Burn Baby Burn

March, 13, 2017 | 20 Comments


  1. Unpick explained

    “One of the disturbing features of clinical practice and academic research is that there seems to be a lack of historical memory.  Both academics and practitioners often fail to see that we have been here before and what the likely outcome of the story will be.  This applies across the board through issues of dependence on drugs through to the latest hoopla about some breakthrough drug.”


    Carolyn • 4 years ago
    From personal experience Dr Healy is indeed on the side of those who
    have “died or been irreparably harmed”. When I was trying to find
    answers to my daughter’s death, Dr Healy’s name kept coming up in the
    literature I was reading. I wrote to Dr Healy not really expecting an
    answer as I was a complete stranger living on the other side of the
    world, but he replied immediately. Since that time (2003) Dr Healy has
    given me much help with my medical questions and research; as well as
    giving his support, encouragement and compassion. He will always have my
    deep gratitude and respect.

    “Thank you kindly for your time, but more importantly, thank you for your willingness to advocate for patients and to be a voice on their behalf with respect to their medication related concerns! 


    “Recent history suggests that undoing some of that regulation to put more power in the hands of doctors might not be a great move for patients.”

    Pick explained..


    “It could have been worse,” said Gregg Gonsalves, a Yale research scholar. “We could have had a saber-toothed tiger guarding the henhouse like Jim O’Neill, and instead we [may get] a garden-variety fox at the helm.”

    One thing is certain, Gonsalves added: “Unlike many Trump nominees, he’s actually highly qualified to destroy the agency he’s meant to lead.”

    Sir00xat explained…take your pick..

  2. Nemeroff seems to be a Napoleon of the psychiatric world. If one reads Dr Doug Bremner’s enlightening, almost coded book, called ‘The Goose that killed the Golden Egg’, you can see what Nemeroff did to him. Dr Bremner nearly lost his living, his family, his academic status at Emory, thanks to Nemeroff. All because he had the temerity to show the proof that Accutane was causing deaths and psychosis. Like you say, Dr Healy, the world is changing so radically that Napoleons like Nemeroff can get away with these things. Rather like the Divine Right of Kings. Time for the revolution, surely?

  3. Thanks for such an interesting trilogy of posts. Even more interesting was to find that we’d been reading the very words that upset so many those 16 years ago. Selfishly, I can only say that I am extremely grateful that they took a strong dislike to your truths!
    What happened then was, of course, so wrong in very many ways – not least that the word of one man was able to change the course of another’s life – affecting not only that person but the lives of his whole family too. Unfortunately, that fact is also true in the case of many of us who read these posts. We are either the ones whose life course was disrupted or a member of their family.
    I would like to think that the way that you have continued to speak out, despite the criticisms, has helped many to continue their fight for better mental health – not only for themselves but for others too. In fact, I’m sure of it. We would not be where we are today if you had taken the soft option and prepared a lecture on a ‘safe’ topic for Toronto.
    What of the future? The future does not merely depend on a ‘change from the top’ ( as much as that is needed) – in my opinion, a change has to come in each layer of society. Respect – of the self and then of others – is all but lost at the moment. That loss upsets the natural balance of interactions – resulting in a massive rise in unhappiness. Unhappy people become self-centred – they search for their lost ‘pleasures’, mostly in the wrong places. They search for a greater wealth, a better standard of living, up-to-date tech gadgets – in the hope of a return to happier times. As they fail them, they turn to alcohol and street drugs – again without success. Eventually, they turn to their doctors. The VERY lucky few, will, at last find the path to a better state of mind. The majority, however, fail in this attempt too. We all know the possible consequence of being let down yet again.
    The saying is that ‘life is for living’. If we took this as our motto and worked to make everyone’s life a little better, isn’t there a chance that eventually psychiatrists could get on with their work of helping the psychiatrically sick and leave the rest of us to support the needs of the psychologically sick? We are not able to prescribe and neither (in most cases) are psychologists, therefore the amount of prescriptions for psychiatric drugs would immediately drop. I find this idea preferable to seeing nurses, pharmacists and even robots adding more to the already high number of prescriptions issued!

