The Inquest of Jake McGill Lynch (age 14).

Jake's Inquest

Today I attended the inquest of Jake McGill Lynch, which concluded with the Coroner returning an open verdict. Firstly, amid all the legal argument, there was an infinitely more important factor; Jake..

In 2012 Jake was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome; he was just that ‘little bit different’ ye see. He was a little too intelligent; too good; too kind; too perfect to be perceived as a ‘normal’ disruptive adolescent. I often wonder why psychiatry gets to define what is ‘normal’, considering the lack of any scientific tests to determine otherwise. Are we not all individuals with traits that others would see as abnormal? Are our strange and weird traits not what makes us likable, or even unlikable? Sure, Jake liked routine and things to be in order, a place for everything and everything in its place – not a bad trait I’d say, but nowadays it’s ‘diagnosable’. This extraordinarily intelligent young man was diagnosed, labeled forever, for being just that little too perfect.

Jake was an articulate, handsome young man. He had an online girlfriend, loved to play with his Lego and like ‘normal’ 14 year olds, spent hours on his beloved Xbox. He had joined a gun club with his mam and idolized his big brother and little dog Charlie (equally). He loved his native language and was a fluent Irish speaker.

Jake was primarily a happy camper with few problems, apart from feeling a little anxious on stressful occasions. He was attending a counsellor to help with his feelings of anxiety. When the counsellor decided that Jake didn’t need any more sessions as he was “the happiest she had ever seen him”, she referred him to a psychiatrist. His mam thought that this referral was in order to sign Jake off. Inexplicably, instead of signing Jake off, the psychiatrist prescribed Jake an SSRI Fluoxetine (aka Prozac), to ‘help with his exams’. Neither his mam or dad were given a patient information leaflet (PIL) or any information on side effects – suicidality or otherwise. Therefore, they were not told that SSRIs, including Prozac, doubled the risk of suicide.

Jake's Parents.
Jake’s Parents.

Jake’s medication was doubled after a week, without seeing the prescribing psychiatrist. He became increasingly restless and had a meltdown in school which was totally out of character. 46 days after his prescription for Prozac, Jake’s parents found him on the floor of his bedroom – he had shot himself in the head with his legally held rifle. He was rushed to hospital but declared dead a short time later.

The psychiatrist had previously testified that she prescribed Jake with Prozac ‘to help with his exams’ because he had had ‘a meltdown’ while doing an Irish exam. This off label prescribing is truly shocking, but what is worse is the fact that Jake’s ‘meltdown’ occurred 5 days AFTER he was prescribed Prozac, not before. Why would a doctor get this so wrong? Is covering their own backsides more important than revealing the true circumstances surrounding the death of a 14 year old child? Do Jake’s parents not deserve to be presented with all the facts, not a cover-up? The HSE’s barrister spends a lot of time in the Coroner’s Court – he’s obviously very good at what he does. Personally I think an apology would be far cheaper. Jake, the 14 year old child in the middle of all this, seemed to get overlooked in copious legal argument.
The Irish drug regulator, HPRA, states that ‘Prozac is not for use in children and adolescents under 18’ here. The HPRA further states that if Prozac is prescribed off-label to a child over 8 (Sweet Jesus) with ‘moderate to severe major depressive disorder’, that it should be offered only in combination with psychological therapy. JAKE DID NOT HAVE DEPRESSION! In 2005 the Committee on Human Medicinal Products, CHMP, advised that SSRIs ‘should not be used in children and adolescents except within their approved indications – not usually depression – because of the risk of suicide-related behaviour and hostility’. If prescribed off-label, the CHMP recommends that patients should ‘be monitored carefully for the appearance of suicidal behaviour, self-harm or hostility, particularly at the beginning of treatment’. Why then was Jake’s prescription for 10mgs of Prozac doubled the following week, without even seeing the psychiatrist? I would not call that careful monitoring.
What was particularly grueling for the family, was the 13 appearances in the Coroner’s Court, mainly for legal arguments over whether the family had a right to call an expert witness (David Healy). Not surprisingly the HSE barrister was vehemently opposed to David Healy taking the stand, stating that if he was allowed to be the family’s ‘expert witness’, they (the HSE) had an ‘expert witness’ who would say the opposite. I’m sure they had! The coroner refused the family’s request, referring to the limitations of the Coroner’s Act 1962 and the case of Eastern Health Board v Farrell, but said he’d have no objection to the family having an expert to ‘advise’ them on the day. By this stage Dr Healy was in the US, so Declan Gilsenan (retired assistant state-pathologist) came to the rescue and stepped in to advise Jake’s family. He has publicly stated “Based on my experience of doing postmortems on people where anti-depressants have been started fairly recently I would have concerns about the link to suicide”.
It is of particular significance, that in May 2012 Dr Gilsenan attended Leinster House with Dr Healy, warning that these drugs were causing many deaths and asking for an investigation to be initiated. Nothing was done – NINE months later Jake was given a prescription for Prozac and the cycle continued.
Leinster House-9 months before Jake was prescribed Prozac
What was awful today, apart from hearing the circumstances of Jake’s death, was looking into the faces of his grieving parents. That familiar look of unbearable pain etched on their faces, the unbelievable loss of their son who had so much to give – all totally avoidable. Another Irish boy lost through psychiatric drugs and another doctor being permitted to recollect ‘facts’ that just don’t add up; another mom and dad left bewildered and lost; another year, another death and still our Ministers avert their eyes and do nothing. Shame on them and the Irish Government.
The coroner, having heard arguments for the rights and wrongs of prescribing Prozac in children, said that it was “beyond his capabilities to adjudicate on Fluoxetine” but could not ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ say that Jake intended to take his own life. He then rejected a suicide verdict and returned an open verdict.
Dia leat Jake. Ní dhéanaimid dearmad ort go deo. 
The last word must go to Jake. It clarifies exactly what his family have been fighting for. In an e-mail the night before his death, he said (verbatim).. “The ‘anti-anxiety’ stuff is actually an anti depressant which they didn’t tell me. Probably doesn’t make much of a difference, but I feel like I’m drugged to the point that it suppresses everything bad until it suddenly spills out.”
Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Eli Lilly and the Irish Government

