cipramil (celexa) stories,, Dolin v SmithKline Beecham, Paxil, Seroxat

Dancing to the Piper’s tune..

Pharma funded Sane

What’s wrong with the above image, you might ask? What harm could possibly be drawn from this innocuous, even noble concept? A ‘charity’ with links to a pharmaceutical company extolling the virtues of using psychiatric drugs (that the same company might manufacture) – no conflict here, let’s move along.

Hmm, actually, let’s not. This twitter image was put out by the mental health charity ‘Sane’ – a group ‘partnered‘ by Lundbeck, a Pharmaceutical company that make drugs (of arguable-efficacy) that target depression. In fact, citalopram (sold as Celexa and Cipramil) is an SSRI antidepressant created by Lundbeck – it has been linked to more self-inflicted deaths in the UK than any other SSRI antidepressant. (My son being part of citalopram’s deadly Irish contingent.)

So, a suicide group with links to a pharmaceutical company whose very existence relies on manufacturing depression drugs – drugs that incidentally raise the risk of suicide – what could possibly be the problem? Indeed, this particular image was re-tweeted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, along with the following perspective:

Agreeing to take medication for my mental illness was massive for me. I was so ashamed that I had to take medication to sort my head out. But I’ve finally realised its the same as taking medication for a physical illness – makes you feel better.  

Eh, the fact that it’s the polar opposite to taking meds for a physical illness, could well be seen as a problem. Often likened to a person taking insulin for diabetes, according to Cochrane’s Peter C. Gøtzsche, this analogy is just plain wrong. He states:

When you give insulin to a patient with diabetes, you give something the patient lacks, namely insulin. Since we’ve never been able to demonstrate that a patient with a mental disorder lacks something that people who are not sick don’t lack, it is wrong to use this analogy… Moreover, in contrast to insulin, which just replaces what the patient is short of, and does nothing else, psychotropic drugs have a very wide range of effects throughout the body, many of which are harmful. So, also for this reason, the insulin analogy is extremely misleading.

Indeed, the fact that psychiatry, whose profession is largely reliant on the prescribing of psychotropic drugs, is pushing to end the ‘stigma’ of taking said drugs, could surely be seen as a conflict of interest? One look at an SSRI PIL will show that these commonly prescribed drugs can substantially increase the risk of suicide. In the case of GlaxoSmithKline’s paroxetine (where brand names include Paxil and Seroxat), a court case earlier this year revealed that the risk is actually 8.9% greater than placebo – see Dolin v GSK. However, that there is no mention of the increased risk of suicide with said psychotropics (from either body) is not just conflicting – it’s pretty shameful.

As shown above, ‘mental health charities’ often suggest there is no ‘shame’ in taking ones meds, implying an act of bravery – sure, aren’t the ‘mentally affected’ so feckin brave for taking their prescribed psychotropics? Pardon the sarcasm – I’m not suggesting for a second that a person who chooses to take prescribed medications, for whatever the reason, is deluded. There are many who need prescribed drugs to survive, and those who just feel they need them – that is their right of choice. However, it is a wholly different argument, that while many are dancing to his tune, one should know who’s actually paying the piper. Clearly, there is an underlying issue when we consider that people are medicated to such an extent that pharmaceutical residue is showing up in our rivers and seas – even affecting the way fish behave. Perhaps more disturbing, is that drugs such as steroids, antibiotics, antidepressants, contraceptives etc., are showing up in our drinking water (1).

While a recent English report found that that almost half (48%) of adults are consuming at least one prescription drug – almost a quarter (24%) are taking three or more drugs prescribed to them. The report calculated the total cost of prescriptions dispensed in the community (for 2016 alone), at £9.2 billion.

A very prosperous piper – indeed, one could say that medication is undoubtedly working for him (or her).


COLLIER, R. 2012. Swallowing the pharmaceutical waters. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal, 184, 163-164.

Adverse Reaction to SSRIs, Dolin v SmithKline Beecham, Iatrogenesis, Paroxetine, Paxil, Random, Seroxat

GSK’s Dirty Little Secret

Dolin v SmithKline Beecham

So, myself and my friend Stephanie were in Chicago this week. We had traveled across the Atlantic to hear the opening arguments of Dolin v. Smithkline Beecham Corp (now GlaxoSmithKline – GSK). For more background to this case, see here.

