This is the Twelfth in the Persecution Series, after The Persecution of Heretics, The Persecution of Vulnerable Adults, Harassment from the BBC to GMC, Harassment from Rolf Harris to James Coyne to Doctor Who, Persecution: Black Riders in the Shire, Persecution: Rumbles from Mordor, and sixth in the SUI Cide Series SUI Cide in Betsi, SUI Cide Trick or Treat, The SUI Cide Note, SUI Cide or Homicide, SUI Cide in the OK Corral.
If a nation of 80 million souls with all kinds of democratic checks and balances in place can lose its moral compass and kill millions of people it finds inconvenient then professional bodies can certainly get involved in acts of thuggery and harassment.
The length of a pregnancy ago, BBC’s Panorama and Shelley Jofre were considering exploring some of the murkier aspects of GlaxoSmithKline’s business in China. En route, they got diverted into the conflicts of interest that many UK doctors have owing to their links to companies like GSK.
The recent US Sunshine Act that attempts to lay bare the links between companies and doctors has had considerable coverage worldwide. Before that the Grassley hearings that gave rise to the Sunshine Act attracted real interest over the course of two years from 2008. These hearings made Charlie Nemeroff a household name for links to big Pharma and made him the poster boy for conflict of interest.
Nothing similar to the Grassley Hearings or Sunshine Act has happened elsewhere. This is not because such conflicts don’t exist outside the United States.
In October 2005 the Royal College of Psychiatrists under its then President Mike Shooter convened a meeting in London to look at conflicts of interest, and the College policy in this area. There were clinicians, academics and industry personnel present. The meeting was held in the wake of the scandal which had seen clinical trial data hidden and children exposed to treatments billed by academics in ghostwritten articles as safe and effective. New York State was outraged and successfully sued GSK for fraud over the key study, Study 329. Mike Shooter was outraged and convened the meeting. A number of the shrinks at the meeting were outraged and didn’t shrink quite as much as industry clearly expected or would have liked.
In response Padraig White of GlaxoSmithKline made it clear that current British policies about clinical trials and access to the data from trials had been put in place by combination of people with Sir before their names and industry personnel. He also made it clear that there were around twenty-five academic psychiatrists in the UK making $200K per year (£150K) out of their links to industry and that in his opinion none of these would any time soon be in the business of rocking the boat or arguing for any arrangements other than the ones that were in place.
The idea there were twenty five academics in the UK in psychiatry alone earning this much money was surprising even for me. Certain names inevitably came to mind among them Dave Nutt and Guy Goodwin. It was always a good bet that The Institute of Psychiatry would have the greatest concentration of high earners. It’s not a crime to make this much money from links to industry. Dave Nutt back then had a reputation for rocking the boat rather than sweeping things under carpets, so unlike Charlie it wasn’t clear that his links would lead to debate being stifled.
But even Panorama who have a track record of taking on topics like conflict of interest didn’t warm to picking up the issues back then. It was only later when pursuing the recent story about GSK and China and yet another large fine against GSK that the issue of medical conflict of interests began to come back on their radar.
Jofre decided to attend one of the many European meetings where the same few British and other opinion leaders can be seen shuttling between settings that are almost indistinguishable from one country to another saying pretty well the same things regardless of which drug is featured in the frame to the same bored audiences who are primarily there to visit some attractive venue with all costs paid by some company.
This led to what perhaps could be called an ambush of Dave Nutt and Guy Goodwin. From what I know of what happened Dave Nutt and Guy Goodwin were not the original targets. To the best of my knowledge Jofre attempted to get a former President of the College, at the same meeting, to comment on the propriety of the kinds of links between academics and industry on display at the meeting but the former President declined to do so – indeed appeared very nervous at the prospects of even contemplating doing so.
This rather goes to the heart of things. What’s up when a College President quakes at a prospect like this?
On May 1 soon after the Panorama program, the Executive Committee of the Academic Faculty of the College had a Strategy Day. The question of the Panorama program came up as did the, as far as I can see, unrelated fact that a fringe group, the Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry, had questioned whether psychiatric medicines work or not. We – it seems – were against both the critics of antidepressants and those who might be concerned about certain kinds of promotional activities in regard to antidepressants.
The group noted their support for Drs Nutt and Goodwin and their interest to combat groups like the Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry.
Two months later there was a rather ridiculous article in a new journal, Lancet Psychiatry, with Drs Nutt, Goodwin and yet another ex-President of the College on the authorship line taking issue with arguments being put forward by Peter Gøtzsche in a forum provided by the Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry. The article was ridiculous in terms of its content but also bad strategically – one of those things you’d have thought the College was better off ignoring.