Corruption picture courtesy of topnews.inI often wondered how involved the Irish Government is with the cesspit that is the pharmaceutical industry. I have never been able to understand why the Irish Government have failed to protect its citizens from the dangers of dubious drugs; drugs that are not illegal but prescribed to innocent people and licensed by the Irish Medicines Board.

This week it was reported that the Irish Government came under pressure from the larger pharmaceutical firms over the HSE’s 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 naturally, like good little boys, our Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his sidekick James Reilly backed down.

The Irish Times reported that Minister Reilly and Enda Kenny met with representatives of ‘Abbott Laboratories’ in July. The Times further reported that James Reilly met with Andrew Hotchkiss (European boss of Eli Lilly) in June and that Enda Kenny attended the Eli Lilly board dinner at the Old Kinsale golf club on June 2011. Bit too close for comfort? This year Abbott Laboratories were fined $1.6 billion for off-label marketing of Depakote (an anti-seizure drug). They actively promoted this dangerous drug for dementia sufferers in nursing homes; nice company! Can dementia sufferers answer back?

Ah yes, then there is Eli Lilly; one of the bigger pharma companies, and one with the dubious accolade of being fined over a billion dollars for the illegal off-label marketing of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa. In previously hidden data which Eli Lilly did not want to become public knowledge, Zyprexa had the highest suicide rate in clinical trial history. If that wasn’t bad enough, the drug was known to cause diabetes in some people. Eli Lilly are also the creators of Prozac, you know the one; mother’s little helper.  Prozac has caused numerous deaths (including Maria’s son, Toran Henry) and was found, last Nov, by a Canadian Judge, to be the cause of a teenager (with no history of violence) killing his friend. Lilly’s Cymbalta was the drug that Traci Johnson (a 19 year old student) was on when she died by suicide in an Eli Lilly lab. She had no history of depression and was a ‘healthy’ volunteer.

Eli LillyUnsurprisingly perhaps, Eli Lilly are not fans of Professor David Healy, who was instrumental in getting the ‘hidden’ data released. In the internal e-mail on the left, Lilly execs stated, among other things, that conferences will not receive sponsorship if ‘Healy’ was present. You couldn’t make it up, could you?

Then there is John Virapen who I mentioned in my last post. He worked for Eli Lilly for over 30 years and describes how he bribed a Swedish Government official to ‘help’ with the licencing of Prozac. You can download a free copy of his book here. It makes for very interesting reading.