We arrived straight into an unprecedented weather event, Storm Stella – described in the media as a weather bomb, having undergone bombogenesis (haven’t a clue either). Thus, while we were a little worried that the trial might be postponed, we were more concerned with the liklihood of two Irish females freezing to death. However, despite hitting a cool minus-8, with some pretty bizarre white-out conditions, we survived and the trial went ahead as planned (with the Hon. William T. Hart presiding).

This case centers on Wendy Dolin, the plaintiff, alleging that her husband’s death in 2010 was drug-induced and that GSK failed to warn of the increased risk of suicide in older adults taking the antidepressant Paroxetine. Her lawyers, Baum Hedlund, contend that GSK hid a ‘dirty little secret’ – that the drug can cause akathisia, often coded under the innocuously-sounding ‘inner turmoil’. However, this drug-induced condition is far from harmless and injury to oneself and/or others, can quickly follow. Furthermore, as alleged in this case, it can often prove fatal; see here.

At the time of his death, Stewart Dolin was 57 and was a corporate lawyer with ReidSmith. While suffering from work-related stress, he was prescribed Paroxetine by his physician, Dr. Martin Sachman – a family friend. Paroxetine is perhaps more widely recognised by its trade name Paxil, or Seroxat in Europe. Six days after being prescribed a generic form of the drug, Stewart died by jumping in front of a Chicago train. He was affluent, well-liked by colleagues and well-loved by his family. Per one of his colleagues “Stu Dolin was a close personal friend, valued colleague and a great leader in our firm. His energy and spirit benefited everyone around him. The lawsuit claims that GSK failed to adequately warn doctors (including Dr. Sachman) of the increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults. Indeed, GSK’s opening argument proclaimed that ‘Paxil does not cause suicide’. That was then contradicted by GSK’s very own literature, where a 2006 analysis showed a 6.7 times greater risk of suicidal behaviour in adults (of all ages) taking Paxil, over placebo.

Doctor David Healy was on the stand for 2 full-days, as an expert witness for the plaintiff. His testimony included an account of how GSK had hidden suicide events from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), thus manipulating the suicide-ratio and effectively hiding the bodies. Explaining drug-induced suicides to the jury, his world-leading expert status in psychopharmacology was unquestionable. No doubt, GSK ‘s legal team will attempt to annihilate that particular status before he exposes any more ‘dirty little secrets’. Like how 100% of Paxil consumers will experience sexual dysfunction – another life changing adverse-effect he mentioned in court, and another one not precisely admitted to by the manufacturers.

Not surprisingly, GSK’s lawyers (King and Spalding), became increasingly apoplectic, interjecting every few minutes with their objections, which proved fascinating in itself. The last hour before the court adjourned for the week-end proved to be very enlightening indeed, with their team looking increasingly agitated. Doctor Healy was then asked some questions by the plaintiff’s legal team:

(1) Do you have any doubt that Paxil can cause suicide? He answered ‘No’.

(2) In your opinion, did GSK warn doctors of the increased risk of suicide in adults? Again he answered ‘No’.

There seemed little doubt to anyone listening that Paxil could cause Akathisia and/or a drug-induced suicide. However, no doubt GSK will have many experts to refute that, whatever the evidence has shown. Having listened to this week’s testimonies, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Steward Dolin’s death was induced by the Paxil he was taking in the final 6 days of his life. However, the trial will most-likely go on for another few weeks when the jury will ultimately decide. Sadly, as is normal in these legal cases, every aspect of Wendy and Stewart’s private life will be publicly torn to shreds, with their every move dissected to try and put doubt into the jury’s mind. Whatever the outcome, Stewart’s wife Wendy, is one very, very brave lady.

Clearly, GSK’s lawyers are particularly polished and well used to court proceedings. That said, following the jurys’ retirement for the weekend, there was a last minute crucial objection from their legal team. One of their lawyers raised a final grievance – that a lawyer for the plaintiff’s side had the cheek to say ‘have a good weekend’ to the jury. Seriously? Drug induced suicide was the issue here and this farewell gesture caused offence to GSK’s legal team?

Anyway, if you would like to see the three video depositions that were shown to the court; they were uploaded yesterday. You really don’t need to be a body language expert to determine how truthful these GSK experts are being – or not.

GSK Biostatistician John Davies Deposition in Paxil Suicide Case:

Damning Testimony from Former GlaxoSmithKline CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier in Paxil Suicide Case:

Former Glaxo Executive Jeffrey Dunbar Deposition in Paxil Suicide Case: