October, 9, 2018 | 23 Comments


  1. COCHRANE WRECKS IT … Sí Gracias



    Gotzsche says the MHRA is “acting like MI5” in its lack of transparency and the policy shows it is on the side of the drug companies.

    His criticisms are echoed by David Healy, professor of psychiatry at Bangor University, who accuses the regulator of being as “transparent as the Vatican before Pope Francis”.

    Drug regulator destroys Prozac research

    George Arbuthnott and Jonathan Leake

    March 23 2014, 12:01am, The Sunday Times

    BRITAIN’S medicines regulator has destroyed the original scientific data supporting the licensing of Prozac, the antidepressant drug that is provoking growing controversy over evidence that it is linked to suicide.

    It means that scientists who have tried to re-examine the evidence justifying its release may now never be able to find out how good the science was. Patients making compensation claims will face the same problem.

    It comes amid growing concern over Prozac’s effectiveness in treating depression, with some evidence suggesting it is little better than a placebo. There is also unease over potential side effects ranging from suicidal thoughts to loss of libido.

    The decision by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to shred the data emerged only after Professor Peter Gotzsche, a Danish medical researcher, asked for it to check allegations that trial data had been rewritten to play down the suicidal feelings that had affected some participants.

    Fluoxetine, the chemical name for Prozac, is one of the most widely prescribed antidepressant drugs in Britain. There were 5.8m NHS prescriptions of the drug, costing £12.3m, in England in 2012.

    Since the drug was licensed, the MHRA’s records show there have been 9,520 reports of suspected adverse reactions to the drug with 254 fatalities, 100 through suicide.

    Lucy Hill, 31, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, claims taking Prozac nearly led to her death. In 2009 she was sectioned and admitted to hospital with “a personality disorder”. There she claims to have been prescribed Prozac which she says led her repeatedly to attempt self-harm. “I’m 99% sure it was the Prozac … because those feelings stopped a week after I finished taking it,” she said.

    By 2011 many doctors were aware of such concerns. They prompted Gotzsche — who co-founded the Cochrane Collaboration, a healthcare review body with a seat on the World Health Assembly — to ask the MHRA for the full trial results.

    The regulator said it had shredded the detailed information and held only some documents that summarised the findings. The manufacturer retains the data and the MHRA said it can order it to be submitted.

    Gotzsche says the MHRA is “acting like MI5” in its lack of transparency and the policy shows it is on the side of the drug companies.

    His criticisms are echoed by David Healy, professor of psychiatry at Bangor University, who accuses the regulator of being as “transparent as the Vatican before Pope Francis”.

    The drug was first licensed in Britain in 1988, earning the nickname “Bottled Sunshine” with its promise of a cure for depression. Stories of antidepressant-driven redemption soon followed, including the bestselling memoir Prozac Nation, which was later turned into a Hollywood film.

    However, concerns over the drug’s effectiveness and safety have grown. The NHS warns that Prozac carries an increased risk of self-harm or suicide in some patients as well as sexual dysfunction. The MHRA warns that its use by women in the first three months of pregnancy may increase the risk of heart defects in their unborn child.

    The MHRA said it had “led the way” on antidepressant safety issues, was committed to greater transparency and can ask licence holders to resubmit data. “The recommendation from the National Archives is for a default retention period of seven years for most material; however, the MHRA has extended this to 15 years,” it said.

    Eli Lilly, which first put the drug on the UK market, said Prozac was one of the “most studied medicines in history”, had helped millions of people worldwide and no credible evidence had established a causal link between Prozac and suicidal behaviour.


  2. Prof. Peter Gøtzsche

    All 31 Cochrane Directors from Spain and Latin America call for an independent investigation of Gøtzsche’s expulsion from Cochrane. The Cochrane leadership ignores the call. (link: 8 October
    #sundpol #dkpol

    Prof. Peter Gøtzsche

    Head of Nordic Cochrane Centre complains to Charity Commission about serious mismanagement and moral meltdown in the Cochrane Collaboration. (link:
    #sundpol #dkpol

    Added 9 October:

    Gøtzsche’s complaint to the Charity Commission about serious mismanagement of the Cochrane Collaboration.

    Highly important.