John Virapen:

“I am not afraid of my former bosses, even though I know that others, who revealed wrongdoings, have all gambled with their lives to do so. The pharmaceutical industry’s lobby is extremely powerful. It constantly lobbies politicians and the judiciary and even blackmails governments by threatening to withdraw investments or to close down sites, thus, creating unemployment in a country. Before you know it, the government backs down and plays the game, just as the industry stipulates.”

Looks like the pharmaceutical industry is calling the shots in Ireland. Collateral damage wasn’t mentioned at the dinner, was it Enda? It will be interesting to see how many of the 2o lobbying pharmaceutical companies these two representatives of the Irish public, met up with. No such thing as a free lunch? Well for the Irish people whose health is on the table, it seems not, but it seems to be a different story for our own ‘Sir Stan and Hardy’.

Does that sound very irreverent? I have zero respect for a Government, who are aware that prescribed drugs are killing people, and are burying their heads in the sand due to kowtowing to the billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. Is it an excuse to say that all Governments do it? I think not. My son was Irish, he was born in Ireland, he loved Ireland and yet he was badly let down by these ‘penpushers’ we call Ministers.







lundbeck, Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Dr No: No, doctors don’t Know…

Depressed DoctorToday’s Irish Independent reported on the tragic deaths of two young doctors from Tallaght Hospital. The two junior doctors had died by ‘their own hand’ in the past six months.

The article raises concerns about the ‘high-pressure and stressful work environments in the country’s hospitals’. The article states that ‘doctor support services’ have warned that the deaths are not isolated incidents and urged medics to seek help rather than self-treat when they are sick. Dr Ide Delargy, said: “Doctors don’t tend to come forward for treatment at the moment. They tend to self-treat and self-medicate…”

Is anyone, apart from me, seeing a totally different perspective here? Doctors are bombarded from a early stage in their training with pharmaceutical company funding and drug company spiel. Medical students and young doctors are more likely to believe what the ‘friendly’ drug company sales rep is saying; the sales rep’s objective is to convince the medical professionals that their drugs are ‘safe and effective’. As we all know, that’s not always true; perhaps more often than not, untrue and a downright lie.

As we now know, most of the large pharmaceutical companies have been slapped with hefty fines for wrongdoing and fraudulent marketing, some amounting to billions; take a bow GSK, Pfizer, Abbott, Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly. John Virapen, who worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 35 years, mostly for Eli Lilly, but with various others including Lundbeck, has said the sales reps are taught to persuade, bribe and use whatever it takes to get these (often dangerous) drugs prescribed. He readily admitted to bribing the Swedish government in order to get Eli Lilly’s Prozac past the licencing process. He also said, in the case of SSRIs, that reps were aware that these drugs were causing people to kill themselves and others but they were told to keep quiet.

My point is that these young doctors are victims of pharmaceutical industry propaganda. They believe that these so called ANTIdepressants will do exactly what it says on the tin. Yes, I’m aware that these drugs work for some people, and whether or not that’s because of the placebo effect hardly matters; If they work for you, that’s great. In many, many cases though, the word ‘ANTIdepressant’ is false advertising at its very worst, as these drugs at least double the risk of suicide upon starting, discontinuing and change of dosage (up or down). In the US, after accidents, suicide is the most common cause of death among medical students. It seems that there are problems here in Ireland too with self medicating. Unless the media (against the recommended guidelines it has to be said) actively report on the circumstances surrounding a person who has died by their own hand, we might never know if the drugs played a part. From what I have observed in over 3 years of researching, my opinion is that the majority of people who die by suicide have been on one antidepressant or another at the time leading up to their deaths. False advertising? For these people, ‘depressant’ would have been a better word.

Ex Pharmaceutical Rep John Virapen: “I became the General Manager of Eli Lilly & Company in Sweden and later worked for global players such as Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck from Denmark. As far as the product range goes: sometimes it was wonder pills against arthritis, or the human insulin scandal, or rejuvenating cures (growth hormones), and finally the new psychotropic family of Selective Serotonin Reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are wrongly called mood lifters. These drugs are anything but that. They drive people to suicide or to kill others.” (Preface Page ix) Free download of John Virapen’s brilliant book Side Effects Death’.

BMJ, British Medical Journal: Doctors’ self prescribing.

Dr Janet Wreglesworth was prescribed Cipramil/Celexa in Nov 07. She was dead by Feb 08.

Dr Mark Gradwell diagnosed himself with “full blown clinical depression” and was prescribed anti-depressants.

