Pharmaceutical Rape

February, 16, 2015 | 91 Comments


  1. “legal right to make own choices even for vaccines”

    This is a very extraordinary remaining piece of totemism – if anything, of course, it just shows the priveleging of vaccination in our culture goes beyond that of other pharmaceuticals. I don’t know when this was written but the last month has seen a manufactured wave of mainstream news media attacks on people who are choosing not to vaccinate or vaccinate selectively following reports of cases of measles loosely connected with Disneyland California. Cue not only the LA Times, te NY Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, CNN, Fox News etc etc. This is hate material, and none of them consider deferring to government pharmaceutical complex might be more dangerous than the odd case of measles. Presently vaccines are not only mandated for use in the US, the companies have worn immunity from prosecution over vaccine damage for nearly three decades. The present attack is clearly designed:-

    1) To preempt the evidence of CDC whistleblower, William Thompson, to Congress regarding vaccines and autism which has never been reported in the mainstream media.

    2) Shut down mandate exemptions, Federally and by State. This not only applies to the presented bloated schedule but potentially to hundreds of vaccines under development which may be mandated in due course.

    The reputation of vaccines for relatively safety is itself a cultural construct. Also, of course, any resulting proliferation of auto-immune disorders or neurolgical damage is a wonderful territory for further exploitation:

    • PS Despite all the horrors of the past half-century if this happens it will be perhaps the biggest single power-grab on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry there has ever been.

  2. Thanks, Laurie! This piece is brilliantly timed for folks in the UK, where it looks like Tory prime minister David Cameron has just floated a scheme to cut off disability benefits to those who “refuse treatment” for any disabling condition. Cameron proposes to extend this to obese beneficiaries who “fail to diet” as well as to anyone who turns down an addiction treatment program that, in the judgment of the State, might help return them to the job market.

    Thankfully there’s an uproar in the making — by people on disability, by their friends and neighbors and by doctors. I heard of the whole mess through a Twitter campaign launched by doctor and MP Sarah Wollaston, called #ConsentMatters. Docs with some ethics and gumption are declaring they won’t be made into police who report “non-compliant” patients. Let’s encourage this outbreak of backbone.

    Given the sacred-cow status of psychiatric drugs in our society, it’s chilling to realize how easily, in the wrong political circumstances, we could be forced to swallow drugs “for our own good” that were actually doing us more harm than good. Especially given the campaign by groups like NAMI to establish “anosognosia” (the inability to percieve one’s own illness) as the proper “diagnosis” for any person who declines drug treatment. (It’s a bit like witchcraft … refusal to confess is one of the surest signs you ARE a witch.) I hope that NAMI members who consider themselves liberals and progressives (and there are many) will take a good hard look at this Tory initiative in the UK and ask themselves where this line of thinking could lead us …

    • Just an update … looks like the #ConsentMatters hashtag was also used this weekend in the US to urge people NOT to see Fifty Shades of Gray at the cinema for Valentine’s weekend, as the movie glamorizes coercion. (Apparently the plot goes way beyond consensual frolicking with handcuffs etc., and we’re supposed to find the heroine’s domination by her wealthy jerk of a boyfriend exciting. Yecch.)

      A happy accident, I think … the two groups of campaigners might find a lot to chat about. It fits in well with another big discussion, also handled on Twitter, about why abused women don’t “just get up & leave” their abusers, and how to stop blaming the victims of these assaults.

  3. I just watched this John Oliver feature “Marketing to Doctors”- posted on This is the most explicit reporting of the unholy alliance between PhARMA and doctors– also very funny– Is it the perfect coating for the bitter pill?

      • It is the accuracy of this comedy that makes it very funny– imo, in the sense that this aspect of medical practice that is clearly putting the public at risk, is so easy to demonstrate yet seems impossible to stop. Funny as in very odd, and equally suspicious state of affairs.

        Oliver makes a point of saying we need permission to buy *these* [prescription] drugs– and focuses more on doctors as key to the success of the scam. To bring home the point of how out of control and unrestrained this scam really is, Oliver leaves us with a course of action to protect ourselves, “Ask your doctor…” Since obviously none of our trusted, powerful authorities (doctors), or regulatory agencies seem to give a hoot about *dangerous drugs* being handed to people by licensed medical practitioners to *see what happens*– in the context of truly obscene profits being shared by our *trusted authorities* [doctors].

        Remember the saying :”Tragedy + Time = Comedy” ? It’s taken two decades of tragedy to produce a comedy piece that contains a filmed advert depicting the truth behind tragedy. For comedy to work, it has to reflect to some degree, that which is common knowledge, as John Oliver points out after showing an over the top scene from the TV sit com “Scrubs” .