By this time, the College through its Invited Review Panel were heavily involved in the Healy case. They had been asked to come to North Wales by me out of concerns for patient safety but somewhere en route seem to have decided that I was the target. The reviewers infringed pretty well all the basic rules of natural justice. A few months later College documents hint at ever higher levels of engagement within the College and an attempt to extricate the College from a mess they had helped create of which at this point I still had no inkling.
The basic point to take from this is that the College, just like the GMC, is through its Invited Review Service open to being used for harassment purposes. The GMC have recognized the risk to them and have instituted a Review of the issue.
I have brought the risk to the College to the attention of its current President Simon Wessely. It’s not clear that the coin has dropped yet. The College continues to profess complete confidence in its processes and the personnel implementing those processes. FRCPsych risks becoming an acronym for Fucked by the RCPsych rather than Fellow of. This might be how patients see it anyway.
The North Wales stitch up happened before the Panorama program. It didn’t however happen before I and others in North Wales had become part of a team accessing clinical trial data in an entirely new way; the same trial data the denial of access to which had so outraged Mike Shooter – Study 329. But the key thing was that our means of access had not been sanctioned by industry or the Sirs.
How does this play with the current President of the College? Here’s where things get tricky. I’ve stayed with Simon and had several pleasant conversations with him but then I’ve shared an open air Jacuzzi at 6 AM in the morning with Dave Nutt in the Caribbean before he tried to get the GMC to harass me. The difficulty for me and anyone else reading this is that the situation calls for judgments to be made under uncertainty. We all fall back on stock heuristics and biases in such situations.
Before exploring these heuristics, is the act of exploring them a case of slurring the College in an unwarranted way?
The trouble is the fiasco that has been the College Review in North Wales has already badly tainted the College. The longer the College takes to accept, as the GMC have already done, that it could be employed to harass and the longer it takes to put mechanisms in place to avoid doing so in future the greater the taint. While Dave Nutt might in many ways be estimable, and liked by many College grandees, the longer the College denies that, against a background of lack of access to trial data, conflict of interest is corroding any esteem that medical professionals might once have been held in, the greater the taint.
More to the point the more it trumpets the benefits of antidepressants and denies their risks, the tighter the noose of professional suicide fits around the neck of each and every psychiatrist in the UK.
In this case there is a potential link between Simon Wessely and Study 329. He is a trustee of Sense about Science, who have put forward a model for access to clinical trial data favored by the Sirs of British academia to which industry – or at least GSK – have already signed up. This is a model in which access to the data will be restricted to people like “us” who agree to abide by the rules we put in place. The rules would essentially mean that anyone looking at 329 would come to the same conclusions about it as GSK did.
The model would give the appearances of access to trial data. It would allow some Sirs to come back from their negotiations with Industry clutching a piece of paper declaring “Peace in our Time”.
The current Rewrite of Study 329 does not conform to what Sense about Science want. The current Rewrite of Study 329 began several months before the College came to North Wales.Share this:
Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
How ironic that fate has placed [Sir] Dr. Wessely in position to reveal the RCPs actual response to hard scientific medical evidence, and reveal who is in the driver’s seat so far as matters regarding patient care and safety are concerned.
Dr. Wessely is holding the very integrity of the RCP in his *healing* hands. Should he openly opt for allowing the likes of GSK to decide how insignificant or inconvenient *patients* are, he will be opening the door for criminal action against him and his industry owned colleagues. I say, “No more excuses, gentleman. We all know what we can reasonably expect you should know with regards to the dangerous, life threatening effects of GSKs cash cows. ”
“The North Wales stitch up happened before the Panorama program. It didn’t however happen before I and others in North Wales had become part of a team accessing clinical trial data in an entirely new way; the same trial data the denial of access to which had so outraged Mike Shooter – Study 329. But the key thing was that our means of access had not been sanctioned by industry or the Sirs. ”
THIS needs to be publicized- widely and soon…
Willful denial of hard scientific, medical evidence? For financial gain? That is a crime.
If the RCP, and indeed every practicing psychiatrist in the U.K. is poised for a game of “Simon Says”, I hope there are capable people of sound mind who are poised to issue warrants.
..just two words for the moment..
Marjorie Meret-Carmen, M.Ed.
The truth is stranger than fiction… if this was a novel I would be enthralled but as its not it really does make me sick to my stomach and incredibly sad.
Pharma is as bent as a dogs hind leg. Rotten to the core and oozes corruption from its well oiled cogs. Back handers, bribes, immoral and unethical practises keep the money piling up. That’s frightening enough to discover but the terrifying thing is that everyday, ordinary people know nothing of this.