Console.ie/2012 “In the year prior to death, 81% (of suicide victims) had been in contact with their GP or a mental health service. Among those who had been in contact with the GP, the majority (67.4) had done so 4 times or more during the year prior to death.” Link


Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Peter Needham (another victim) and yet another Coroner’s warning.

In March of last year, an Inquest was held into the death of  Peter Needham, 40 (a former British Aerospace inspector). Mr Needham was described as a normal, happy, sociable, lovely guy. His dad described him as ‘a beautiful son’. How did Peter (a sociable and popular man) get to the Inquest stage at 40? Very easily!

(1) 40-year-old Peter had been diagnosed with diabetes last March and prescribed a drug to deal with a tingling sensation in his foot. The medication he was prescribed is also used as an antidepressant. Duloxetine (aka Cymbalta) comes with warnings of suicidality, agression and depression. The sad fact is that at least 5 people killed themselves while trialing this drug in clinical trials for Eli-Lilly. This should have raised a red flag but no! The drug went on to be licenced and Eli-Lilly made billions. What’s a few bodies between drug companies?

(2) After voicing concerns about feeling down, Peter was prescribed a different anti-depressant, Sertraline, five days before his death. Sertraline (aka Zoloft) also comes with warnings of suicidality, aggression and depression. Pfizer discovered in their clinical trials that this drug also increased suicidal behavior and fared negatively in treating depression. Despite the negative results of these trials, Zoloft went on to be licensed and Pfizer made billions. What’s a few bodies between drug companies? Just ask Woody.

(3) Two days after taking Sertraline/Zoloft, Peter started to visit websites on how to take his own life.

(4) Five days after taking Sertraline/Zoloft, Peter hanged himself at his home in Springhead.

The Coroner (Simon Nelson) said it was “difficult to ignore” the link between Peter taking the medication and his death. He said that he would write to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and British Medical Association to raise his concerns about prescription-medicine labelling.

Holding up a page filled with small-print instructions, he said: “To the untrained eye and in particular the first-time user this would be completely off-putting. To discover those warnings half way down the small print is wholly inappropriate.”

Six weeks later another Inquest was held, this time in Ireland, which involved the same drug, only this time it was Nicolas Maguire, 52, from County Cork.

So another Coroner’s warning and the governments are still doing nothing? How many people have died today because these useless, spineless, pen-pushers are not doing their job? That includes our own Kathleen Lynch and James Reilly!


Update on our complaint to the Irish Medical Council.

Our complaint to the Irish Medical Council and their decision.

In August 2010 we made a complaint to the Irish Medical council (IMC) about Shane’s treatment from the Doctors he saw in his last 17 days. 

The basis of our complaint was “Why were these doctors not aware that when a person starts an antidepressant, there is a markedly increased risk of suicide ideation and also that there is a certain percentage of people who can react violently and deadly to this medication?”. We wanted to know, considering the above, why was Shane allowed to get a prescription for a months supply of this drug and if this is common policy, then surely this practise should be revised.

We were very aware that antidepressants caused this horrific event in our lives and that of another family and we had a report from a medical expert (Prof. Healy) who testified to this, so we were particularly concerned that if this practise is not changed, the potential is always there for another family tragedy.

The first step in a complaint to the Irish Medical Council is a meeting to decide if the complaint will go further and if the Doctors in question will or wont have anything to answer for. This meeting has been put off twice now, the last time because the IMC needed a report from an independent third party. I asked if they were aware that professor David Healy had written an extensive report for Shane’s inquest and insisted on forwarding the same to the IMC. They said they were awaiting a report from a Professor Philip Cowen from Oxford University, so naturally enough the first thing I did was Google this professor along with the name Lundbeck. I discovered that Conflict of interest is clearly an issue here and I e-mailed the IMC to notify them of my concerns…

 May 16 2011

Hi Roslyn,
I trust you received Professor Healy’s report?
I did a quick google search of Professor Cowen and I would have thought, under the circumstances of my son’s death and the fact that lundbeck are the makers of citalopram, the engagement of this professor would surely be a “conflict of interest” but I’m sure you know better than I how to go about investigating these matters!
I would like to be kept informed, if you do go with this professor or indeed any other expert the medical council decide on.
Yours Sincerely,
Leonie Fennell

I also attached this to the bottom of my e-mail…

Philip J. Cowen, MD, FRCPsych
University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK. Email: phil.cowen@psych.ox.ac.uk
Declaration of interest
P.J.C. has been a paid member of boards that have advised different drug companies on the development of antidepressant drugs. In the past 3 years these companies have included Eli Lilly, Lundbeck and Servier. P.J.C. has also received remuneration for scientific advice given to legal representatives of GlaxoSmithKline.
Link… http://bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/abstract/198/5/333


The Medical Council meeting is scheduled for July 21th but I think I already suspect what the outcome will be, considering P.J. Cowens afilliation with Lundbeck, is it  possible for him to give an independent unbiased opinion? Why would anyone who gets paid by a company, subsequently acknowledge that these drugs have the potential to drive a person to commit acts of “self harm and harm to others”, a fact already acknowledged by Lundbeck but denied by the very same company on Irish T.V.

