Did Mike Geldard Assume That Citalopram Was Safe?

Mike Geldard

Michael (Mike) Geldard was 66 and struggling with a knee injury, for which he was prescribed various pain medications, including Codeine, a highly addictive drug. His attempts to withdraw from Codeine left him frustrated and anxious – for this he prescribed the antidepressant Citalopram (along with a benzodiazepine). The day after Mike was prescribed Citalopram, he told his doctor that he was having suicidal thoughts and asked if he could stop taking the drug. Just like my son Shane, he was most-likely told that these feelings will subside after a few days and to keep taking the drug. Nevertheless, 11 days after being prescribed Citalopram, just like Shane, Mike was dead (he had hanged himself in his garage). At his inquest last week, the coroner, Tony Williams, recorded a narrative verdict saying that Mr Geldard had intentionally taken his own life, but reported his death while on Citalopram to the appropriate regulatory boards.

.
Mike’s former wife (Helena) expressed concerns about the effect that Citalopram had on him and asked the coroner whether it was possible he had taken his life while in a drug-induced psychotic state. No answers were forthcoming. Once again, it raises the question – how many families have to raise the issue of Citalopram and other SSRIs before we wake up to the vast numbers of deaths these drugs are causing? Did Mike give his ‘informed consent’ following a thorough discussion of the increased risk of suicide when starting this drug? I doubt it.

Mike, like Shane, probably trusted that the doctor knew best and that Citalopram would help. However, experts state that the first few weeks are an incredibly dangerous time – Shane was on Citalopram for 17 days, mike lasted 11. This family of drug, SSRIs, the ‘newer’ antidepressants, were sold to recent generations as being safer than the older tricyclic antidepressants, particularly in overdose. Designed to specifically target the brain, SSRIs have proved to be psychiatry’s worst folly, causing thousands of deaths worldwide. Age, whatever the drug industry says, is irrelevant when mind-altering SSRIs are attacking our brains and turning decent autonomous beings into people capable of killing themselves (and others).

While the drug industry and some psychiatrists will acknowledge that SSRIs increase the risk of suicide and violence, the regulatory warnings are for under 25s – no older. Tell that to Mike’s children and granddaughters and all the other retirees who have died from an SSRI-induced death. Sadly for Mike, little has changed since a coroner ruled in 2008, that another recent retiree Ian Fox, 65, died while the balance of his mind was disturbed while suffering the adverse effects of Citalopram.

It seems that being over the age of 25 does not protect against the adverse effects of an SSRI’s mind-altering qualities. Many other people of a similar age to Mike, have died as a result of a recent prescription of Citalopram. Here is a few examples-

Julie McGregor, 73, drowned herself 2 weeks after being prescribed Citalopram.

John Rudd, 62, walked in front of a train 3 days after being prescribed Citalopram. The coroner said he had dealt with at least 6 fatalities (in the previous 4 months) where the person had recently started taking Citalopram.

Bridget Raby, 75, used a knife to kill herself a month after being prescribed Citalopram.

Gordon Briggs, 58, hanged himself 3 weeks after being prescribed Citalopram. Family raised concerns over his deterioration on Citalopram.

Sylvia (Margaret) Tisdale, 64, jumped from her bedroom window following a recent prescription for Citalopram. Her friend raised concerns over side-effects of the drug.

Nigel (Bernard) Woodburn, 68, drove into a tree 4 days after being prescribed Citalopram. The coroner said “this is probably the fifth, if not sixth inquest I’ve heard within a period of three years when somebody either just going on to Citalopram or Seroxat, or coming off it, have killed themselves one way or another, totally out of the blue, totally without expectation, without a history of suicidal thoughts in the past.”

Raymond Hague, 73, hanged himself a few weeks after being prescribed Citalopram.

Stephen Leggett, 53, set himself on fire 5 days after Citalopram. Coroner ordered a Government Inquiry into the drug.

Reports courtesy of Database kept by AntiDepAware.

Psychiatric Drugs: Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball?

Smoke ball 1

Psychiatric Drugs: Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball?

 

For decades doctors and psychiatrists have defended the use and efficacy of psychiatric drugs, from declaring that they ‘revolutionised the treatment of depression’[1] to just plain ‘lifesaving’[2]. Indeed Irish Psychiatrist Patricia Casey has proclaimed that antidepressants are lifesaving and that for early improvement in ‘clinical’ depression, ‘antidepressants are the best and often the only option’[3]. Today the most widely prescribed psychiatric drugs are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – SSRI antidepressants. Yet tragically for many, SSRIs are also thought to be the most dangerous. According to Dr David Healy, incidentally also an Irish psychiatrist, but additionally a scientist and psychopharmacologist “90% of school shootings over more than a decade have been linked to a widely prescribed type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.” Dr Healy argues the opposite to Casey, stating:

“there is no research evidence to suggest that anyone’s life is saved by taking an antidepressant but if there are lives saved the research makes it clear that for every life saved there must be another lost. There are probably something between 1000-1500 extra suicides in the US each year, triggered by an antidepressant – an extra 2000 -2500 in Europe. The data is similar for violence[4].” 

