In early December 2020, Ian and Tania Morgan had to attend the inquest of their son Samuel in Swansea, South Wales. Sam died in January 2020, a week after he had been put on citalopram by his family doctor, Dr Adams.
Sam was pretty close to a healthy volunteer. A 25 year old, sporty, successful at College, with a girlfriend – there was very little wrong with him. He likely went through a week of excruciating torture before hanging himself in the stairwell of his parents house where his mother found him.
Ian Morgan approached me and I offered to write a report for them. The Morgans were initially surprised that Sam might even think about an antidepressant for a degree of exam related anxiety. After his death, they found that NICE Guidance recommends review after a week. They met with Dr Adams and became aware Sam had not be scheduled for a follow-up visit at a week. They were inclined to blame Dr Adams.
My view was that from the medical notes I’d seen, Dr Adams appeared to be a good doctor and they would do better getting him onside. If both he and they blamed the drug someone might have to do something. I emailed Dr Adams inviting him, given the clarity of this case, to bring some good out of a grim situation.
He responded which suggests he is a decent man. The response was non-committal – as advised by his defence lawyer. See Email, Dr Adams Response, Healy Rejoinder.
I wrote a report stating that it seemed very clear that his antidepressant had killed Samuel Morgan. Morgan Inquest Report. The report also noted that many healthy volunteer trials of SSRIs in the 1980s had taken place a few miles away from where the inquest was happening, that young men in those became suicidal and that the Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething had been told about this on more than one occasion – I recognise these constraints.
The Coroner, Colin Phillips, also seemed a decent man. He listened closely to Tania Morgan’s impassioned contribution and didn’t pay too much heed to Dr Adams’ lawyer whose efforts to save his client (and the insurance company money) appear to have consisted primarily in trying to blame Samuel.
Mr Phillips wrote to the family afterwards saying he would submit a Regulation 28 Report to the British drugs regulator, the MHRA. which coroners can submit when a case suggests to them someone somewhere needs to look at what has gone on and do something.
MHRA had a few weeks to respond.
Dr Adams wrote to NICE, who issue Guidelines for antidepressants suggesting that their advice about review in a week needs to be much more clear.
Mr Phillips letters to the family around this time I am sure were designed to console. They failed.
The MHRA Response from June Raine was entirely predictable. Depression is a terrible illness and some people after being put on treatment will be at even higher risk (from their illness is implied).
I wrote to Dr Adam’s and Mr Phillips mentioning that while they were likely well-intentioned, their efforts had made a bad situation worse. Healy to Adams and Phillips.
Until MHRA and NICE who know that drugs can make healthy volunteers suicidal state this clearly, a doctor like Dr Adams faced with someone like Sam coming back after a week, will likely double the dose of his treatment.
A colleague got in touch about another inquest just happening after what may have been a mirtazapine induced suicide where the doctor brought this point home when stating:
It is not uncommon for a patient to notice that their symptoms may get worse before they get better and so we start with a low dose, monitor and get feedback from the patient in order to titrate the dose if tolerated.
The lowest doses of citalopram and most SSRIs are in fact staggeringly high – they block the system pretty completely from the get-go.
What doctors need to be told is they should take a lot of care when adding the suicide inducing effects of a drug into the mix for someone who is depressed or anxious. If they get worse, it is highly likely to be caused by the drug. It is unlikely to be their illness.
I copied my letter to Dr Adams and Mr Phillips into June Raine of MHRA and to Gillian Leng (CEO) and Sharmila Nebhrajani of NICE.
Mr Phillips has said the matter is closed.
Dr Adams has not replied.
June Raine has been impossible to access.
Nice have said the letter has been forwarded to Gillian and Sharmila. Both the former CEO and Chair of NICE have been accessed about this before and done nothing – The NICE Before Xmas. They were men however and one can always hope that women might have more balls than men.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has just ridden into town across on RxISK – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Courageous, Charismatic, Attractive?
The RxISK post was triggered by her calling out the mob who invaded Capitol Hill for their Abusive behaviour at the time and especially afterwards when their behaviour seemed typical of Sexual Abusers more generally.
She and one or two other politicians seem to have the attractive ability to spell out the obvious – an ability most politicians lack – and attract people to them by doing so.
Vaughan Gething, despite having a picture of the very attractive Martin Luther King on the wall behind his desk, seems devoid of this ability.
I’ve been told its bad form to called AOC or any woman Attractive. I added that Yannis Varoufakis, one of the people behind the new European political party DIEM, seems Attractive in this sense.
In the sense of being able to attract people to them on an important issue, Michelle O’Neill and Mary-Lou McDonald of Sinn Fein aren’t coming over as very Attractive on this issue at least – even though they had the incentive of the death of a family member – Stephen O’Neill that featured in these pages earlier this year – The Death of Stephen O’Neill and The Perfect Killing Machine.
