modern marketing rather than modern science caused a frisson in most circles. There were no natural allies – not in psychopharmacology or biological psychiatry but not in social science circles either.

But this is what Duncan wanted. The Antidepressant Era, the movie, opens with some of the hype around SSRIs, has astonishing footage of Roland Kuhn and Alan Broadhurst, two of the key people behind the discovery of imipramine, and outlines the overthrow of the benzodiazepines and their replacement by antidepressants.

It shows how rating scales and screening are used in psychiatry to create problems for which a drug becomes the answer.  It was the first program to wheel on stage the marketing men who created the social anxiety campaigns that sold Paxil, and it outlined the role of DSM III in the creation of depression.

Duncan’s version has a wonderful artistry. The book opens with a quote from George Oppen’s The Skyscraper. The “movie” closes with the same quote.

The Building of the Skyscraper

The steelworker on the girder
Learned not to look down, and does his work
And there are words we have learned
Not to look at,
Not to look for substance
Below them. But we are on the verge
Of Vertigo.

There are words that mean nothing
But there is something to mean.
Not a declaration which is truth
But a thing
Which is ..

Oh, the tree, growing from the sidewalk -
It has a little life, sprouting
Little green buds
Into the culture of the streets.
We look back
Three hundred years and see bare land.
And suffer vertigo.

Downfall – Adolf  Who? 

Its central moment is an astonishing sequence featuring the then President of Hoffman-la-Roche, Adolf Jann, embarking on a rant that looks now like an uncanny forerunner of the famous Adolf Hitler rant in the movie Downfall. The rant that launched a thousand You-Tubes. Adolf Jahn thumps his fist on the table, voice rising, as he angrily tells an interviewer in effect “You – none of you – can do without us – just try”. See section at 20 minutes 50 seconds to 22 minutes.

There is nothing specific to Jann or Roche here. This was and is the common credo of the pharmaceutical industry. This is what the CEOs of GSK, Pfizer, Merck and Lilly are saying to governments today. Healthcare is not sustainable unless we develop drugs that get people well so they aren’t a burden on the State, and if healthcare is not sustainable democracy may not be either. Facilitate us or society as you know it goes down the drain.

It would be a mistake to see this as a horrible modern manifestation of rapacious capitalism. Socialists from George Bernard Shaw in the early twentieth century onwards have turned to biology as an answer to social problems. If we cannot get mankind to agree to change for the better, perhaps we can improve on mankind. This belief powered the efforts of governments to eliminate the unfit from the late nineteenth century through to the eugenics movement and underpins some of our hopes for the New Genetics.

Eugenics looks terrible in retrospect while modern genetics looks like our only hope – but the same impulse underpins both.  There is no better example of what good history is about than this. Anyone writing the history of eugenics should really portray its prime movers in the same light as we now portray the heroes of the the Human Genome Project.

We should always remember that the nominees for the 1937 Nobel Peace Prize included both Gandhi and Hitler. There was a time when one looked at least as likely as the other to contribute to modern civilization.

Revolution’s Little Helper

The same dynamic made Valium look like a very dark drug in 2000 – so that even its name was withdrawn. Prozac in contrast looked like the gateway to the hoped for shiny uplands of the future, when by the mid-1990s Prozac should have been seen as a far darker drug than Valium.

Valium entered a world in which psychiatry in many ways led medicine as it had done for almost a hundred years. Psychiatry was the first branch of medicine to have specialist hospitals and specialist journals. And Valium really did work remarkably well. Far from being simply a superficial treatment it likely led to the disappearance of catatonia and saved a lot of lives.

Valium probably did a lot to stimulate the Revolution of 1968. The conventional wisdom now is that Valium was Mother’s Little Helper and in this role that it played a part in the imprisonment of women in suburbia. In fact, Valium and other benzodiazepines undo conditioned avoidance. They were advertised initially as being among other things useful for salesmen – to overcome their inhibitions. They almost certainly disinhibited many women to speak out against patriarchy. They helped students breach the double-binds that Ronnie Laing and others in the 1960s were preaching were holding back society.

Prozac and the SSRIs in contrast far more often produce an apathy that is destructive to engagement in society as Who Cares in Sweden shows.  Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Efexor, Pristiq, and Cymbalta are far more likely to lead to suicide and murderous violence including school shootings than Valium ever did. And the SSRIs lead to just as many cases of dependence as the benzos ever did.