To put that number into perspective – 206 people have died since 2007 from bird flu, yet there was mass hysteria and a huge media frenzy. If Dr Healy’s statistics are correct, at least 3000-4000 suicides are induced by antidepressants each year, every year. Yet despite this huge number, the media seem reluctant to go up against the drug companies, their paid experts or the medicines regulators. Dr David Graham, who worked at the drug safety department with the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, stated that ‘all of these drugs appear to have the ability to increase the risk of suicidal behavior’. What was particularly disturbing is that he revealed the FDA (America’s Drug Safety Regulator) had suppressed a colleague’s report which found that most antidepressants don’t actually work in treating children[5]. I assume he says ‘most’ because Eli Lilly’s Fluoxetine was approved by the FDA in the treatment of children. Yet John Virapen, who worked for Eli Lilly for 35 years, testified that he used bribery and corruption to get Fluoxetine approved, knowing full well what Lilly knew all along, that Fluoxetine increased the risk of suicide and homicide[6].

The regulatory warnings for increased suicidality which were eventually attached to SSRIs are for children and young people up to the age of 25. This implies that SSRIs are safe in people older than 25, an implication which is extremely misleading. In 2006 an inquest was held in Dublin, Ireland, for a 62 year old businessman. His self inflicted death occured 5 days after starting Lundbeck’s SSRI Escitalopram/Lexapro. At the inquest his wife pointed out that Lexapro was associated with suicide, a fact that she wasn’t made aware of beforehand. Professor Casey, who attended the inquest, argued that “scientific research indicates that children under 18 who are prescribed SSRI antidepressants were at increased risk of ‘suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts’ but people of 30 years and older were not affected similarly”. Not so according to Dr Healy who says the risk of drug induced suicide and violence affect all age groups, not just the young[7]. He is not alone. Peter Gøtzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre also came to the same conclusion. He stated “SSRIs likely increase the risk of suicide at all ages. These drugs are immensely harmful[8]”. A retired psychiatrist and former inspector of mental health hospitals noted that SSRIs increased Ireland’s suicide rate. Dr Dermot Walsh stated in the British Medical Journal:

“In the context of the current debate on the efficacy of antidepressants the following may be of interest. Ireland’s suicide rate has risen threefold since antidepressants became available with the greatest increase occurring following the introduction of the SSRIs[9].”

Not surprisingly the drug companies rarely admit liability, usually testifying that it was ‘the underlying illness’ to blame, not their drug. Despite the many contradictions to this, their ‘underlying illness’ mantra rarely changes. People like Woody Witczak are dismissed as anecdotal. Woody was 37 and lived in the US. He was prescribed Pfizer’s SSRI Sertraline, not for depression but for insomnia. Five weeks later, this ‘upbeat and happy’ man killed himself. Following his death Woody’s wife Kim acquired some internal confidential documents from Pfizer[10]. One of these confidential documents was from Pfizer to The Irish Medicines Board (IMB). The documents referred to Pfizer’s clinical studies on Sertraline which concluded that the age group with the highest suicide rate was 31-40 and that the most dangerous time is 15-30 days after starting this medication. She also discovered that 54 of the 252 suicides that Pfizer investigated were found to be causally related to Sertraline.

In 2011 another inquest was held in Ireland, this time for Nicholas Maguire, aged 52, again a businessman. Mr Maguire’s family raised concerns over his recent prescription for Sertraline/Zoloft. They said their brother had been ‘driven mad’ by the pills and that there had been a dramatic change in his personality while taking Sertraline. Following the inquest Irish psychiatrist Timothy Dinan defended the drug, stating ‘The use of Sertraline helps to reduce suicidality and reduce depression’. Despite being on the Advisory Committee for Human Medicines at the IMB, Professor Dinan also stated ‘The public should have no concerns about these drugs’[11].

There is growing concern among academia that these drugs have little or no efficacy[12] and are in fact doing more harm than good[13]. Many will be aware of the curious case of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company[14] where a unilateral contract was offered by a company advertisment to the world at large. The company proclaimed that using their smoke ball would prevent the user from contracting influenza. Mrs Carlill did and the smoke ball didn’t! The company argued that they didn’t intend to be taken seriously, that the advertisment was in fact mere ‘sales puff’ and therefore not legally binding; the court held otherwise.