If Sinn Fein aren’t going to be just a clone of the other Irish political parties, if DIEM aren’t to just be a clone or other fringe groups on the European political scene or if the Green Parties that Shipwreck appeals to aren’t going to be just the same as the centre right and centre left, someone needs to pick up the gauntlet thrown down in Shipwreck.
Maybe I’m just not Attractive enough – Attractive to Politicians anyway.
Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
This makes for sad and infuriating reading. Sad in the sense that yet another young life has been lost with no-one willing to take any kind of responsibility for his loss. I find it so infuriating that so little was made of the loss of life and the inquest. We, in North Wales, often complain that it’s only matters from South Wales that make it to the News channels in Wales. Here is a perfect example of this. Surely it is something that should be heard UK wide as well as the whole of Wales. But no, not a word. Had it been on the news here, at least there would have been a chance to contact the channel (for all the good that would come out of that!) expressing our dismay etc.
The silence, therefore the hope that stories simply disappear, is the most dangerous part of this whole story I guess. The “giving up” once they feel they’ve “done their duty” – be they doctors, coroners or judges. They become silent, continue with their lives and fall headlong into the next case that may come along.
At the end of each case there remains a family who is left in a state of trauma – especially when divided by the cause of the death. Many will want to put all their faith in the “justice” of all professionals involved whereas the parents, who knew the individual best ( or at least did until the drug was introduced) will KNOW EXACTLY where the truth lies.
This does make for very, very sad reading indeed Mary H.
It seems impossible to comprehend why an opportunity to save life and /or save the devastating sequelae of unrecognised akathisia –
(identified in such detail, and based on such unique expertise) – is not investigated as a Public Health priority.
I agree but at the moment NICE can look to MHRA who look to doctors and BMA, who look to politicians who look to MHRA or NICE – round and round it goes. The only people who can really break the vicious circles are linked to a political party – perhaps a relatively new party like the Greens or DIEM25 or someone.
There is no chance that Starmer or Biden and anyone linked to them is likely to make any difference – its not because they are bought but as Biden says I’m not a scientist I ask the scientists. They of course check with FDA who check with AMA who checked with politicians.
The editors of medical journals know what is going on but say nothing – doesn’t stop them pontificating to the rest of us about medical courage and decency – especially Richard Horton.
In this sense a Trump-like figure is arguably a better bet. There are votes to be won here – who voter would want to vote for a party who treats them like a fool – allowing the entire medical literature that is key to the survival chances of their families to be ghostwritten to the point of making lethal hazards vanish and have negative trials portrayed as glowingly positive.
There has to be somebody with whom a Win-Win deal can be made. I have literally tried the Pope in addition to all the people mentioned in the O’Neill series of posts
Thank you Professor Healy, your dedication, courage and commitment keep our hopes alive.
Perhaps there is indeed somebody with whom a Win-Win deal can be made.
Our experience leads us to believe that this is most likely if the ‘key-political-player’ has (tragically) experienced, understood, and endured the akathisia tragedy within their own family.
Back in the Saddle …
I really don’t think we will ever find ‘the one’.
I really do think that bottom up, it comes down to doctors and lawyers.
Round and round we go, David has explored all possibilities, but at the end of the day it is the doctor who makes sometimes absurd judgements for a death and I am convinced that thousands of doctors are the weakest link and that the politics push them to be neutered.
And being neutered by what you may call Politics or the Pope is not going to stop.
“Ask yourself if any of the public reading this letter are likely to think you could do more. In the clip below, you will note the pharmaceutical company’s response is that the care of patients is a doctor’s responsibility. MHRA and NICE take the same position but are less likely to voice it.”
Back to the blog…
I don’t know if they have a concentration problem, if they find it all too uncomfortable, if they prefer not to want to rock the boat, or what, but unless at least one of them gets a grip there will be so many more Sams, distressed parents up against the wall and people like us who have been through the mill just dismayed at the seemingly lack of responsibility.
They don’t like, or even possibly object to, the “Attractive” Professor telling them their business.
I was called “Attractive” and “Eloquent” in an initial psychiatric review but when I almost kicked the door down, but didn’t, as I sat and waited my turn at the surgery, my heart palpitating, hyperventilating, wanting to burst out of my skin and exclaimed “you must send me to a hospital or I’ll…………. I never knew what I was going to say and the doctor never knew what I was going to say as she picked up the phone at that precise moment to get me admitted to a mental hospital.
The Indian doctor who kicked all this off and who we welcomed to our village as we bought him whiskeys in the hotel snug bar next door “and one for the doctor”. He really appreciated it.
