cipramil (celexa) stories,, Newspaper and internet articles, Our story., psychiatry, Shanes story.

My ‘Mad in America’ article…

Mad in AmericaToday my article was published on Robert Whitaker’s ‘Mad in America’ website, here.

This follows the publication of my November article in the Irish Independent, here. I really appreciate the publication of my work/views, particularly as it might just warn somebody, or give an insight into the corrupt pharmaceutical industry. The most telling sentence in the Independent article is the last one “The Irish Medicines Board declined to comment.” It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. The body entrusted with the safety of Irish medicine couldn’t or wouldn’t clarify the situation?

I have previously quoted John Le Carré; speaking of his fictional writings of the pharma industry, he said “…But I can tell you this. As my journey through the pharmaceutical jungle progressed, I came to realise that, by comparison with the reality, my story was as tame as a holiday postcard.” From my experiences since Shane died in 2009, I think even John Le Carré may have underestimated the extent of the corruption within the pharmaceutical industry, which tapers all the way down to your friendly, or not so friendly, GP.

The pharma corruption is then firmly established by psychiatry’s active and frantic denials of any problems with the pills they prescribe. Even our KOPs (Key Opinion Leader’s) in Irish psychiatry will attend inquests in order to argue that the victims death was due to his/her own fault and not the fault of the drug itself. They will trample over the dead bodies and grieving relatives in order that the defense of the drug be heard.

In case I sound like a ‘conspiracy theorist’ here, let me clarify that one. I believe that antidepressants (SSRIs in particular) cause suicide and cause homicide, among other terrible reactions. I believe that that is what happened in the case of Shane, my son. I firmly believe that psychiatry worldwide know full well that these drugs are very dangerous, but are protecting their own monetary interests. People say that these drugs save lives, and maybe that is the case, BUT, that has nothing to do with the fact that they can also kill. My son never offered to be a number in the carcrash of collateral damage left behind.

So, that’s why I appreciate the publication of my work.  If you are reading this, maybe you will be pre-warned of the possible dangers, when you or a loved-one are prescribed these drugs.

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Cases, Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Merck, still corrupt, and still in Ireland.

This week it was reported by Pharmalot that Pfizer has reached an agreement in principle with the US Department of Justice to resolve a foreign bribery investigation. The “potentially improper payments” (Bribes) relate to sales activities in countries other than the US; Pfizer have numerous medications approved by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) and subsequent numerous “Dear Healthcare Professional” warnings, albeit after the fact, and which include warnings of “Increased Mortality”.

Pharmalot also reported that in April, Johnson & Johnson, another pharmaceutical company, was fined $70 million for bribing public doctors in several European countries. Which Europen countries? Does this include Ireland? Johnson and Johnson also distribute numerous products in Ireland, including baby shampoo which can include cancer causing ingredients in some countries. Link

Also this week in the Wall Street Journal,  it was reported that American pharmaceutical company Merck, Sharp & Dohme has agreed to pay $950 million to resolve criminal charges and civil claims related to its promotion and marketing of the painkiller Vioxx® (rofecoxib). Merck will plead guilty to a misdemeanor for its illegal promotional activity. Vioxx (which was also licenced by the IMB in Ireland) may have led to more than 27,000 heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths; That’s one big misdemeanor!! $950 million???

O.K, What’s that got to do with Ireland? Before 2009, I was under the (sadly mistaken) impression that Doctors kept themselved informed and had infinite knowledge of what they were prescribing. I was also niave enough to think that pharmaceutical fraud only goes on in the minds of fictional authors, like John le Carré (The Constant Gardener).

Last year the then Taoiseach (Irish for prime minister) Brian Cowen announced that Merck’s MSD division was setting up its shared business centre for EMEA in south county Dublin. According to the Taoiseach Brian Cowen, the new financial services centre is “a strategic win for Ireland”. The Taoiseach also pointed to the importance of the pharmaceutical industry to Ireland’s economy, which he said “cannot be underestimated”. Don’t worry, I for one, am not underestimating the influence of the pharmaceutical industry in this country.

Merck, Sharp & Dohme is no stranger to controversy here in Ireland and has the dubious reputation of losing one of the longest running legal cases in Irish history. Hanrahan v. Merck Sharp and Dohme. This case went on for almost 10 years and resembles a Hollywood ficticious blockbuster.

The case concerned John and Selina Hanrahan who had a farm in Ballycurkeen, Co. Tipperary, which was situated a mile from the Merck, Sharp & Dohme plant. The Hanrahans claimed that because of dangerous chemical substances escaping from this plant, they suffered Ill-health, their cattle suffered deformities and deaths, and damage was caused to herbage and plant life on the farm.

Mr Hanrahan gave evidence that he began to experience an unpleasant smell in 1979. According to him it was ‘a dreadful smell, a really dreadful smell’. He complained about it to the factory on numerous occasions. On the occasion of one of those complaints Mr. Wyatt, an executive in the factory, said that the waste system had gone wrong. Mr. Hanrahan described the smell as foul and as following him into the house. He said that on one occasion the smell was accompanied by ‘a dreadful burning’ and that his skin was affected.

While the case was ongoing, Merck employed a media consultant, Frank Dunlop. According to the Hanrahans Mr. Dunlop started to spread rumours about them. He said that they were killing the cattle themselves by giving them too much nitrogen, that it wasn’t Merck poisoning them. According to the Irish Independent the hurt caused to the family remained a vivid memory. As well as being castigated for their farming skills, they were characterised as anti-patriotic for putting local jobs at risk for the sake of selfish interests.

While Merck had admitted that emissions from its factory had exceeded their planning permission severalfold, when the Chief Fire Officer outlined his concerns about the factory to the County Engineer, the public relations firm acting for Merck said“You shouldn’t believe everything those dingbat environmentalists say.”

Also from the Independent…

John and Selina both suffered extensive ill health in the 1980s. John’s continues to this day. In the period covered by the Supreme Court decision, they had to move out of the farmhouse to flee the emissions, more than 100 cattle died, an abnormally high number of twin and deformed calves was born on the farm, the children’s pets – dogs, cats, rabbitts, a foal and a donkey – all died, and their grandmother was forced to abandon her beloved vegetable garden when the plants grew to grotesque triffid proportions. Even the ivy curled up and died on the trees. The acid mist that floated down from the factory burned human eyes and skin, leaving John Hanrahan’s tongue blistered and his chest wheezing. Financially, they were on the brink of ruin at the time of the Supreme Court victory. Suppliers had refused to sell them feedstuff because of unpaid bills, the Co-op stopped taking their milk and the local council cut off their water for non-payment of rates.

The damages Merck had to pay for ruining the Hanrahans lives was reported to be around 2 million Irish pounds, even with the rate of inflation, Merck got off lightly, so their dirty tactics paid off. Despite their latest fine of $950 million, and the deaths they caused from vioxx, the profits Merck made from selling this drug and concealing the side-effects must have been well worth the risk!

BTW, another one of Merck’s medications (Singulair) which is used to treat stuffy nose, sneezing and other allergy symptoms as well as asthma, has also been reported to be associated with suicidal thinking and suicide. Link  Merck…..“We have no indication that anything about the mechanism of Singulair is consistent with these events,” George Philip, Merck’s director of research and product development, told the Associated press “But because suicide is a life-threatening event we thought it was important to provide this information in the product label.” Hmm, Vioxx anyone?

19/04/2012…Merck, at it again.