    In my complaint, I explain that it has become international news that Cochrane, arguably the most important global organisation in science and healthcare, is experiencing a moral meltdown caused by poor leadership.

    The organisation has expelled one of its founding fathers from the Board (me), four other Board members have resigned in protest, and now many Centre Directors from around the world are calling for the entire Board to step down in order to save the organisation.

    Cochrane is currently imploding and it requires the UK Charity Commission to intervene urgently. Several Cochrane centres are already making moves to sever themselves from the organisation; international protests from thousands of people are mounting; and people have lost trust in the charity.

    All 31 centre directors in Spain and Latin America have signed a document, which describes the lack of transparency, accountability and due processes, and proposes the establishment of an ad-hoc commission, without the participation of any person who has been directly involved in the conflict between Cochrane’s CEO and me, that should independently review all the actions related to the conflict. As is characteristic of Cochrane’s leadership, it has ignored the letter.

    My complaint is about serious abuse and mismanagement over several years, which has harmed the charity’s services, beneficiaries and reputation. The evidence I provide not only outlines the risk of additional harm to the organisation, but also has broader implications for medical research, policy-makers and most importantly, people’s health and well-being. I have tried to challenge the leadership on these important issues but, as a whistle-blower, I have endured intimidation, bullying and witnessed corruption, by a leadership that is bringing the organisation to its knees. There is a substantial risk that Cochrane will fall apart if nothing is done.

    The conflict between Cochrane’s CEO and me was a trivial issue about the interpretation of Cochrane’s Spokesperson Policy in relation to two recent cases. Cochrane’s own Counsel exonerated me from all charges, and in a letter from 3 October, marked Addressee Only. Strictly Private & Confidential and NOT FOR PUBLICATION OR DISSEMINATION, the co-chairs admit, for the first and only time, that I have not broken the Spokesperson Policy. There is therefore no basis for the Board’s expulsion of me from the Board and from Cochrane.

    The real reasons why Cochranes CEO, Mark Wilson, and his close ally, co-chair Martin Burton orchestrated my expulsion are that I challenged Cochrane’s business model, with its focus on “brand” and “our product,” with too little attention to getting the science right and keeping the drug industry at arm’s length. Clearly, my very visible advocacy in the fields of science, policy and medical ethics, exposing the unethical practices by the pharmaceutical industry, the harms and overuse of psychiatric drugs, the deadly effects of many drugs, the dangers of overdiagnosis caused by mammography screening, the concealment of clinical trial data, the gross inadequacy of drug regulation, and the harmful effects of patents on public health, among other issues, have many times caused great discomfort to Cochrane´s leadership.

    It also plays a role that I: demonstrated that Wilson’s use of the Spokesperson Policy against me has been totally inappropriate; challenged Wilson’s leadership in many aspects and expressed concerns about his ‘management by fear’; demonstrated serious mismanagement in my report to Cochrane’s law firm, on the part of Wilson and the co-chairs, which included tampering with minutes and other essential evidence; and published a scientific critique of Cochrane’s HPV vaccines review, which is encouraged by Cochrane, but people in the leadership felt offended by it. They now claim they did not receive ‘internal’ warnings about our publication, which is demonstrably false.

    I demonstrate in my complaint that virtually everything the CEO and the Board presented during a webinar on 4 October about the reasons for my expulsion was mendacious or seriously misleading.

    The most important issues I summarise in my complaint are:

