O’Neill, O’Neill and Frontiers Psychiatry

October, 12, 2020 | 39 Comments

Comments

  1. Leonora O -could make dealing with this issue her major life achievement if only she would engage. All the honours and lectures would pale into insignificance if she would engage with the real world outside academia She has written extensively about trust, noting
    “that people often choose to rely on the very people whom they claimed not to trust” and suggesting that we “need to free professionals and the public service to serve the public…to work towards more intelligent forms of accountability…[and] to rethink a media culture in which spreading suspicion has become a routine activity”.[4]
    I think her statement is flawed = ‘people dont choose to rely ….on those they claimed not to trust ‘- there is no real choice when the evidence is not available- or deliberately withheld ,there is no choice if a med ic withholds information or is not empowered to inform or afraid to challenge the hierachy or they tell blatant lies .
    DH has attempted to request her assistance He is as she says is needed – one of the professionals who has freed himself to serve the public , to empower citizens and challenge the media; If L O simply ignores the e mail her lectures become mere empty words blowing in the wind of lecture halls and ignoring the corruption which is killing so many innocent people.

    She seems the ideal candidate to take this on – but I don’t trust her to put her words into action. sadly this will be another seemingly decent person who turns out be be untrustworthy when it comes to putting her words into action. (Apologies if it turns out she does respond or there is some reason why she could not ).

    Should she be sent a copy of the blatant lie published in the Times where the coll of psychs doctored the warnings about anti depressants. Stuff of yet another lecture/book on trust, autonomy, trustworthiness ….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onora_O%27Neill

    • I too wish that Onora O’Neill might engage with this greatly needed, and timely opportunity; and then address the urgent need to restore trust and transparency to those who may still be afforded the opportunity to avoid AD induced akathisia and its sequelae.

      Just as the current ‘Second Wave’ of Covid-19 appeared inevitable, I fear a secondary epidemic of SSRI/SNRI/AD prescribing directed towards those vulnerable young men and women confined in our University Halls of Residence.

      What will the “Experts” suggest to be the cause of clusters of ‘suicides’ amongst this vulnerable group?

      Will it be ‘Copycat Suicidal Ideation’, or Covid-19 induced Collateral Damage?
      We cannot expect any coroner to identify the real cause; or to ensure that inappropriate verdicts of suicide do not conclude predictable, future inquests.

      What about those who are spared from or survive initial akathisia, and succumb to Taking-of Life-By-Self’ after years of enduring PSSD?
      Suicidalty now potentially resulting from SSRI withdrawal syndromes.

      How well will those survivors fair in their future careers when their akathisia has been misdiagnosed as Serious Mental Illness and after they have been inappropriately detained, forcibly drugged, subject to the inevitable cruelty, despair and societal rejection induced by serial misdiagnosis and cascade iatrogenesis?

      ‘M.H.’ misdiagnoses are not compelling C.V. material.

      She does indeed seem to be the ideal candidate to take this on.

      For those of us who have seen the devastation caused by unrecognised akathisia, it would afford some comfort.

      • These associations might instead have paid closer attention to the concerned… aye Tim

        To the authors, as to many researchers, patient advocates, and survivors of psychiatric drugs, these recurring symptoms began to look increasingly like a drug-related syndrome—a problem due largely or entirely to the drug prescribed, with little or no relation to the condition it was supposed to treat.

        How Academic Psychiatry Minimized SSRI Withdrawal

        Key evidence was ignored and the condition itself was renamed.

        By

        Christopher Lane, PhD

        Just as significant, the researchers were instrumental in renaming antidepressant withdrawal as “discontinuation syndrome,” a term the drug companies favored because it implied treatment had ended too soon and needed to be resumed, either at a higher dose or on a different drug.

        https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/10/academic-psychiatry-minimized-ssri-withdrawal/

        The 7-14 day time-frame for “discontinuation” would be repeated almost unchallenged for more than two decades, including by professional associations such as the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the American Psychiatric Association, which has yet to update its prescribing guidelines.

        It would also be used (including by those same professional bodies) as a way to minimize or outright deny the existence of longer-term withdrawal, which was subsequently found to last months, often years.

        ‘Now GlaxoSmithKline, the drug maker acknowledges in these pages that Paxil/Seroxat causes serious, widespread side effects and withdrawal symptoms’ —

        https://www.christopherlane.org/the-paxil-papers/

        In my next post on this topic, we’ll see how these far-reaching problems of misdiagnosis and misattribution became too overwhelming to ignore, forcing greater consideration of protracted withdrawal or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) as part of an evidence-base academic psychiatry has for decades claimed to uphold and revere as one of its guiding principles.

    • Simon Wessely
      @WesselyS

      Strong piece from

      @ClareGerada

      on why the next stage of pandemic may create more mental health issues in NHS staff than before. The book at the end is pretty good too.

      @NHSPracHealth
      @NHSCHECK1

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/16/psychological-ppe-britain-health-professionals-covid-medical-mental-face-masks

      These raise the risk of developing psychiatric disorders, especially depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – all of which are associated with increased suicide risk. Mental health problems will be experienced by the general population, but

      “moral injury”

      https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1211

      It’s a military term relating to the harm done to a person’s moral compass when they witness and fail to prevent an act that transgresses their ethical codes of conduct.

      This pair of Dames really need to pull-the-plug under their overlapping of self-interests with a ping of elastic bands…

  2. Onora is bang on the money, with ‘Trustworthiness’ and how so many are backing the wrong horse…

    TRUST – Samizdat Style

    Psychiatrist uses reverse psychology

    https://twitter.com/BecomingaDr/status/917701493058351105

    Onora O’Neill

    What we don’t understand about trust

    https://www.ted.com/speakers/onora_o_neill

    from Scotland

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EkCeNblXkAEXrOh?format=jpg&name=small

    Wendy Burn 
    @wendyburn
    ·
    Safe outdoor lobster lunch by the water at #LochlevenSeafoodCafe.

    “Think you can get your head out of the clouds and crank out a lobster bake for me?
    Like, right after this story on the bone pill?” – Malcharist

  3. The problem as I see it is that we have no proof that these people ACTUALLY RECEIVE the correspondence that we send them. Is it sometimes turned aside by an overzealous secretary?
    Recently I have contacted almost a dozen people or groups – people that I would have expected, at the very least, to acknowledge receipt of the email/ text/ letter sent. In each, I provided those three means of contact, yet NOT ONE REPLY has been received. In some I was quite plain in my request whilst in others I dressed my enquiry up a bit, wondering if that would earn a little recognition. Communicating these days is so much easier than it used to be therefore there is no excuse for this bad behaviour.
    The worst case was the inability to even access any contact details whatsoever without first paying a fee – I thought that was quite outrageous. I wonder if the “celeb” concerned realises that he is impossible to contact without us paying this money up front?
    It would seem to me that replying to a question or suggestion has gone out of fashion – that being “famous” equals having nothing to do with the “ordinary ” people of the land.
    If they fail to reply to David then what chance do we have ? – none whatsoever but that doesn’t mean that we give up trying. Giving up would let them get away with it all.
    David, good for you for calling out those who fail to reply to your correspondence. So very many of us are thankful that YOU do not behave in the same way – you treat all who contact you with that same sense of urgency, which leaves us dumbfounded as to how you find time for it all.
    Since you manage it, there is no reason for any of these others to fail. Maybe it’s time they looked into their mailboxes personally every now and again.

  4. What a world this could be if reasonable people responded reasonably to other well-intentioned individuals. We all likely have instances where we have been surprised or perhaps not quite surprised (but still disappointed) when a communication has gone unanswered. A few at least have the decency of giving an auto reply to let people know they will not likely respond. You never know the person’s intentions or what they might be contending with, but much gratitude to those who are able and do respond.

  5. It’s full of loopholes doctors and their solicitors can crawl through – such as how is the consent to be documented -signed and shared? if there is a disagreement about what was consented – guess who wins (I haven’t read the whole thing yet).

    the Guidance on professional standards and ethics for doctors (1 of 44 pages)
    Decision making
    and consent
    COMES INTO EFFECT 9 NOVEMBER 2020
    General Medical Council gmc-uk.org 01

    The duties of a doctor registered with
    the General Medical Council
    Patients must be able to trust doctors with their lives and health. To justify that trust
    you must show respect for human life and make sure your practice meets the standards
    expected of you in four domains.

