psychiatry, Random

Ejected from the European Parliament Offices

ADHDLast Friday Maria Bradshaw of Casper and I went to the European Parliament Offices in Dublin to meet with Nessa Childers – ‘The MEP that stands up for honesty and Transparency’.

I should point out that I had reservations about this meeting as we had contacted Ms Childers before (regarding the adverse effects of SSRIs) and were ignored. I had e-mailed her following a speech she made in UCC Cork, where she spoke about the ethical issues dealing with lobbyists, non-dislosure of funding and transparency within interest groups. She stated that she never accepted pharma hospitality and cautioned that the latter groups may unconsciously be adopting the line of thought of their funders. Anyway, Maria had organised the meeting so she dragged me along too, albeit rather reluctantly. I should also point out that while Maria is enormously clever with statistics and mind-numbing facts and despite having an MBA, her sense of direction is shocking and thus the reason I allowed myself to be roped into accompanying her to Dublin City. It might have been more productive to have let her loose on the Irish roads; I believe Galway is beautiful this time of year!

Honesty and transparency were definitely on the agenda, but it seems the honesty and transparency which Maria and I delivered were not quite so welcome. After some initial frostiness due to some Tweets which Nessa took offence to, the meeting was going quite well. That is, until we got around to the reason we were there – Shire Pharmaceuticals, ADHD and Nessa’s participation in the round table Brussels discussion and this ghost written white paper. Michael Fitzgerald from TCD and his wife Frances were mentioned, which subsequently prompted Maria to point out his links to Shire pharmaceuticals. This may, or may not, have been a turning point in the meeting.

Nessa said that she had turned down a second invitation to host a roundtable for shire pharmaceuticals. When I pointed out that what she said in Cork was a total contradiction to putting her name to a ghost written, pharma-funded paper, she said this occured whan she was a new MEP and had no idea what was happening. She also said that it was too late to do anything about it now, but when pushed on that point said she would retract her name from it if she could. At this stage, despite Maria’s best efforts to remain her usual professional self with her inherent ladylike decorum (which I don’t possess), the meeting rapidly went downhill and Nessa stood up and said “we have to go“. That was it, no niceties, no ‘Slán agus beannacht’ for us; she refused to make eye-contact and we were back on Molesworth Street before we could say the words ‘Honesty and Transparency’. After a fit of the giggles, we looked at each other dumbfounded, trying to figure out what actually happened there. It was one of the strangest experiences I have had yet, even for me!

That should have been the end of that, but alas, the experience was to get even weirder. We set off (in the right direction considering I was driving) to our next meeting, which I may tell you about sometime, whan Maria’s mobile rang. It was Nessa’s PA, who said that Nessa thinks we should contact a different MP and that we should be careful what we say and the accusations that we are making. Since when did facts equate to accusations? Strange day; I guess that Nessa can cross us off her Christmas card list! I suppose I should be thankful that last week I wasn’t aware of this other roundtable meeting that she hosted, facilitated by Lundbeck. I wonder what the chances are of us getting another meeting?

Note to self-

(1) Look up dictionary for the words Honesty and Transparency, and

(2) Buy Maria a Sat Nav!

ADHA Expert White Paper:

Maria’s Blog which caused the problem:

Cork Conference:

John McCarty’s views on the Cork Conference:

John McCarty speaking on 4 year old Rebecca’s death:



14 thoughts on “Ejected from the European Parliament Offices”

  1. Footnote: Leonie’s hair looked so bad that day that a homeless man tried to give her €2…perhaps the real issue was that she breached the European Parliament hairdressing standards.


    1. Dozey cow! Maybe I should clarify what happened. While admittedly my hair had turned a tad frizzy – we got chatting to a lovely guy called Graham who was sitting outside the European Parliament offices in his sleeping bag. I gave him some change for a coffee. While we were heading inside to meet with Nessa Childers, a woman came along and handed Graham a coffee, where he promptly called me back and asked if I wanted my money back. Interesting perspective; that honesty and transparency came from this man sitting outside, whereas none was forthcoming from inside.


  2. Just scanning through this white paper on ADHD (which seems to amount to little more than slick marketing if you ask me) and I notice that (former GSK and Seroxat apologist) Dr. Alastair Benbow is mentioned (see page 23 of the white paper/roundtable). Those familiar with Mr Benbow will be aware that he was caught uttering some rather misleading untruths about Seoxat causing suicide in young people. For those unfamiliar with him, the BBC did a great expose on the whole thing, which can be found online on Youtube (Secrets of Seroxat/Taken on Trust).

    Mr Benbow now works for (or at least recently he worked for) the European Brain Council (which in my opinion amounts to little more than a front group for pharmaceutical interests, particularly those related to psychiatry). If i was Nessa ChIlders I would be horrified that my name is on the same paper as someone like Alastair Benbow… This man was filmed in BBC Panorama documentaries attempting to defend his paymasters GSK when they were neck deep in a scandal which involved the deaths of children from Seroxat..


  3. I wonder will Nessa retract her name from this paper as she said she would? It seems that the paper was published in 2013, fairly recently, is this correct? ‘Honesty and Transparency’ are mere catch phrases for some folks it seems….


    1. Just looking at the third roundtable meeting on alcohol use disorders (AUD) and alcohol related harm, sponsored by Lundbeck and chaired by Nessa Childers. On the surface it would appear innocuous that a pharmaceutical company would sponsor an event on alcohol related problems and their impact on individuals and society. What would a pharmaceutical company have to gain by sponsorship of such an event?

      I have never heard the acronym AUD before, but I have to say, that by turning alcoholism and drink problems into a medicalized disorder, disease and brain-related problem, this could only prove to be a profit bonanza for drug companies and psychiatry.

      People with drink problems usually would have anxiety, personal problems they are trying to escape from, emotional difficulties, depression, etc etc therefore they would be a perfect target group for psychiatric medication…


      1. I have read that some antidepressants can cause alcohol dependence/abuse in people who previously had no excessive drinking problem.


      2. Ahh I see..

        “Nalmefene (Selincro) from Lundbeck is the first and only prescription medicine approved for the reduction of alcohol consumption in patients with alcohol dependence.”

        The kind folks of Lundbeck have just gone and made a drug to treat alcoholism…

        so very kind of them…


  4. How is it that most of the Pharma-funded papers I’ve read recently seem to be co-authored by somebody from King’s College, London? #JustAsking


    1. Hi Brian,

      Kings college is likely a very influential college, probably gets loads of pharma funding (most colleges do, particularly the more prestigious ones). The conflicts of interest are so widespread that when it comes to all the vested interests involved in pharmaceutical profits- it’s often difficult to disentangle it all…


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