The story of SSRI stories

  Rosie Meysenburg's story For anyone interested in the effects of drugs, the website SSRI stories has been an inspiration. Rosie Meysenburg, its creator, was recently diagnosed with cancer and is terminally ill. The story of how she came to create SSRI stories shows what people can do to hold the powers that be to account. —David Healy   DH:          How did you get … [Read more...]

Mystery in Leeds

In my blog post The best bias that money can buy I outlined how doing trials of their drugs in conditions like depression is the ultimate way companies hide bodies. That what is needed instead are studies of drugs in healthy volunteers. Here’s a good example of what a healthy volunteer (phase 1) study can show, and how the story of antidepressants and suicide might have unfolded in an entirely … [Read more...]

The best bias that money can buy

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were adopted by FDA in 1962 following the thalidomide disaster. This was a way to manage the risks posed by potential poisons. If the toxicity from a drug could be shown to overcome to some extent the toxicity stemming from the illness, a risk-benefit ratio would be set up that would warrant taking the risk of giving the poison. But what happens when both the … [Read more...]

Press release: Pharmageddon is here

For immediate release Toronto, February 28, 2012 Pharmaceutical companies have hijacked healthcare in America, and the results are life-threatening. In his new book, Pharmageddon, Dr. David Healy documents a riveting and terrifying story that affects us all. Healy also has an idea for the solution...   "A medical classic the day it was published." "Pharmageddon is a must-read for anyone … [Read more...]

The Spin that no Data can overcome

Roger Shepard's above illustration shows two tables of exactly the same size and shape. It’s an extraordinary example of how even when you know that the table tops are the same, the data changes nothing. The dynamics of perspective mean we continue to see things in the wrong way. Early on in the Prozac and Suicide controversy, Eli Lilly adopted a strategy that has “put things in perspective” ever … [Read more...]

False friends

‘Evidence’ is what the French call a false friend. You think you understand the word but you don’t. In French or Dutch, the Evidence in Evidence Based Medicine means that something is self-evident – as in using a parachute when jumping from a plane or penicillin for septicemia or an antipsychotic to tranquilize. You don’t need a clinical trial to work out what the right thing to do is or to prove … [Read more...]

Petra’s story

This piece is the first of a series showing people struggling with the Kafkka-esque absurdities of modern healthcare. It is written anonymously. If you'd like to share your story, you can do so on the Share Your Story page.  — David Healy   A little over two years ago my daughter’s partner was killed in a tragic accident while in the company of my son. Naturally, this caused terrible … [Read more...]

Randomized God

Several controlled clinical trials have recently been reported in which patients with cardiac conditions who were prayed for appeared to do better than those not prayed for (1, 2, 3). The surprise that prayer seems to do something has to be matched by surprise at the fact that its effects are relatively weak. If we are to build on this, we need to work out are these weak effects mediated through … [Read more...]

We need data for Data Based Medicine

One of the purposes of this blog is to invite colleagues to add to the knowledge base on drug groups. To submit a paper or to provide your comments, please do so on the form on the Share Your Story page. I'll start the ball rolling with the following draft Data Based Medicine (DBM) papers: Antidepressants for Takers Antidepressants for Prescribers We have draft papers in preparation on: Mood … [Read more...]

Coincidence a fine thing

Coincidence can be a fine thing. No sooner had I finished The tricks that drug companies do live after them, asking for examples of maneuvers to add to a generally available repository of tricks, than up pops Robert Gibbons' paper, Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior With Antidepressant Treatment, with not one but two maneuvers and reminders of others.‎ Dangerous liaisons First off, the reminders. … [Read more...]

The tricks that drug companies do live after them, their patients are oft interred with their trials

One of the hopes of this blog is to create a repository of maneuvers through which clinical trials can be gamed to get results. The series of posts laying out some of the less well known tricks are filed under the Hiding the Bodies blog category. To be more generally useful, this repository needs others to contribute further maneuvers to make it comprehensive and to contribute examples from areas … [Read more...]

Where were the adults?

Along with Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline (see Drug companies use studies the way a drunk uses a lamppost), Pfizer created ghost suicidal acts on placebo. Other companies did further things that concealed the suicide problem. Did Pfizer? In 2004, following the lead of the British Regulator (MHRA), the FDA put a Black Box warning about the risk of suicide on the pediatric use of antidepressants. The … [Read more...]

Heads we win, tails you lose

In the late 1980s, Eli Lilly, when faced with an excess of suicidal behaviors in Prozac trials, set up a trial of Prozac in an interesting group of patients. These patients had what is often called borderline personality disorder or intermittent brief depressive disorder or recurrent brief depressive disorder. The trial terminated early. Placebo was sweepingly statistically superior to Prozac. … [Read more...]

4-24 March 2012: North American visit

  Lectures and promotion for Pharmaggedon and My speaking calendar is as follows (more details to come). Date Time City   Location   Details 5 March 12-1pm Boston   Tufts University (Farnsworth 250 Conference Room)   The Changing Face of Psychosis 8 March 9:30-10:30am 12-1pm New Jersey   Rutgers (First Floor Conference Room, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, … [Read more...]