Tamiflu – PharMessiah?

Are we incapable of learning? Will we always be seduced by the latest PharMessiah?

The Antidepressant Era, the movie, contains an extraordinary comment on just this that no one could have foreseen when it was finished in 2001. It almost looks like the Scriptwriter in the Sky must have inserted the clip of Adolf Jahn telling us that if we don’t facilitate him and Roche society will collapse. We can only afford to keep our economy and society going if he and his company are let develop new drugs.

Well Roche got to develop Tamiflu. Where Valium was the headline drug in the 1980s for the problems a rampant pharmaceutical industry might pose, Tamiflu is now. Governments throughout the Western world stockpiled billions of dollars worth of Tamiflu on the promise that it would prevent the transmission of influenza and other viruses, and would either keep people in work or get them back to work faster, thus saving our economies huge amounts of money.

Except the drug now appears to be close to worthless and to have always been so. It seems that the impression that Tamiflu might help could only have been created because companies can hide the existence of many and in some cases most of their clinical trials and hide the data from all of them, ghostwriting the ones that are published in a manner that keeps all data out of the public domain.

Facilitate us too much and we will lead to your Downfall.

Stephen Whitehead, ABPI – missing the point completely

I read this article in the New Statesman today and made me really quite annoyed…

It featured a letter written to the New Statesman by the CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Stephen Whitehead, as a response to issues Ben Goldacre’s new book, Bad Pharma.

It’s amazing just how stupid a response it is – in fact I have to ask if Stephen has actually bothered to read the book at all or if the’s just gone into classic big Pharma knee jerk mode (after all, Stephen did spend 10 years of his career working at Glaxo and Eli Lily).

But no matter, as the New Statesman has printed Ben’s reply to the response.

However the comment I really found strange from Stephen Whitehead was this “…references to companies (GSK, Lilly, Pfizer) being fined are all examples from the US and simply not relevant to the UK market…”

GSK’s fine was, to remind you, the largest healthcare fraud settlement in history at $3bn.

How it isn’t relevant to the UK is beyond me – because what we’re talking about here is not just illegal marketing of drugs – not just bribing doctors to prescribe GSK products – what we’re talking about here are dead people.

Patients died because they were taking drugs that weren’t safe, drugs that weren’t even approved for their treatment.

In the case of Avandia, the drug is so dangerous that it can no longer be prescribed in Europe – it had to be withdrawn from the market because of high levels of heart attack, heart failure and stroke in patients. It had to be withdrawn from the market because it killed too many people.

How’s that “simply not relevant” to patients in the UK, Stephen?

Should we trust GlaxoSmithKline – and Andrew Witty…?

Trust GlaxoSmithKline?

Trust GSK? – you must be mad.

Sarah Boseley in The Guardian writes:

“The British drugs company GlaxoSmithKline is to open up the detailed data from its clinical trials to the scrutiny of scientists in a bid to help the discovery of new medicines and end the suspicions of critics that it has secrets to hide.

In a speech today [11 Oct] to the Wellcome Trust in London, the chief executive, Andrew Witty, will say openness to the public and active collaboration with scientists and firms outside GSK are essential to finding new drugs to treat the diseases plaguing the world, from novel antibiotics to cures for malaria and tuberculosis.

He told the Guardian GSK had already done much to advance transparency in clinical research, including publishing a summary of every drug trial – whether a success or not – on its website

Said Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust – “In its commitment towards more openness and collaboration, GSK is setting an example of how the pharmaceutical industry must adapt to help drive forward medical advances. Real breakthroughs do not come out of nowhere, but are borne of scientists sharing their knowledge and learning from each other. GSK’s moves are bold and innovative, a very positive sign of its commitment to tackle some of the greatest health challenges facing the world today.”

But hold on a minute – Dr Ben Goldacre’s not sure about GSK :

“But we should judge drug companies by their actions, not by their promises, especially when similar promises have been made in the past, and then broken.

In 1998 GlaxoWellcome promised to set up a clinical trials register, amidst outcry over withheld trial results. But when the company merged with SKB to create GSK, in 2002, this register was unceremonially deleted from the internet. This tragic story is described in an excellent open access article on this history of attempts to get access to hidden data, by Iain Chalmers.