    1) Serious acts of tampering with evidence to the detriment of the public we aim to serve.
    2) Serious mismanagement in Cochrane, committed by its CEO and the co-chairs of the Governing Board.
    3) Numerous violations of rules for charities and for Cochrane by the CEO and the co-chairs.
    4) Lack of collaborative, democratic, transparent and accountable leadership in Cochrane.
    5) Management by fear and bullying by the CEO.
    6) An almost total lack of due processes in Cochrane, in stark contrast to other organisations.
    7) Fierce resistance from Cochrane’s CEO towards introducing due processes.
    8) Favouritism: other rules apply to CEO staff than to Cochrane collaborators.
    9) Serious selection bias in the 400-page material sent by co-chair Martin Burton to Cochrane’s law firm, which favours his line manager, CEO Mark Wilson.
    10) Serious conflicts of interest.
    11) Repeated and serious violations of Cochrane’s core principles of openness, transparency, honesty and fairness by the CEO and the co-chairs.
    12) Scientific censorship in Cochrane, although it is a scientific organisation whose whole justification is that the public can trust us, which is even part of Cochrane’s motto: “Trusted evidence.”
    13) Repeated, very harmful actions by Cochrane’s CEO, which have favoured industry and guild interests.
    14) A show trial against me, where none of the evidence in my favour that I, or Cochrane’s own hired Counsel provided, was taken into account; where I was denied the possibility to present crucial evidence that would have exonerated me; where the charges raised against me were changed on the spot when a report from Cochrane’s law firm had exonerated me; and where I was given five minutes to defend myself, after which the Board deliberated for five hours. The CEO’s and the Board’s total disregard for the evidence is particularly grave for Cochrane because this is an organisation that prides itself for basing its conclusions on “the best available evidence.”
    15) Scientific misconduct.
    It is not surprising that a growing number of people and organisations, both in- and outside the Collaboration, have come to the conclusion that the CEO and the Board should resign, and that if they are unwilling to do this, it is proof that they are not fit for office.

  3. I guess there’s an awful lot of ‘junk’ floating around whenever the topic is to do with mental health – in the media as well as in companies.
    Last night we had a half hour TV programme here in Wales, titled ‘Hooked on Pills’ which covered painkillers etc. as well as antidepressants. Whilst I fully agree with patients’ voices being heard in such programmes I do feel that far too much time was spent last night visiting and revisiting individuals’ stories without proper follow up. One person had suffered a ‘movement disorder’ – an ideal opportunity to introduce akathisia into the mix but this did not happen.
    David had been interviewed – had I blinked, then I would have missed his contribution! Two or three sentences was all that was shown of his lengthy interview. We were reminded more than once that ‘these drugs work for many, many people’. In a programme with the title of ‘hooked on pills’ – was this absolutely necessary?
    It was so obvious that someone somewhere within ITV Wales had decided that this programme was necessary. It was just as obvious that someone else had set the rules so that ‘patients will not be frightened of taking their medications’.
    It’s about time we were allowed to watch a documentary about ADs or painkillers without having to always consider the other side of the coin. When programmes air showing the benefits of a medication, does anyone insist that ‘adverse reactions’ are covered too to provide a balanced view? No, of course not. Restrictions only come into play when the topic happens to criticise the easy access of these drugs and their downfall for so many of us.
    Prior to watching this last night, I really felt that the tide was turning in out favour – but now I feel totally deflated again. As Heather says, we must carry on with renewed vigour to make sure that our message reaches more and more people, therefore I shall now stop grumbling about that which has passed and concentrate on what is ahead!

  4. So – today we have a “Minister for the Prevention of Suicide”.

    What is needed is a Minister for The Prevention of AKATHISIA.

    The BBC Radio 4 – Westminster Hour program (10pm Sunday 7th October 2018) left me with the understanding that an “In-House” M.H. service has been established for politicians.

    If this is correct, then it would be even more useful for parliamentarians to have a Minister who understood akathisia.

  5. Back to the future …

    And, now, Glaxo says it will largely reverse course — and patients, doctors, and the entire pharmaceutical industry are the losers.

    Engaging with healthcare professionals

    As a healthcare company, we regularly work with healthcare professionals. From collaborating on clinical trials to providing high quality, balanced information about our medicines and vaccines, in all of our interactions we aim to be transparent about our work, operate with integrity, and always put the interests of patients first.

    One of the world’s largest drug makers is paying docs again — and patients are the worse off

    By Ed Silverman @Pharmalot

    October 10, 2018

    Seeking to recover from sensational marketing scandals, GlaxoSmithKline did something unexpected five years ago — the company promised it would no longer pay doctors to promote its medicines, which had been a long-standing industry practice.

    The move came not long after Glaxo paid $3 billion in fines in the U.S. for illegal marketing and kickbacks, among other things, and also followed reports the company showered doctors and government officials in China with bribes. With its announcement,
    Glaxo won praise for setting a new tone and raised hopes other drug makers would follow suit.

    They did not.

    And, now, Glaxo says it will largely reverse course — and patients, doctors, and the entire pharmaceutical industry are the losers.

