Feeling very humble this morning

Last night I was out on the town – well not really, more like out at Waterston’s in High Street Kensington for the official launch of – The Pill That Steals Lives – a new book by Katinka Blackford Newman.

Of course the book is one thing (and I think you should go and buy a copy) but for me the highlight of the evening was meeting so many people who are campaigning to raise awareness of the problems that anti depressants can cause.

I say problems, but in reality the stories I heard were beyond belief and so very harrowing that I all I could do was to sit there quietly in tears… I urge you to read David Carmichael‘s story. It seems I got away with it. What I went through was nothing compared to what happened to some.

The pain and suffering in the room last night was matched only a sense of quiet anger and frustration. Anger at the drug companies for not stepping up and admitting what’s wrong with their ‘product’ and doing something about it, and frustration that we still don’t have our voices heard above the noise that is generated by the establishment. I was humbled by the great work others have done and continue to do.

And speaking of getting our voices heard – please have a look at AntiDepAware – it’s a great resource that we should all be supporting.

In the UK, the good news is that it looks like GSK want to go court. I for one think this would be a fantastic thing – the chance to bring everything out in the open and re-ignite the whole SSRI debate and put a spotlight on the arguments about what’s wrong with their entire business model – from the way they fix drug trials – to the way they market their drugs – to the suffering they have caused. A trial in the High Court in London will ensure our voices are heard.

I’m ready – bring it on.

 

 

Seroxat Group action – latest news

Great news about the Seroxat Withdrawal Group Litigation in England… we are on our way to trial! AT LAST!!

I’m sure if you read Bob Fiddaman’s blog you know already – see here – but I thought I’d wait until we had passed the time limit for GSK to appeal Mr Justice Foskett’s judgement to proceed with the Seroxat Withdrawal Group Litigation. That time has passed and there was no appeal… we are on our way to trial! AT LAST!!


If you happen to be one of the group claimants and you HAVE NOT received forms from Fortitude Law in the past 2 weeks, then you should contact Fortitude Law via email at lcorr@fortitudelaw.uk or telephone on 0203 667 3775 without delay.


I think I’ll say it again, just because I can … ‘Judgment has been received from the Honourable Mr. Justice Foskett to proceed with the Seroxat Withdrawal Group Litigation’. 

I think there must be quite a few people on the other side who really thought this had gone away, but I can tell them now to look out – it hasn’t gone away and it’s all too real. I’ve said before that, for me, a trial is the only to resolve this issue

The publicity of a High Court hearing will mean the mainstream press  will be free to report on ALL the evidence presented. Now… I’m thinking that this will mean a lot of GSK documents that have until now remained secret will become very public knowledge. You see a case like this, while common in the USA, is unheard of in the UK and the publicity it will generate will be huge. And all those once-secret documents and the information they hold will be available the world over for future claimants to use. I think a whole new raft of claims will be kick-started in the USA alone. I wonder what GSK’s share price will look like after all this? And how institutional investors will view a company that breaks the law and lies & cheats its way to profit?

In the 21st century, ethos & culture – the way a company actually conducts its business – are as important to a PLC as having a blockbuster product to sell. Ethos & culture are intrinsic parts of a modern corporate brand, going way beyond the generic, meaningless mission statement that we see from GSK.

I’d like to finish on a personal note. Perhaps, after all these years, I’m getting nearer to closure. For me, that simply means people will believe what happened to me was real.

More importantly, I hope that Doctors will understand what happened to me was real – and perhaps then we can start to help others who are going through the horrors of withdrawing from Seroxat/Paxil today.

 

 

Why won’t GSK pay compensation in the UK?

I’ve asked this before, but the question is still very relevant – you see, the thing is, GSK has paid out millions in compensation to patients (and their children) in the USA who have been damaged by Seroxat/Paxil – but not a penny in the UK… I’m confused, is GSK admitting Paxil is a dangerous drug in America with the potential for terrible side effects, but saying Seroxat in the UK is completely safe and not dangerous at all?

And there’s me, thinking they were the same pills!

But of course, the answer to the question “Why not pay compensation in the UK as well?” has nothing to do with drug safety or patients’ suffering and everything to do with profits and business.

In the USA cases like this are heard before juries and lawyers will take cases on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis and settlements can be very high, so the drug companies are running scared. Because of this, most cases in the USA are settled out of court and Confidentiality Agreements ensure none of the truth ever comes to light (see below).

However, in the UK, cases are heard before a single High Court Judge, any settlements would be much lower than in America and funding is much harder to find – certainly Legal Aid is no longer an option in 2016.

So in the UK, GSK might use a legal firm, perhaps like Addleshaw Goddard, to obfuscate and ensure litigation drags out for years and years, to the point where many claimants just give up or are scared off or the momentum of the case simply grinds to halt – it’s a war of attrition and has nothing to do with justice or patient safety.