The drug company literature now readily admit that SSRIs are associated with an increased risk of suicide and violence[15]. Could it be that psychiatrys’ medical model is actually the equivalent of a latter-day carbolic smoke ball? Yet unlike the harmless smoke ball, psychiatry’s medical model is actually causing many, many deaths. Will our future decendants see the demise of the SSRI as just another fraudulent snakeoil or smoke ball generation? The defenders of the medical model may yet be exposed as prescription drug pushers, albeit disguised as the caring psychiatrist or doctor.

Iatrogenic death, or prescription drug induced death, is an issue which most lay people will thankfully be oblivious to. Where Iatrogenesis is slowly becoming apparent though is in the courtroom. This was seen recently in Manitoba, where Justice Robert Heinrichs found that a 16 year old boy was driven to commit an unprovoked murder because of the adverse affects of taking Fluoxetine/Prozac[16]. Dr Peter Breggin testified that the teenager’s actions were drug induced and he would not have committed the violence if he had not been given the antidepressant[17]. Dr Breggin has warned of the dangers of SSRIs for decades and has been an expert witness in a number of successful drug induced cases[18].

It seems that deciphering scientific evidence and whether the ‘independent’ expert is in fact a paid pharma shill has yet to be argued in the courtroom. The European judiciary largely defers to the psychiatric expert when determining ‘mental health’ cases; seemingly reluctant to use its own discretion, rather deferring to the possibly biased opinion of the individual psychiatrist. According to Herxheimer et al:[19]

“Many judges and coroners have not addressed these questions clearly and have not used expert witnesses consistently, on occasion disregarding scientific evidence. Courts need to appoint experts to explain and interpret the scientific evidence. Few judges are equipped to resolve contradictions between different experts” and “The reluctance of legal processes to implicate drugs as a possible cause of violent behaviour leads to injustice. Courts must be required to obtain appropriate expert evidence, and be given independent data on which drugs can cause such behaviour.”

A recent Plos One study ‘Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others’found that 31 drugs were disproportionally associated with violence[20]. 11 of these were antidepressants.

Far from finding justice, as Herxheimer said, the reluctance of the courts to implicate prescription drugs can lead to injustice. An article in the 2012 Law Society Gazette reviewed a book entitled ‘You Can’t Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom’ by journalist and author Nick Cohen. The reviewer stated that “Lawyers do not figure highly in the estimation of newspaper columnist Nick Cohen. His broadside at censorship in a liberal age paints solicitors, barristers and judges as the lackeys of oligarchs and snake-oil sellers and conspirators in liberal silence when the going gets tough”[21].

It is submitted that Mr Cohen may have a valid point. Despite the lack of evidence or any available test to confirm or deny any ‘mental illness’, once the psychiatric expert has given his opinion either way, the fate of the accused is sealed. It is very, very rare that prescription drug induced violence is put forward as a defence, most likely because the psychiatric expert will deny all knowledge of Iatrogenesis and the courts will defer to such wisdom. It is further submitted that a puff of the aforementioned smoke ball would be much less risky than taking a chance with an SSRI.

Declaration of Interest

In 2009 my son died by stabbing himself multiple times. He took the life of another young man on the same night. He had been prescribed Lundbeck’s Citalopram/Celexa 17 days beforehand, not for any mental illness but for a break-up with his girlfriend. He was never diagnosed with any illness, mental or otherwise, apart from a posthumous diagnosis on national TV by Professor Patricia Casey. From early on I was aware that Citalopram caused my son’s death and enabled him to take the life of another human being. I shouted this from the rooftops to anyone who would listen. Some did, some didn’t.

Dr David Healy testified at my son’s inquest stating that Citalopram (and all SSRIs) could cause a person to become suicidal and homicidal. He opined that Citalopram caused both my son’s death and the death of the other young man. The College of Psychiatry of Ireland intervened and involved themselves before, during and after the inquest. The college collectively denied that this family of drug could cause a person to become suicidal or homicidal. Professor Casey attended my son’s inquest, representing the college of psychiatry. She was refused permission to testify by the Coroner, Cahal Louth. Despite this, immediately following the inquest she stood outside the Coroner’s court and spoke on national TV stating that there were ‘issues’ with the evidence. A press statement was subsequently released by the college stating that the sworn expert evidence (by Dr David Healy) was, in their view, speculative. Referring to him as ‘the expert’, never once mentioning his name, the college of psychiatry proceeded to contradict his testimony and defend the drug[22]. Similar to the drug companies, they blamed the ‘underlying illness’ not the drug, eg “Anecdotal cases of suicide sometimes mistakenly attribute these tragic events to the treatment rather than the illness itself”. The college denied there was any evidence linking SSRIs to suicide or violence. They further stated that “Antidepressants do not cause violence. Neither are they, nor can they be expected to be, an inoculation against violence.”