He didn’t realise that I went to him for a discussion about a driving licence issue, as someone to help out because it was too embarrassing to talk to friends and family and his big mistake was to miss this and go all ‘psychiatric’… We had previously been ‘Attractive’ to him.
Months later he called me from Heathrow Airport to apologise that he had forgotten to refer me to a heart specialist but he had down it now and he was on his way to India. My heart was bursting from Seroxat withdrawal.
None of the medical people surrounding me in the Corral were Attractive in the sense of attracting.
I was being rounded up and captured with the lasso around my neck like the casual throws of a cowboy at a Calgary Stampede.
And then herded on to the train.
“and one for the doctor” …
Who benefits and who suffers
17 April 2009
Alan A Crouch
Cairns, Queensland, Australia, 4870
Re: Whose rights and who’s right? Trisha Greenhalgh. 338:doi 10.1136/bmj.b1499
It is a tough call, TG. Data that is not shared is not subject to the usual rigours of falsification; but it is open to manipulation. So, who benefits from non transparency with data and data sources, and who ultimately suffers?
Re: Save our souls Des Spence. 338:doi 10.1136/bmj.b1420
Des Spence’s comments are well recieved but overdue. We are
witnessing the death of the independant GP and the entire future of
primary health care as we know it. That it is partially at the hands of
our own profession is sickening. If the drawbridges pulled up by existing
GP partners are not let down again we will find ourselves increasingly
playing into the governments hands; becoming a salaried group of technical
monkeys slavishly following the latest Dept. of health dictats and unable
to respond to our patients actual needs.
We must wake up to this NOW and reverse the damage already done.
Show me the way to the barricades for I will man them.
17 April 2009
Janet finch saunders
Antidepressant Withdrawal Welsh Senedd Debate | RxISKrxisk.org › antidepressant-withdrawal-welsh-senedd-de…
24 May 2019 — The image is of Janet Finch-Saunders. The cover … I’m delighted to open my first debate as Chairman of the Petitions Committee. I’d like to …
Blog | RxISK- Part 2rxisk.org › Home › RxISK blog
29 Mar 2020 — Read our blog about prescription drugs, side effects, patient engagement and pharmacovigilance. … The image is of Janet Finch-Saunders.
Helen Mary Jones AM for llanelli (the family’s area) ex Youth Cymru minister
The new ambassador for youth mental health in Wales who Mary mentioned previously. His brother sadly committed suicide just before starting medical training
I have now contacted Jack Sargeant, Senedd member who’s father died by his own hand a few years ago. He was Assembly Member at the time – Jack followed in his footsteps after his father’s death. Unfortunately, I do not live in his constituency, although more or less next door!, therefore he may well not get to read my email but I felt it was worth a try. I explained that my reason for contacting was due to my knowledge of his personal interest in the topic. Have then given a rough outline of Sam’s story, concentrating mainly on the inquest and the outcome of that. Finished with an explanation of our deepest concerns and asking him to find a way to gather Senedd members’ attention to what is going on. Also included contact possibilities for the “expert” mentioned in my comments.
Automated reply explained I’ll need to wait 10 days for a response – we’ll see!
Have also contacted Alex George again with details of Sam’s inquest – of which, surely, he should already be aware.
Baroness Young of Hornsey, Crossbench peer, expert in arts and culture and social justice campaigner shared who she was inspired by:
“All those people who despite setbacks, abuse, and physical and emotional barriers continue to struggle for social and environmental justice. It’s about their strength and resilience, even when their very existence is threatened.
Today, PressReader published this article about the suicide of Toran Henry, a New Zealand teenager who was taking Fluoxetine (Prozac) when he died. Toran “took his own life just two weeks after a psychiatrist put him back on an antidepressant that had previously caused him severe adverse reactions.” This article is particularly important and timely with so many young people being prescribed antidepressants to help them deal with the social isolation and distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Know Your Drugs
In March 2008 17-year old Toran Henry who was on Fluoxetine (Prozac) committed suicide, fifteen days after starting the drug. Maria Bradshaw, his mother, convinced that the drug had caused the problem refused to have his death attributed to a depression or other disorder he didn’t have.
Maria Bradshaw says:
July 22, 2015 at 4:17 pm
My 17 year old son killed himself 15 days after being prescribed prozac by a psychiatric registrar. The drug company and my government conducted causality assessments and determined the drug was the probable cause of his suicide. In my country, medical professionals can’t be sued so I went to the police asking they arrest him for manslaughter.