Why would he even be asked by the Irish Medical Council to do a report? How much money are these distinguished Professors receiving from pharmaceutical companies each year, and can you call yourself an independent medical advisor if you are “a paid member of boards that have advised different drug companies on the development of antidepressant drugs”.

Rather than getting myself into trouble again, I’ll let you decide for yourself if Philip J. Cowen was the right man for the job….

2002 study, Citalopram was a gift from Lundbeck. Link.

2002 paper, Declaration of interest. PJC has advised Lundbeck, Eli Lilly and Servier in the last 2 years. Link.

2007 paper. Declaration of interest. P.J.C. has served as a paid member of advisory boards for Eli Lilly, Lundbeck, Servier and Wyeth. Link.

2009, BJPsych declaration of interest. P.J.C. has been a member of advisory boards of pharmaceutical companies marketing antidepressants. Link.

2010 Paper. Declaration of interest. PJC has been a paid member of advisory boards of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Eli Lilly, Servier, Wyeth, and Xytis and has been a paid lecturer for Eli Lilly, Servier, and GlaxoSmithKline. He has received remuneration for scientific advice given to legal representatives of GlaxoSmithKline. Link.

Feb 2010. PJC was a speaker at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Annual meeting sponsored by Lundbeck and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Link.

BJPsych 2011. Declaration of interest P.J.C. has been a paid member of boards that have advised different drug companies on the development of antidepressant drugs. In the past 3 years these companies have included Eli Lilly,Lundbeck and Servier. P.J.C. has also received remuneration for scientific advice given to legal representatives of GlaxoSmithKline. Link.

April 2011. PJC was a speaker at the Athens Lundbeck Symposium. Link.

Updated, 20/07/2011.

I have just found out that the head of the Irish Medical Council is Prof. Kieran Murphy, a psychiatrist. He is also on the Board of the Irish College of Psychiatrists. The Irish College of psychiatry have been very verbal in their opinion since Shane’s Inquest and have been very outspoken in their denial that antidepressants can cause either suicide or homicide. They also dismissed Professor Healy’s report as “based on speculation”. Two examples of their opinion..Here and Here. I find it ironic that the Irish College of psychiatry can say this report is based on speculation when their whole profession is based upon the same.

Considering this information, have the Irish Medical Council already made up their minds as to the outcome of our complaint?

In my opinion, the flagrant and multiple conflict of interest here is a disgrace and if we had any chance of getting a fair and unbiased hearing, our complaint should not have been dealt with by either professors (Cowen or Murphy).


Random Facts…

The Medical Council Members were appointed by Minister Mary Harney who incidentally opened the new Dublin Offices of Lundbeck. Another random (or not) thought…Dr. Mc’Manus is the guy that I have a major issue with, because he gave Shane a months supply of Citalopram, despite the fact that according to his medical records, Shane admitted to having suicidal thoughts. Dr.Mc’Manus was married to Liz Mc’Manus who was the deputy leader of the Labour Party and party Spokesperson for health from 2002–07 (now retired). He is also reported to be one of the top earners in North Wicklow. In 2005, he earned €438,245 in medical card fees alone. Link.

Another random (or not) political fact, She who must not be named, also from the college of psychiatry of Ireland, who was at Shane’s Inquest and has had “issues” with the verdict since she voiced her opinion on RTE afterwards, is reported by the Irish Independent to be instrumental in the nomination of Mary McAleese for president.

A few days after a visit to Knock, Mary (McAleese) phoned Patricia Casey, with whom she had become friendly after their appearance on The Late Late Show. Casey was prepared to  use her considerable influence on Mary’s behalf. The Cork-born psychiatrist was well-placed to exert some influence on the Fianna Fail organisation. Patricia Casey contacted the Wicklow TD, Dick Roche, for whom she had canvassed in the previous election. Link.