Professor Timothy Dinan also spoke to the media afterwards. He said that he could say with “100 per cent certainty, without any fear of contradiction, that modern anti-depressants such as the drug Citalopram … do not cause people to commit murder”. He also added that there was no evidence that the drugs can cause suicide[23].

It should be noted that professors Casey and Dinan both received numerous honoraria from Lundbeck, the implicated drug company. Professor Dinan has received honoraria from and is a member of the speakers’/advisory board for Lilly, Lundbeck, Organon and Pfizer the inventor of Sertraline, the same SSRI he defended following Mr Maguire’s inquest. Despite being in attendance at the inquest, Lundbeck’s representative remained silent. I later discovered through a Freedom of Information request that the college statement regarding my son was forwarded, via internal college email, to the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck. The ethicality of Irish psychiatry’s involvement in my son’s inquest is questionable. Individual psychiatrists defending a drug while simultaneously working for the same drug company is surely a bias too far?

Evidence Based Medicine or Psychiatry’s Smoke Ball?

 

References

[1] L. White, G. Duncan, and W. Baumle, Medical Surgical Nursing: An Integrated Approach, 3rd edn., Delmar, 2012, p. 1286.

[2] P. Casey Sometimes words are not enough to lift depression, Irish Independent, 08/01/2010 http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/sometimes-words-are-not-enough-to-lift-depression-(accessed 30/June/2014).

[3]ibid

[4]D. Healy  ‘Prozac and SSRIs: Twenty-fifth Anniversary’ 6 February 2013 http://davidhealy.org/prozac-and-ssris-twenty-fifth-anniversary/  (accessed 30/June/2014)

[5]M. Loudon  30 August 2005 The FDA Exposed: An Interview With DrDavid Graham, the Vioxx Whistleblower’ (accessed 30/June/2014)

[6]J. Virapen J ‘Side Effects Death’ Virtualbookworm.com Publishing Inc. 2010 Introduction p. ix

[7]D. Healy ‘Guilty’ 15 January 2014 http://davidhealy.org/guilty-2/

(accessed 30/June/2014)

[8] Peter C. Gotzsche Deadly Medicines and Organised CrimeRadcliffe Publishing Ltd 2013P.224

[9]D. Walsh ‘Antidepressants and suicide in Ireland’ BMJ Rapid Response 21 July 2004 http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/30/antidepressants-and-suicide-ireland (accessed 1/July/2014)

[10]Youtube. (12th March 2012) ‘Kim Witczak’s Testimony to the FDA Advisory Committee’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIjy4p9-LDY&list=UUh_XlTLw71KOqlM_ELnAu8w

[11]E. English ‘Family calls for more research into anti-depressants’ Irish Examiner 06 May 2011 http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/health/family-calls-for-more-research-into-anti-depressants-153706.html (accessed 30/June/2014)

[12]Kirsch I, Deacon BJ, Huedo-Medina TB, Scoboria A, Moore TJ, et al. (2008) Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLoS Med 5(2): e45. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045

[13]Whitaker R Medical Hypotheses (2004) ‘The case against antipsychotic drugs: a 50-year record of doing more harm than good’ Medical Hypotheses (2004) 62, 5–13

[14] [1893] Q.B. 256

[15]Healy D, Herxheimer A, Menkes DB (2006) ‘Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law’. PLoS Med 3(9): e372. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030372

[16]M. McIntrye(17 September 2011). “Judge Agrees Prozac Made Teen a Killer,” Winnipeg Free Press.http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/judge-agrees-prozac-made-teen-a-killer-130010278.html (accessed 30/June/2014)

[17]P Breggin ‘Psychiatric Drug Facts’ http://breggin.com/ (accessed 30/June/2014)

[18]Suicidality, violence and mania caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): A review and analysis∗ IOS Press International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine 16 (2003/2004) 31–49 31

[19] Herxheimer et al ‘Case histories as evidence’ Int J Risk Saf Med. 2012; 24(1):23-9.

[20]Moore et al. Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others. PLoS ONE 5(12): e15337.

[21]M Cross. Book Reviews: A broadside at censorship in a liberal age – (2012) LS Gaz, 8 Mar, 17 (2)

[22] The College of Psychiatry of Ireland13 May 2010 ‘Antidepressant Medication – Clarification13 May 2010’

http://www.irishpsychiatry.ie/Libraries/External_Affairs/CPsychI_Press_statement_antidressant_medicaiton_clarification_13_05_10_NO_Mobiles.sflb.ashx (accessed 30/June/2014)

[23] R. McGreevy Violence link to medication rejected by psychiatrist 27 April 2010 Irish Times http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-21922198.html (accessed 30/June/2014)

 

Is Vincent Browne Afraid Of The Gorilla?