    Glaxo ‘turns back the clock’ and resumes payments to doctors

    Here’s why: For years, drug makers tried to goose sales by enticing doctors to write prescriptions. In many instances, this involved juicy incentives, such as fees for speaking or consulting. There were also freebies: meals, event tickets, or paid travel to conferences at luxurious destinations.

    This generosity rightfully prompted scrutiny over who really benefited — the patient or the doctor and drug company? The answer was never hard to figure out. And despite indignant protests from some doctors who argued they are not swayed by largesse, studies have shown otherwise.

    An analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association back in 2000 found that interactions between doctors and drug companies appeared to affect prescribing and physician behavior. More recently, a 2016 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found an association between meals and an increased rate of prescribing for medicines that were being promoted.

    “The problem has been well-documented over many years,” said Eric Campbell, the director of research at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado, who has studied the financial relationships between physicians and pharmaceutical companies.

    Over concerns that financial ties were unduly influencing medical research and practice, the federal government created a database of payments to doctors. Drug makers are required to report these payments, and the data are publicly available. The feds also pursued many companies for paying kickbacks. Mindful of the horrible optics, the pharmaceutical industry trade group issued a tougher voluntary code for interactions with doctors.

    But Glaxo was the only company to halt payments.

    Doctors who accepted meals from drug makers prescribed more of their pills

    The move was part of an effort by former Glaxo chief executive Andrew Witty to remove a growing stain on his tenure. He also changed the system for sales rep compensation to put less emphasis on physician prescribing. And Glaxo committed to disclosing clinical trial data, since the company had also been fined for hiding important information.

    But Witty is gone now and his successor, former consumer products chief Emma Walmsley, is trying to remake the drug maker. So far, she has replaced 50 top executives and is reworking pharma R&D. And as she sees it, resuming payments to doctors can only help the bottom line.

    In explaining the decision, Glaxo noted it was the only drug maker that halted payments when the policy was put into effect in 2016, and it placed the company at a competitive disadvantage. “We believe this has led to a reduced understanding of our products and is, ultimately, restricting patient access to truly innovative medicines and vaccines,” according to a statement.

    Glaxo would not make any executives available to discuss this in detail, but a spokesman told us the new policy pertains to only about a dozen products launched in the last two years, although it could also apply to other new drugs going forward. For now, payments will be permitted for only two years for new medicines or vaccines, and one year following the release of “significant new data.”Privacy Policy

    Putting aside any skepticism, Glaxo deserves some credit for trying to nudge an industry known for egregious marketing in a better direction. The fact that its effort failed to catch on says more about other drug makers than Glaxo.

    But that shouldn’t mask the real significance of Glaxo’s about-face. The job of any doctor is to provide health care for patients or to do research; the point of payments from Glaxo and other drug makers is to help companies get a foothold in the market.

    “If a doctor is being paid to market under the cover of professional or academic standing, it looks like an abuse of entrusted power for private gain,” said Roy Poses, a Brown University professor, who is also president of the Foundation for Integrity and Responsibility in Medicine.

    In fact, financial ties between industry and doctors fell over the past 15 years, but a majority of doctors still reported them in 2017, according to a new survey in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

    For all concerned, Glaxo’s decision takes us back to the future. And it will only cement the value of paying doctors to promote drugs.

  6. “…if what Cochrane is doing now is junk, then the NICE and all other guidelines are also junk.”

    I disagree with this statement. NICE no longer rely on Cochrane reviews but have their own teams of unconflicted technical systematic reviewers who have no specialised clinical knowledge or contact with clinicians and so cannot be influenced by their biases and preferences. They have true equipoise which is essential in both primary and secondary health research. They also organise meaningful input from large stakeholder groups. I am not saying their processes are perfect, but to say what they do is junk because what Cochrane does is junk doesn’t follow.

    PS – I have never worked for NICE, but I have some knowledge of their processes. I used to work for Cochrane so have greater knowledge of theirs.

    • Caroline

      NICE reviewers go by the same ghostwritten literature as Cochrane and are constrained by the same lack of access to the data. The most senior people in NICE refuse to share a platform at meetings with someone like me where statements like this are likely to be made. They were emailed by Chris Van Tulleken when he made his program about kids and meds recently about this very issue and refused to answer.