Behind the scenes it seems there are other pressures that can be brought to bear to ensure that big business has a better chance of winning. Business and government are far too close – but more of that on another day.

Certainly,this has been going on far too long in the UK – I wrote this in 2009 (and 2007):  Given the fact that Glaxo is currently on trial in Philadelphia (and will be in the High Court in London next year), [sic] I thought this repost (from March 2007) might of interest to you.

Drug companies usually favour the out of court settlement – they don’t like the public scrutiny that court cases bring – not to mention the previously secret information that all too often comes to light.

But along with the settlement comes the confidentiality ‘agreement’. The message the drug companies send out is “we pay up – you shut up” – while all the while never admitting any blame (for anything).

I’m not sure – are Glaxo admitting they’re settling Paxil (Seroxat) cases in the USA?

Well they are – this download – Glaxo settlement agreement – tells its own story, I guess. Pay particular attention to section 3 – Confidentiality of Settlement…

What I find ironic is that Glaxo, being an English company, is prepared to open its cheque book in America, but not in the UK.

So then, Glaxo:

Why won’t you settle in the UK?

Why won’t you help the thousands of people in the UK who have suffered because of Seroxat?

Haven’t you made enough money from the drug?

Why are we having to slug it out with you in the High Court?

Links to the Philadelphia trial details are herehere and here.

This from Seroxat Sufferers details some of the settlements GSK has made in the USA:

…since 2002 GSK have paid out compensation to victims of Seroxat, including over 3,000 people who became addicted to Seroxat, over 800 women whose children were born with serious heart defects because of Seroxat, and also being found guilty of Seroxat causing, in part, the death of Donald Schell and his family members.

And just to underline how GSK does business here are a few links from a Google search for ‘GSK fines’:

2016…

Happy new year to you all – here’s to a big 2016… and who knows what might happen in the next 12 months!

As ever, this time of the year prompts one to reflect on the past – and also to think about the future – and generally just have a bit of a ramble which is what this is.

I don’t really use Facebook very much but I have seen a group there – Paroxetine Paxil Seroxat Withdrawal – which seems to be a very supportive community and I would suggest you take a look if you haven’t already.

Two things stood out for me while reading the posts on the group’s page.

Firstly, it really is beyond belief that Doctors are STILL prescribing Seroxat/Paxil in 2016. Surely by now, Docs around the world should be aware of all the problems surrounding Seroxat. Glaxo’s manipulation of the drug trials and the way the company hid negative data is no longer a secret – have a look here  and here

Secondly, it seems that healthcare ‘professionals’ have little or no idea how to advise the best way to withdraw from Seroxat. Again, in 2016, there is no excuse for this – neither is there an excuse for any Doctor to deny that patients may well suffer from terrible problems when they try to stop taking Seroxat.

Of course, Glaxo has (in)famously never offered any kind of meaningful withdrawal advice – to do so would be an admission that there is a huge problem with Seroxat… and that would would be bad for business. And we can’t have that, can we?

When I withdrew, I used the 10% rule (and liquid Seroxat) – I never reduced by more than 10% of my current dose and I stabilised for a long time between reductions, waiting until I felt strong enough to try the next reduction. I never put any time limit on the process, rather kept telling myself at least I was moving forward, no matter how slowly. It took me 22 months to stop completely and then a few years

I’ve been writing this blog for quite a while now, so apologies as I’ve just noticed some links in my posts have ‘died’ over the course of the years – I still like to think there’s a lot of good info available here on Seroxat Secrets.

So, deep breath, here we go – it’s another year coming up!

A history of SSRIs

This is a re-post from something I wrote in March 2007 – on reflection, perhaps it should be more accurately entitled A History of SSRIs and the Damage they do to Patients.

I think there may well be a lot of discussion in the coming months about Seroxat dependency and the terrible withdrawal symptoms that many people have to endure as they try to stop taking Seroxat and so I think that the download – A History of SSRIs  is more relevant today than ever.

Looking at my original post, I was remiss as I didn’t credit the author of the download – so belated apologies to Prof David Healy (I think it’s his piece).

Now read on:

Over the years I have collected a few interesting documents and I think it’s just plain selfish to keep them to myself so I’m starting to share them with you.

The one for download here – A History of SSRIs is exactly what it says it is… a history of SSRIs.

You can read about the first SSRI – Zelmid – which was patented in 1972 and made it to market in 1982 before any of the others. I suppose not many of you remember Zelmid though as it was discovered in rare cases to cause a serious neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré Syndrome. This potentially fatal disorder led to the immediate removal of the drug from the market.