Vincent and the GorillaReferring to the pharmaceutical industry, Marcia Angell, former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, said “What does the eight-hundred-pound gorilla do? Anything it wants to”. 

I haven’t really mentioned the TV3 documentary, apart from my view that Patricia Casey used the exercise to contradict Professor David Healy, pushing a vendetta that she’s harboured since long before my son died. Professor Healy was expecting it so it didn’t come as a surprise, although I don’t think he’d mind me saying that he thought her posthumous diagnosis of my son was unprofessional, unprecedented and a serious abuse of her position. Protecting the drug and pushing instead the ‘psychiatric illness’ came as no surprise either – par for the course within Irish psychiatry.

It’s interesting that Patricia’s colleague, Irish psychiatrist and fellow Lundbeck supporter Ted Dinan, took a complaint to the medical council against doctor Michael Corry for commenting on Shane’s case without ever having met him; will he be doing the same with Patricia? Dr Justin Brophy, another Irish psychiatrist, also took a complaint to the BAI against Dr Corry and RTE following his Late Late Show appearance. They do protest a lot; could they possibly be right or are they just protecting their cash cow?

The debate following the documentary was supposed to be about the possible adverse effects of SSRIs and whether they can, or cannot, cause a person to become suicidal and/or homicidal. The debate, which sadly didn’t answer any questions on the drug issue can be viewed here. One of the panel, Pádraig MacLochlainn, a Sinn Féin TD, (22 mins) said that the experts need to get their facts in order, that the two experts Patricia Casey and David Healy expressed totally opposing views. He further stated that people need clarification on the effects of these drugs. Sensible man!

Now why would the debate not attempt to clarify these issues? David Healy was happy to take part and could have answered any queries put to him, but TV3 decided against it. Surely Patricia Casey would have welcomed the chance to have an open and honest discussion, considering not only does David Healy say that SSRIs including Citalopram can cause sudden death, suicide and homicide, he also says they cause miscarriages, birth defects and an increased rate of abortion due to the disinhibition effect when taking these drugs. Considering her well publicised views on abortion, she couldn’t possibly defend these drugs knowing that they actually increase the abortion rate, could she?

The only way to get any clarification on the effects of prescription drugs is to have a public debate; so why then did this promised debate not go ahead? Is it to do with the revenue that TV3 receive from its numerous pharmaceutical advertisements? Is Vincent Browne afraid to rock the boat and prod the pharma gorilla? It might be worth mentioning that Lundbeck, the inventor of the drug Citalopram, was supposed to take part in this debate but pulled out at the last minute. It might also be worth mentioning that this company has already admitted to reports of ‘self harm and harm to others’ in other countries such as Canada.

If David Healy was to be proved wrong, I’d be quite happy to admit to being misinformed, that Shane was just coincidently on this drug and I’d even apologise to Professor Casey. So how about it Vincent, will you facilitate a debate with the actual experts – or are you afraid to prod this particular gorilla?

 

 

Government apologises to SSRI victims – not yet!

Louise O'Keefe
Louise O’Keefe

This week our Taoiseach Enda Kenny personally apologised to Louise O’Keeffe following the European Court of Human Right’s decision in O’Keeffe v Ireland – that Ireland had violated Article 3 and 13 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Louise had suffered abuse while in National school at the hands of a paedophile teacher. For years the Irish Government had denied responsibility.

RTE News: “Ms O’Keeffe said she did not look for an apology for herself, but for all of the victims of abuse in schools because there are many who have not come forward. ‘I am simply one of hundreds and an apology is for everyone because I wasn’t alone,’ she said. She called on Mr Kenny to now work quickly to bring in legislation to protect school children. Ms O’Keeffe said that had she received an apology 15 years ago, she would not have been forced to bring her case to the ECHR. She said she did not understand why the State had fought her case. “I was an eight-year-old child, abused, a complaint had been made. It wasn’t acted on. If it had been acted on, well, I’d have had a safe childhood. Wrong was done. I think hands should have been held up,” she said. 

The apology is a long time coming for Louise O’Keefe and offered after the ECtHR’s decision, not before. Decision here.

Then there is the HSE apology.

Roisin and Mark Malloy
Roisin and Mark Malloy

Two days ago the Health Service Executive apologised over the deaths of 4 babies in Portlaoise Hospital. Again the ‘unequivocal’ apology came just before a ‘Prime Time’ documentary was aired which exposed the hospital’s shortcomings. A report into a baby’s death in 2008 found numerous failings in the care provided by the hospital to both the mother and her baby – including failing to recognise that the baby was in distress and inappropriate use of a drug used to increase contractions. Following this report numerous recommendations were made to improve safety, yet more babies later died in similar circumstances and once again failings in their care were found.