They are currently conducting and investigation with a view to deciding whether to lay a criminal charge against the doctor. Paying a fine arising from civil proceedings would have no impact on the doctor or pharmaceutical company or regulator. A doctor being convicted of manslaughter could be a game changer. In my view criminal negligence resulting in death requires publicly conducted criminal proceedings not confidential settlements in civil courts.
Once upon a time I considered using medical complaints systems would be a way of dealing with A extensive bunch of doctors who were breaching any and all laws and guidelines by publishing individuals’ information without their knowledge, or consent in journals etc which few would access. They were all asked informally to change their practice as women, mainly women, had gained access to their files and realised how the facts of their lives had been scewed and distorted to back up psychological theories they were promoting through publishing ‘case histories’ and at self promoting conferences . Some had been abused and some were documented wrongly as been abused. The way they were treated was a further abuse. Some were given ‘warnings’ by the GMC and some ‘advised’ to change their practice. CEO’s were the most helpful. Maybe they enjoyed bringing the arrogance of the doctors to book. They were so arrogant they could’t bear the idea of being challenged albeit in a very fair way. After a while when the heat died down they began doing the same thing again Three were promoted to positions at the college of psychs’ one was acrually sitting on the Fitness to Practice panel which was looking at the complaint against her When I found out (I wasn’t told) the panel shamefaced said she has retired herself from the panel. She went on to an set up organisation for ‘distressed doctors’ with referals from medical organisations which doctors themselved expressed real anger about She somehow made friends with two of the therapists who with myself and a few others had set up a group to deal with abuse in psychotherapy, by describing her own experience as ‘distress’ It was completely sabotaged by her inviting herself to become chair of this informal group and inviting other psych friends to join I left in disgust and set up another independant group. Another got herself onto two medical organisations who knew their backgrounds ,as chair of ethics. One claimed she had ‘lost’ files pertinent to a ‘case’.
I was asked by several organisations to contribute to amending codes of practice and ethics The main support came from men as they tend to be in positions of influence but a few women were outstanding in challenging those who considered themselves above ‘it’ Some asked me to keep their support ‘secret’
I just give this snippett to underline how as we all know, the medical profession colludes with members of their own club. The same as in other areas of abuse. I have given as much personal information as I can without betraying people I care about who cannot give consent. But some I have disclosed elsewhere on the blogs as well as extensively elsewhere to provide evidence.
I also did some work for the False Memory Society and was almost made to feel it was a dirty secret to be involved in any way. I made a few good friends there but of course could not vouch for all who were accused of abuse and denied it. I also did some work for Richard Webster who wrote about the twisted scandal in N Wales. I followed my own path so that I could discover whats what for myself and not be constrained by others with self interests at ‘heart’
Like many of us I would never rely on the medical profession or their networks to oversee themselves. My guess is David you are seen as attractive at the stage when your academic work is realised – but when they realise you are working outside the box by publishing authentic material on the blogs in a way they find scary and in breach of the club’s code and supporting people who would otherwise be silenced – that they can’t tolerate.
I don’t believe things will change until there are prosecutions of medics It sounds unfair but they have a duty of care and to know what they are prescribing regardless of NICE and the rest of them .
Clare Gerada @ClareGerada
The jobs doctors do; the high intensity of work, the closeness to suffering and the expectations for perfection, can sap resilience and increase rates of burn out, anxiety and depression. In addition, individuals are chosen for traits which outwardly make for good doctors (perfectionism, altruism, obsessional) but when pushed, can predispose to mental illness.
A doctor is something you are, not something that you do.
She has led the way in reforming how drug users are managed
There we are then. Our Doctors…………………………………….Um..
Yawn Yawn Annie ,s’cuse me am having my tea can’t stomache another trawl for more money for her caring business by Clare Gerada Wessley
PROFESSOR RICHARD BENTALL WRITES AN OPEN LETTER TO STEPHEN FRY
I notice he was at Bangor at some time – is he likely to help ?
In 1993 Richard Bentall went a bit mad.
In his controversial book Let Them Eat Prozac Healy wrote about what the volunteers experienced. “It was not like anything that had happened to them before… Highly personal memories of previous unhappy times – broken relationships or loneliness – seemed to be flooding back. And if they previously held themselves responsible for these unhappy times, they seemed to hold themselves responsible for feeling the way they did now as well.”
The antipsychotic experiment, which gave him a hangover for a week, typifies Bentall’s approach to mental illness – rigorous scientific research coupled with a clinical psychologist’s perspective.
Zoloft Study: Mystery in Leeds
February, 26, 2012 | 10 Comments
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 different manner had this study been in the public domain.
How might the story of antidepressants and suicide have unfolded had this Zoloft study by Dr. Hindmarch been in the public domain?
Then somebody asked him to fill in a form. “I looked at this test and I couldn’t have filled it in to save my life. It would have been easier to climb Mt Everest.”