Why, you might ask, am I going in this direction? Mary McAleese is the patron of “the Irish Association of suicidology” and when I wrote to her asking for an investigation into these drugs, she replied that she was “prevented from intervening in matters which are the responsibility of the government”.


Update,  22/07/2011

Sent the IMC an e-mail to see what the outcome was yesterday…No response.

Update 27/07/2011


Update 10/10/2011

The Irish Medical Council decided not to give me a copy of Professor Cowen’s report, now there’s a surprise! Wonder why? They had a copy of Professor Healy’s report that said, in his opinion Lundbeck’s Citalopram had made Shane suicidal and homicidal and they had Professor Cowen’s report which said what?? Considering the dire possible consequences to other consumers of ssri’s and the medical council’s job to protect people from dangerous medical situations, Professor Cowen’s report must have been very convincing. His expertise must have been superior to Professor Healy’s. His links to Lundbeck are easy to find on the Internet but his expert ssri qualifications are not!

 The second letter states that the Irish Medical Council are not taking my complaint any further because there is insufficient cause to warrant further action.  So the medical council’s job is to protect people from harm and they think it’s o.k for medical professionals to hand out a months supply of potentially fatal medication with known risks of suicide ideation, to already vulnerable patients? In my opinion, the Medical Council didn’t do it’s job!


Prozac, Eli-Lilly and bribing the Swedish government.

“I bribed the Swedish Government to get the licence for Prozac”. These are the words of Dr. John Virapen who worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 35 years.  I have written about Dr. Virapen before because he told me about the corruption he got up to when he worked for Lundbeck. Anyway before he was employed by Lundbeck he worked for Eli-Lilly who are the manufacturers of Prozac. He refers to bribing Swedish officials because Eli-Lilly told him his job depended on it. He also says that the pharmaceutical industry have been buying doctors, picking them up in medical scool and paying their tuition to influence their prescribing. His new you-tube video is here. Link.

He was at one stage in charge of a clinical study for Prozac in one of the largest hospitals in Stockholm. The first week of the trial two of the volunteers tried to commit suicide which he admits is a well known side-effect of ssri medication.

He says that the pharmaceutical industry is now trying to target children with these drugs, Strattera, Prozac, Ritalin, Paxil, Zoloft, Ect. and that hand picked psychiatrists, paid for by the pharma industry, meet once a year to come up with new “disorders”. (unetical psychiatrists? No way!)

He says in one year 157 people were either killed or seriously injured by Strattera, among the victims was a 3 year old girl.

Eli-Lilly; NY Times continues spotlight on Eli-Lilly corruption. Zyprexa deaths and Ghostwriting.

Eli Lilly treated the American public “like guinea pigs” says Harvard psychiatrist. 
Eli-Lilly cases on Professor Healy’s website…                                                                                                                                                   
Let them eat Prozac.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


Scientist weeps at inquest into Prozac death.  Professor Hay told the coroner he was looking into the role of Prozac in his wife’s illness and whether the standard one-a-day 20mg dose was too much for some people.

Prozac killed my wife.

Eli Lilly, the manufacturers of Prozac, gave the usual Inquest statement: “There is no credible scientific evidence that establishes a causal connection between Prozac and violent or suicidal behaviour.”

So tell me, what do our politicians and IDA officials talk about when they meet up with Eli-Lilly personel? Looks like there having fun. I guess they’re not talking about Maria’s son Toran, who was 17 when he killed himself on Prozac. Link. Or maybe the murder/suicide of William and June Forsyth in Hawaii?  Link. Or was it the upcoming Prozac murder trial tommorrow? Link. What about the Wesbecker Trial which Eli-Lilly secretly settled while the trial was ongoing, or maybe they talked about Tracy Johnson the 19 year old volunteer who killed herself in the Lilly Lab during a drug trial? Link. No? Didn’t think so!

lundbeck, Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry

Something is rotten in Irish Psychiatry.

Something stinks in this country with Irish psychiatry and their cosy relationship with pharmaceutical companies. The two are seemingly (or unseemly) very closely involved and the small matter of “conflict of interests” doesn’t seem to enter into the equasion.