  6. More on Pubic Trust

    More on Public Trust and Conflict of Interest

    NIMH: Director’s Blog

    Posted by Thomas Insel

    de-barred? not a bad idea …

    http://1boringoldman.com/index.php/2010/06/15/de-barred-not-a-bad-idea/

    Here‘s a descriptive report about that office. It would seem to me that if Dr. Nemeroff is going to call the question himself by doing an end around and changing schools, a full investigation of him by the Office of Research Integrity should be almost automatic. People say that the NIMH leaves oversight up to the Granted Institutions. Well, in this case, the Institution has already acted – Emory banned him. Shouldn’t that be enough to get the Office of Research Integrity involved to protect the NIMH, other Institutions, and our patients from his further shenanigans? 

    If the Office of Research Integrity is what it’s name says it is, we don’t need new guidelines for this case. They’re already in place…

    who is not telling the truth? yes…

    http://1boringoldman.com/index.php/2010/06/15/who-is-not-telling-the-truth-yes/

    The things that finally brought him down had to do with his relationship with GlaxoSmithKlein [GSK]. Nemeroff was directing a large NIMH study of GSK’s products while being on the company’s payroll – a big no-no. Additionally, he failed to disclose his own financial gain to Emory, even after being counseled to do so – a double no-no. As a result, he found himself the object of a Senate Investigation and was asked to step down as Chairman. His defense was that he “didn’t know the rules.”

    It was touted as an COI [conflict of interest] problem, but it was more that. It was a case of a pharmaceutical company hiring an academic department to push their products. It appears that the company actually ghost-wrote some of the papers published under Dr. Nemeroff and other colleagues names. Further, they recommended use of a drug in pregnancy that seems to be associated with birth defects. It wasn’t just a slip-up, it looks like it was a scam to me.

    Somebody is not telling the truth – maybe several somebodies.

    Who is not telling the truth?

  7. Magnum Global Ventures was set up to look after and manage the assets of the famous Magnum Photos according to Nicole Junkermann’s wiki . Magnum Photos as far as I’m aware is controlled by it’s members who are noted and famous photographers known for shedding light on pressing issues in the world. I wonder if they know about Study 329, ghost writing and major corruption ?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicole_Junkermann

    Also

    “In November 2018, Junkermann was appointed to the Department of Health and Social Care’s Healthtech Advisory Board.[16][17] The board guides the Secretary of State on the potential of technology in health and social care”

    https://magnum.sg/

    Services include:

    Clinical Trial Planning

    Clinical Trial Budgeting

    Clinical Trial Project Management

    Clinical Trial Risk Management

    Clinical Data Management

    Market Research for Target Geography

    Medical Writing

  8. Make it Public: transparency and openness in health and social care research
    Last updated on 3 Sep 2020
    Contents
    Foreword
    About this strategy
    Our vision for research transparency
    Registering research studies
    Reporting results
    Informing participants
    How we developed this strategy
    Foreword
    Professor Chris Whitty
    Record numbers of people are taking part in health and social care research in the UK. Research brings huge benefits to patients and service users, with the findings ultimately leading to the prevention of ill health, earlier diagnosis, faster recovery and better outcomes.

    However, if those research findings are not made public in a meaningful and timely way, we do those research participants a disservice. To really maximise and value the commitment of patients, service users and healthy volunteers who take part in research, transparency and openness are essential. It also means they are more likely to take part in future studies.

    By disseminating research findings widely, we also enable further research and provide a strong evidence base for commissioning services and making health and care policy.

    The Make it Public strategy signals an ambition to transform research transparency in the UK. Its vision for trusted information from health and social care research studies being publicly available for the benefit of all is one that we can all share. The Department of Health and Social Care is committed to the strategy and will continue to support the Health Research Authority (HRA) to make a real difference.

    Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care

  9. Research Transparency
    Last updated on 1 Oct 2020
    Our vision is that trusted information from health and social care research studies is publicly available for the benefit of all.

    Research transparency is central to ethical research practice. Research studies should be registered and the results made public, so that participants are protected from unnecessary studies and research funding maximised. When research is carried out openly and transparently, everyone will be able to see what research is happening and the outcomes from finished studies. This means that:

    patients, service users and carers can find opportunities to join studies
    researchers can build on previous research findings in their efforts to develop new and better treatments, and to identify the best ways for us to stay healthy and well
    health professionals, commissioners, policy makers, and funders, can use research findings to help make informed decisions.
    Promoting transparency across the research landscape is central to the HRA’s role to facilitate safe and ethical research.

    Download a PDF version of our Make it Public strategy
    We’ve set out our ‘Make it public: transparency and openness in health and social care research’ strategy in HTML.

    Our research transparency strategy
    Our strategy, ‘Make it public: transparency and openness in health and social care research’, sets out our vision that trusted information from health and social care research studies is publicly available for the benefit of all. To help achieve this, the HRA is working with key players across the research system, patients and the public to:

    Make transparency easy
    Make transparency the norm
    Make information public
    The strategy was developed following a public consultation and is supported by an implementation plan.

    Make it Public transparency strategy
    Make it Public: transparency and openness in health and social care research

    Four elements of research transparency
    Pillars of research transparency v2 (002).png
    The UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research sets out the responsibilities for researchers, sponsors and funders for all aspects of research, including responsibilities for the four elements of research transparency. These are:

    registering research studies
    reporting results
    informing participants
    sharing study data and tissue
    Make it Public: Implementation plan
    Implementation Plan

    Become a REC member
    Follow us
    Twitter
    LinkedIn
    Health Research Authority

    We need your feedback! We are still testing the new HRA website to ensure it meets your needs. Please complete our short feedback form.

  10. April 26, 2013
    Sir Andrew Witty
    CEO, GlaxoSmithKline
    980 Great West Rd
    Brentford, Middlesex TW8 9GS
    United Kingdom
    Dear Sir Andrew,
    Study 329: A multi-center, double blind, placebo controlled study of paroxetine and
    imipramine in adolescents with unipolar major depression.
    I write to you as the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline in regard to an on-going complaint about a
    fraudulent journal article under the lead authorship of Martin Keller entitled ‘Efficacy of
    paroxetine in the treatment of adolescent major depression: A randomized, controlled trial’
    that was sponsored by GSK and appeared in the July 2001 issue of the Journal of the
    American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.1 This frequently cited paper has misled
    clinicians and academics; at least 75 scientific articles have reproduced its false claims
    about outcomes, thereby supporting off-label prescribing of paroxetine.
    Study 329 clearly failed to demonstrate efficacy or safety for paroxetine in adolescents, and
    yet the paper claimed “paroxetine is generally well tolerated and effective for major
    depression in adolescents”. I, along with other scientists, have documented the many
    problems with this paper that contributed to misreporting of efficacy and safety outcomes
    in study 329.
    2
    In light of a recent $3 billion settlement in which your corporation pleaded guilty to
    misbranding of paroxetine (Paxil), we request that you write to Dr. Andrés Martin, the
    editor of Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry to request
    retraction of the Keller et al. article, which was a key piece of evidence in the government’s
    case for off-label promotion by GSK.
    Your corporation has so far failed to take responsibility for a published report that has
    harmed young patients who were prescribed paroxetine on the basis of this misleading
    article. As the CEO of GSK, you have the opportunity to correct the scientific record. I
    respectfully urge you to do so.
    Yours sincerely,
    Jon Jureidini, MB, PhD
    Clinical Professor
    Discipline of PsychiatryThe Health Research Authority is today launching a new strategy to ensure information about all health and social care research – including COVID-19 research – is made publicly available to benefit patients, researchers and policy makers.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of sharing details of research taking place – to understand the virus and find the tests, treatments and vaccines – so that results can inform best quality care and preventive measures. This also means researchers do not duplicate efforts and can build on each other’s work while the public can see what research is going on. Now the new Make it Public strategy aims to build on this good practice and make it easy for researchers to be transparent about their work.

    The strategy, delivered by the HRA in partnership with NHS Research Scotland (NRS), Health and Care Research Wales and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland, is about making transparency ‘the norm’ in research and making information more visible to the public. New measures set out in the strategy – will improve transparency and openness in health and social care studies, by:

    expecting researchers to plan how they will let research participants know about the findings of the study from the beginning
    introducing additional monitoring to check that researchers are reporting results and to collect information about study findings
    making information on individual research projects – and their transparency performance – available to the public
    introducing a system to consider past transparency performance when reviewing new studies for approval and in the future introducing sanctions
    The strategy was developed with oversight from a UK-wide expert group, chaired by Professor Andrew George, and shaped by a public consultation held last summer. Through the strategy, the HRA is committed to both helping researchers to be transparent, and taking action where standards are not met.

    Professor Andrew George
    ‘During the public consultation, we heard from hundreds of researchers and sponsors, patients and participants, funders and registries who, like us, feel passionately about transparency and openness in research. It is time for change; better support and encouragement for researchers and research sponsors, greater visibility for patients and the public and fair consequences for those who don’t take transparency seriously.’