That was the least of his troubles. Bentall, an expert on psychosis from the University of Bangor in Wales who is in New Zealand under the University of Auckland Hood Fellowship programme, developed akathisia – unpleasant sensations of inner restlessness and an inability to sit still.
“It was accompanied by a feeling that I couldn’t do anything, which is really distressing. I felt profoundly depressed. They tried to persuade me to do these cognitive tests on the computer and I just started crying.”
Am working through my list, it’s a bit random but they all profess concern for young people. Not expecting much if anything but as ever the evidence of their neglect mounts up the more they avoid acknowleging what they have been told by experts as well as those who have been harmed. sent the post with a note to ;-
Politicians in Wales – Janet-finch Saunders conservative; Helen Mary Jones Plaid . Wendy Lewis Swansea councillor, Labour. Members of House of lords /campaigners Joan Bakewell and Betty Boothroyd
People named in David’s post – Dr Adams, Mr Phillips Coroner, NICE, MHRA. Vaughan Gethin Labour Health minister
Janet Menage retired GP/campaigner
I have also bombarded Senedd with messages this week – let’s hope the recipients actually get to see them. From all I’ve sent I’ve had just one reply. That was from Jack Sargeant’s office stating “As you are not one of Jack’s constituents……” which I knew would happen. Anyway that person got a reply stating that the earlier message was not about ME but applied TO THE WHOLE OF WALES and beyond! Have also sent copies to both Swansea Senedd members ( as well as the higher ups!). Have asked both Swansea members to work with Jack and our own member to get something done about this, since all four are Labour members. Have yet to tackle Adam Price (Plaid) – that one will be in Welsh just incase that gets better notice! Doubt it very much. All after our votes at the moment though aren’t they.
If people don’t want the Goldacres and their networks getting their hands on medical and social info – remember to excercise the right to opt out. Info should be on GP websites or leafletts or on line – there is the right to be told how to opt out by surgeries. The pandemic is no excuse to avoid it. There is no such thing as total confidentiality – your relative or someone known could be handling your iinfo somewhere Some people aren’t bothered of course but they will try to weasel out of respecting rights to decide.
It’s not who you are but who your father and fathers father was RE Ben Goldacre’s dad Wikipidia Early life
Michael Goldacre was born on 3 January 1944 in Melbourne, Australia. His great-grandfather was journalist and politician Sir Henry Parkes, father of the Australian Federation.
Goldacre has been at the University of Oxford since 1974, when he was appointed clinical lecturer in social and community medicine. Since 1986, he has been the Director of the Unit of Health-Care Epidemiology. He was also scientific director of the South East England Public Health Observatory from 2000 until 2005, and director of the UK Medical Careers Research Group from 1993 to 2015. For most of his career he has worked approximately half-time as a consultant in NHS service public health and half-time in academic public health. In both roles he has made extensive use of large medical datasets of hospital and death records, including the Oxford record linkage study (data from 1963) and English national hospital data (from 1968, with linkage from 1998) for epidemiological and health services research. Current research interests in these datasets include the study of long-term time trends, geographical variation, and the co-occurrence of different diseases in the same individuals (“given disease A, what is the probability that disease B will follow?”) From 1986 – 2015 he was Director of the Unit of Health-Care Epidemiology (UHCE).
Ben Goldacre son of Michael Goldacre (and his mother, a singer, of course)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ben Michael Goldacre MBE (born 20 May 1974) is a British physician, academic, and science writer. As of March 2015, he is a senior clinical research fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, part of the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.
Hey thanks dad – and it’s not even my birthday!
Covid-19 Primary Care Resources
Home News Technology Hancock launches review into new NHS patient data extraction project
09 February 2021
Health secretary Matt Hancock has ordered a review into how patient data can be shared outside the NHS for research purposes after the pandemic.
Dr Ben Goldacre, from the University of Oxford’s DataLab, has been tasked with chairing the rapid review which will report in April.
The Department of Health and Social care (DHSC) said the review’s findings would ‘complement’ a forthcoming white paper on data strategy for health and social care.
The review brief includes looking at how the NHS can share data with researchers in academia and the private sector ‘while preserving patient privacy’ and how to ‘prove to patients that privacy is preserved, beyond simple reassurance’.
The new project comes five years after the Government scrapped the controversial data sharing scheme care.data, following concerns about patient confidentiality and how the data would be used.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘The pandemic has demonstrated just how important health data is. Ensuring that researchers have secure, transparent and ethical access to health data has the potential to transform health and care and save lives.’
Dr Goldacre said: ‘The UK has a phenomenal resource in its raw data, and its people. Our challenge is now in the final lap: we need to find safe, secure, collaborative and efficient ways to turn that raw data into insights and action, to improve patient care for all.