Again the apology was a long time coming, and again only after the issue was highlighted outside of our ‘caring’ Government.

Apology for SSRI victims

Shane
Shane

Where is the apology for all the people who have been maimed and killed by SSRI drugs? Where is the apology for the baby in the Irish Medicines Board database who died as a result of the mother’s Citalopram use? What of the baby born with a birth defect, also as a result of his/her mother’s Citalopram use? Where is the apology for my son, who died as a result of Citalopram use? Where is the apology for all the parents, children and victims of SSRI antidepressant-induced injury and death?

It’s a long time coming – but we can wait!

Usually when the issue of SSRI-induced death is broached, we are met with – oh but these drugs help many and have saved so many lives. BULLSHIT! Bully for them! Do all teacher abuse children? Did Portlaoise Hospital kill all the babies in their care? No, but it’s okay to kill our children in order that some ‘might feel’ they were saved?

According to Professor Healy, “there are 20 more Irish suicides per year than there would have been and 20 extra Irish cases of violence per year that can be linked back to antidepressants.” So given that the SSRI antidepressants have been on the market for 20 years; that’s 800 extra cases of suicide and violence caused by antidepressants in this country alone.

1 in 10 pregnant Irish women are on antidepressants, leading to about 40 extra babies with significant birth defects and 200 extra miscarriages each year. So going on similar prescribing, in the last 20 years, antidepressants have caused birth defects in 800 Irish babies and 4000 miscarriages.

It’s a long time coming!

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/taoiseach-to-bring-in-new-child-protection-laws-in-weeks-after-louise-okeeffe-apology-29969639.html

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/hse-apologises-over-deaths-of-babies-in-portlaoise-1.1674165

The Pharmaceutical Industry’s Influence in Irish Politics and Medicine.

Enda and James

The pharmaceutical industry has a long and tangled involvement within Irish politics. Besides politics, our medical ‘experts’ have built up their training and expertise while simultaneously having a fundamental collegial relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma politics may not be news to Americans, Latvians or our British neighbours – but as Ireland is my Country of birth, I claim poetic licence in focusing on my specific geographical area. Corruption within this industry has been widely publicised elsewhere but there seems to be a reticence within the Irish media to report on pharma wrongdoing or the objectivity of the psychiatric expert. My son, a young Irishman, died under the influence of 17 days of Citalopram (an SSRI antidepressant) – manufactured by Lundbeck, prescribed by a doctor, licensed by the Irish Medicine’s Board (henceforth IMB) and protected by the Irish College of Psychiatry (henceforth the College).

Despite much evidence to the contrary, our health Minister James Reilly has been quoted in the media as saying that “SSRIs aren’t addictive and treat depression effectively”. He also denied that GPs are systematically over-prescribing SSRIs.[1] He subsequently managed to ignore two medical experts (David Healy and Declan Gilsenan) who gave testimony in Leinster House that antidepressants were the leading cause of death within the mental health field and were in fact causing hundreds of Irish deaths each year. According to the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association there are approximately 120 pharmaceutical companies that have plants in Ireland – including 9 of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.[2]

Last year the Irish Times reported that the Irish Government ‘came under pressure’ from the larger pharmaceutical firms over the Health Service Executives’ (HSE) decision not to approve new drugs for payment. There was an implied threat that this could ‘have implications for 25,000 jobs and future investment’ – so not surprisingly Enda Kenny and James Reilly backed down. The Times further reported that both had meetings with Abbott Laboratories and Eli Lilly, and further that Enda Kenny attended Eli Lilly’s board dinner at the Old Kinsale golf club in 2011. It is submitted that this relationship is much too close for comfort and therefore not conducive to having the Nation’s best interests at heart. Backing down under pressure from a bullying industry is never a good move, particularly when as a Nation we naturally assume that our Government is in control.