    Professor Andrew George, Non-Executive Director at the HRA
    Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, has written a foreword to introduce the strategy.
    Professor Chris Whitty
    ‘Transparency and openness is essential in making the most of the commitment of patients, service users and healthy volunteers who take part in research. By disseminating research findings widely, we also enable further research and provide a strong evidence base for commissioning services and making health and care policy. The Make it Public strategy signals our ambition for research transparency in the UK. Its vision of trusted information from health and social care research studies being publicly available for the benefit of all is one that we can all share.’
    Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England

    Re: Covid-19’s known unknowns
    Dear Editor
    At the end of this article, the authors declare ‘that all three authors have been wrong about covid-19’. They are to be congratulated for this declaration. It is hoped that rather than being dismissed as an amusing aside, the statement sets a precedent for scientists everywhere.
    Jon Jureidini
    Research Leader
    Robinson Research Institute
    University of Adelaide
    Competing interests: No competing interests
    21 October 2020
    Jon N Jureidini
    Child Psychiatrist
    Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide
    Adelaide, South Australia

    and
    Are doctors a priesthood who cannot be questioned – in these uncertain times?
    Dear Editor
    This article seems to imply that we should not question the medical experts. We ordinary people should know our place and accept what the ‘medical experts’ tell us.
    Yet, at the beginning of the pandemic, many ‘medical experts’ were asserting that face masks were irrelevant. Now the consensus seems to be that masks must be worn in all public places.
    The arguments among epidemiologists about ‘herd immunity’ betrays a certain ruthlessness typical of aloof ‘ivory tower’ academics. The ‘medical experts’ are bickering with each other. The reliance on something as elusive as ‘herd immunity’, as on face masks, stems from a lack of actual solid medical treatments – anti-virals or a credible vaccine.
    The r-number has been touted by the ‘medical experts’. This seems a very powerful epidemiological tool, according to the SIR model. It seems to predict an eventual endemic equilibrium. It depends, of course, on exponential functions and eigenvalues, and so on. It is not readily comprehensible to us ordinary people.
    We now see that the general press is moving away from the r-number, and giving us instead the traditional terms of incidence and prevalence for covid-19. These appear more understandable, as mere percentages, to ordinary people.
    The ‘medical experts’ are not being democratic. They are talking down to ordinary people.
    As far as ‘uncertainty’ is concerned, the confidence intervals being given for some of the epidemiological models were decidedly dodgy, in the BMJ and at those notorious 5 o’clock broadcast conferences, They were so large as to imply the models were not very precise at all.
    And, oh yes, the ‘medical experts’ seemed not to be bothered to explain things such as confidence intervals and specificity and sensitivity to ordinary people.
    Why was there such panic at the start of the pandemic?
    Because the ‘medical experts’ were condescending, not reassuring, to ordinary people.

    Competing interests: No competing interests

    • AT A GLANCE: HOW VALLANCE AND WHITTY DEFENDED THE LOCKDOWN
      SATURDAY’S GLOOMY SLIDES

      The pair admitted what one MP called the ‘avalanche of data’ they presented in Saturday’s briefing may have been too much to handle for the public.

      Sir Patrick said: ‘I would always like to get things simpler than they were and clearer than they were… clearly some of those slides were quite complicated.’

      Commenting on one spreadsheet that showed how some hospitals are already seeing more patients than they did in the spring, Professor Whitty admitted it ‘wasn’t an ideal slide’.

      But Sir Patrick defended the use of the now-infamous graph that showed a possible 4,000 deaths per day by December said it was scientifically valid and was not ‘discredited’ despite recent days’ backlash.

      ‘These are scenarios that are put together on assumptions,’ he said, ‘Reasonable worst case scenario is something you don’t want to happen but could reasonably happen if things went in a certain direction’.

      TIER THREE WAS WORKING – JUST NOT FAST ENOUGH

      Professor Chris Whitty said he believed the local lockdown measures were working but that the outbreak was too large for them to control alone.

      Professor Whitty said: ‘I am confident Tier Two has had an effect and that Tier Three has had a bigger effect.

      ‘The communities in the North and Midlands in particular… have responded remarkably to this. And because of that, I am confident the rates are substantially lower than they would’ve been if this had not happened.

      ‘But the early indications we have at the present is that this has not achieved getting the R below one – it has brought it much closer to one – but it is still doubling over a longer period of time.’

      CHANCE OF LOCKDOWN ENDING ON DECEMBER 2

      Whitty said the aim of the lockdown is to ensure that there is a ‘realistic possibility’ that after December 2 England will be able to move onto a ‘different state of play’.

      He suggested that when the circuit breaker ends the country will move into a middle ground, likely with tougher restrictions than are in place now, but not as strict as the ones that will precede them for the next month.

      SECOND WAVE WOULD BE WORSE WITHOUT TOUGH ACTION

      The scientists rammed home their warning that, without tougher action than the slow-moving local tier system, the second wave will become worse than the first one.

      They said they had been discussing this prospect in meetings with Government officials ‘virtually every day’ for the last month.

      ‘I think all of us would say that the rates will probably be lower than that top peak but I think reaching the peak that we reached in April strikes me as an entirely realistic situation,’ Professor Whitty said.

      LOCKDOWN IS A DIFFICULT DECISION ‘BETWEEN BAD CHOICES’ – BUT NOTHING TO DO WITH SCIENTISTS

      Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick repeatedly distanced themselves from the Government’s decision-making process and said what action is actually taken is out of their hands.

      They have no role in assessing economic consequences, they said, and could provide only scientific advice and help ministers to interpret data.

      ‘These are very difficult decisions, we have no illusions,’ Professor Whitty said.

      ‘None of us are under any illusions. We’re choosing between bad choices – none of us should shy away from that.’

      Sir Patrick Vallance today admitted he has ‘regrets’ over frightening people with a doomsday dossier that forecasted as many as 4,000 Covid-19 deaths a day over winter and was used to justify a second national lockdown.

      Number 10’s top scientific adviser made the comments today alongside Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, after the pair were hauled before MPs to defend SAGE’s modelling that also predicted hospitals would be overrun with virus patients by the end of this month.

      During the grilling by members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Labour MP Graham Stringer asked Sir Patrick if he believed he had frightened people with the bleak deaths data presented during Saturday night’s press briefing.

      The Chief Scientific Adviser said: ‘I hope not and that’s certainly not the aim… I think I positioned that as a scenario from a couple of weeks ago, based on an assumption to try and get a new reasonable worst-case scenario. And if that didn’t come across then I regret that.

      Defending the dossier, he added: ‘Those figures were ones done by major academic groups based on those assumptions and, in the spirit of trying to make sure that things are shared and open, they are the things that we have seen [in the data so far], and it’s important and I think people see that.’

      Professor Whitty conceded that the 4,000 daily deaths prediction was unlikely to come true because the modelling was a worst-case scenario based on a situation where no extra measures were brought in. He told MPs: ‘All of us would say that rates will probably be lower than that top peak [of 4,000]’. Professor Whitty added that a figure of around 1,000 deaths a day was ‘entirely realistic’, without tougher action.

  11. On a recent phone on the radio all but one of those chosen by the presenters/producers declared their reason for taking part in vaccine trials was altruistic – the one pointed out that no information had been given about the constituents of the vaccine and the participants (research fodder in many cases) were all very young naive and uninformed – by then the ‘experts’ had left the studio so no follow up to that. No wonder Whitty and co are doing a this ttps://www.hra.nhs.make-it-public-new-strategy-marks-step-change-making-health-research-findings-available-public/ Make it public – who were told about the ‘consultation’?

    Covid-19: Vaccine trials need more transparency to enable scrutiny and earn public trust, say experts
    BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4042 (Published 22 October 2020)

    Elisabeth Mahase, clinical reporter

    However, not all transparency is equal, he adds. “It needs to be the kind of transparency that isn’t filtered through corporate press releases or statements to investors, or a kind of pseudo-transparency in which the manufacturers are trying to massage or control the message. [It needs to be] real transparency in terms of the kinds of documents and materials that can help the public, and especially the broader scientific community, both understand the design of these trials and ultimately understand how to interpret the results from them.”

    Trial transparency gone awry
    In September the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate made headlines after the trials were paused around the world (including in the US, UK, Japan, India, Brazil, and South Africa) while an investigation was carried out into a “single event of an unexplained illness.” Experts have made it clear that pauses in vaccine trials are common and a sign that the trial’s oversight process is working.13

    While this was the first time a pause of the trial had been announced, it was not actually the first time it had been halted. The patient information sheet from 12 July shows that it was paused earlier in the year after one trial volunteer developed symptoms of transverse myelitis.14

    But bioethicist Charles Weijer of Western University, Ontario, told The BMJ that the disclosure of the serious adverse events in the Oxford trial patient information sheet “is not, in my view, adequate.”