‘There is a wealth of expertise around the country, much of it untapped. I’m excited to talk to people across health, social care and research about their experiences and concerns to help drive better, broader, safe use of health data.’
What was care.data?
The ill-fated care.data project, championed by then-Prime Minister David Cameron, had been set to launch in 2014 – extracting and storing large amounts of patient data from GP records for the first time.
This was then going to be linked with data from secondary care, anonymised and made available to researchers.
But it came under heavy critique from patient data protection campaigners and was ultimately scrapped in 2016.
However, not before NHS England had delivered an information leaflet to every household costing a total of £1m. (Matt H has been reponsible for wasting zillions including on awards of contracts for cronies this time round during the pandemic , now he;s giving Ben another contract)
Analysis: History of previous attempt (People took trusts to court and one of thre worst culprits was the Royal Free’s Lead Governor defended that they had handed thousands of files over to google – only discovered after FOI He was author of book on Ethics.
GPs bear brunt of care.data confusion
31 January 2014
IT data hands keyboard computer SQUARE
Since the inception of the NHS, GPs have been the trusted guardians of their patients’ most private medical information. But in just a few weeks, all that will change.
Next month, the NHS will begin extracting and storing huge amounts of patient data from GP records for the first time under the care.data programme, and then linking it to data from secondary care.
The move marks a seismic shift in the way the NHS in England uses patients’ data. The database will become a huge mine of information for commissioners and, in time, for researchers too. But care.data has caused consternation among GPs, many of whom are alarmed at the threat to confidentiality and all of whom still have a statutory obligation as data controllers to ensure patients know about the scheme, which will operate on an opt-out basis.
A Pulse survey reveals that despite an ongoing publicity campaign, many patients, practice staff and even GPs still don’t understand how care.data works, while as many as 40% of GPs plan to opt out themselves.
In the meantime, debate is raging, with researchers arguing care.data will help bring significant clinical advances but critics highlighting that large chunks of data could be sold for a nominal fee of as little as £1. Do patients have anything to fear from care.data – and how can GPs avoid being caught in the crossfire?
The information due to be extracted from GP systems in England for care.data includes family history, vaccinations, diagnoses, referrals, NHS prescriptions and biological values such as blood pressure and BMI. Identifiable information – NHS number, gender, postcode and date of birth……..
Thebmj wasn’t happy with the way Janet Menage’s was shared around websites and social media – hope this won’t upset the Editor too much
Checked out J Dirmikis after reading her comment to the same article on thebmj
All rapid responses
Rapid responses are electronic comments to the editor. They enable our users to debate issues raised in articles published on bmj.com. A rapid response is first posted online.
Re: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant
Re: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant Kamran Abbasi. 372:doi 10.1136/bmj.n314
I enjoyed the boldness of this article.
A follow up considering, in detail, the specific legal merits of a Corporate Manslaughter prosecution (private – given the unlikelihood of CPS one against the government) would be useful. Of course this would be unprecedented. But I think it would be useful to see a detailed examination of what the merits would be.
I was surprised when I noticed that schedule 1 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act seems to theoretically apply to cabinet and DoH not just companies. Not being even mentioned in press.
and it turned out , , she has or does still represent the Movember Foundation. Not sure if it could be useful or not sometime though..
Joanna Dirmikis on LinkedIn
Legal Counsel at Movember Foundation
London, England, United Kingdom 215 connections Contact info
They have the funds – would they have the guts?
Re: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant; Corporate Manslaughter prosecution?
Re: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant Kamran Abbasi. 372:doi 10.1136/bmj.n314
Now a practising Barrister is clearly saying, it is worth considering the “specific legal merits of a Corporate Manslaughter prosecution” . The relevant parts of the Act  seem to be section 1, 3, 11, and schedule 1.Whether any individual or an organisation would have the courage to explore the legal merits of bringing an action under the above Act remains to be seen.
However, I have no doubt that the owner of this journal the BMA does have ample resources to at least examine the legal merits of such action, but whether they have the spine and unanimity to do so is highly questionable. Especially as hitherto there is no clear evidence whether the BMA has obtained any opinion from a Barrister as to merits of an action against the government with regard to issues such as previous lack of PPE to frontline staff, extension of vaccine dosing interval, and failure to include BAME groups as a vaccination priority. Simply chanting from the sidelines seems to be the only action which the BMA is comfortable with whilst its loyal membership continues keep this trade union afloat.
One sincerely hopes, the Executive Editor’s brave attempt at highlighting the catastrophic failures of the government  would not be in vain.