People in general still believe that they can put their trust in the medical governing bodies and the sirs. We admire the high up medical professionals, we respect their judgement, ooh and ahh at their incredible minds, swallow their medical jargon along with the pills. We never doubt their morals. We almost forget that they are human and can be just as tainted as any other mere mortal.
The only time the majority of ordinary people will know any of this is when something goes wrong as in my family’s case.
My 20 year old son has a rare neurological condition because it’s an orphan disease drug companies don’t show any interest in developing drugs specific to the condition so drugs are prescribed off label. So even though my son is not clinically depressed he was prescribed SSRI to stop him from collapsing and to be fair the Doctor had no choice because that’s all there is for it. He suffered horrendous side effects and stopping them caused a withdrawal syndrome which had a catastrophic effect on our family.
That is the only reason I know anything about this because something went wrong. If not I would still be in my little bubble non the wiser. This really is the nation’s best kept dirty secret.
While we still have a few good men we might be ok but what happens when they are forced out. I dread to think …
If the ties to big pharma can’t be found in the persecution of Healy, it can easily be found in those who conduct the persecution.
Big Pharma might not actively support this, but it doesn’t matter anymore, they are automaticly implicated. Because of old economic ties to those individuals that are now members of investigative boards.
Even Healy himself has recieved funds from Big Pharma through the years, their tentacles touches almost all professionals with higher education in Health care.
In my, by now slightly cynical mind, even that carribean jacuzzi was paid by big pharma?
In my jealousy of such event, a drink in a jacuzzi with the backdrop of a carribbean sunrise, I wouldn’t mind who paid it.
If I had a fancy title, and was supposed to be unbiased in my work, or posessed the Power to inflict ruling of national importance. I would probably be the first one to be bought for personal profit.
But if this is the way we go about, even if the topic is the science of our mediciations, the common man must be told that there are economic ties between
the drugmaker and those that conduct the “safety-test”.
No single human should doubt such tie exists.
And therefore be able to understand that the science he relies on is biased science.
And on the subject of titles:
Healy has one of his own, doctor. Dr. David Healy. He can probably put M.D. and professor around his name too. But not “sir”, so he speaks of those who have the prefix “sir” in the same manner as I speak to those with “dr.” or “M.D.” as prefix.
I really hope Healy gets a dose of how it feels to be “under attack” by those with fancier titles.
Because it is very much like what I feel when I talk to my doctor, my psychiatrist.
I’m automaticly inferior. It’s implied that I should be greatful to see her, even though her and her peers has lied to me for 15 years about the true and varied effects of Paxil.
I have never felt inferior to anyone Before.
But my doctor, who should be a Close ally, feels more like my puppeteer.
I must follow her lead, even though every cell in my body and mind knows she is part of the cause that I am where I am.
I have been fortunate enough to have “a dose of how it feels to be under attack by those with fancier titles”– and despite all good work I have done since learning the truth and telling it to those with fancier titles, I am still slammed on a regular basis and reminded that “my hands are dirty”– . I never deny that I was in error. I don’t excuse myself for ignorance either– but all crimes are not equal, nor are all criminals possessed with a drive to forge their character and make amends, or in the specific case regarding the corruption of both Pharma and psychiatry, of which I admit I belong to the most indefensible group, the latter; in this particular case not all criminals are possessed with a drive to *put things right*.
I am not attaching the literal meaning of the word, criminal to David Healy, because unlike myself, a nurse getting hot under the collar about the ways in which the true suffering of my patients was being ignored, then explained in ways that hurt them more, David Healy was hot on the trail of discovering what he instinctually knew was causing the suffering he did not ignore in his or any patient’s testimony. And, he spoke and wrote about his discoveries in real time–, and continued to practice psychiatry with integrity and compassion. So, I don’t actually think he deserves to be called a criminal. I do– because I spent more time finding ways to soothe my patients and their families and remained so immersed and distracted by my Florence Nightingale performance, that I was able to ignore my gut feeling that my patients were being harmed BY the psychiatrists whose orders I was duty bound to carry out. I don’t whine about *doing the time* – only because I remain engaged in wanting to put things right– a daunting endeavor that I cannot conceive of without David Healy–.
Like you, Ove, I can’t find much to disparage about accepting a free drink in a jacuzzi with the backdrop of a caribbean sunrise — never had offers like that in my lowly staff nurse position. A tad jealous perhaps, but I try to keep it in check remembering I did not expend the effort or the money to become a doctor– and at the end of the day, I don’t have the worries and burdens of a doctor’s responsibilities.