Then, in 2003, GSK were caught withholding clinical trial data showing that their drug seroxat increases the risk of suicide in young people. As part of the settlement on fraud charges, in the US in 2004, GSK were forced to promise to post all trial results on a public website. But in 2012 GSK paid a new $3bn fine for criminal and civil fraud: this included charges over withholding data on the diabetes drug Avandia, as late as 2007, well after this earlier promise of transparency was made”.

That’s a pretty poor record, I’m sure you’ll agree.

As far as GSK is concerned, talk is cheap and promises are routinely broken with no compunction whatsoever.

 

GlaxoSmithKline avoided £34m tax in 2011

GlaxoSmithKline, what a bunch of…

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline avoided up to £34m in UK corporation tax last year through a deal with Luxembourg, according to an investigation by the BBC.

The UK firm set up a new company in the European tax haven in 2009 and the next year the subsidiary lent the parent £6.34bn.

In return, the UK firm paid nearly £124m in interest back to the Luxembourg unit – meaning it did not have to pay British corporation tax of 28 per cent on the money.

The Luxembourg tax authorities charged a levy of less than 0.5 per cent – costing GSK just over £300,000, according to Panorama. ‘As a result, GSK potentially avoided up to £34m in UK corporation tax,’ the BBC claimed.

Chancellor George Osborne is trying to crack down on tax avoidance in the UK by major corporations and wealthy individuals. Tax avoidance by big business is reckoned to cost between £1.5bn and £6bn a year.

Former HMRC investigator Richard Brooks said: ‘We’re seeing…exactly how companies avoid tax through a jurisdiction that wants to help them do it.’

GSK struck a deal with HMRC in 2011 and closed down the £6.34bn loan operation through Luxembourg.

Tax expert Richard Murphy said the scheme was ‘absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, legal’. But he added: ‘I’m still able to ask the question, is this acceptable?

‘Look, this is purely artificial structuring which is designed to undermine the tax revenues of the UK.’

Thanks to Truthman for the story.

Can you really believe they said this – 2012 reprise

They say hindsight is 20/20 vision.

Well, here are a bunch of quotes I’ve posted over the years for you to consider with the gift of hindsight.

 

It’s not possible really to measure total serotonin. We do not know with absolute certainty about how any of the antidepressants work. 
Alan Metz 
Glaxo Vice President for Clinical Development
source: Generation RX

No, we are not misleading them [patients]. The information in the patient leaflet and in the information we supply to doctors, is based on fact. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow 
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline
10/13/02

….there have been a number of systematic studies in humans looking at the potential for Paxil for abuse, tolerance and physical dependence. So actually, there is data to date to negate the statement that it has not been systematically studied, because, in fact, it has been. 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
10/19/2000

Physical and Psychologic Dependence: PAXIL has NOT been systematically studied in animals or humans for its potential for abuse, tolerance or physical dependence. While the clinical trials did not reveal any tendency for any drug-seeking behavior, these observations were not systematic…
GSK Patient Information Leaflet

If ‘discontinuation reactions’ occur in patients stopping [Paxil], the majority will experience symptoms that are mild to moderate in intensity, and are usually limited to two weeks. 
Mary Anne Rhyne 
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson
2005

Drugs like Seroxat [Paxil] have been around for almost a decade and help millions of people fight depression. There’s no reliable scientific evidence to show they cause withdrawal symptoms or dependency. 
Alan Chandler 
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson

These problems [’discontinuation reactions’] are just the body’s adjustment when you stop taking medicines. It takes more than that to be addictive. 
Mary Anne Rhyne 
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson
8/21/2002

The side effects [of Paxil “discontinuance”] are things like dizziness, nausea, headache, um, and are clearly labeled in the information made available to doctors and patients. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow 
GlaxoSmithKline’s European Medical Director
Source: GSK’s web site 2004

I think patients have nothing to fear from taking Seroxat. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow
GlaxoSmithKline’s European Medical Director
6/13/2002

Experts including the FDA and leading physician and mental health organizations agree that antidepressant medications like Paxil are non-habit-forming. 
David Stout President
US Pharmaceuticals
GlaxoSmithKline
10/10/2002

It was quite clear from talking to patients and as a doctor that’s very, very important to me, it’s quite clear that the phrase “Seroxat is not addictive” was poorly understood by them. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow 
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline
5/11/03