Further, it is reported a Minister as saying that effects of Covid were “non-permanent or reversible, non-progressive and any disability is temporary” for the working population as a whole ; arguably, such remarks are an example of downplaying the seriousness of the problem despite a ‘world beating’ death toll exceeding well over 100,000.
Hugh Pym on Twitter: “Letter by BMA to Chris Whitty seen by …twitter.com › bbchughpym › status
22 Jan 2021 — Letter by BMA to Chris Whitty seen by BBC calls for gap between Pfizer vaccine doses to be reduced from 12 weeks to 6. BMA claims UK …
None of my business then I supposedly live in a democracy….no surprises
FOI to BBC
British Broadcasting CorporationRoom BC2 A4Broadcast Centre White CityWood Lane Rightsbbc.co.uk/foibbc.co.uk/privacySusanne email@example.comFebruary 2021 DearSusanne Freedom of Information request –RFI2021-0158Thank you for your request to the BBC of24January 2021
The BBC as a public body has an obligation to repond to FOI’s as you are aware. The BMA and the BMJ have written to Chris Whitty The letter has been sent to the BBC.As an with obligatons to the public can you please let me see a copy of the letter.The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because if held it would beheld for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to you andwill notbe doing so on this occasion. Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes otherthan those of journalism, art or literature”. The BBC is not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities1.The limited application of the Act to public service broadcasters was to protect freedom of expression and the rights of the media under Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). ……..
Complety ignored the post and my note Could have written this myself it’s so predictable. I do carry on contacting these orgs as it is their job to take notice – writing to them and the contents being ignored with evasive replies adds to the evidence of how pointless they are
EH-313130-F4G8D2 – High Noon: Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My….? | Dr. David Healy
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
11:36 AM (31 minutes ago)
Thank you for contacting the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
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Preventing suicide in community and custodial settings (NG105), this guideline covers ways to reduce suicide and help people bereaved or affected by suicides.
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Same correspodence to the Talybont surgery was blocked Sent them the most recent post requesting they at least read it
Tracking down John Bell: how the case of the Oxford professor exposes a transparency crisis in government
BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n490 (Published 24 February 2021)
Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n490
Paul D Thacker, freelance journalist
As testing and the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine are hailed as UK pandemic successes, why won’t Oxford University or the government disclose the “long list” of financial interests of a high profile researcher at the centre of both? Paul D Thacker investigates
Since the covid-19 outbreak began early last year, John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, has held high profile roles in the UK government’s epidemic response while also working with AstraZeneca on the vaccine.
But both Oxford and the government have refused to disclose Bell’s financial interests after The BMJ filed freedom of information (FOI) requests. More alarmingly, it appears that the government is referring media enquiries about Bell through the Cabinet Office and is scrutinising a reporter for The BMJ as it has other reporters it finds troublesome.1The BMJ has been unable to gain either direct contact with Bell or contact through his employer, Oxford University, despite multiple attempts.
The Daily Mail reported on Bell’s financial ties in September 2020, noting that he had £773 000 (€893 000; $1.1m) worth of shares in the pharmaceutical company Roche.2 The newspaper published the story after Roche sold the government £13.5m of antibody tests, which Public Health England later found to be unreliable. Bell had headed the National Covid Testing Scientific Advisory Panel and chaired the government’s test approvals group, but he told the Mail that he had no role in the purchase and that he had disclosed to the government “a long list of my interests.” The government and Oxford University’s failure to be open about Bell’s financial ties make it impossible for the public to know what, if any, interests the professor has when influencing key decisions about which of the many covid-19 tests the UK should purchase.
Last November, The BMJ emailed both Oxford University and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) requesting proof that Bell had disclosed his “long list” of financial interests, and asked for copies of any forms. BEIS runs the Vaccine Taskforce, which named Bell and AstraZeneca as members. A BEIS spokesperson then contradicted their own press release, telling The BMJ that Bell was a member of the “expert advisory group to the Vaccine Taskforce, rather than a member of the taskforce itself.”3 Both BEIS and Oxford University subsequently refused to disclose forms Bell allegedly filled out detailing his financial conflicts.
After these refusals, The BMJ filed FOI requests with both Oxford and BEIS, asking for copies of Bell’s forms. We also requested that BEIS disclose forms signed by other Vaccine Taskforce members. In their response, Oxford again refused to disclose Bell’s financial interests with industry, stating that the university only publishes the financial disclosures of members of council, its governing body, of which Bell is no longer a member.
BEIS also refused to disclose details of Bell’s alleged reporting of financial interests. “Members had to declare conflicts of interest at the start of meetings in relation to topics to be discussed and we can confirm Sir John Bell did so,” BEIS replied. The department gave a similar answer to The BMJ’s request for financial disclosures by other Vaccine Taskforce members. “We can confirm that members declared conflicts of interest at the start of meetings in relation to the topics to be discussed.”