But Astra had already begun the development of a derivative of Zelmid, called alaproclate, when Zelmid ran into trouble. Alaproclate was being investigated for both depression and Alzheimer’s disease. But it caused liver problems in one strain of laboratory mice and this was enough to lead Astra to drop it. Shortly after this, Astra introduced an innovative antipsychotic, remoxipride, which looked like it would have significantly fewer side effects than older agents. Several months after its launch, however, remoxipride was reported to cause aplastic anemia in a small number of people and it too was withdrawn.

Notice a pattern here?

And did you know this about Prozac? As Eli Lilly were trying to launch Prozac in Germany they came up against a slight problem with the view of the German regulators on fluoxetine (Prozac) as of May 1984: “Considering the benefit and the risk, we think this preparation totally unsuitable for the treatment of depression”.

A History of SSRIs is an enlightening document – with a large section on Seroxat…

 

 

Inside Paxil Study 329, Courtesy the Justice Department

This is from Dr Howard Brody’s blog – Hooked: Ethics, Medicine, and Pharma

It sums up the story of Study 329 (with links to the original DoJ documents) and dovetails with the current scandal over Glaxo’s record $3 billion fine for witholding negative drug trial data for Avandia, the illegal marketing of drugs and bribing doctors to prescribe Glaxo products.

Remember, Study 329 was not covered by the latest $3 billion fine – Study 329 was yet another example of Glaxo’s lying and cheating to sell its drugs.

Now read on:

I’ve previously discussed the now-infamous Study 329, which took discouraging data on the efficacy and safety of paroxetine (Paxil) in kids and spun it into an article claiming excellent results:
http://brodyhooked.blogspot.com/2011/11/will-brown-university-investigate.html

Thanks to the U.S. Justice Dept. complaint in the suit recently settled by GlaxoSmithKline for a record $3B: http://www.justice.gov/opa/documents/gsk/us-complaint.pdf
–we can follow the history of this study in more detail, based on the internal GSK documents discovered during the proceedings, and see just how the data were manipulated for marketing purposes.

Study 329, directed by Dr. Martin Keller of Brown University, was one of 3 clinical studies in children and adolescents that were all interpreted by GSK scientists between August and October, 1998 to be discouraging. Study 329’s protocol specified two primary endpoints, and on neither measure did Paxil do better than placebo. The study also logged in 11 serious adverse reactions to Paxil, much more than in the placebo group, including 5 with agitated or suicidal behavior, the major risk for which eventually the FDA issued a black-box warning for the SSRI class of antidepressants.

Undaunted, GSK contracted in April 1998 with Scientific Therapeutics Information, Inc. to prepare an article for journal publication based on 329. As we know from other sources, STI writers basically wrote the paper and later did revisions, with minimal input from the supposed scientific authors, meaning that the paper was largely if not completely ghostwritten. As part of the laundering process, STI decided to downplay the primary endpoints and instead inserted 8 “efficacy measures,” none of which had been specified in the original study protocol. By what’s called data-dredging, STI was able to show that Paxil was statistically better than placebo on 4 of the 8 newly invented measures.

Initially the purported authors sent the paper to JAMA, claiming in the abstract that Paxil was “a safe and effective treatment for major depression in adolescents.” In December, 1999 JAMA rejected the paper, and reviewers’ comments indicated that the scientific reviewers had seen through the fog and realized that there were no solid data to show the superiority of Paxil. One internal memo then indicated that GSK and Dr. Keller agreed to send the manuscript to “a less demanding journal.”

Even the less-demanding Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry originally couldn’t swallow the revised manuscript that Keller and company sent them in June 2000. Their reviewers detected some of the same problems as the earlier JAMA review.  GSK had STI go back to work responding to the reviewers’ comments and eventually JAACAP accepted the manuscript in February 2001.

According again to the Federal complaint, even with the recommended changes, GSK and STI (with the willing acquiescence of Dr. Keller and his co-authors, we presume) managed to slip in a number of incorrect and misleading statements. The abstract stated that the drug “is generally well tolerated and effective for major depression in adolescents.” The article mentioned the primary endpoints but failed to make clear that by neither was Paxil statistically superior to placebo. The article falsely implied that Paxil was superior on one of the primary endpoints by deliberately conflating one of the later “efficacy measures” with that endpoint. The article consistently downplayed all the measures where Paxil failed to show superiority to placebo and focused on the few, invented-later measures where a statistically significant result had been found.

More important, the 11 patients with serious adverse reactions due to Paxil, and the 5 of them with specifically suicidal or agitated symptoms, magically disappeared. In the revised manuscript the investigators suddenly decided that only one of the reactions (headache) was actually caused by Paxil, and the other bad outcomes were unrelated to the drug. When the FDA got its hands on the raw data from 329, it eventually determined that 10 of 93 patients taking Paxil had experienced a potentially suicidal reaction–a far different and scarier picture than that portrayed in any of the drafts or in the final manuscript.