      NICE have known about this problem since 2004 when some of those involved in creating a Guideline for paediatric depression wrote an editorial in the Lancet saying given the lack of data and a ghostwritten literature that says the opposite to what the data shows it now looks like its impossible to do our job. This little rebellion got squashed then and NICE have vigorously refused to engage with the question since

      NICE guidelines in so far as they deal with pharmaceuticals cannot accordingly be anything other than junk.


    • Would you still want to work for Cochrane though Caroline?

      Regarding NICE – there are enough medics who are so critical of NICE (sometimes anonymously or if they are confident openly ) that they refuse to consume the diet of junk NICE feeds them The blame is currently mainly being put on medics for over prescribing – largely understandably when they are not forced to prescribe harmful treatments — but they are part of a whole web of unreliable groups causing harm. Being more visible and at the hard end of prescribing medics’ reputation is at stake more than that of NICE with the public, Most people have never heard of NICE much less Cochrane.
      But NICE is another organisation which. as the fiasco over yet another revision of their draft on guidelines for depression due to ,incredibly, their admission of using out of date evidence incredibly ,is not fit to safeguard public health or to advise medics.. Where were their teams of ‘unconflicted technical systematic reviewers’ here?
      Too often people are becoming more interested in promoting their organisations’ survival at the expense of unbiased evidence ,as far as this is humanly possible. It create a ‘you scratch our back we’ll watch yours’ culture where honesty and transparency slide ,critics are silenced more and more and organisations become more and more corrupt ,unless enough people of goodwill get together to activate as is happening with Cochrane. Some do operate like cults , the high priest/esses are adept at creating a culture of fear where those doing their rightful job by at times providing uncomfortable evidence even difference of opinion are bullied and trashed. Others seeing this could happen to them play along – It is sad that some of those who have been at the top of all kinds of organisations only speak out when they have retired, such is the fear of retaliation. At it’s worst it can seem as though we are slipping back from the age of enlightenment into a dark time when people can be again, persecuted for dissent .

  7. E. Fuller Torrey does not ring many bells, certainly not under the cat-collar, so I looked him up..

    With a result, ting a ling …

    Robert Whitaker has written a post on MIA

    The Cochrane Collaboration Has Failed Us All

    Robert Whitaker
    October 11, 2018

    The most “recent issue” related to psychiatry, Grant wrote, was a complaint from E. Fuller Torrey. Gøtzsche had written to Torrey requesting information about deaths in the Norwegian TIPS study, which had been funded in part by the Stanley Medical Research Institute, where Torrey is associate director of research, and Torrey responded by filing a formal complaint against Gøtzsche. Torrey stated that Gøtzsche had presented himself as a “Protector for the Hearing Voices Network in Denmark,” an organization that—according to Torrey—promoted numerous false beliefs. As a result of Gøtzsche’s relationship with this organization, Torrey wrote, “I would personally not find any Cochrane publication on mental illness to be credible.”

    We started the interview on a point that he and Robert Whitaker completely agree.  Pharmaceutical medications used to treat mental disturbances are being over prescribed – especially in children! They both believe this presents an extreme danger to our society.

    Where they differ is in the way they believe pharmaceutical treatment should be applied. Whitaker’s findings lead him to believe that medication should be used sparingly and mainly to relieve acute symptoms in the early stages of severe distress. In his analysis of the scientific literature he has found that long term use of psychopharmaceuticals is mostly ineffective and has side effects that are extremely harmful. He quotes the results of programs like ‘Open Dialogue’ in Northern Finland that have shown very favorable results by minimizing the use of medication and placing an emphasis on healing the social network of the distressed individual.

    Dr. Torrey does not mince words. It is his belief that psychosis is a physical disease that at this time is best managed by medication. He hopes one day to isolate the physical causative agent(s) of psychosis that he suspects are carried by household cats.

    As we get further into this project we are finding this debate over the definition and treatment of ‘mental illness’ to be heating up more and more – fueled by the disarray and crisis of our mental health system.

    Wendy Burn
    Did ANYONE see

  8. Well maybe I have been slow on this … but I finally found the source of the complaint that led Cochrane to “investigate” and then expel Peter Gotzsche. David Hammerstein is exactly right. This ain’t about Gotzsche. It’s about our most basic rights as patients, scientists and citizens.