I think you have to develop a culture where if there is bad news you don’t sit on bad news. Bad news does not get any better. It can only get better if it’s admitted, understood and addressed.
Robert (Bob) Ingram
Vice Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals
8/25/2002

We’re reviewing every single process at the company. The environment of the business has changed after Enron. I believe that there was a lack of trust [on the part of] the public for big business, and that lack of trust has been amplified by a few bad apples in the cart. And because of that, there has been a tremendous loss of trust in all big business not just pharma and that has implications to me as a CEO.
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
10/4/2004

Obviously doctors are very busy people, and their day is packed with patients. The question is how do doctors get information about medicines and new research into treatments and disease, and one of the easiest ways is this kind of presentation [”dine and dash”]. We think this is a benefit to both physicians and patients.”
Mary Ann Rhyne
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson
11/11/2002

We don’t want to be accused of anything about the way we deal with trials.
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
6/21/2004

As a knowledge-based industry we understand full well the value of information, and we want to create a climate of openness where the evidence for prescribing our products is clear.
Richard Sykes
Chairman of Glaxo Wellcome
6/19/2004

I think if, if we’ve been guilty of anything over the past few years, perhaps, um, emphasizing entertainment over education, um, we know that’s what patients really want.
Christopher Viehbacher
GlaxoSmithKline U.S. President
8/16/05

Seroxat does have side effects, but these are clearly stated in the information that’s made available to doctors and to patients.
Dr. Alastair Benbow
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline
10/13/02

My wife thinks J.P. [Garnier] is the best thing since sliced bread. 
Christopher Viehbacher
GlaxoSmithKline U.S. President
7/21/03

We are a high-integrity company. We know what the rules are and we follow them.
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
6/6/2004

The vast majority of drugs more than 90 per cent only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people, I wouldn’t say that most drugs don’t work. I would say that most drugs work in 30 to 50 per cent of people. Drugs out there on the market work, but they don’t work in everybody. 
Dr. Allen Roses 
GlaxoSmithKline Senior V.P.
Genetics Research
12/8/2003

If anyone thought drugs were without side-effects, hopefully that’s over. All drugs have side-effects. We are having to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on lawyers.
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
4/23/2005

We follow the law, and we follow government guidelines. 
Mary Anne Rhyne 
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson
8/26/2005

This is a company that is reinventing itself … possibly creating a model for pharma companies. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
7/21/03

The evidence, however, is clear, these medicines are not linked with suicide, these medicines are not linked with an increased rate of self harm. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow 

GlaxoSmithKline’s European Medical Director
10/3/2004

So we always want to make sure we are serving the good, the right purpose…. 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
9/9/2004

I’ll be a hero in three years. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer GlaxoSmithKline
4/5/2004

I am sure it happens because academics are very, very busy people, and they prefer to do research than spend a lot of time writing papers. If the industry puts forward a method of relieving them of that chore, then I am sure that that does happen throughout the industry. That would be true generally. Is it a good idea? I think it can be, as long as everybody is in agreement with what is written at the end of the day, the results and what they are. 
Sir Richard Sykes 
former Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline
On the industry practice of “ghostwriting medical reports” and “gift authorship.” 12/7/2004


We have acted responsibly in conducting clinical studies in pediatric patients and the dissemination of the results. We would strongly disagree with any allegation that we have done otherwise. 

Dr. Tadataka Yamada 
Chairman of Research and Development
GlaxoSmithKline
6/19/2004

You can experience symptoms, as you can with other SSRIs and as you can with other kinds of medicines as well. 
Mary Anne Rhyne
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson
12/13/2003

What we have seen in terms of the anecdotal reports [of Paxil withdrawal] is that it happens very rarely. 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
8/25/2000

While GlaxoSmithKline strives to produce medications that safely and effectively treat medical conditions, we’re also committed to protecting the environment. 
Dr. Anne Phillips 
Chief Medical Officer of GlaxoSmithKline
source: GlaxoSmithKline

As you can see here, few numbers of patients experienced any adverse event after being randomized off [Paxil] into the placebo group and the percentages are certainly very small. But these were the common adverse events seen in that small population in our attempt to systematically assess a discontinuation syndrome. 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services Excerpt from a transcript of the FDA Review of Paxil
10/5/1992