    When he compared different versions of the sheet,15 he noted that while transverse myelitis was initially mentioned, this was then removed and replaced with “vaguer language.” The 11 September version said that volunteers had “developed unexplained neurological symptoms including changed sensation or limb weakness.” It was reported in the media that the second serious adverse event in September may have been transverse myelitis, although this was not confirmed, and that the patient was admitted to hospital as a result. It was then reported that the patient was set to be discharged from hospital, but no further updates have been provided.

    “Prospective participants are not informed that, if media reports are to be believed, the second case of transverse myelitis was sufficiently severe as to warrant hospital admission,” says Weijer. “Consent documents should contain a clear and accurate description of any serious adverse events. Certainly, they should contain more information than a prospective or current participant could discover with a Google search of the vaccine trial.”

    The handling of the trial pause has also been criticised in terms of how the information was communicated to the public. “It’s transparency gone awry,” says Jason Schwartz, assistant professor of public health at Yale School of Public Health. “We know we’ve received only very, very fragmentary information about the nature of the events that occurred. Details about what it was were mostly, as I understand it, made public through a call to investors . . . I think there was a failure in terms of how there were just drips of information and uncertainty and missing details to help contextualise what that signal was.”

    Trials of this vaccine have resumed in Japan, the UK, Brazil, South Africa, and India. Despite this, AstraZeneca’s US based trial has not been restarted, with the Food and Drug Administration recently broadening its safety investigation.16

    But this is not the only trial paused because of adverse events. On 12 October Johnson & Johnson announced that it had paused dosing in all its covid-19 vaccine trials while an investigation was carried out into an unexplained illness in a study participant. The company did not seem to be upfront about the issue: the pause was first revealed by the US media outlet STAT.17 It remains to be seen whether lessons from the Oxford and AstraZeneca trial have been learnt.

  12. I have awakened some time now to the Blind Science that is Pharma & what they do do. SSRIs & their prescribers – They do kill people – such lovely people and yet despite the good efforts of Rxisk & now Samizdat the tsunami of deaths continue.

    It has been long established that ‘The Emperor’s Clothes’ do NOT exist yet Pharma keep peddling their Suicide Ideation drugs via doctors…We know that Pharma bribes many doctors to do so – One Pharma Company paid out 1.3 Billion in fines for bribing doctors and hospitals in 2020 following a 7 year investigation by SEC – Pharma pay their fines and carry on their crimes.

    The sadness of it all has gripped Ireland again this morning. This morning in Ireland/Dublin we awaken again to a tragedy of a ‘depressed’ mother. She is dead by jumping from the M50 bridge to her death. Her 7 month old baby boy has been found at 5.00 a.m. in his room by Gardai. He is unresponsive. He is dead. The husband was awoken by Gardai knocking on his door. He did not know that his baby son had died or that his wife also was dead..

    3 years ago another mother was found in County Dublin distressed and walking the streets near her home. Gardai found her three little children dead in her home.

    About 6 years ago an expectant mother was found dead. She was 8 months pregnant and had her Antidepressants increased at her Maternity Hospital as she was anxious. She took her life within days – she jumped into the sea to her death.

    The three mothers were Nurses. They are dead. Their babies/children are dead. They are reported as being depressed – post natal depression but they are DEAD because doctors increased their antidepressants.

    I see it as criminal that doctors keep giving antidepressants to anxious mothers and pregnant expectant mothers in Ireland. Even with such clear evidence of depression putting the mother and child/children at risk.

    In those recent years there was also a retired Nurse, depressed – her doctor put her on anti-depressants. The Nurse checked into a hotel and died by suicide – she had taken all the pills.

    These inquests are ongoing with ongoing cover up of Pharma ‘crimes’. Stephen O’Neill’s case is equally as tragic.

    I recall Dr David Healy referring to his book Pharmageddon as a Story of Tragedy….How many more?

    Out of these three depressed mothers, all who were Nurses, two Peadiatric Nurses we are left with 2 DEAD Mothers – 6 DEAD children and one Mother/Nurse awaiting Trial for killing her Three children. Three Grieving husbands/fathers.

    God forgive Pharma Lord, for they know well what they do!

  13. Doxycycline: Coroner calls for MHRA to review side effects after
    student jumped from plane
    Clare Dyer
    A senior coroner has demanded action from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency after
    a student who had taken an antimalarial drug jumped from a plane to her death.
    Alana Cutland, 19, a natural sciences student at Cambridge University, was doing an internship in Madagascar
    when she had several attacks of paranoia.
    She had spoken to her parents and was about to fly home to the UK after cutting her internship short in July
    2019 when she travelled in the Cessna light aircraft. She opened one of the plane’s doors and, despite attempts
    by the pilot and the other passenger to restrain her, leapt from the plane.
    An inquest into her death determined that the cause was “traumatic injuries following a fall from a plane”
    but heard that she had been prescribed doxycycline as an antimalarial drug.
    Tom Osborne, senior coroner for Milton Keynes, wrote in his inquest report, “The deceased was prescribed
    doxycycline as an antimalarial medication for use whilst in Madagascar. It was quite apparent from the
    evidence that she had a psychotic reaction as a result of taking the drug and yet there is nothing on the drug
    information leaflet that either highlights or mentions this possibility.
    “If she or her parents had been aware of this possible side effect they may have been able to intervene earlier
    to avoid her death. In my view the information sent out with the drug should be reviewed. In my opinion
    action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe . . . your organisation [has] the power to take
    such action.”
    Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic that can also be used to prevent malaria. The National Institute for
    Health and Care Excellence website lists anxiety as a rare side effect but doesn’t mention psychotic reactions.
    Coroners are under a duty to send reports, known as regulation 28 reports, to individuals or organisations
    they believe to be in a position to take action if their investigation reveals a risk that other deaths will occur
    in similar circumstances.
    An MHRA spokesperson said it had been granted an extension to the deadline for replying to the coroner’s
    demand for action “in order to seek independent expert advice.” The spokesperson added, “We are currently
    reviewing the available evidence on the suspected association between doxycycline and psychotic disorder.
    This is because psychotic disorders are not currently a recognised side effect of this drug.
    “We have informed the coroner that our review is ongoing, and any regulatory action will be communicated
    to healthcare professionals and patients. Malaria can be a very serious, sometimes fatal, infection. It is
    important that people travelling to areas that pose a risk of infection receive appropriate antimalarial
    prophylaxis.
    “Doxycycline has been authorised for the prevention of malaria and also for the treatment of bacterial
    infections and skin disorders such as acne for over 50 years. During that time many millions of people have
    taken it. The balance of benefits and risks for doxycycline is considered to be positive. Patient safety is our
    highest priority so, as with all medicines, we keep the product information for doxycycline under review.”

  14. Lock ’em up…never – the hideous way they get away with killing thousands of innocent citizens

    Opioids crisis
    ‘We need prison time’: Purdue’s belated guilty plea gets skeptical reaction
    While the guilty plea was welcomed, there was also anger over the US justice department’s failure to prosecute executives

    Chris McGreal
    Thu 22 Oct 2020 15.25 BST in the Guardian

    193
    Lawyers and public relations firms for the Sackler family who own Purdue Pharma have spent months pushing an aggressive campaign to deny that the company’s powerful painkiller, OxyContin, unleashed the devastating US opioid epidemic.

    They manipulated statistics and attacked critics to paint the company and the Sacklers as victims of an unwarranted smear campaign driven by a sensationalist media and grasping addicts trying to lay their hands on the billions of dollars of profits generated by a legitimate drug.

    OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to plead guilty to three criminal charges
    Read more
    But on Wednesday, Purdue Pharma laid that strategy to waste by agreeing to plead guilty to three criminal charges and pay $8bn in fines and damages. The company admitted to bribing doctors to unnecessarily prescribe OxyContin and to lying to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) about controls on sales of the painkiller. It also paid illegal kickbacks to a health records company to promote opioid prescribing to physicians.

    “Purdue deeply regrets and accepts responsibility for the misconduct,” said the chairman of its board, Steve Miller.

    But while Purdue’s long-awaited admission of wrongdoing over an an epidemic that has claimed more than 500,000 lives over the past 21 years was widely welcomed, there was also anger over the US justice department’s failure to prosecute company executives responsible for the crimes, and suspicion about the timing of the announcement just before the election.

    Lawyers for 2,800 cities and counties suing Purdue Pharma and other drug companies separately from the federal case welcomed the guilty plea as stripping away the persistent denials of responsibility by the opioid maker and its owners.