According to Dr David Healy who is regarded as the world leading expert on prescription drugs, antidepressants double the risk of suicide and violence, particularly upon starting, discontinuing and dosage change (up or down). He further stated that “antidepressants now come with black box warnings of suicide and in some jurisdictions such as Canada they come with warnings of violence also. Exactly the same mechanisms that lead to suicides lead to violence. In one case you have violence directed inward and in the other directed outwards. These mechanisms are akathisia, emotional blunting and psychosis.”[3]

The name ‘antidepressant’ itself is pure marketing genius by the pharmaceutical industry. Who would believe that these so-called magic pills can cause death, sometimes self-inflicted and extremely violent? In protecting the medical model, referring to antidepressant-induced suicide, the College stated “Anecdotal cases of suicide sometimes mistakenly attribute these tragic events to the treatment rather than the illness itself”.[4] This is a vastly differing stance compared to the IMB, the European Medicine’s Agency (EMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The American regulator FDA slapped a black-box warning on all antidepressants, informing consumers of the increased risk of suicide.[5] The EMA followed suit requiring labelling changes to all antidepressants, again informing consumers of the increased risk of drug-induced suicidality.[6] The IMB is pretty limited in its capacity of protector of Irish citizens, deferring largely to the EMA. Interestingly, the IMB is almost fully funded by the pharmaceutical industry, so the public protector is funded by the very industry that it is supposed to be protecting the Irish people from. It should be noted that peter gøtzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen recently stated that the IMB banned GlaxoSmithKline from claiming that Paroxetine (Seroxat/Paxil) corrects a chemical imbalance.[7] That depression is caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ is a pharma invention used as a tool to sell antidepressant drugs. That the IMB made an executive decision and actually suppressed GSK or any other pharmaceutical company is the exception rather than the rule.

We don’t have to look too far to see Governmental and pharma influence within the medical industry. The ‘Sherif Sultan Saga’ is a prime example of the bullying and intimidation of a medical professional. Mr Sultan is a consultant in Galway who received an official warning and a gag order from the HSE for speaking out on the dangers of taking statin drugs.[8] This followed the publication of his paper ‘The ugly side of Statins’.[9] Mr Sultan said what David Healy has been saying for a long time, that he and his colleagues “are fed up with trial of organizations to cover up truth about the ugly side of statin because of invested interest and commercial sponsorship.” He also stated that “We are observing the revealing of the ‘utmost medical tragedy’ of all times. It is extraordinary that the healthcare industry has inadvertently induced life-threatening nutrient deficiency in millions of otherwise healthy people.”

Similar to the attempt at suppressing Sherif Sultan, the psychiatric Professors Patricia Casey, University College Dublin, and Ted Dinan, University College Cork, involved themselves not only in my son’s inquest but also with others where antidepressants were implicated. Both had long links to the same pharmaceutical companies who manufactured the implicated drug and both without exception defended the drugs, instead blaming the supposed underlying ‘illnesses’.[10] Both these professors are supposed experts in the psychiatric field and both fiercely defend antidepressants.[11] It is submitted that the objectivity of the expert opinion is paramount, particularly where the law is concerned. As the coronial system is the only Court of law where a deceased’s family can get answers, in cases of drug-induced death, bias or even a perception of bias should automatically render these ‘experts’ excluded from the legal process.

The health of the Irish nation will never be of utmost importance while our medical professionals, the IMB and the Irish Government have a vested interest in upholding the existing ‘pharma funded’ regime. While it seems my son was just a number in the collateral damage of the latter – I urge you to protect your family, start asking questions and stop trusting these dubious so-called professionals.


[7] Peter Gøtzsche ‘Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime’ P. 199

The Lundbeck merry-go-round.

IFMAD
Click to view brochure

This November IFMAD are holding a symposium in Monte Carlo which is sponsored by an unrestricted grant from Lundbeck pharmaceuticals.

IFMAD is an abbreviation for ‘International Forum on Mood and Anxiety Disorders’ – an unfortunate abbreviation it has to be said. Their website is also sponsored by Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals.

According to their ‘Lundbeck sponsored’ website, IFMAD was founded in 2000 by ‘Professor Siegfried Kasper and Professor Stuart Montgomery’ and supported by a scientific committee from around the world.

So what, you may ask? What’s another pharma funded symposium? Why does it matter that the brochure has a huge advert for Lundbeck’s Cipralex/Lexapro? I dunno, you tell me, or maybe you could ask Brennan McCartney? No sorry, he’s dead, just because his doctor relied on the objectivity of the ‘experts’ advice, believed it, and subsequently prescribed Brennan a sample pack of Cipralex. You can read Brennan’s story here.

Coincidentally, both IFMAD founders, Siegfried Kasper (Austria) and Stuart A. Montgomery (UK), have previously ‘investigated’ Cipralex and both studies have had positive results here and here.

Irish Professor Timothy (Ted) Dinan is one of IFMADs scientific advisors, Again coincidentally, he is also a faculty member of the Lundbeck Institute here and a Lundbeck ‘Brain Explorer’ advisor, here. In fact Timothy et al also recently concluded a Cipralex study, this time in rodents, here. The first line states ‘Despite the clinical prevalence of the antidepressant escitalopram, over 30% of escitalopram-treated patients fail to respond to treatment’. Fairly objective statement you may think? In my opinion, that’s a very deceptive statement and expert spiel at its best. What it is actually saying is that Escitalopram (aka Cipralex/Lexapro) has clinical prevalence over other brands and that it works in almost 70% of cases.