I found it very hard to understand why some members of Irish psychiatry seemed to have such a big issue with us telling the truth about the possible side effects of suicide/homicide associated with ssri antidepressants, and their frantic denials of either in the media. Surely public awareness can only be a good thing? It didn’t take much researching to find some members with very dubious cosy relationships with lundbeck and other pharmaceutical companies, mostly with their own particular brand of SSRI antidepressant…

Even our Ministers are in on the act; Pharmaceutical company Lundbeck’s Ireland offices, were officially opened by Mary Harney, TD, Minister for Health and Children. Health, children and Lundbeck Mary?

Seven of the eight professor’s who signed the letter in my previous post…

Prof Patricia Casey, UCD: Long history of collaboration with pharmaceutical company lundbeck, and has Previously sued Dr Michael Corry.

Prof Timothy Dinan, UCC: also a long history of collaboration with lundbeck and has lectured at meetings and served on advisory boards organised by companies promoting antipsychotic medications, including Eli Lilly, Janssen-Cilag, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, and is also a clinical trials subcommitee member with the Irish Medicines Board. He has lectured at meetings sponsored by or acted as an advisor to all companies who market a branded SSRI. He contributed to the Lundbeck Mental health barometer report. He has also previously made a complaint to the medical council against Dr Michael Corry.

Prof David Meagher, University of Limerick: Dr Meagher has received research grant funding from Astra-Zeneca and has acted as a advisory consultant for Pfizer, Eli-Lilly, Bristol-Meyers, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals as well as receiving travel support from Smith-Kline Beecham, Eli-Lilly, Astra-Zeneca, Novartis, Wyeth, and Bristol-Meyers Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Prof Brian Lawlor, Saint James’s Hospital, Dublin: Prof Lawlor has loaned his name to and put his shoulder behind the ‘Mind Yourself — Mental Health in Later Life’ campaign, a project that has been enabled by the generous support of Lundbeck (Ireland) Ltd. He also contributed to the booklet of the same name.

Prof James v Lucey, St Patrick’s Hospital Dublin: Jan 07 Speaker at DIT Conference, sponsored by Lundbeck. Nov 2010 Lecture supported by educational grants from AstraZeneca, Janssen, Lundbeck and MPS. Speaker at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)’s Alumni Weekend 2011, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland; Global Medical; Hermitage Medical Clinic; Lundbeck; and Pfizer.

Prof Kevin Malone, St Vincent’s University Hospital/UCD: He is a co-founder of “Turn the Tide of Suicide” charity which was founded to raise awareness of the problem of suicide in Ireland and to raise funds to help lower suicide rates through dedicated research, educational support and intervention and yet will put his name to denials of side effects already admitted by pharmaceutical companies and disregard the findings of  the only Irish expert on ssri antidepressants, Professor David Healy. Prof. Malone was a scientific advisor for the AFSP who’s founders were among others, Bristol Myers Squibb, Forest labs and J&j. Eli-Lilly was a benefactor and Lundbeck a listed patron.

Prof Michael Gill, TCD: was a judge at the All Ireland institute of psychiatry Belfast and was sponsored by GSK, makers of Seroxat. He is part of the VISIOn team which is sponsored by, among others, janssen-cilag, Astra zeneca, Pfizer and Eli-lilly. Professor Michael Gill and Dr Louise Gallagher of TCD’s Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine – will lead a €12 million Global Autism Genome Project,  of which  €5 million has been received from the Health Research Board (HRB), as well as an additional €7 million from a variety of international organisations.

Newspaper and internet articles

Traci Johnson

Was Traci Johnson driven to suicide by anti-depressants? That’s a trade secret, say US officials

Sunday, 19 June 2005

Researchers trying to establish the truth about a new drug – now on sale in the UK – are being thwarted by a government agency whose job is to protect the public

By Jeanne Lenzer and Nicholas Pyke

When the body of a 19-year-old student, Traci Johnson, was found hanging from a shower rod in the laboratories of pharmaceuticals giant Eli Lilly, US officials were quick to announce that the death could not be linked to a new anti-depressant drug she was helping to test.

During her stay at the hotel-cum-clinic in Indiana known as the Lilly Lab, Johnson had been taking part in trials for a secret new formula called Cymbalta, a chemical cousin of Prozac, which the company hoped would guarantee huge profits for years to come.

For the drugs giant, her death on 7 February last year was an “isolated tragedy” that did not prevent it from pressing ahead with the Cymbalta trials. It is now on sale in the US and – under another name – in Europe and the UK.

But for the scientific community it was another warning bell about a class of medicines already under scrutiny for possible ties to suicide. After all, Johnson was not depressed. Far from it. She enrolled in the clinical trial as a healthy volunteer in order to earn money to pay for her college tuition. Anyone with signs of depression was excluded.

