What Benbow said in 2003 & what Glaxo admitted in 2006

In ‘E-mails from the edge’ a Panorama programme broadcast in May 2003 (full transcript here), Dr ALASTAIR BENBOW, Head of European Clinical Psychiatry at GlaxoSmithKline once again defended Seroxat.

Benbow said “Whilst self-harm and suicidal thoughts are clearly a feature of depression, they have not been shown in carefully done studies to be a feature of treatment with these medicines [Seroxat].”

So that was in 2003 – if we fast-forward to May 2006, Glaxo then made a stunning admission.

In a release in collaboration with the manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the FDA acknowledged the antidepressant Paxil caused a statistically significant increased rate of suicidality in depressed adults as measured in controlled clinical trials. The results are based on a re-analysis of all adult controlled clinical trials that compared Paxil with placebo.

Buried in the FDA/GSK release was an astounding fact: Depressed people are 6.4 times more likely to become suicidal while taking an antidepressant than while taking a sugar pill.

But Dr Benbow, in 2003 you said “…suicidal thoughts… have not been shown… to be a feature of treatment with these medicines [Seroxat].”

I wonder what Glaxo will say in response to the Panorama programme tonight?

No doubt in two or three years whatever they say will have been proved to be a lie – but why should patients have to wait for the truth to slowly drip out of the Glaxo tap?


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