  4. I Google the company mentioned in the document in slide 5. Current Medical Directions inc. Discribes itself as a medical education company. Sudler & Hennessey is one of the world’s leading healthcare communications firms, developing strategic promotional and educational programmes for a broad array of healthcare brands. I guess research is a form of brand promotion.

  5. This comment sums it up, and not just in the US: “Over the last sixteen years when visiting the US, I have been struck at what can only be called a Medical McCathyism. Everyone in healthcare is scared to open their mouths. While the average American is probably still prepared to stand up for themselves than the average European, when it comes to doctors at times it feels like the land of the craven and the home of the slave.”

    I’m very wary of doctors now, do these handmaidens of the pharmaceutical industry deserve our trust?

    • I feel that we should be wary of tarring all with the same brush. Trust has to be earned – and that works both ways. Trust can only be gained where there is respect – and that , too, has to work both ways. Gone are the days when we, as patients, can trust every word uttered by a doctor – we are now in a situation where we need to question and refuse, if we feel the need, any medication offered. Maybe that is not our natural way of behaving with those who we expect to help and guide us – but the world has moved on. By questioning and listening, in a respectful two-way conversation, trust can be regained. The greatest barrier to this is neither the doctors nor their prescriptions, to be honest, – but the short time allowed for each appointment. That has created an unbearable situation and doctors failed to realise that patients would not take kindly to being sent off with a prescription rather than a discussion. The ample supply of different drugs must have seemed a godsend to the prescriber when first made available – it was left to patients to realise that it was the devil that had its handprint on many of them, despite the details that attempted to make them sound otherwise.

      • Mary, a doctor’s primary responsibility is the well-being of their individual patients/clients. But now people are increasingly being treated as ‘a herd’, with the imposition of questionable lucrative medical tests and interventions across the board. My particular interest is vaccination and I look on in horror at the ever-increasing number of vaccine products which are being imposed on the community, particularly children. Of course I can understand the desire to control infectious diseases, but this idea of a ‘magic bullet’ to prevent all ailments is getting completely out of hand, and has been hijacked by vested interests. We are sorely in need of independent and objective infectious diseases experts who can consider the ‘big picture’ on this, particularly the problems that are now emerging with the use of vaccine products, e.g. disease occurring in vaccinated individuals, such as mumps.

  6. Blimey – I was completely gripped by the first two posts – which I thought were a look back at the historical and social context in which these drugs were developed. Now I’m gobsmacked – they were The Speech. The one that got Healy sacked back in 2000.

    Seventeen years ago – and now we can all contribute to Rxisk, and report side effects and all the rest.

    In 2000 I was mostly in hospital – either a mental hospital, out of my mind, literally, with a brew of antidepressants, mood stabilisers and antipsychotics. Or in Addenbrookes recovering from the latest suicide attempt. Fast forward to 2012. I had my mind back but my body wasn’t doing too well, post drugs. No longer living in Cambridge – but I’d met up with my old CPN, who’d always been great. She said ‘There’s a guy who’s been going on about the damage these drugs can do for years…can’t remember his name but he’s Irish. Got sacked from a Canadian University years back for saying all this’.

    That led me to David and Rxisk and all the rest….so it’s quite a moment for me.

    • You are so right Sally – when we look at the whole picture, it is surprising how far along the road we have moved over the last few years since Rxisk was formed to facilitate matters.
      In 2002, as I’ve said here before, we were told about David’s work re:- Seroxat – but only when it was too late for him to support Shane’s case in court. You were told in 2012 about David’s work – but didn’t get his name. In those 10 years then, very little progress had been made in being able to publicise his findings. Now, as we start 2017, things are moving on – thanks to RxISK. I wonder, though, would those working in MH be any more willing to name David than they were in 2002 or 2012? – or is their memory lapse their security in not showing their hand totally in the support of his work? One thing is for sure – RxISK comments leave no-one in any doubt of our allegiance to the whole team’s fantastic work.

  7. A fitting quote that we could all do well to take on board in these troubling times :-

    NOTHING is more important than EMPATHY for another human being’s suffering. NOTHING. Not a career, not wealth, not intelligence, CERTAINLY NOT STATUS.
    We have to feel for one another if we’re going to survive with dignity.