    “Though only one facet of the sprawling opioid industry, Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family were directly responsible for inflicting immeasurable harm on communities around this country. With the guilty plea, the Sacklers lose their name, their company, and substantially more,” said the lawyers for plaintiffs in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation case.

    But Emily Walden, chair of the Fed Up! coalition of families harmed by opioids, said that with Purdue already bankrupt there is little chance of the money being paid to help the victims.

    “I was very glad to hear, finally, the federal government saying that this is a felony and what they did was absolutely wrong. At the same time, they’re already in bankruptcy. What penalty is there? There’s none really,” said Walden who lost a son to opioids. “This is a free country. You can make as much money as you want to, and that is all fine and good. But when you start killing people, we need prison time for some people.”

    Other critics dismissed the deal as a political stunt intended to allow Donald Trump to present it as another promise fulfilled after he pledged to hold the drug industry to account for an epidemic that has run on for more than two decades.

    The Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey, who is suing Purdue and members of the Sackler family for flooding her state with opioids, said the US justice department has “failed” and accused the administration of selling out families hit by the epidemic.

    “Justice in this case requires exposing the truth and holding the perpetrators accountable, not rushing a settlement to beat an election. I am not done with Purdue and the Sacklers,” she said.

    Prosecutors said that the deal did not prevent criminal charges against Purdue executives and members of the Sackler family. But the plea agreement has to be approved by a New York bankruptcy judge, Robert Drain, who is considering a request from the family’s lawyers to ensure that a final settlement of the raft of lawsuits against the Sacklers precludes criminal prosecutions.

    Even as the company and family negotiated a deal with communities ravaged by prescription opioids that – if it goes ahead – would see the Sacklers relinquish control of Purdue and hand over $3bn as part of a settlement worth $10bn in total, they continued to deny wrongdoing.

    Their legal and public relations teams persistently pushed a claim that OxyContin was just a bit player in the opioid crisis because, according to DEA statistics, it never accounted for more than 4% of total narcotic painkiller sales in the US. Purdue Pharma’s legal team said in court that the DEA numbers showed that “the notion that Purdue has created this epidemic is a serious misconception”.

    Critics dismissed that claim as a misrepresentation because the DEA statistics count only the number of individual pills sold not their strength. OxyContin, with 10 or 20 times the narcotic content of many regular painkillers, accounted for a much larger proportion of the total drug on the market reflected in sales of up to $2bn a year, more than any other opioid.

    Mike Moore, the lawyer who won the $200bn payout by tobacco companies in 1998 and who now represents clients suing opioid makers, said that without OxyContin “we would never have had an epidemic”.

    Now that the company is in bankruptcy it is apparent that some of the Sacklers are all about denial and self-image
    Mike Moore
    “It is unequivocal that OxyContin and the marketing of OxyContin contributed greatly to the opioid epidemic,” he said. “Now that the company is in bankruptcy it is apparent that some of the Sacklers are all about denial and self-image.”

    Others accuse Purdue and the Sacklers of attempting to divert attention from the company’s instrumental role in pushing opioids to the medical industry as safe and effective, and manipulating doctors into widely prescribing them as a default treatment for pain at rates much higher than any other country.

    That position will be harder to maintain after Wednesday’s admission of guilt. But it is not Purdue’s first criminal conviction.

    In 2007, it pleaded guilty to charges of illegally marketing OxyContin and paid a $600m fine. But the company’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who went on to represent Trump, pulled political strings to keep its executives out of prison. He was also able to avoid a bar on Purdue doing business with the federal government which would have killed a large part of the multibillion-dollar market for the drug.

    Last year, an adviser to the company found that Purdue paid out more than $10bn to the Sacklers in the years after the 2007 criminal conviction as OxyContin sales continued to increase.

    In recent months, the Sackler family’s representatives have attempted to paint the agreement to pay $3bn as part of a final settlement as evidence of their “deep compassion for people who suffer from opioid addiction and abuse”. But they continued to insist that people who became addicted to OxyContin are “abusers” who only have themselves to blame.

    Meanwhile in Pulse Today (free to view but not to comment) _

    Proposed ban on opioids for chronic pain leaves GPs with scant options
    28 August 2020
    When the soon-to-be-abolished Public Health England warned last autumn that one in four patients had been given a prescription for a potentially addictive medication, it was unclear how the problem would be tackled in primary care.

    Almost a year later, the regulators are turning their attention to opioids, with significant ramifications for GPs, who are recommended not to prescribe them for certain types of chronic pain.
    Pulse has also discovered the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is considering a ban on all over-the-counter (OTC) opioid-based painkillers and reclassifying them as prescription only.

    PHE’s major report last year found that opioid prescribing has been decreasing year on year. But even then, more than 10% of patients in England had been prescribed opioids in 2017/18.

    And long-term dependency was a worry – three-quarters of those on opioids had been taking them for three months or longer, while a quarter had been on them continuously for three years or more.
    But GPs are concerned about NICE’s new recommendations, which have been put forward in its draft guideline on chronic pain.
    Professor Tony Avery, professor of primary care at the University of Nottingham and a GP in the city, says: ‘We do have to take account of the lack of evidence for prescribing opioids in chronic primary pain but the issue of what we do with the patients already on opioids is really difficult.’

    The NICE panel found there was a ‘lack of evidence for effectiveness of opioids’ alongside ‘evidence of long-term harm’. It issues similar warnings about NSAIDs, steroids and paracetamol, as well as gabapentinoids, which are now not recommended unless given within a clinical trial.

    Instead, the panel recommends considering antidepressants. Other options for patients are a ‘supervised group exercise programme’, acceptance and commitment therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or a course of acupuncture or dry needling.

    On patients who are already taking opioids, the guidance says: ‘If a person with chronic primary pain is already taking any of the medicines… explain the risks of continuing.’ NICE says it is developing a guideline on medicines associated with dependence or withdrawal symptoms, on safe prescribing and withdrawal management.

    The pain clinics to which GPs can refer patients for specialist help often end up initiating opioid treatment.
    Sutton Coldfield GP Dr Samuel Finnikin agrees there is little or no support for GPs trying to tackle opioid prescribing for patients with chronic primary pain. Dr Finnikin says pain clinics have tended to be unhelpful and generally mean the patient waits several months only to be given a prescription for a gabapentinoid and discharged.
    The RCGP is currently drawing up its official response to the draft NICE guidance, but its clinical representative on chronic pain, Dr Martin Johnson, says he has concerns about GPs being overburdened with the regular patient check-ups that would be required.
    An MHRA spokesperson told Pulse last month: ‘The MHRA is keeping the safety of OTC products containing codeine under review and will consider other interventions, including the possibility of reclassifying all opioidbased painkillers as prescription only, as necessary.’

    Dr Martin Johnson…..
    But unless and until that happens, if NICE’s draft guidance is adopted, GPs will find themselves having yet more conversations with patients in which their hands are tied. Dr Finnikin adds: ‘I am constantly telling people the medications don’t work and they then ask me, quite reasonably, what does work? I currently have little to offer them. I wish I had more.’

    • Indeed Susanne. The work that Heather and husband David have done for their community, as well as in widening the message of the reality of psychiatric drug harms, will live on. She led a life of “giving” in the true meaning of the word.

    • Heather was a truly gifted, compassionate and empathetic human being. We genuinely thought the world of her.

      Together with her husband, David, they were tireless in their advocacy for increased awareness, understanding of, and correct diagnosis of prescription drug induced AKATHISIA. Thus Heather helped to maintain the optimism of those many families devastated by, and those many families who have lost loved-ones to, this life-threatening and life-taking ADR.

      Heather allowed us to reflect on the impact of this condition, and to focus our thoughts, memories, and love for our own loved-ones, injured or lost to AKATHISIA. Lighting our candle on All Soul’s Night became a moment of shared understanding of this avoidable tragedy with others.

      Thank you Heather, you have been an inspiration for us, and thank you David.

  15. Uncovering the truth …

    A piece published on this site by Christopher Lane has already discussed the hostility with which the findings of our review had been met by some senior psychiatrists, so I won’t dwell on those unfortunate events.

    Meanwhile some historic developments had occurred, publicly uncovering the truth for the first time in decades.

    John Read Ph.D.

    Psychiatry Through the Looking Glass

    SSRIS

    Withdrawal From Antidepressants: A Review

    UK authorities stop minimising antidepressant withdrawal effects.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/psychiatry-through-the-looking-glass/202010/withdrawal-antidepressants-review

    Do drugs cause violence?