To be sure that child psychiatrists heard the correct marketing message, GSK sponsored 8 “Forum” meetings at lavish resorts such as Rio Mar Beach Resort in Hawaii and Renaissance Esmerelda Resort in Palm Springs, CA. The psychiatrists who attended had their airfare and hotel paid plus a $750 honorarium, and in many cases their spouses were also paid for (a practice supposedly prohibited in the 2002 PhRMA code of conduct). The hired speakers who told them how wonderful Paxil was for treating kids received $2500 honoraria in addition.

Talking of speakers’ bureaus, another media summary of the complaint:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/glaxosmithklines-gsk-3-billion-whistleblower-154800879.html
–reported that GSK had enrolled 49,000 health professionals to be on its speakers’ bureau for Paxil and other drugs. Two conclusions are possible: 1) there are 49,000 really excellent and scientifically informed speakers out there whose talents are needed to inform their fellow practitioners; or 2) a “speaker’s bureau” is really nothing but a disguised bribe to get all those docs to prescribe a lot of the drugs they are paid to speak about.

Hat tip to Dr. Roy Poses of Health Care Renewal blog for sending me the link to the full complaint (all 76 pages, for anyone who wants some fun reading).

They sold us ‘happy pills’ – but all we got was suicide and misery

Slowly the mainstream media is catching up with the Seroxat scandal – but Peter Hitchins of the Daily Mail has been writing about Seroxat for a while now.

I’d guess that either he, or someone he’s close to, has been through the Seroxat experience

This is his latest commentary on GSK’s record $3 billion fine for mis-selling, bribery and hiding negative drug trial data.

I’d like to suggest that his paper starts a camapign for a judge-led investigation into GSK and the Seroxat scandal – what do you think Peter?

Here’s the article:

A scandal can exist for ages before anyone notices. Here is one such. Ten years from now we will look back in shame and regret at the  way the drug companies bamboozled us into swallowing  dangerous, useless ‘antidepressant’ pills.

You’d be far better off taking a brisk walk. The moment of truth must come soon, though most of Britain’s complacent, sheep-like media will be among the last to spot it.

I would have thought it was blaring, front-page, top-of- the-bulletin news that GlaxoSmithKline, one of our biggest companies, has just been fined £2 billion (yes, you heard that right, £2 billion) in the US for – among other things – bribing doctors, and encouraging the prescription of unsuitable drugs to children.

Its drug Paxil, sold here as Seroxat, was promoted as suitable for teenagers and children, even though trials had shown it was not.

Doctors were sent on free trips where they were treated to snorkelling, sailing, deep-sea fishing, balloon rides and spa treatments (and cash payments), to persuade them to prescribe these drugs, or to reward them for doing so.

A medically-qualified radio host was allegedly paid more than £150,000 to plug one GSK antidepressant for unapproved uses. GSK paid for articles approving its drugs to appear in reputable medical journals.

It is well known now among doctors that other drug companies have suppressed unwelcome test results on modern antidepressants. These results show they are largely useless for their stated purpose. In many cases they were not significantly more effective than dummy tablets in lifting the moods of patients. Thanks to Freedom of Information investigations, the truth is now out.

Even worse than this is the growing suggestion that, far from making their users happy, these pills can increase suicidal thoughts in their minds, perhaps with tragic results.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency undertook trials which showed that teenagers and children who took Seroxat were significantly more likely to experience such thoughts.

Sara Carlin, an 18-year-old Canadian student with everything to live for, hanged herself in 2007 despite official warnings (and warnings from her mother) that the drug could lead to self-harm.

Quite why it should magically be safe for adults, I am not sure. Nor was the coroner in the 2003 inquest on Colin Whitfield, a retired headmaster, aged 56, who slit his wrists in his garden shed two weeks after starting to take Seroxat. The coroner recorded an open verdict and said the drug should be withdrawn until detailed national studies were made.

Mr Whitfield’s widow Kathryn said: ‘We have no doubt that it was the drug that caused him to do it.’

I would also remind readers of the recent statement by Dr Declan Gilsenan, Ireland’s former Assistant State Pathologist, who says he has seen ‘too many suicides’ after people had started taking antidepressants and is sure the evidence is ‘more than anecdotal’.

The defenders of this nasty, profiteering enterprise – including doctors who ought to know better – will come up with the usual bleat of ‘correlation is not causation’.

Just remember that this was the same sly song that Big Tobacco sang, when it first became obvious that cigarettes caused cancer. It is time for a proper investigation, with evidence on oath and the power of subpoena.

%d bloggers like this: