Committee on the Safety of Medicines Expert Working Group – what conflicts of interest?

You remember this Expert Working Group – in December 2004 they concluded that there was no evidence of increased self-harm and suicidal thoughts in adults taking SSRIs…

The report of the Committee on the Safety of Medicines Expert Working Group is quoted whenever anyone complains to the Government or the MHRA about Seroxat or other SSRIs… even though the whole world now knows that the Group did not see all the data and instead relied on summaries Glaxo has given them.

Bob Fiddaman over at Seroxat Sufferers has just posted this list of members’ interests from the Committee on Safety of Medicines Annual Report in 2004…

Member – Personal Interests

Professor A Blenkinsopp – GSK Specific – Fees
Professor H Dargie – GlaxoSmithKline Consultancy
Dr M Donaghy – GSK Shares
Dr J C Forfar – GSK Shares
Dr R Leonard – GSK Fees/ Publicity work
Prof D J Nutt – GSK Consultancy Psychotropics and 300 shares
Professor J F Smyth – GSK Consultancy
Professor Christopher Bucke – SKB Shares
Prof Nicholas Mitchison – GSK Shares
Dr Brian J Clark – GSK PHD student funding
Professor Robert Booy – GSK Consultancy
Professor S M Cobbe – GSK Research grant
Professor J E Compston – GSK Consultancy
Dr A Glasier – GSK Shares (£10,000)
Dr Andrew A Grace – GSK Consultancy
Dr P Hindmarsh – GSK Consultancy on growth, probably lapsed by now
Professor P D Home – GSK Consultancy
Dr R F A Logan – GSK Shares
Professor R MacSween – SmithKline Beecham Shares
Professor J O’D McGee – SmithKline Beecham Shares
Professor David R Matthews – GSK Honorarium for advise
Dr A Smyth – GSK Conference expenses
Professor A D Struthers – GSK Shares
Professor J C E – GSK Shares
Dr A Gerard Wilson – GSK Consultancy
Dr Rosemary Leonard – GSK Fees/ Publicity work
Mr David P S Dickinson – GSK Fee paid work
Dr Charlotte C D Williamson – GSK Shares
Professor Anthony H Barnett – GSK Advisory work and lectures diabetes related products
Professor V Krishna K Chatterjee – GSK Consultancy on preclinical research with a Vanillord Receptor antagonist (Consultancy end of 2004)
Professor Albert – GSK Shares

That’s OK then – just so long as there’s no chance of any conflict of interests at the Committee on the Safety of Medicines…


7 Responses to “Committee on the Safety of Medicines Expert Working Group – what conflicts of interest?”


    Dr Rosemary Leonard – GSK Fees/ Publicity work

    She has a regular spot in the Daily Express too – she offers medical advice to readers. Great eh? Least I assume it’s the same Dr Rosemary Leonard


  2. truthman30 Says:

    Excuse me while I vomit my Ribena …
    An absolute disgrace..
    The whole industry is corrupt from Pharma Money…

  3. Matthew Holford Says:

    Yes, yes, yes, that’s all very well. But what evidence do you have that they didn’t all get up and leave the room, when GSK/Seroxat was discussed?



    Room would have been pretty empty if they did 🙂

    Download the pdf – most, I’d say 90%, have ties to the Pharmaceutical Industry.

  5. truthman30 Says:

    But what evidence do you have that they didn’t all get up and leave the room, when GSK/Seroxat was discussed?


    What evidence do we have that they didn’t ?..

    And anyhow…
    Even if the “employees” of the MHRA with links to GSK did leave the room when Seroxat was being “discussed” , how do we know that it wasn’t discussed “off the record”? …
    I’m sure that it’s safe to assume that the MHRA is just like any other workplace , and that “staff” and colleagues lunch together sometimes, meet up outside of work occassionaly and also “break the rules” from time to time…
    The MHRA is not some kind of beacon of civil service …
    No matter how much it would like us to believe it is…
    All organisations and structures are vulnerable to corruption…
    The MHRA is no different…

  6. Matthew Holford Says:

    That actually conjures up a Python-esque sketch in my mind, as Seroxat is mentioned fleetingly, every couple of minutes, and everybody rushes out, leaving the tealady and the odd member in a large, otherwise empty room, discussing a graph, which depicts falling suicide rates against rising SSRI useage!

    I wonder who chose the make-up of the Group?


  7. Matthew Holford Says:

    Has anybody tried to read the EWG’s Report? Let me tell you, Somerset Maughan it ain’t.

    I was interested to note the overall style of the Report, which is dedicated to considering the question of safety, rather than demonstrating efficacy. I suppose one can’t prove a negative. There is much discussion of the studies carried out, and analysis thereof, but I was left with the sense that I hadn’t understood a word of it, or rather that my understanding hadn’t been improved.

    I think the reason for this is because my own style is to try to present a balanced argument, but having explained why the EWG had been convened to investigate SSRIs, which have been caused to attract “the glare of the media spotlight,” )which I thought was unnecessarily emotive language), the overwhelming majority of this weighty tome was dedicated to concluding that there was no clear evidence of anything, in particular, aside from the infamous “suicide risk in young adults cannot be ruled out,” or whatever the terminology was. That and an admission that “withdrawal reactions” were not a figment of patients’ imagination, whilst at the same time “there [was] no clear evidence that SSRIs have a significant dependence liability”.

    I dunno, as I wrote, my style is different, but it didn’t seem very balanced, and I couldn’t see any mention of the failure of the Yellow Card scheme, despite the alleged importance attached to patient feedback, nor any concerted effort to contact Seroxat users systematically, in an attempt to understand what all the fuss was about. I suppose that would have been considered “unscientific”.


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