    Gotzsche was trying to get ahold of the raw data from the “TIPS Study” of antipsychotic drug use – specifically, the numbers and causes of deaths in that study. The limited information in the official report just didn’t add up. He sent this request as director of the Nordic Cochrane Center, and put it on the NCC’s stationery. Well, getting information of this kind is a core mission of the Cochrane Collaboration – or at least you’d hope so. “When young people who are receiving antipsychotics die, we need to know why they died in order to reduce the risk of death in future,” Gotzsche wrote. He added that “patients with psychotic disorders” shared this view, and mentioned in passing his role as a “Protector” or medical advisor to the Hearing Voices Network in Denmark.

    One of the people he wrote to was E. Fuller Torrey of the Stanley Research Institute in the USA, which funded the TIPS study. Dr. Torrey, however, didn’t even bother to deal with the request for data. Instead, he sent a memo to Cochrane HQ expressing his outrage that Cochrane would include any scientist in its ranks who dared to collaborate with the Hearing Voices Network!

    “This organization promotes the belief that auditory hallucinations are merely one end of a normal behavioral spectrum,” Torrey wrote, “thus casting doubt on whether schizophrenia actually exists as a disease.” He also accused them of believing that “hearing voices are caused by trauma in childhood, for which there is no solid evidence.” Cochrane should exclude any researcher who collaborated with a group that would express such forbidden ideas. Otherwise, Torrey warned, “I personally would not find any Cochrane publication on mental illness to be credible. I thought it important to make you aware of the problem.”

    The arrogance is breathtaking – and the attitude is more suitable to an archbishop than a scientist. Especially given that Stanley is the privately-funded project of a single wealthy family, and campaigns aggressively (through its “Treatment Advocacy Center”) for laws to expand forced pharmaceutical treatment in all fifty states. A strange group to lecture Cochrane about the need for “objectivity” in research!

    Cochrane could have politely explained that Dr. Gotzsche’s opinions were his own – and politely repeated the demand to share the data. Instead, they helpfully reformulated Dr. Torrey’s hissy-fit into a “complaint” that Gotzsche had misused his title and letterhead to portray his views as those of Cochrane! It wasn’t at all what Torrey had said – but he was delighted to endorse the complaint.

    McCarthyism is too gentle a term for the witch-hunt Torrey and others in US psychiatry seek to impose on medical research. The Spanish Inquisition comes a lot closer. And clearly the greatest heresy, in their eyes, is to ask a patient for his or her opinion. If Cochrane wants to follow the dictates of a psycho-pharmaceutical Vatican, fine. But it should share Torrey’s correspondence with the rest of the scientific community, so they can see what they are signing up for. Here it is:

  9. Thanks very much for the link Johanna. I notice that The last sentence in Torrey’s e mail Subject ‘Cochrane’s Credibility’ written and signed as a director of the Stanley Institute stated that ‘I PERSONALLY would not find any Cochrane publication on mental illness credible. I thought it important that I make you aware of the problem’. So Torrey is writing in a personal capacity not as a spokesperson for the Institute…thought he had a problem with that as he used it conjure up trouble for Peter G and Cochrane. He not the Institute ‘thought it important to make (you) aware of the problem’.

    I wonder if Cochrane receives any of the massive amounts of dosh held by the Stanley Institute – the last phrase has a strangely sly tone. Why should his personal anger with what one member of an organisation promotes lead to not finding Any publication by Cochrane credible…Fact is as Torrey welll knows P G’s stance is held and has been developed for decades by other researchers, psychiatrists, and most importantly people with mental health conditions themselves. Hearing Voices Network started off as a grass roots ‘user’ movement combating the lack of understanding and harmful treatments by institutions and has now been accepted by them . The Stanley Institute itself needs to give a response , doubt if they will though, there doesn’t seem to be a P Gotzsche among them.

    The Institute has a collection of brains , researchers can apply for samples – broken down into ; white, black, Asian.Hispanic, male,female. no mention of transgender, other diverse ethnic inheritance or social factors but maybe these are included in detailed publications somewhere other than on the Institute’s site .

