Dear Professor Cowen,
I am contacting you regarding a report that you did for the Irish Medical Council last year. I had made a complaint to the IMC regarding my son Shane Clancy and the treatment or ill-treatment he received in the last 17 days of his life. My son visited 3 doctors in the 17 days preceding his death, how anyone could come to the conclusion that this care was adequate is beyond my comprehension. My primary objective in making this complaint was to stop this from happening to another family. Alas due, I can only assume to the contents of your report, the IMC decided not to take my complaint further.
The IMC declined to allow me, Shane’s mum, access to your report due to the fact that you marked the report “In Confidence”. Considering that I am Shane’s next of kin, it seems highly unethical or at least extremely unfair that I am not automatically privy to any information regarding my son’s death. The IMC also had access to Professor David Healy’s report which stated that, in his opinion, Citalopram caused my lovely son to behave in this manner. Professor Healy very kindly agreed to speak at Shane’s Inquest where the jury returned an “open verdict” due to his testimony on the known adverse effects of SSRI’s.
Considering the IMC’s decision, not to go further, I can only assume that your report must have stated the complete opposite to that of Professor Healy. I see that you have some previous academic disagreement with Professor Healy, have done a considerable amount of work for Lundbeck and had/have shares in GSK, the makers of Seroxat/Paxil. Considering that Lundbeck manufacture Citalopram, I would have thought that the ethical thing would have been to preclude yourself from this investigation.
I also came across your opinion where you say that you have a similar opinion to Professor Healy on the dangers of SSRI’s stating:
“However, as with other antidepressants, patients taking fluoxetine may experience rare adverse reactions than can be associated with the development of suicidal thinking and behaviour.” Therefore, it astounds me that if you stated this in your report, the IMC still decided not to go further and stop the same from happening to another unsuspecting consumer.
It is for this reason that I am requesting a copy of your report as I may be doing you a disservice. I note that I get a lot of hits on my blog from Oxford University; I assume that it may be yourself or your students? If you decide to furnish me with a copy of this report and your report is indeed an objective one, despite your links to Lundbeck, I would be quite happy to publish an unreserved apology.
The IMC are a public body and therefore should automatically have sent me this information. As a public body they are bound by the same ‘Freedom of Information’ Act that other Government agencies are governed by. Therefore before I embark on the FOI path I am appealing to your professionalism as an Oxford University Professor to kindly furnish me with the report that you submitted to the IMC.