Unlike you, though I wish no further grief, pain or suffering on Dr. Healy, because unlike most of his colleagues, he has taken on the worries and burdens that reflect not only his true character, but his choice to lead this charge, is our best hope for *putting things right*– and for you to see that smarmy grin disappear from your psychiatrist’s face. Imagine that.
Sinead, dear, I Believe something was lost in (my) translation.
You got most of it right, but not the part where I like for Healy to feel what fighting authorities feels like. I know he knows what it feels like. He has shown in earlier posts, don’t remember wich one, that he has seen the difficulties patients (and familymembers) encounters with doctors that do not listen to them enough.
My comment was that I liked to see that it could happen to one (Healy) who himself has one or more of fancy titles allready. Who I know is fighting for us who face the same when we fight back on our doctors or authorities. “That the ladder of law has no top and no bottom”.
To me it was just a reminder that even Healy could face the same obstacles as me, just with titles of even fancier value like “sir” or “lord”.
Believe me, after 15 years with Paxil, my only ray of hope spells dr. David Healy!
Thank you, Ove. Your clarification makes sense to me, and your closing statement really puts you and I on the same page–
You say : “Believe me, after 15 years with Paxil, my only ray of hope spells dr. David Healy! – ”
I say: ” only because I remain engaged in wanting to put things right– a daunting endeavor that I cannot conceive of without David Healy–.”
In that vein, I am fascinated by the way in which you have seen a leveling of the playing field resulting from similar actions taken by human beings; that the action of standing up to authorities wreaks havoc with no discrimination for status, credentials and the like. There is, however, a vital point to consider that speaks directly to why you and I would even be commenting on this topic. Our gratitude for Dr. Healy’s daring acts of challenging and then exposing wayward authorities, are also an acknowledgement of and praise for his commitment to performing the professional duties of a good doctor. Do fancier titles that go along with higher rank and salary absolve those doctors from commitment to their professional duties? I think not. Maybe the concept of *authority* should give way to *shared responsibility to protect patients from harmful treatments/drugs*? Also–
If so many agree on the sound reasoning behind acknowledging Dr.Healy’s qualifications for voicing concerns and issuing warnings isn’t he actually the *authority* amongst even the “Sirs”?
When it comes to health care, medical practice in particular, I think we automatically relate the concept of *authority* to an image of individuals who *have more knowledge/experience* , and though it doesn’t unhinge us to note properly named authorities do sometimes exert power and control over less qualified peers, it should alarm us to witness the opposite is now the case — when it comes to health care and medical practice in particular. More so, I think than we had reason to worry about Pharma’s capacity for treachery, we now have cause to fear the highest ranking doctors — as they wield power without much claim to being *authorities*. In fact, it really looks like Pharma cherry picks their henchmen from the *least sharpest tools in the shed*– as it were.
These power brokers (formerly considered *authorities* worthy of respect), wearing their titles like robes of virtue (by virtue of being considered *authorities*), have forsaken their commitment to protecting us, for a share in the profits made from the industry that continues to poison us without conscience. What are these recent posts about, if not tutorials in the tactics now required for *power* to remain in the hands of *professional thugs*?
The good doctor who rescued Ove, myself and even offered a life line to his colleagues,not excluding the “Sirs”, is now sharing the trade secrets of those doctors Pharma has designated *made men*– and–oh, wait a minute some of Pharma’s cherry picked bullies might be “Sirs”- what then? Well…
WE might want to shift our attention to films about other *professional thugs”, ie; “The Godfather”. These are stellar tutorials in tactics, replete with insights into the underpinnings of tactics employed by professional thugs. Here we find answers to the most perplexing aspects of the aberrant behavior of so-called doctors who seem almost threatened by science and truth. Why do they band together so blatantly clinging to all that dishonors them as doctors? I think, based on our film tutorials, we can surmise that the brotherhood of *not so bright and easily bought* doctors are bound by their transgressions to protect each others back. Like the Godfather, who requires the performance of unspeakable deeds as proof of loyalty- handsomely rewarded, of course, Pharma sleeps well knowing that justifiable guilt is like money in the bank.
A handful of duty bound, qualified professionals have been sharing publicly a great deal of information that we were never supposed to see. But, only Dr. Healy has invited us to share his experience of receiving the kiss of death from a Pharma fledgling who once loved him like a brother.
Ove says : ” That the ladder of law has no top and no bottom” —
I’m going to have to sleep on that…
David Healy is a knowledgeable, professional, caring Doctor who immediately puts you at ease. He most definitely does not make you feel inferior to him and he genuinely cares about people.