The need for financial transparency to ensure trust in science and medicine has long been recognised, including by Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser. While employed at GlaxoSmithKline, Vallance wrote a 2005 commentary for the Lancet, stating, “[I]nteractions with industry are important for medical advance, but they need to be open and unambiguous, and there is an institutional responsibility to ensure this is the case.” Vallance continued, “Inferences should be drawn from attempts to hide interactions. These responsibilities are as true for patients’ organisations as they are for professional bodies and universities.”4
The BMJ’s information requests uncovered several emails showing government officials discussing our original emailed questions. Citing various exemptions to freedom of information, the government heavily redacted these communications. For example, 24 hours after The BMJ requested copies of any financial disclosure signed by Bell and other Vaccine Taskforce members, a BEIS official decided against any disclosure. Emailing his colleagues, he wrote, “Of course, we would not pass them any of the forms.”
The government heavily redacted the emails and removed officials’ names; however, one exchange implies that Bell did not fill out any conflict of interest (COI) forms. “Just confirm, there isn’t any written COI from John?” one official asks. Another official then emails to ensure that the government alerts Bell that The BMJ is asking questions about his financial interests.
In the emails that the government released after The BMJ’s FOI request, officials also discuss The BMJ’s reporter. One asks if the government might be forced to make the information public through FOI requests: “This chap seems to have a bee in his bonnet about conflicts of interest more generally too. Could the COI declarations ever be revealed through an FOI?”
The BMJ’s FOI request also uncovered a heavily redacted version of the BEIS response to our request in November for COI forms. The email’s subject line is titled, “FOR CLEARANCE,” but the government has blacked out multiple names and emails, hiding who had final clearance. A section of the official internal response characterises our reporter as an extremist for sending the questions. “To note, the journalist looks like a campaigner on the issue of pharma companies influence on politics and has some quite extreme views on a verity [sic] of topics,” the email reads.
“Should departments be fingering certain journalists as ‘campaigners’?” asks Peter Geoghegan, a reporter with openDemocracy, who The BMJ asked to review the emails. “Is that their job? It’s hard to see how that wouldn’t have had an effect on their engagement with The BMJ.”
The BMJ has previously raised concerns about Bell’s financial ties to industry, during a campaign it ran from 2009 for access to the clinical trial data on Tamiflu (oseltamivir), with an open letter to Bell published in 2012.5 At that time Bell was on the commercial board of Roche and received $420 000 from the company in 2011.67
Since The BMJ approached Oxford University and the government last November about Bell, he has made appearances in many media outlets—such as the BBC, Channel 4 News, CNBC, and the Financial Times—to comment on public policy. Yet questions remain about the exact sum and nature of his self-confessed “long list” of financial investments, and how that might affect the government’s coronavirus policy.
Is freedom of information being undermined?
Last year, openDemocracy released a report, Art of Darkness: How the Government is Undermining Freedom of Information, that found that central UK government departments are granting fewer FOI requests and rejecting more since the government passed the FOI law in 2000.8 Decision Notices about such stonewalling are given by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and have increased by 70% in the past five years.
openDemocracy also documented instances of government officials flagging FOI requests that were filed by specific journalists, and they later detailed an “Orwellian” unit inside Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office that acts as a clearing house to approve FOI requests. The unit collates lists of journalists with details about their work, including reporters at the BBC, the Guardian, openDemocracy, and the Times.
“If the Cabinet Office is interfering in FOI requests and seeking to work around the requirements of the act by blacklisting journalists, it is a grave threat to our values and transparency in our democracy,” Labour shadow Cabinet Office minister Helen Hayes said to openDemocracy.
Geoghegan says that the government redacted the names and emails of who approved the official response to The BMJ, probably because BEIS was clearing it through a political office within the government. “They’re not looking to answer your questions in good faith,” Geoghegan told The BMJ.
unbeknownst to myself about eight years now my sister was put on citalopram. Five years ago when I became aware, I informed her of the issues especially akathisia and the prolonged QT issues but she continued and now has a heart problem, verging on diabetes plus a weight problem and four more drugs. So if it doesn’t take you out from the get out..
Given that the MHRA are funded entirely by the pharmaceutical industry on their drugs side, the question always arises as to who they serve the first? The general public, or their paymasters? “Who pays the piper…”, as they say. The MHRA Wikipedia page refers to this problem as Regulatory Capture. See Funding and Criticism.
David’s excellent book Pharmageddon highlights numerous problems regarding the many distortions and cover-ups that ‘regulatory’ bodies like the MHRA and FDA have been complicit in.