    The antidepressants now come with black box warnings of suicide and in some jurisdictions such as Canada they come with warnings of violence also. Exactly the same mechanisms that lead to suicides lead to violence. In one case you have violence directed inward and in the other directed outwards. These mechanisms are akathisia, emotional blunting and psychosis.

    SSRIs in the dock

    The modern story about drugs and violence begins here in 1989 when Joseph Wesbecker in a mass shooting killed eight of his co-workers before killing himself.

    Prescription-only Homicide and Violence

    https://davidhealy.org/prescription-only-homicide-and-violence/

    In the case of prescription drugs, what defence does a doctor have to fall back on?

    The risk of violence on these drugs has been known for 50 years. It’s known that even giving these drugs to healthy volunteers can cause them to become violent. The data has been out there in warnings in many countries for 10 years. It may be disputed but there is no doctor who can say that they simply couldn’t have been aware of this issue.

    If there are, they are simply not professional.

    • The Reckoning

      Christopher Lane Retweeted

      Mad In America
      @Mad_In_America
      ·

      The Reckoning in Psychiatry Over Protracted Antidepressant Withdrawal Medically-induced harm—affecting tens of millions of people worldwide—has taken the field decades to take seriously.

      https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/10/reckoning-antidepressant-withdrawal/

      Considering the many years of silence and neglect of this issue, it is telling and frankly outrageous that rigorous, evidence-based efforts to correct this oversight could in 2020 be cast as a “war on antidepressants.” The hyperbole is itself a sign of how fiercely academic psychiatry has fought to evade appropriate and necessary focus on medically-induced harms, as psychiatrists—misrepresenting both sources and conclusions, and downplaying their many financial ties to industry—dismiss or publicly chastise those intent on documenting the drugs’ adverse effects empirically. Even to report on antidepressant withdrawal for the benefit of its millions of sufferers worldwide is represented as an attack on SSRIs’ and SNRIs’ most ardent and well-paid defenders, an outcome far from good for public health.

      The millions of people experiencing withdrawal effects cannot wait for psychiatry to determine whether they represent 50% or 57% of those withdrawing, or what will be the best methodologies to more precisely assess that. They need accurate information and proper support now.”

    • Editorial on the Research Topic

      Antidepressant Prescriptions in Children and Adolescents

      Michael P. Hengartner*

      Department of Applied Psychology, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland

      https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.600283/full

      The use of antidepressants in children and adolescents has a troubled history, for almost all principles of good evidence-based medicine were violated or compromised. It is a history characterized by systematically biased research, financial conflicts of interest, and professional recklessness (1–3). In 2004, the Lancet Editors (4), in an article titled “Depressing research” bluntly stated that “The story of research into selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) use in childhood depression is one of confusion, manipulation, and institutional failure” (p. 1335). It is now well-established that most pediatric antidepressant trials were industry-sponsored and had serious methodological limitations; many trials remained unpublished due to unfavorable results, and those published were mostly ghost-written, selectively reported efficacy outcomes and misrepresented the true rate of treatment-emergent suicidal events (5–9). Drug regulators issued a suicidality warning for pediatric antidepressant use in 2003 (MHRA) and 2004 (FDA) and advised to use fluoxetine only. By consequence, some authors argued that SSRI should be reserved as a second-line option for youth with severe and resistant forms of depression (10).

      Acknowledgments

      I thank David Healy and Irving Kirsch for their help in recruiting authors for this special topic.

    • recovery&renewal Retweeted

      Phil Hickey
      @BigPhilHickey

      The Spin Doctors: “ADHD” Research – Mad In America https://buff.ly/2TB3Phn An important article by Patrick Hahn on Mad in America. Please read and pass along.

      The Spin Doctors: “ADHD” Research

      https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/10/the-spin-doctors-adhd-research/

      Probably no man alive has done more to promote the diagnosis and drugging of children and adults for something called “ADHD” than Dr. Biederman, so this article is worth examining in some detail.

      And how did all this work out for the kids? At the eight-year follow-up, there was no significant difference between any of the treatment groups for any of twenty-four outcome variables.

      No effect on ADHD symptoms. No effect on oppositional behavior or antisocial behavior. No effect on anxiety or depression. No effect on reading skills, math skills, grade point averages, or grade retention. No effect on social functioning, psychiatric hospitalizations, traffic tickets, or auto accidents—the list goes on and on.

      …and methods of science being hijacked by those whose sole concern seems to be to sell us all as many drugs as possible—and damn the cost to everyone else.

  16. Silence is golden . O.O. may be famous but can she be trusted to take an impartial look at the evidence presented to her by D H. Looks like she is part of the collective group think at Non-Sense about Science despite the citicisms about this self selected collective set up to silence scientific debate. Their web site is worth a read.

    Awarded EU Grant
    Sense about Science is very pleased to be part of a new Europe-wide project to look into how people weigh up expertise, the PEriTiA (Policy, expertise and trust in action) project, which has just been awarded funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.

    PEriTiA will investigate how people make decisions about evidence and expertise using a variety of research methods. Sense about Science is bringing our experience from 17 years working with and for the public and helping researchers co-create material with non-researchers to the project. With partners in the project ALLEA, we will produce a paper on engaging citizens in collaborative workshops.

    The project is coordinated by University College Dublin and other partners include Kings College London, University of Oslo, Polish Academy of Sciences, Utrecht University, American University of Armenia, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Italy and Institute Jean Nicod from France. The advisory group for this work includes Professors Onora O’Neill, Cass Sunstein, Luke Drury, Susan Owens and Dan Sperber.

    The Horizon 2020 programme has awarded this project €3 million and work will begin in February 2020.

    Published: 4 September 2019

  17. Lock ’em up? We could bet Matt Hancock and colleagues won’t even resign over this scandal one outspoken judge commented recently on his ‘snarling’ messages to UK citizens to ‘do our civic duty’ Trust those who treat our lives with such contempt ? Let’s see how many will die this second wave of Covid because track and trace has also followed the same path of contracts for cronies.

    BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4180 (Published 29 October 2020)
    Clare Dyer
    Documents leaked to the Good Law Project appear to show special pathways through which “VIPs” and Cabinet Office contacts were able to win contracts to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) at the height of the covid-19 pandemic.

    The non-profit organisation, along with the campaign group EveryDoctor, is mounting a High Court challenge to the UK government’s decision to award lucrative contracts to companies with little or no experience in the supply of such equipment, some with links to the Conservative Party.1
    In the emergency caused by the pandemic earlier this year, the government decided to award contracts totalling billions of pounds for medical supplies and hospital equipment to private companies without the usual need for competitive tender. Contracts for the supply of PPE were given to, among others, a pest control company, an employment agency, and a confectionery manufacturer.

    One company—Ayanda Capital, a private family fund specialising in currency trading, offshore property, and private equity—won a £150m (€166m; $195m) contract for 50 million FFP2 masks, which in the event were not used because the government decided that their fastenings were not safe enough. Ayanda has said that the masks met the government’s safety specifications.

    Court papers disclosed that the original approach to sell the masks came from Andrew Mills, an adviser to the UK Board of Trade and a senior board adviser at Ayanda. His company, Prospermill, which was set up in 2019 with share capital of £100 and two directors, had secured production in China. But he requested that the government sign the contract with Ayanda because it could arrange overseas payments more quickly. Mills and Ayanda told the Times in August that his position as a government adviser had played no part in the award of the contract.

    “Enormous margins”
    The Good Law Project said that it was aware from emails that Ayanda, which was awarded £252m for two types of masks, “were guided through the process by the Cabinet Office.” A document headed “Terms and conditions inc price” appears to state that no questions would be asked about value for money unless prices were more than 25% above average unit prices.

    Jolyon Maugham, director of the Good Law Project, said, “The leaked documents reveal that Cabinet Office contacts and others were helping ‘VIPs’ sell PPE to government outside normal procurement channels. The information that government would buy at 25% above the price paid to regular suppliers was a licence to make enormous margins—35-45%—on contracts sometimes worth hundreds of millions of pounds.”

    A government spokesperson said, “We have been working tirelessly to deliver PPE to protect our health and social care staff throughout the pandemic, with more than 4.4 billion items delivered so far and 32 billion items ordered to provide a continuous supply to the front line over the coming months. Proper due diligence is carried out for all government contracts and we take these checks extremely seriously.”

  18. Am very sad to read this news about Heather. I had a brief email correspondence with her. She seemed like a lovely woman. What struck a correlation to my own experience apart from the obvious horrific horror of akathisia her son went through and how it affected herself, was how her family had been divided over what had happened. Many people just do not accept that doctors can be responsible. Pharma yes they get that, but doctors….

