psychiatry, Random, Shanes story.

Well-Being Foundation Award

The Well-Being Foundation: “It’s that time of year. Time mag, the IT, the Grauniad, they all do it. We’re not great ones for PoY awards, partly because they exclude so many deserving people, but for once — Leonie Fennell is our Woman of the Year. Hero!” 

Photo Courtesy of Caroline
Photo Courtesy of Caroline

Aw shucks! I’m not quite sure what to say here, except – I’m very proud to accept the ‘Woman of the Year’ award from the Well-Being Foundation. This Foundation was set up by Dr Michael Corry and his partner Aine Tubridy.

Taken from the Well-being website following Dr Corry’s death on 22/02/2010 – “If opposition is any sign, then Michael’s campaigns certainly rattled the ‘great and the good’ of Irish psychiatry. Professor Patricia Casey sued him and RTE for libel in 2005, a case settled by the broadcaster, and Professor Ted Dinan of UCC made a complaint to the Fitness to Practice Committee of the IMC over his public comments on the role of SSRIs (in Shane’s case).” Ah yes, so no surprises there then!

It was a pleasure to meet both of these lovely people, albeit, it goes without saying that I wish it was under different circumstances. I accept this award with enormous pride on behalf of myself and Shane, particularly as it’s coming from the Well-being Foundation. Thank you, and rest in Peace Dr Corry and Aíne Tubridy!

Cuba 12

Dr Corry and Aine Tubridy

Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Why would anyone defend the use of Lariam?

Sgt. Robert BalesRTE’s Prime-time (Irish National Broadcaster) tackled the issue of Lariam-induced suicides within the Irish army on May 23rd. The programme can be viewed here.

For those who are not aware of Lariam (aka Mefloquine), it is a highly controversial anti-malaria drug used within the defense forces when deployed overseas. The drug can cause many serious adverse effects and numerous families have blamed it for their loved one’s suicide. Interestingly, it comes 5th in the PLOS ONE ‘Prescription Drugs associated with violence’ study (after Champix and Seroxat). The US army stopped the use of Lariam following numerous suicides and severe psychiatric reactions associated with its use. Tragically, for all concerned, this drug has been implicated in the massacre of 17 Afghan citizens including children by Sgt. Robert Bales (pictured) on March 11, 2012. His wife said “I have no idea what happened, but he would not – he loves children. He would not do that.

A few weeks after the Prime-time programme (which included grieving families and their harrowing testimonies), I was disappointed to see the Minister for Defence, Alan Shatter, defending Lariam in the media. He defended the use of the drug, disputing its links to suicide and said “There is no evidence in any of the coroners’ inquests linking any deaths to Lariam.” He seemed to have completely undermined the Prime-time programme and it made no sense to me. Why would he do that?

Sorry but I have no answers to Minister Shatter’s involvement but I do have a very recent warning (8th July 2013) from Roche Pharmaceuticals which the Minister might find embarrassing. The link can be found here but Minister Shatter might find the excerpt below interesting.

Lariam

Minister Shatter said of the nine cases of lariam suicides” “given the limited period of time during which Lariam remains in the bloodstream, according to our expert advice, it is extremely unlikely that the product could have been a contributory factor in practically all of these cases”. Irish Times June 19th. The following excerpt may help him a little bit with that one:

Lariam 1

Roche, who originally marketed Lariam, is no stranger to controversy, having also invented the notorious acne drug Accutane. This drug is also widely linked to suicide and following numerous lawsuits in 2009 Roche pulled the drug from the US market. The Irish Medicine’s Board still allow it though despite a high profile court case involving a courageous Irish father here. Roche’s corruption and intimidation tactics were subsequently captured in Doug Bremner’s ‘Before You Take That Pill’.

What I do find interesting is why Roche came out with the warning now. Was it pressure from the Prime-time documentary? Was it pressure from the pharma-funded Irish Medicine’s Board? I doubt it! But one thing is for sure, it was not out of the goodness of Roche’s pharma heart.

Lariam 2

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Army reviews notorious drug after Afghan massacre

PLOS ONE ‘Prescription Drugs associated with violence’ 

US Army curbs Lariam

Newspaper and internet articles, Random

Melanie Verwoerd; Tarred and feathered.

I don’t think I’ve ever put pen to paper before where it didn’t involve some prescribed drug or other, but there’s always a first time for everything; well maybe not!

I was so looking forward to reading Melanie Verwoerd’s new book ‘When we dance’ but alas it was taken off the shelves on the day it was due to be released. Ms Verwoerd is the late Gerry Ryan’s girlfriend, a former Unicef executive and a former South African Ambassador. She was previously married to the grandson of a senior Apartheid figure who both later joined Nelson Mandela’s ‘African National Congress’. So it seems that she is no stranger to doing ‘what she thinks is right’; whatever the consequences. Her book was taken off the shelves this week, when one of Gerry’s friends ‘Dave Kavanagh’ took an injunction application under ‘The Defamation Act‘ against the publishers (Liberties Media Ltd).

It seems to me that Ms Verwoerd has consistently been treated very shabbily by RTE and Gerry’s so-called friends. She spent the last two years with Gerry, they were obviously deeply in love; and yet she was overlooked by the tribute show that RTE put on for him? She maintains that the people on the tribute show “were not “truly close to Gerry” and had not been “around him in the last two years as his friend”. It looks like she wasn’t even invited to the tribute show; Nice touch RTE!

In the Independent today: “Speaking about the extract in which Ms Verwoerd describes Gerry’s relationship with the RTE panel on the tribute night, veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne brushed off the question: ‘I couldn’t care less what she thinks’.” Yep, to me that shows exactly how friendly old Gaybo was to Gerry. I wonder if Gerry would have said the same about Kathleen Watkins in the same circumstances; I think not!

Pat Kenny was also quoted in the Irish Independent today as saying “Gerry wrote his own book and he had a chance to share all of this. But he chose to share none of his difficulties and he didn’t intend for any of them to be in the public domain… So I don’t know why Melanie has decided to do this. And I think it’s very sad that she has.” SAD? I think it’s even sadder that he allowed himself to negatively comment on a book written by Gerry’s partner. Surely she’s entitled to tell her story? I’m sure Gerry would be so proud of his ‘friend’ Pat and again (in my humble opinion) shows the level of friendship the latter held.

What is interesting here is that she is perfectly entitled to write her life story, and Gerry was part of it, whether or not Irish history would like to blank it out. He wasn’t with his wife; get over it. For whatever reason, they had split up years before and he was in a new relationship; what’s so difficult to understand here? The publicity surrounding this book seems to suggest that she has an ulterior motive for writing it. What could that be, fame or fortune? She is arguably much better known than Gerry and I doubt very much if she’s penny-less.

Ok so; the facts are that Ms Verwoerd lost her partner in tragic circumstances, then lost her job as a consequence of that same relationship. Is that not enough suffering? Is she not entitled to tell her story? Is this the new version of the old practice of ‘tar and feathering’ as a public humiliation? I’m sure Gerry would be so proud of his so called ‘old friends’.

This all stinks of a ‘more affluent’ form of bullying to me.

Related or not?

Interesting fact; Miss Verwoerd  said that Gerry was ‘so stressed by his financial predicament that his doctor had prescribed him Xanax and Stilnoct‘. Anyone interested in the possible adverse-effects can click on the links.