    – Audrey Hepburn

  8. Wonderful exchanges here between contributors, particularly what Mary has written. Absolutely bang on the money.
    All our lives are complex, and there are parts which as Mary says, need psychological support from those around us and other serious elements for which we can be greatly helped by doctors who listen, empathise and use skill to help us through difficult days.

    I watched TVs ‘GPs Behind Closed Doors’ yesterday evening and felt irritated and frustrated. Not with the GPs, but with some of the patients. The first one, a man who seemed laid back as though he’d just come for a neighbourly chat with the sympathetic lady GP about the health of his dog, and how he was not feeling great about his life. He didn’t seem pro-active at all and expected her to improve his social life for him. As he left, the doctor did say to him ‘you are still taking your medication aren’t you?’ This could have been for blood pressure or could have been antidepressants, she didn’t say. What I felt he needed was friendly interaction with his community. At the end, a comment on the screen did say he had resolved some issues with his neighbours.

    Other patients were focused and definitely in need of help, like a young woman who found a breast lump. Seeing this programme gives us insight into a GPs average Surgery Time. Like Mary has said, it’s horses for courses. Doctors cannot sort out trivia and disappointment in people’s lives but they should be allowed time to use their training and insight for serious need, like Sally describes. To do this, owing to the chronic shortness of time allowed for consultation, carers/relatives could contribute more background info, observed reactions to medications etc, to help build the complete picture, if the patient would like their support and input. Sometimes if in the midst of an ADR, maybe the information has to be volunteered without their permission, but the doctor at least can listen and weigh up the value of it.

    The doctor surely becomes a doctor to make a difference to lives attacked by illness, not to sort out things which we are capable of actively dealing with ourselves. So, again like Mary said, mutual respect is vital to make this work. This is serious stuff.

  9. I apologise for introducing a comment not directly related to thus string, but I feel it’s terribly important and does relate to several previous strings about skin, as well as picking up the Audrey Hepburn quote from Mary – ‘NOTHING is more important than EMPATHY for another human being’s suffering.’ I guess also, Nemeroff is linked into what follows, indirectly, because of his manipulative input, which then had the effect of stopping Emory psychiatrist Dr Doug Bremner’s research on Accutane (RoAccutane) becoming accepted by the FDA and MHRA.

    Today, Thursday between 9.45 and 11.00 am Victoria Derbyshire BBC2 – a programme looking at TWO major issues: Acne, and PTSD for army veterans and the Government’s cutting of benefits for anxiety sufferers etc.

    The first, a report on ACNE, presented partly by a young reporter, I think linked to BBC Newsbeat. We’ve talked on this Blog about bias many times. The three medical experts on the panel who had the last word, were all promoting RoAccutane/isotretinoin as the drug of last resort, implying that the current shortage of dermatologists is the main problem, and that the wait for getting a referral to one, and thence to getting RoAccutane, is unacceptable. AT NO POINT did anyone let slip that this drug was a chemotherapy drug designed to shrink brain tumours. Side effects were given by the dermatologist as being ‘dry lips, dry skin, dry eyes’, then, quickly….’and there are some rare side effects, like headache, muscle ache’, then onto ‘if you get pregnant you will need a termination as the birth defects are so horrendous, and of course the psychological effect of the termination can be very upsetting for all concerned.’

    I remember Leonie Fennell’s speech about her son Shane, admittedly not due to RoAccutane but to an SSRI, but she said, ‘beware the Distracting Hand’. I think we saw evidence of the Distracting Hand this morning. We saw pictures of the skin terribly disfigured by acne of many people. We saw, in the case of a mother and son, how it can be genetic (as it was for me and my son). Then we saw the ‘miracle’ of RoAccutane on the face of the beautiful young BBC presenter. She only stopped RoAccutane a month ago (mind you) and she said she lives in fear of its returning. At no point did we hear anything about low mood, depression, sexual dysfunction, suicidal ideation, or actual deaths from suicide.