  19. Adele Framer, also known by her online handle Altostrata, is the founder of SurvivingAntidepressants.org,

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/11/surviving-antidepressants-adele-framer/

    Biancolli: A few minutes ago you said you’re not an expert. But you are an expert—you just happen to be a lay expert. You are one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on this topic, and you’ve created this website that has been a godsend for a lot of people. In the past you’ve referred to your own experience with withdrawal as a “psychiatric hell”—and a lot of people going through it seek out this kind of peer support that you’re describing. The question is: Why is it that psychiatrists don’t know more, and don’t listen more, to patients? Why does it have to be lay people like you who are tackling this?

    Almost all regulators and government health officials and guideline makers – Sir this and Lady that – know that the literature on medicines is almost completely ghost-written and dangerous. But they say its not their job to police this problem. This is what killed Stephen O’Neill – its time for the nobles to act nobly or perhaps that should be gallantly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch

    The Perfect Killing Machine

  20. Should we trust the information we are being given about the covid vaccine? The government has recently ramped up campaigns against those who question the vaccine – mainly by deliberately undermining critics or even just questioners with claims of being ‘anti vaxers’ We will need more than a government health spokesperson telling us to use the ‘mum test’ ie he has ‘told’his ‘mum
    ‘ to accept an offer of vaccination asap. Presumably his ‘mum’ has an opinion.

    The Good Law Project
    We’re pleased to announce that the High Court has said our claim against the Government over billions of pounds worth of unpublished Covid contracts is “clearly arguable”.
    We’re going to court.

    And In the Guardian
    Antibody tests bought by UK government ‘less accurate than maker claims’
    Abingdon Health claimed test was 99% accurate but PHE puts its real-world accuracy at 84.7%
    Sarah Boseley Health policy editor
    Thu 12 Nov 2020 00.01 GMTLast modified on Thu 12 Nov 2020 00.03 GMT

    On 6 October the health minister James Bethell announced the government had bought 1m of the tests, even though the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had by then seen the evaluation report from PHE.

    Abingdon Health, the company making the test, claimed it was 99% accurate. But a PHE report, published on Thursday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), says the test can confirm 92.5% of cases already known to be positive. But in real-world conditions, the accuracy falls to 84.7%.
    UK to buy 1m antibody home tests despite accuracy concerns
    It means that if 10% of people given the test had previously been infected, about one in five positive test results would be incorrect, ie false positive results.

    The department says the tests are still useful for surveillance – finding out what proportion of communities have been infected with the virus in the past. In an editorial in the BMJ, two experts, Dipender Gill from Imperial College London and Mark J Ponsford from Cardiff University, said the company had overestimated the test’s accuracy due to the manner in which its trials were carried out and that it should not be widely used.

    The PHE study “identifies notable limitations of the UK government’s antibody test of choice and provides good evidence that its specificity in a ‘real life’ setting is highly unlikely to be 100%. Apart from limited surveillance to estimate the proportion of a population that has been infected, widespread use of this assay in any other role could risk considerable harm,” they write.

    Emails seen by the Guardian show that the DHSC blocked online publication of the results at the time of the ministerial announcement. PHE said there were “significant risks” to delaying publication because the findings were out of line with the claimed accuracy of the tests.

    DHSC officials denied they blocked publication, saying they preferred to go down the route of peer review.

    The PHE assessment is acutely embarrassing for ministers who put together a British consortium to make an antibody test for the UK in the spring, with Abingdon Health in the lead. Also in the consortium was Oxford University. Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford and the government’s life science adviser, helped put the consortium together, although he played no part in the development or assessment of the test.

    Lawyers for the Good Law Project have filed proceedings against the government over the awarding of two contracts for the antibody tests to Abingdon Health without putting them out to tender. One was worth £10m and the other up to £75m.

    The government cited a need for urgency because of the pandemic – it was developed after the failure of Chinese antibody tests bought by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, in the spring. But the lawyers argue that other tests existed at the time. They also say the government failed to ensure the tests were of high enough quality before agreeing the deals.

    Emails seen by the Guardian show a discussion between the DHSC and PHE about the handling of Lord Bethell’s announcement on 6 October that the government had bought 1m tests from the consortium.

    PHE staff said there were “significant risks” in not publishing the evaluation showing the low accuracy of the tests at the same time as the announcement. The Guardian was already asking for the data, it pointed out, having run stories questioning the claim by the company that the tests were 99.4% accurate.

    In an email, PHE asked whether this strategy had been agreed. “Is everyone aligned on the handling – ministers, spads etc?” it asked.

    The reply from the DHSC ran: “Yes everyone is aligned as far as I know. L Bethell aligned, No 10 now aligned.”

    PHE had suggested the evaluation could be published online at the same time as the announcement as a preprint, the emails reveal. But this was blocked by the DHSC. PHE’s team therefore submitted it to the peer-reviewed BMJ, beginning a process that would take weeks.

    The DHSC said the plan was for “minimal mention” of the PHE study in Bethell’s announcement, “but we do need to mention it as we will get asked”. In a further email it suggested a way to deal with questions as to where the results of the study were: “If asked tomorrow, we can say that we’ve submitted to BMJ for peer review so we are being transparent.”

    The DHSC said it was inaccurate to say it delayed publication, pointing out that the PHE evaluation was sent to the BMJ for peer review in early October in line with standard procedure for academic reports.

    Two government contracts were awarded to the consortium, according to documents in the public domain. The first, in June, was for the consortium to buy components for making the tests and was worth £10m. The second was in August and gave the government an option to buy the tests, worth £75m.

    In March, there were high hopes for antibody tests, commonly described as potential gamechangers. Ministers and their advisers envisioned the tests being dispatched to people at home by Amazon or bought on the high street. The expectation was that individuals could find out if they had had coronavirus and were immune. There was talk of giving those who tested positive “immunity passports” to allow them greater freedoms, on the assumption they were no longer at risk of infection. It is now widely accepted that antibodies fade and do not necessarily confer immunity from Covid-19.

    In his announcement last month, Bethell said: “Home testing is a powerful tool in understanding the disease and fighting its spread. So we are thrilled by the RTC [Rapid Test Consortium] product, both for Britain and export markets around the world.”

    The tests developed and made by British companies “demonstrate how, supported by government investment, the UK diagnostics industry is leading on the global stage in our efforts to tackle Covid-19”, said the release.

    The DHSC said in a statement: “The antibody test has been evaluated by PHE and this evaluation will be published in due course. This [PHE] report shows these tests are approved for use in surveillance studies, which is what they were purchased for.

    “They were never intended for, and have never been issued for, widespread public use and it is misleading and unnecessarily inflammatory to purposefully ignore this fact in the report. This robust evaluation was carried out by PHE at the department’s request before any purchase was made, and PHE approved the test for use in surveillance studies.”

    Abingdon Health declined to comment, saying questions were best answered by the DHSC, which was happy with the test.

  21. Lockdown Chaos: How the Government Lost Control (playback on All4)https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus/covid-testing-firm-randox-denies-channel-4-serious-failings-claims-after-undercover-probe-39756018.html
    https://www.channel4.com/press/news/dispatches-uncovers-serious-failings-one-uks-largest-covid-testing-labs

    Matt Hancock who was named along with friends Dido Harding who is still in charge of failed test and trace despite MPs and others calling for her to resign ,and David Cameron through their connections with horse racing as being implicated in the scandal said this the day after the Dispatches programme GOV.UK D Harding’s husband MP is tasked with overseeing good practice ,or some such title

    Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock gave a statement at the coronavirus press conference.

    16 November 2020 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
    The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP
    Good afternoon and welcome to today’s Downing Street coronavirus briefing.

    I’m joined today by Professor Jonathan Van Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Office and Dr Susan Hopkins, the Chief Medical Advisor to NHS Test and Trace. The have now set up some kind of game to see who can use the ‘best’ metaphor to describe the covid progression. What fun. Truly disgusting.

    Testing capacity
    This includes our ability to test at scale. We’re constantly improving our response, to bring the confidence that high-quality testing can provide. We’ve already built the largest coronavirus testing capacity in Europe.
    Up from 2,000 tests a day in March, to our current capacity of more than half a million. But we will not rest, because testing capacity helps keep people safe and can help us get things back more like normal life.

    Today I am delighted that we can announce two new mega labs, which will open early in the new year. They will add another 600,000 capacity to our daily capacity, that doubles the current capacity. They will also create 4,000 jobs. Crucially, they will represent a permanent part of the UK’s new diagnostics industry.