I have my iPod and my Bose headphones. You can run anywhere. I’m in a bubble. When I go home I don’t talk about my job. It drives my wife crazy because when we go out she doesn’t know anybody. Socially we see politicians we have to and she knows nothing about the issues. But that’s the way I like it. I want to go home and say, ‘hey what happened to you?’ I have a very demanding job and I don’t want to go home and discuss the same stories. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
4/23/2005

We feel strongly that we have an obligation to speak up both for the millions of patients that Seroxat allows to lead a normal life, and for our employees whose commitment to this important medicine has made such a positive difference to so many people. 
Eddie Gray 
General Manager
GlaxoSmithKline UK
10/10/2002

My mum, you know, she thinks her son walks on water….. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
4/23/2005

….recognize that in the final analysis success rests on selecting the right people to work with. If you have the right people, the rest will follow. 
Jan Leschly 
Former CEO of SmithKline Beecham

It’s becoming too easy for many people to attack the pharma industry and hold the pharma industry to standards that are higher than anywhere else. I don’t have a problem with the standards….

Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
6/6/2004

Of course we didn’t follow this advice. Of course we didn’t selectively publicize the data. This is not a smoking gun. It’s a stupid memo and there are lots of stupid memos in every company’s file and it is really unfair to look at the company’s action through the small hole of one memo written among thousands and thousands in 1998. I do regret that those memos exist but I’m not going to lose sleep over the fact.
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
6/6/2004

I utterly refute any allegations we are sitting on data, that [we] have withheld data or anything like that. We have provided all the data both relating to safety and efficacy in the pediatric population to the regulatory authorities around the world and have hidden nothing.
Dr. Alastair Benbow 
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline
6/15/2003

Corporate responsibility is not just a job for selected people at GSK, it defines the way we do business. Our ten corporate responsibility principles set thestandard for everyone, since responsible business is only a reality if it is practised by all employees at all times. 
Christopher Gent
GlaxoSmithKline Chaiman
Jean-Pierre Garnier
GlaxoSmithKline CEO
GlaxoSmithKline 2004 “Corporate Responsibility Report”

The overwhelming view of independent medical experts and regulatory bodies around the world who have seen the data, is that Seroxat has a well established safety profile and is an effective treatment with experience in tens of millions of patients worldwide since launch in the UK over ten years ago. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline 10/10/2002

Human behavior is we know so little about it, and therefore, to try to speculate on a mechanism for human behavior is very difficult. 
Dr. Tadataka Yamada 
Chairman of Research and Development GlaxoSmithKline 1/24/2001

Sometimes a system indeed hinders your rise up the ladder but you also have to accept personal responsibility. That translates into realizing that it’s not always someone else’s fault that you didn’t get promoted. You have to ask some serious questions of yourself before you point the finger at someone else. Ask yourself, `What have I done?’ ‘What is my role in this?’ ‘What am I willing to do?’ 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
10/26-27/1995

If we meet the test of our highest purpose nothing less than making historic contributions to human welfare then we will surely meet our important responsibilities to other GlaxoSmithKline stakeholders, to the investors who put their trust in our performance, to the communities in which we operate, to our colleagues and to ourselves. 
Dr. Tadataka Yamada 
Chairman of Research and Development
GlaxoSmithKline from GSK’s web site

We are all in favour of this being scrutinized all the time, because it is not in our interests to have a product on the market that is not safe or effective. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline 2/15/2002

I think fundamentally the public needs to be reassured that multinational companies and globalisation are not bad quite the reverse. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
2/18/2003

We take the safety of our medicines extremely seriously…. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow
GlaxoSmithKline’s European Medical Director
Source: GSK’s web site 2004

First of all let me say that we, as a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products and vaccines, take any report of an adverse event on any of our products, seriously. 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
1/31/2001

Great [GSK] products, however, are not the whole story society expects companies to act responsibly in their pursuit of success. If anything, the fact that our business is about human health makes it even more important that we operate to the highest standards.
Christopher Gent
GlaxoSmithKline Chaiman
Jean-Pierre Garnier
GlaxoSmithKline CEO
GlaxoSmithKline 2004 “Corporate Responsibility Report”

I think to focus on safety is important.
Dr. Tadataka Yamada
Chairman of Research and Development
GlaxoSmithKline
3/01/05

….my experience is that most physicians don’t look at the [a drug safety] label very carefully. And I’m not certain. I personally am not certain whether it would make a difference whether something was in a black box or in a warning section or in a precaution section….
Dr. Tadataka Yamada
Chairman of Research and Development
GlaxoSmithKline
1/24/2001