Now, medical researchers attempting to establish the truth about Cymbalta are asking why her disturbing and very public suicide is completely absent from the official record, at least as it is released to academics and the public. According to an investigation by The Independent on Sunday, this and at least four other suicides by volunteers have been hidden by the US regulators, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As the FDA admits, even a young woman’s death counts as a commercial secret in the world of pharmaceuticals.

Last week, the IoS reported how vital data on prescription medicines found in millions of British homes has been suppressed by the US authorities, even though the information could potentially save lives. As a result, medical specialists say they have been unable to assess the true risks of big-name products such as painkillers Vioxx (now withdrawn) and Neurofen.

It is hard to overestimate the importance of Cymbalta to Eli Lilly. Prozac, the popular antidepressant that accounted for a quarter of the company’s $10bn revenues in 2000, went off-patent in August 2001, causing a bruising financial reaction on Wall Street. In just one day, the company’s stock plunged by almost a third.

The replacement was supposed to be Cymbalta, which financial analysts predicted would bring in a whopping $2bn in sales.

Lilly defended its drug, saying that 4,142 depressed patients had taken Cymbalta and the deaths represent a 0.097% suicide rate. Besides, it said, it is the underlying depression – not the drug – that causes sufferers to become suicidal.

With so much at stake, the FDA sent experts to Indianapolis to investigate. When they announced that Cymbalta “couldn’t be linked to her death”, her family was outraged. According to the Johnson family spokesperson, Pastor Joel Barnaby, FDA officials never spoke to them.

National headlines following the FDA ruling were unequivocal. The Associated Press ran an article entitled, “FDA clears Lilly drug in suicide”. And six months after Johnson’s death, the FDA approved the drug for the treatment of depressed patients. Cymbalta, which has the chemical name duloxetine, is also sold for “stress urinary incontinence” in Europe and the UK under the trade name Yentreve.

Beginning in January, the IoS started filing US Freedom of Information Act requests for all safety data relating to the drug’s use. The FDA responded with its Adverse Events Reporting System (Aers) database, which shows 13 suicides reported among patients taking duloxetine and about 41 deaths. Five suicides are notably absent from the information supplied by the FDA; that of Johnson and the four patients who committed suicide while enrolled in clinical trials of Cymbalta.

The FDA has a good reason not to release any information about these five patients: they don’t have to. In fact, it’s against the law, according to Dr Robert Temple, its director of medical policy. In an exclusive interview with the IoS, he said that some of the data filed by Lilly is considered commercially protected information.

When asked whether the FDA would release all the data from anti-depressant trials analysed by the FDA to a researcher, Dr Temple said his belief is that “the answer is clearly no”. That, he said, is something “only Congress can change”.

Dr David Graham, associate safety director at the FDA, agreed with Dr Temple that it would take action by Congress to make data available that are currently considered trade secrets. “Most of us think of trade secrets as a manufacturing process or the names of certain ingredients, but here, deaths are being considered trade secrets.”

Following revelations that drug companies were not publishing negative data, Eli Lilly won praise for its announcement that it would disclose all clinically relevant trial data on its website. The company has stated that it will disclose “all medical research results that are significant to patients, health care providers or payer – whether favourable or unfavourable to a Lilly product”.

The company posts clinical trials results on its freely available clinical trials website (www.lillytrials.com). Data from seven trials of duloxetine are posted, but these show a total of two deaths associated with duloxetine, and no reported suicides. Lilly says that it is “on track” to post all clinical data by 1 July 2005.

A spokesman for Eli Lilly, David Shaffer, said some of the studies are still in progress and that the suicides would be reported when the studies are completed, the data is reviewed and, if applicable, they have been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Other suicides occurred in depression studies “run by another company”. Two cases from a completed study will be posted by 1 July, he said.

Dr Jerome Hoffman, professor of medicine and emergency medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles said, “Like Dr Temple, I don’t know whether this one young woman’s death was related to this drug, nor do I believe that it’s possible for anyone to determine that with certainty.”

But he said it was “unconscionable” that “the FDA appears to be prevented by law from carrying out what we all surely believe is its primary role in this process, which is to safeguard the interests of the public.

“The fact that the law not only does not make this a requirement – of the drug company itself, no less of the FDA – but that it actually makes it forbidden, clearly turns the function of this government agency on its head: from protector of the public health, to protector of industry.”