    We didn’t enter this crisis with a major diagnostics industry, and so together we have built one. Both to help beat the virus by testing more people and returning results more quickly and to give our country a permanent defence that we need for any future epidemic.
    And to improve our care for so many other diseases, like heart disease or cancer or flu.
    I am absolutely determined that we must have a massive diagnostics capacity, not just for this pandemic, but long into the future.
    More capacity also speeds up turnaround times but speeding up turnaround times isn’t just about the test, it is also about the logistics.
    So I want to take one moment to thank the Royal Mail, who, from this weekend, will empty some of their post boxes 7 days a week to speed up home testing. It is a big team effort and I am very grateful for our posties for playing their part to help keep people safe.

    This expansion of testing matters because it helps protect people. I just want to touch on some of the reasons why it matters.

    It means we can test the most vulnerable, and those who care for the most vulnerable, and we can test them more frequently.

    Over the last week, for instance we have delivered more than 3 million tests to NHS staff, to begin their regular bi-weekly testing.

    And today I know so many people have been relieved to hear that we have started a pilot for testing visitors in care homes, to use tests to allow people to visit loved ones in care homes in a way that keeps them safe and bring back some of those magical moments of social contact.

    Our expansion of testing also means we can roll out mass testing further.

    We are making progress in the city wide testing across Liverpool and we are now rolling out this localised approach to other areas.

    83 local authorities have now signed up to receive regular batches of these new lateral flow tests, which can allow for results in minutes.

    This is an important step and it combines the local insight of the brilliant Directors of Public Health right across the country with our strong national infrastructure of NHS Test and Trace combining to keep our communities safe.

  22. Covid-19: politicisation and suppression of science also in Wales
    Re: Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science Kamran Abbasi. 371:doi 10.1136/bmj.m4425
    Re Trust is dwindling in Wales the same as evrywhere else when politicians and medicos lie and treat citizens with contempt.
    Dear Editor
    Your indictment of the politicians is richly deserved, but shouldn’t you extend your strictures to colluding senior scientists?
    You mention the SAGE membership had to be forced out, so also their papers and proceedings. Your responder Eshani King https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4425/rr-31 writes that SAGE now with over 100 members controls the scientific narrative, yet SAGE is not coherent and democratic, but run by a clique around Chris Whitty, with dissenting members keeping quiet publicly.
    Their Wales counterpart TAG was even worse (https://gov.wales/advice-coronavirus-technical-advisory-cell), functioning haphazardly, not publishing reports till June, and posting them up a week after publication when Ministers have already used them (or not) , preventing critical analysis of them before the current issue passes. For example, the Government chose a predictive model out of the many (they chose ‘Welsh’ from Swansea) before outside practitioners could consider and speak out on its limitations. It was used, of course, to back up a scare story.
    The TAG group of scientists operates as a cover for TAC – Technical Advisory Cell – of a few government staff who keep TAG under their thumb.
    TAG members are however not used as SAGE members in England – chosen by Chris Whitty or Patrick Vallance to put out particular messages at critical policy moments, which included forcing the government to go for all-England lockdown without waiting to see if the tiers of sub-lockdown were working.
    One clear way in which the SAGE members perform – in their individual capacity – is in always talking of the public needing to conform to the “rules” and never stressing the need for test-track-trace to become effective. The latter is a Labour Party message in England, but not in Wales – here it’s a Plaid Cymru message and the Labour Government hides figures on track-trace-isolate performance.
    A dereliction by epidemiologists is their failure to insist on truthful use of Covid statistics. Public Health Wales counts all hospital-acquired infections, care-home infections and student-residence infections in their totals, then misuses the figures to talk of rising “community” transmission and to argue for stricter observance or stricter rules. Never do they and the Wales NHS subtract a hospital outbreak or point to the several days in returning test results (in both hospitals and care-homes). When cornered officials defend inappropriate statistics as justified by the public good of winning stronger adherence to the rules. No wonder that public trust is dwindling – in the manipulated science as well as the medical-political complex.

    Competing interests: No competing interests

    22 November 2020
    Max K Wallis
    Astrobiology research
    Cardiff University (retired)
    Penarth, Wales
    iconoclastcymru
    Respond to this article
    Read all responses to this article

  23. Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to undergo new global trial …www.theguardian.com › world › nov › scrutiny-grows-…
    1 day ago — The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine will undergo a new global trial as critics questioned the claim that it could protect up to 90% of …

    Who is AstraZeneca? Here are his convictions and controversies
    PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES
    CORVELVA STAFF
    JUNE 18 2020
    Who is AstraZeneca? Here are his convictions and controversies
    This article aims to try to place the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in its legal / judicial context and in a broader and even moral way. The need obviously derives from the recent news that AstraZeneca is dealing with the production of the Covid-19 vaccine which, it should be remembered, is still being tested and of which the test results are in many respects doubtful.

    We tell you right away that it is not a short article, on the contrary, but it is not our fault if AstraZeneca has also marked its long life in the name of scandals and convictions. We will start by listing the main controversies, convictions and most emblematic bargains of which we have sources for the most part journalistic. Already this could have been enough to place it in the constellation of pharmaceutical companies, but we preferred to deepen and in the second part instead we will list the convictions and plea deals, this time with links to the sentences, which took place in the United States since 2000. This second part will be more precise but less “emotional”, in the sense that we can accurately tell you the numbers paid by AstraZeneca because if it is true that there is no database of “Big Pharma convictions”, often the American Federal Government and the control bodies that sanction the offenses, they publish the judgments themselves in clear or at least the reasons through official press releases.

    It should be remembered that every time you read “off-label use” of pharmaceutical products, for every serious violation, there are dead and damaged behind. These companies live for a single purpose, profit.

    One thing is important: none of these companies could have committed these abuses if it had not had the connivance of doctors and scientists. Science and medicine save millions of lives but kill many more for the sole purpose of creating profit. We know that this claim is serious but it is a part of science and medicine that destroyed, perhaps irreparably, the trust relationship between citizens and doctors.

  24. Two journalists who seem to be worth keeping in mind

    Pharmageddon: how distortion and cover up happens
    APRIL 25, 2012 BY JEROME BURNE 5 COMMENTS
    The most detailed and passionate statement of what has gone wrong with evidence based medicine and how it is damaging patients can be found in a new book called Pharmageddon by psychiatrist and campaigner Professor David Healy (published by the University of California Press, £27.95).

    I wrote a summary of the book with David Healy, a shorter version of which appeared in the Daily Mail yesterday under his name. What follows is the more detailed original which contains more examples of how the distortion and cover-up happens.

    The published version appeared in the Daily Mail 24/04/2010[ Daily Mail permalink]

    J B retweeted this week’s note which examines the key influencers on SAGE and their conflicts of interest: by Zoe Harcombe

    – Organisations invested in vaccines make money from vaccines. People who acquire natural immunity have less/no need for a vaccine. If people are locked in their homes, they have less chance of acquiring natural immunity.

    – Twelve out of 20 key influencers work for/have received funding from organisations involved in the Covid-19 vaccine.

    – There are four times more modellers/statisticians and experts in behaviour manipulation on the committee than there are virologists. There are no immunologists.

    * It doesn’t matter if a drug is good or bad. It matters that those who have a financial interest in that drug are conflicted if they give advice that protects the financial interest in that drug.

    Introduction

    Imagine that a new disease emerged. It presented less risk of death than a lightning strike for school-age children (Ref i), but it was particularly nasty for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. A committee decided that draconian measures – the likes of which had never been experienced or studied – should be imposed on the entire population until a drug to ease the disease outcome arrived. If you then discovered that the majority of the committee members had financial interests in the drug being developed, how would you feel?

    The conflicts that I am going to go through in this note are primarily related to vaccines, but this is a note about conflicts and not vaccines. The background to the issues is as follows…

    The two main drivers of SAGE – Vallance and Whitty – were summoned to appear before the Science and Technology Committee on 3rd November where Vallance expressed regret for frightening people. But SAGE knows that people need to be frightened into compliance for their strategy to work, as the SAGE behaviour advisors documented in their academic paper. I wonder if that fear might turn to anger if people realise that the committee may not be the independent body that it has been assumed to be.
    52 thoughts on “SAGE conflicts of interest”
    avatar
    Max
    November 28, 2020 at 5:03 pm
    Thank you for this great article. I have shared it with my family and friends who are slowly waking to what really is happening in pharmaland.

    The Fabians knew years ago that for people to ignore you, you only have to make it boring. Trying to keep something secret only attracts attention.

    Zoë
    November 9, 2020 at 4:05 pmconflict stories before, and should have realised this would be the same:
    https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2016/03/eatwell-guide-conflicts-of-interest/
    https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/08/ctsu-funding-from-drug-companies/
    https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2015/07/sacn-report-carbohydrates-health/
    https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2018/05/sacn-report-on-saturated-fat/
    Best wishes – Zoe

Leave a Reply to mary H