    Some comments which came in from viewers which were read out quickly by Victoria – some had tried RoAccutane several times and it hadn’t worked for them, some had had the acne come back far worse than before they took RoAccutane once they stopped using it, one on the advice of their School Nurse had tried giving up sugar for 6 weeks and the acne stopped totally, some had found ‘expensive lotions from USA which worked’ and one found a plant based product called Accumax which worked without side effects. At no point did any presenter or experts on the Programme make mention of the possible link between gut and skin, apart from the sugar reference from the one viewer. The young presenter squashed that one firmly by saying she tried that, and giving up dairy, and it made no difference. I think ROCHE who made RoAccutane will be delighted with the slant of this programme. Victoria said they have had massive response to their BBC Newsbeat Report. I wish we could get the other side of the story told, and also wake the world up to seeing that, yes, this IS indeed a life changing issue for young people afflicted with bad acne, and therefore we need to find a way of treating it that DOESNT carry with it the chance of really dire side effects. It did strike me that we are coming up to the 18th March, the end of the month during which some of us have been using our collective thoughts to join with the Universe to ask that drug prescribing be done more carefully and with more enlightenment. Could it be that something has got under ROCHE’s skin, and that out of the blue, this programme has appeared? Or am I just a skeptic?

    The other issue on the Programme, about PTSD for army veterans, got little air time, but did seem to be benefitting from Prince Harry’s involvement and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s interest in mental health, and the various helping agencies shining a light on it. I always felt that our son had PTSD from the school bullying relating to his acne, and PTSD is life changing too. No one from the Government would come on the programme to comment on cutting financial benefits for PTSD/mental illness sufferers, although several were approached, according to Victoria.

    • I too watched the VIctoria Derbyshire programme that you mention. I felt it was disgustingly one-sided. Once or twice, I felt that a few truths were about to be uttered – but nothing came forth. I felt that comments had been tampered with and tailored to suit requirements! I found the praise for Roaccutane quite sickening actually. The list of MPs who had, apparently, been asked to comment on the Benefits issue was laughable. Have these people forgotten that they are public servants? The weakest V Derbyshire programme to date in my opinion!

      • Thanks for your endorsement about the Victoria Derbyshire programme Mary. I was very surprised that they screened it, out of the blue, and as it started I was full of hope that it was going to be really balanced. We had an important meeting that morning but when we saw this programme start, we rang to re-schedule it, feeling that we could not afford to miss whatever was going to be revealed. Well, glad we saw it, but in the subtlest of ways, it was a wonderful promotion for RoAccutane-isotretinoin. I’d dearly love to know who suddenly decided to screen the BBC Newsbeat Acne Report, in front of BBC2 V.Derbyshire viewers at this particular prime time moment Could interested Pharma parties have engineered this? Ridiculous as it seems, one can’t help but just wonder…..

        Our little Group of ‘bereaved by RoAccutane’ parents had just been recently begun working out how to mark the 3 year anniversary of our Anti RoAccutane Protest of 24.4.14, and also, Jack Bowlby on 2.3.17 who would have been happily celebrating his 21st birthday with his family, (but for RoAccutane taking his life when only 16 instead), had had 5,456 views on Facebook of the candle we lit for him and literally dozens and dozens of comments from those who knew and loved him. This was all clearly on view during the last three weeks on the Facebook site of ‘Olly’s Friendship Foundation’, and will be there permanently, as well as our very recent post there about the issue of Thalidomide being accented on BBC’s recent ‘Call the Midwife’ episode, and likening our Group of parents to those in the 1960s who fought for 50 years to make the world fully aware of the dangers of that drug, prescribed for anxiety and morning sickness in pregnancy. Also clear to read, on that same Facebook site, my long and detailed factual speech to a large group of residents and official funders about the impact RoAccutane had made on Olly’s previously focused life, (stressing the hell of the resulting AKATHISIA and additional prescribed SSRI Seroxat) at the opening ceremony of the ‘Olly Friendship Room’ and renovation of a church he had been involved with. The main purpose of this OFR Centre is to foster community care for each other, particularly anyone suffering anxiety, whatever causes it, be it RoAccutane, psychotropic medications, Aspergers, a heavy load of life’s stresses, etc etc. by using distraction, good company, compassion, learning creative skills, just caring for each other. You can see pictures of it, opened on Olly’s birthday, on the Facebook site, and if you have the patience of Job, you can read my speech. Trawl back through that site and see all the lanterns and candles lit for all our Group’s lost children. Lanterns lit for the days they died, surrounded by little vignette scenes of things they loved, glass votives of lit candles to celebrate their would-have-been birthdays, in their favourite colours. We loved them all SO much, and always will.

