Ministerial, Pharmaceutical, Farcical brick wall?

Letter to the new minister for mental health.                                                                                     10/03/2011                                                                              
leonie fennell to kathleen.lynch

Hi Kathleen,
Hi and welcome to our new government and well done on your new new ministerial role.  I have sent a similar version of this letter to the new minister for health also.
My name is Leonie fennell and my son’s name was Shane Clancy. He was on anti-depressants for 17 days when he killed himself and another young man in Aug 2009.
I have serious concerns about this medication and I am hoping that you can help with the lack of warnings that are put on the patient information leaflet of these drugs (ssri’s) and the very serious issue of psychiatry Ireland denying suicide/violence which can be associated with ssri’s (despite the findings and warnings coming from the E. M.A. the M.H.R.A. and the F.D.A).
 Please don’t refer me back to the Irish Medicines Board (imb) as I have sent numerous e-mails to them which have been largely ignored. The fact that the imb was put in place by the Irish government by statute to protect the Irish people from poisonous products seems to have escaped their attention and the attention of the previous outgoing ministers. I have received F.O.I. reports from the imb which show cipramil doing markedly worse that its counterparts, doubling the rate of suicides compared with placebo.
I realise you might think that I’m just a delusional mother  who may be trying to justify what my son did to himself and another human being but I can promise you that is not the case and I can also back up my concerns with proof of adverse reactions and written papers from experts in this field.
The only Irish expert on ssri medication is Professor David Healy who has written extensively on the adverse reactions of ssri’s which can include suicide and homicide in some people (up to age 30 has been admitted by the E. M.A.).
He was the expert witness at my son’s inquest and was the main reason the jury returned an “open verdict” (despite the fact that there was no doubt that Shane killed himself). The coroner reported the findings of Shane’s inquest as “of medical importance” but up until today nothing has been done about that!
Shane was the last person in the world to do this.
There are precedent cases in Australia and America where anti-depressants have been found to have caused multiple murders, suicides and also numerous coroners’ reports asking for investigations into ssri medication. The makers of cipramil sent a letter to healthcare professionals in Canada to warn of “self-harm and harm to others” associated with this drug and another ssri (Effexor) actually has “homicide ideation” listed on the patient information leaflet. These drugs all come with the strongest possible warning from the F.D.A, a black box warning. Why can’t Irish people be afforded the same information? I cannot bring my son back but I can at least try to inform other parents of the possible side effects.
I do realise that it’s a very busy time for you at the moment but I’m hoping that this new government will have the guts to stick their neck out for the good of the Irish people and not allow pharmaceutical money cloud their judgement.
Will you investigate?
Please don’t let this happen to another family!
Yours sincerely…
Leonie Fennell
Mob: xxx xxxxxxx

P.S. I am attaching Professor Healy’s report for your consideration.

1st April 2011

re: concerning your son, Shane
Reply Anne_McGuire to me 


Ms Leonie Fennell
Dear Ms Fennell

Ms Kathleen Lynch, T.D,  Minister for Disability, Equality & Mental Health, has asked me to acknowledge receipt of your recent email concerning your son, Shane Clancy R.I.P.

This matter is currently being investigated and a further response will issue as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

P.P. Anne McGuire



 27th April 2011

Reply Anne_McGuire to me
Ref: AM525
27th April 2011
Ms Leonie Fennell

Dear Ms. Fennell

Kathleen Lynch, TD, Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People has asked me to thank you for your recent email dated March 10th, 2011.

I note that you have previously received correspondence from both the Irish Medicines Board and this Department in regard to this matter.  Unfortunately, I am unable to add to the information contained in these earlier letters.

Yours sincerely

P.P. Anne McGuire


Reply to Kathleen Lynch.

Dear Kathleen,

In response to your e-mail dated 27th April 2011, I would like to make a few points.

Thank you for your condolences on the death of my son, oh that’s right, you didn’t offer any, it must have slipped your mind along with the reason behind why I had taken the time to e-mail you.

As you are obviously not willing to investigate the serious and sometimes deadly side-effects of ssri’s, I can only assume from your reply, unless you do not care that innocent people are dying, that you must surely have information that I am not privy to?

The only Irish expert on ssri antidepressants is Professor David Healy and as I have e-mailed you his report regarding cipramil and Shane, I can further assume that you either didn’t read it, you do not believe Professor Healy or you do not care about the side effects of ssri’s (cipramil in particular), and what can happen to Irish consumers.

You say you note that I have previously received correspondence from both the Irish Medicines Board and this Department in regard to this matter and I would like to make a couple of points in regard to this…

1. If you did indeed read my e-mail properly, you would have seen that I have already given my opinion as regards to the IMB, and the fact that the CEO of our drugs regulator Pat O’Mahony has previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry does little to allay my serious misgivings.

2. I don’t really understand your next point. You say that I have previously received correspondence from this Department in regard to this matter and I assume you are referring to the ministers dept. for Disability, Equality & Mental Health.

As yourself and the new government have only been in power since March and my e-mail dated the 10/03/2011 was my first time to contact you, if you are referring to my e-mails to the last minister, are you saying that this department (Minister for Disability, Equality & Mental Health) has the exact same thoughts and objectives as the outgoing government? If this is the case, it would seem that the Irish people have wasted an awful lot of time and money putting a new government in place.

Could you clarify the following point for me please?

I have been informed by the IMB (via e-mail) that it is self-funded but unless things have drastically changed in the last few years I am under the impression that they must have lied to me and will quote an excerpt from a letter to the Irish Times from Orla O’Donovan from the dept. of Applied Social Studies at University College Cork…  “The 2007 report of the Oireachtas Committee on the Adverse Side-Effects of Pharmaceuticals noted that the existing funding arrangement whereby the IMB relies on fees paid by pharmaceutical companies “tends to put the drug companies in the position of clients of the IMB with the inference that the IMB has a corresponding obligation to meet its ‘clients’ needs”.

I must say that I find your response totally unacceptable and would like to reiterate my request for an investigation into these drugs, and I hope that I was not under a mistaken illusion that the new government would take their responsibilities seriously.

Did you know the side effects of ssri’s can include… suicide, homicide, heart failure, breast cancer, stroke and birth defects?

Yours Sincerely,

Leonie Fennell.

Note from the editor….

As my granny would have said, seems to be a bad case of psychlafeetis going around!

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