  10. My thoughts, out of thin air:

    “If you want to discredit someone, have someone else do it for you”

    That summarizes what could be behind an intricate story of how the expulsion of Prof. Goetzsche came to be.

    “Shroud it in an endless stream of vague accusations” – is another!


  11. Torrey’s opinions seem to carry a lot weight, for some inexplicable reason. We have belonged for many years, to a Mental Health Carers Support Group. They have a website. When we first read Robert Whitaker’s ‘Anatomy of An Epidemic’ four years or so ago, we were so impressed with it that we wanted to share it with all the members and asked the Secretary to put a reference to it on the website. She wouldn’t, citing Torrey who we’d never heard of again, till now, who apparently pronounced the book as containing a lot of misguided views, or words to that effect. His word seemed important enough to override the evidence that that magnificent book contained. Why?

  12. An ‘ALERT 62’ from Peter Breggin MD to Peter Gotzche

    ‘We are honoured by your acceptance of our invitation to become a member of the Advisory Council for the Centre for the Study of Patient Orientated Psychiatry’. The unintended consequences of the Cochrane attack on Peter G are very hopeful especially in the counter attack on the bullying and attempts to silence critics,

    Disappointed at seeing the Council’s choice of title though – many find ‘patient’ orientated disempowering preferring eg ‘client’ and how far does ‘orientated’ go..being picky here but giant steps are needed to change relationships and their impact on how individuals are treated.

    hopefully and optimistically if more ethical and trustworthy studies are defended and made public they will help to shame the colleges and regulators to change studies into realities which change practice. Whether they admit the influence of activism or not. Many of those on the list of the Council though practice in USA privately , a few are members of the Critical Psychiatry Network in UK but a very few people can get an NHS consultation with a psychiatrist of choice in UK without going private..and knowing they exist in the first place. GP’s could be given a list as they don’t always know of client centred psychiatrists either/ In reality though I’ never met anyone who was given a choice of who they get referred to or who were given any prior information about the psychiatrist or other health worker-counsellor;psychologist whoever. In a vet’s office certificate and qualifications and experience are pinned to the wall or on information leaflets , a consultation about a dog including any emotional problems will take longer than most consultations with a GP or psychiatrist, explanations about treatment possibilities ond possible side effects are more thorough. Vets tend to have a lot of empathy both for the animals they treat and their owners – medic s could learn a lot from vets.

  13. Good bless Peter G, I say.

    Cantankerous maybe AND we need many more like him.

    I am so glad I no longer find myself with pen in hand and script pad on desk wondering whether I am doing more harm than good.

    The book Overdo$ed America and others were huge warnings and all were ignored.

    What a story mess.

  14. Letter to Danish Minister of Health against dismissal of Peter Gotzsche

    Dear Minister of Health of Denmark Ellen Trane Nørby:

    We are writing to express our concern over the possible dismissal of Peter Gøtzsche from his job at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. We feel that Dr. Peter Gøtzsche´s work at the Nordic Cochrane Centre has been an important service to patients, taxpayers and the scientific community in Europe and globally. For many years the prestigious activity and publications of Dr. Gøtzsche have played a pivotal role in favour of the transparency of clinical data, the priority of public health needs and the defence of rigorous medical research carried out independently of conflicts of interest. The recent crisis within the
    Cochrane Collaboration that involved Dr. Gøtzsche and many other prominent long-time members of Cochrane should be seen in this light.

    We ask you to reconsider this possible dismissal due to the great benefits taxpayers, patients and health-care professionals reap from his work aimed at studying the efficacy and safety of medical treatments. We also fear that the dismissal of Dr. Gøtzsche from the Rigshospitalet could harm the international reputation of Danish medical research and could seriously weaken Denmark´s traditional support for open scientific debate.

    We hope this issue can be resolved amicably and fairly for the sake of public health, robust scientific debate and the wise spending of public money.

    Thank you very much,

    David Hammerstein, Former Member of the Cochrane Governing Board (2017-2018) and former Member of the European Parliament (2004-2009)

    Tom Jefferson MD MRCGP FFPHM, Senior Associate Tutor, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6GG Member, Cochrane Collaboration (1994 – current)

    24 October. Rthorat: Authoritarianism at Cochrane

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