        A little niggling thought at the back of my mind now just makes me wonder if, tiny and virtually powerless as our Group and community may be perceived to be, Big Brother ROCHE Pharma is watching us and could actually be getting a bit rattled? And don’t forget folks, we were still in the 18th Feb to 18th March timeframe when this happened….those of you who were participating in this will understand. More interesting news on the results of that shortly 🙂 …..

  10. I’m not using flattery when I say this talk is too brilliant for a world in desperate need of it. I find myself wishing it were more widely read and thoroughly understood. Maybe in a future lifetime if there are any. The “boss of bosses” understood it, though. Right off the bat.

  11. In the USA ..

    *I was in Pfizer’s archives where even the loo paper was marked confidential. Articles in the public domain for years were stamped confidential.*

    Mary Newton March 15, 2017 at 10:09 pm


    It would be interesting to know what experience/s turned you against excessive pharmacology and made you so different from many of your peers. Any comments?
    At any rate, keep up the good work!

    Best regards,
    Mary Newton


    ­Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

    Suicide Articles

    1. Creaney W, Murray I, Healy D (1991). Antidepressant induced suicidal ideation. Human Psychopharmacology, 6, 329-332.


    Antidepressant Induced Suicidal Ideation W. CREANEY, I. MURRAY and D. HEALY” Academic Unit, North Wales Hospital, Denbigh, Clwyd LL16 SSS

    KEY words-Fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, suicidal ideation, akathisia. dissociation

    “ The emergence of suicidal ideation on antidepressants may highlight the fact that when given in clinical situations, there are potentially two sorts of side effects of psychotropic compounds. There are those that are clearly side effects, such as dry mouth or difficulties with mic-turition and those that may be interpreted as either side effects or as worsening of the illness. The latter include increased nervousness and restlessness and dissociative reactions such as depersonalisation, de-realisation and even hallucinations.

    If suicidal ideation can arise consequent on a misattribution of drug induced changes, it should be possible to prevent all such suicides.

    But if such a mechanism is upheld, there may in the future be implications regarding potential medical negligence in the case of subjects committing suicide, while taking almost any currently available psychotropic compound.”



    Accepted 1st August 1991

    KEY WORDS- Archives Loo Paper Marked Confidential Articles Public Stamped


    TBD stands for .. To Be Determined

  12. In the UK ..

    TBD stands for To Be .. Determined

    “the NICE guidelines which are based on these articles are Junk. Complete and utter junk.”

    In reply to Sarah Wollaston MP

    AntiDepAware‏ @AntiDepAware 54m54 minutes ago

    .@sarahwollaston @CommonsHealth Without any acknowledgement of the Pharma-sized elephant in the room, your report is irrelevant


    Published on 16 March 2017 by authority of the House of Commons


    Drug treatments and suicide

    17. We urge the Government to ensure that NICE guidelines on the appropriate use of drug treatments for depression are promoted and implemented by clinicians. (Paragraph 66)

    Burn, Baby, Burn!

  13. I also recall enduring the semi-illiterate wrath in 2010 of the mighty Orac – Dr David Gorski – of Science blogs for pointing out the Prof Stephen Scherer, the senior author of a genetics paper on autism held a GSK sponsored chair at Toronto. That was apparently really below the belt.

    At the time (just as the GMC hearing against Wakefield and colleagues concluded) the Guardian ran what was supposed to be an open ended blog inspired by the publication of the paper which was to mark the the on going triumph of genetics as an explanation of autism, but they gave up in despair after a month. These days they are not so keen on throwing their reports open to public debate.

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