Similarly, most of IFMAD’s scientific advisors (listed here), have participated in Cipralex studies and all (without exception) concluded positive results. Here’s a couple of examples: Christer Allgulander (Sweden) here, A.C Altamura (Italy) here, Michael Bauer (Germany) here and Naomi Fineberg (UK) here.

Again (Ahem) most likely coincidentally, at least 12 of IFMAD’s scientific advisors are also faculty members of the Lundbeck Institute: Dinan, Altamura, Boyer, Arango, Kennedy, Mendlewicz, Möller,  Papadimitriou, Rihmer, Stein, Vieta and Zohar.

Lars Von Knorring (Sweden) is an IFMAD scientific advisor. He lists Anne-Liis Von Knorring (relationship unknown) as one of his top co-authors here. She was the same professor who was accused of covering up the bad results of Lundbeck’s Celexa (same drug, different story) and actively misleading doctors and the public hereLars also did studies on Citalopram which once again proved positive; one example here.

Maybe I should get a life and forget that my son would be still alive if he didn’t take Citalopram (same drug as Cipralex), prescribed by doctors who believed in the ‘independent’ spiel dished out by ‘independent’ KOP’s (Key Opinion LiarsLeaders)? NO? You know what I think? I think that IFMAD is a Lundbeck creation, created to propagate the ‘independent’ KOP’s subjective pharma-funded belief in Lundbeck drugs. Yes IFMAD, IAM(VERYEFFING)MAD this lovely November morning! Lundbeck-funded propaganda at its worst.

Monte-Carlo (2002) here.

Monte-Carlo (2003) here.

Vienna (2005) here.

Vienna (2006) here.

Budapest (2007) here.

Vienna (2008) here.

Monaco (2009) here.

Vienna (2010) here.

Budapest (2011) here.

Barcelona (2012) here.

Monte Carlo (2013) here.

The Irish College of Phishy Psychiatry.

The Four Courts

It seems to me that our Irish Courts rely far to much on psychiatric ‘expert’ advise. What am I on about today, you might ask?

In a 2004 paper entitled ‘Expert Witness Perceptions of Bias in Experts’, Michael Commons et al had this to say:

“There are many ideal qualities for expert witnesses. The objectivity of the expert witness, in psychiatry or elsewhere, is one of the more valued qualities that an expert hopes to bring to the legal system, despite the latter’s necessarily partisan adversarial structure. Despite this ideal, dealing with bias constitutes one of the central challenges for expert witnesses in the legal system.”

I have never made any apologies for my caustic opinion of Irish Psychiatry (collectively) and I’m not about to now. Not just Patricia Casey and Ted Dinan but Irish psychiatry as a whole are like a pack of wolves cards ready to come tumbling down, drowning in their own chemically imbalanced pool of serotonin. They operate under the guise of helping people, and yet after my son died, while we were flailing about looking for answers, they went on the defensive and repeatedly kicked us when we were down. Protecting their medical model while bullying the living and discrediting the dead is not only unethical but inhumanity at its worst. Attending victims’ inquests as ‘independent’ experts while taking payment from the drug companies at issue is biased in the extreme.

The only reason that psychiatry Ireland were represented at my son’s inquest (by Patricia Casey who also had links to Lundbeck) was because I publicly stated that Lundbecks’ Cipramil/Celexa was the catalyst for my son’s death. What amazes me is that the Irish College of Psychiatry have ‘charity’ status here. I would have thought that being charitable would be an essential requisite for setting up a charity. Obviously not!

Getting back to my original point; After my son’s inquest the college released a statement here. Along with the implied message that Professor Healy’s testimony was fabricated, they further stated that “Antidepressants are effective in the treatment of depression and thus lead to a reduction in suicidal thoughts. The effective treatment of depression is an important means of reducing suicide rates.” Now you see, therein lies the problem. In Kinsella v Rafferty [2012] IEHC 529, (Full Case here), the Court listened to two psychiatrists. It found on the evidence of Dr. Lane that in the case of antidepressant medication, in at least 50% of cases, perhaps up to 70%, no improvement resulted and there was no return to normal functioning. Dr. Tobin, whilst disagreeing with the higher figure of 70% as being too pessimistic, nonetheless agreed that in cases of severe anxiety disorder, the failure rate in treatment was of the order of 50%.

Put your faith in the hands of the Irish College of Phishy Psychiatry, at your own risk. Have I been clear enough on my opinion?

By the way, I did invite Patricia Casey and Ted Dinan to our Wicklow talk but neither replied!

Expert Witness Perceptions of Bias in Experts.