Responsible business practices are also the key to a good reputation. In 2004, the pharmaceutical industry and GSK continued to come under public scrutiny on how medicines are developed, tested and marketed. To meet this challenge we must act with integrity and be open about our approach to these important issues.
Christopher Gent
GlaxoSmithKline Chaiman
Jean-Pierre Garnier
GlaxoSmithKline CEO
GlaxoSmithKline 2004 “Corporate Responsibility Report”

Our concern is people’s safety.
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
3/1/2003

Anybody who suffers side effects of any sort I feel every sympathy for….
Dr. Alastair Benbow
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline
5/11/03

Everybody who has looked at this the FDA, American Psychiatric Association, National Mental Health Association all those groups agree that SSRIs, like Paxil, are not addicting and not habit forming.
Andrew T. Bayman
attorney for GlaxoSmithKline
King & Spalding

GSK strongly stands behind the safety and efficacy of Paxil. Physician organizations, like the American Psychiatric Association, have stated that antidepressants are not habit-forming.
David Stout
President of U.S. Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline

GlaxoSmithKline is proud to offer physicians Paxil CR the latest treatment advance in the SSRI class.
David Stout
President, US Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline
4/19/2002

We missed something big we missed the fact that the public wasn’t going to necessarily trust us.
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
8/13/2005

 

Family double death horror

I’ve just seen this terrible story in the Daily Mirror:

A father is believed to have returned home yesterday evening to find his two young children murdered and his wife with her wrists slit.

Emergency services were called to the home in Wandsworth, south west London, but the 10-week-old baby boy and one-year-old girl were pronounced dead at the scene.

A post mortem is due to take place today although reports have suggested the children showed no signs of injury and may have been smothered.

A woman in her mid-30s, believed to be the man’s wife, was arrested over the deaths and is being questioned by detectives today.

She is understood to have self-harmed but did not require hospital treatment.

Police are believed to be investigating the possibility that the mother was suffering from post-natal depression.

In cases like this, I believe one of the first things to establish is what (if anything) the woman was being treated with for her depression…

The authorities simply must start to take notice about this issue and the public deserves to know if there is a connection between acts of extreme violence and drug treatment – I believe that antidepressants can cause extreme violence.

All too often in the past, it seemed that the only other people in the world who would ever begin to entertain the possibility were people such as Michael Moore and Dr Peter Breggin in the USA – and in England David Healy, Andrew Herxheimer and David B. Menkes, who co-authored a paper on the subject in 2006 – Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law.

If you want more information, then you can read follow up with these links (or just type ‘Violence’ in the search box on the left of your screen:

What made Raoul Moat do it

Nebraska shooting – antidepressant connection yet again?

Lost in translation – were Anti-Depressants Involved In Finland School Massacre?

A brief history of school shootings

The Finland Massacre

SSRI stories

Antidepressants and violence

As I’ve said, there has to be a proper investigation into this issue – and I believe that the drug companies (such as Glaxo) know the problem exists, but have done nothing about it as it would have affected their profits.

 

Glaxo – a simple challenge for you…

It’s been a while since I wrote anything as I’ve been very busy with my day job.

Happily, others have continued to write – I’ve just read a post over at Seroxat Suffers about Glaxo in New Zealand and the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with Aropax (Seroxat).

According to Glaxo (only in New Zealand, though):

Depression is longer lasting or more severe than the low moods that everyone has from time to time. It is thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance in parts of the brain.

AROPAX corrects the chemical imbalance and so helps relieve the symptoms of depression.

Sorry, but I have to throw the gauntlet down to Glaxo on this one… I think in 2012 it’s fair to say that the chemical imbalance story has been discredited completely.

But, Glaxo, if you can tell me what the correct level of Serotonin is in a human brain, then I’ll listen.

If you can measure how much Serotonin I currently have in my brain, then I’ll listen.

If you can then demonstrate how much 20mgs of Seroxat will raise my brain serotonin level by, then I’ll listen.

But the problem is that Glaxo can’t do any of those – the idea of a ‘chemical imbalance’ causing depression – and even the term ‘SSRI’ – was invented by marketing and PR companies, simply to sell a drug.

To use a technical term, it’s complete bollocks.

 

 

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