There are some very bad Doctors out there I’ve been unfortunate enough to meet a few but I’ve also met Dr Healy and he is not one of them.
He had no need to go through all this crap he goes through, he could have had a far easier life if he had towed the line but he chooses speak out putting his own career at risk.
I am not academic or scientific so to be honest some of the stuff on here goes right over my head. But I know a good person when I meet one and he is and that’s why I support him.
Pertinent to Rethink on Rethink on Rxisk.org and PSSD, any thoughts to some ‘slight’ improvements than can be made on the MHRA – SSRI Learning Module for……………………doctors?
Dr. Healy is one of the few challenging the corrupt medical establishment, and the vested interests, who wish to keep the paradigm of a vulnerable dis-empowered patient against a doctor in a position of power- firmly in place…It is this paradigm which damages patients… Healy has been pushing against this paradigm for decades… he deserves nothing but the utmost respect.. Over the years, I have spoken to many patient’s damaged from SSRI drugs who all cite Healy as an inspiration.. Keep banging that drum Dr. Healy..
… a new beat
that is deeply moving–
others to stand up & speak out.
even in America ….
Very brave lady.
Thanks for posting the link Sinead. I’ve posted and shared it on FB and asked friends to share it.
Every little helps.
Wish I could do more.
Mike Howard just posted an update on the petition you signed, Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota: Investigate psychiatric research misconduct at the University of Minnesota.
This is where it all goes pear shaped.
Sinead has drawn attention to this case and it also popped into my inbox yesterday as I signed the petition.
Fox News investigates stories about psyche drugs; they are on the ball.
When anyone mentions the police, in this country, with regard to apparent suicides from psychiatric drugs there is not a murmur. There is not a murmur from the psychiatrist or doctor or coroner, either. It is carefully turned into mental illness.
Imagine drawing attention to any one of our apparent suicides and hoping to get an investigative reporter from the BBC to put it on National Television?
I have always thought that each and every one of our suicides should be a police matter.
My own experience was a carefully constructed conspiracy whereby the weight of extreme bullying and uninvited interference resulted in an almost casual disregard for my safety. I was insulted from Day One of weeks of sudden chaos from cold turkey and was threatened ‘you have to be whiter than white’ and this mean spirited, viper of a gp who was so ignorant about ssris and benzodiazepines was suddenly and brazenly giving me lectures on child rearing.
Pretty difficult when acute akathesia is manifesting itself daily building up to the hysterical survival request ‘get me into a hospital’ NOW, PLEASE.
And, ignored in the ‘mental’ hospital. This shameful place amongst the shuffling remnants of society queuing up for their pills and I had to join them. One Paroxetine for you, one Diazepam for you to stop the hysteria, go away and sort yourself out…………
I could go on….I won’t…it was too awful and I ended up in another hospital…..
This is the stuff of nightmares. Where were the investigative police and the reporters?
It was all shoved under the carpet just like poor Dan…this poor guy died.
It looks like a few heads might now roll……..
I have said before, I went to the police. I was almost mocked, again…….
There is no safety net from these appalling tragedies; there is only one place to talk about it, and it is here.
Hospitals and surgeries cannot go around murdering their patients.
you say: “There is no safety net from these appalling tragedies; there is only one place to talk about it, and it is here. ”
I think you might appreciate this:
I have it on good autthority that the nurse, Katie Higgns, was put in contact with this family via David Healy–. The eldest Pelletier daughter’s “best friend” contacted Dr. Healy , asking him to help locate and connect her with this nurse, who had posted here on his site. Dr. Healy complied, of course–connecting a family in dire straights with a Boston based RN.
Hopefully, all involved in any way – creating this tragic case- , harming this innocent young woman, Justina Pelletier will encounter a reason to *change their ways*
I share this in the spirit of encouragement for THESE places where we can share and talk freely– you never know how much you are helping those in the most need of support.
I assume this quote is from the ridiculous article you mentioned:
“In our experience, the vast majority of patients
who choose to stay on them do so because they improve
their mood and wellbeing rather than because they
cannot cope with withdrawal symptoms when they
stop. Many of the extreme examples of adverse effects
given by the opponents of antidepressants are both
rare and sometimes sufficiently bizarre as to warrant
the description of an unexplained medical symptom.”
Yes, my Akathisia is indeed bizarre you’re right.
I used to appreciate David Nutt for his work on psychedelics, and he may deserve some recognition for this, but I wonder what can come of the psychedelics research if the figures involved can’t really challenge the status quo, which is kind of ironic.