        Imagine what it is like to be coming of age in a society that has indoctrinated you with obedience to *authority*, only to discover the dark motives of those who act with authority and impunity– and then find yourselves at the mercy of psychiatrists when you begin to experience a perfectly normal human reaction to the society you are expected to assimilate into—

        This is an intentionally oversimplified rendering of the plight of a thousands of adolescents I have encountered on inpatient psychiatric units for the past decade. Specifically, since 2009, I began to hear the gist of the unholy alliance between big pharma and psychiatry from adolescent patients on the locked ward of a renowned Children’s Hospital. All that I have learned since then has only validated what they already knew.

        Yes, rebelling against authority or just talking trash about one’s leaders behind closed doors is not new-; once viewed as age appropriate, a right of passage, or a phase one passes through before settling into a productive adult role. What is new is the degree to which sacred trusts have been violated and the extent to which the perpetrators continue their blatant violations with alacrity. Perfectly described, well documented injustices and criminal assaults in the guise of medical treatment NOT prosecuted, the stories fade from media without resolution.

        This post at least does justice to the situation by employing the language that fits the crime. Is the pen mightier than the sword? Or do we have more power when we make the *bad guys* the butt of our jokes?

        In any case, I would love to see this “Ask your doctor..” campaign go viral. 🙂

  4. I shared this piece on a closed forum and was taken to task for using feminist writings on rape to express how I feel about the pharmaceutical issue. Was told it trivializes actual rape. I kind of expected some kind backlash, but want to be mindful about whether or not this is disrespectful of sexual assault victims.

    • Laurie,
      Literally, this definition of *rape* quite accurately describes the situation at hand:

      ” an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation:” –

      The connection to *sexual assault victims* is implied — the helplessness and horror – as well as the other thoughtful analogies you point out.

      I have heard victims of forced psychiatric drugging, describe their experience as “brain rape”-

      It is exactly because the word, *rape* evokes strong emotional responses that I believe it is both appropriate and necessary to coin the term *pharmaceutical rape* AND open the discussion of the culture that accepts or silently condones it, *pharmaceutical rape culture*.

      Financial reward is indeed a perverse motive that objectifies all of us in the mind of the *pharmaceutical rapist*– In this regard , I would say that your saying patients supply financial *usefulness* , a term that implies appreciation might be shown–is not quite the way to put it. I note that the behavior of these rapists is predatory and as such their is zero inherent value assigned to their prey. Our value is determined by their satisfaction. So it goes with victims who successfully sue, or otherwise cause disruptions in the gratification cycle —still violated, raped, victimized, but not so *useful*–

      It is more likely that all victims of rape, including those who have been sexually violated, will find resonance with each other emotionally; that having been stripped of their humanity via authority, power and/or force they share basic needs for both the recognition of their innate value and strong condemnation of the rapist.–What rape victims would not hesitate to do for each other, those of us with both compassion and courage should do for them.

      Again, I applaud the clarity of your reasoning and the eloquence of your presentation.

      Yes, let’s define our terms so that we communicate with precision and not allow this long overdue message be obfuscated by sloppy semantics !


  5. When the pharmaceutical rape is inside us and outside of us, some of us start looking around for answers.

    Until I seemed like an attractive proposition to be groomed, I had no idea of the minefield of the psychiatric profession.

    The careerist psychiatrists publishing several thousand studies and papers.
    It seems you are nobody amongst the psychiatric elite unless you are head of something, write a paper on something, ghost write a paper on something, run conferences on something, write for journals on something, write books on something, appear in court about something…this something being our brain.



    Nothing has been written about so extensively, so elaborately, so seriously about any thing else.

    Is it all about image?

    Are you no one if you are not on the lecture circuit, are you no one if you are not part of a drug cartel, are you no one if you are not sleeping with a drug rep and are you no one unless your name is in print…

    This psychiatric industry is is massive…it is available to everyone whether you want it or not. It is there.

    Take your brain in for a service to be picked and prodded, does it have too much or too little grey matter or white matter, does it shake too much, is it not held inside your head properly with brackets, are the screws a bit loose, does it need an adjustment, is it the wrong colour, is this brain faulty.

    My feeling is a lot of people fell into psychiatry. On the game.

    Politicians will steer this ship like another Costa Concordia…

    It’s not easy being green

  6. This post reminded me of a recent article in the Irish Independent. The article was written by a doctor and there was so much wrong with what she was saying that I found it really distressing. Your excellent article could have been written with her in mind. Sadly it seems that she is oblivious to the dangers of pharmaceutical vaccines and equally the well-founded concerns that parents may have.

    Here’s a short excerpt “The anti-vaxx movement, much like the anti-fluoride movement, has always paid scant attention to science and its obsession with fact – which makes them hard to argue with. If you’re unconcerned with facts, you can say just about anything. Perhaps I’m being unkind though – perhaps they simply don’t understand scientific facts rather than they deliberately ignore them.”

    Perhaps this doctor doesn’t understand pharmaceutical funded ghost-writing? For more drivel – what

  7. To me rape means having your physical and mental self, damaged and assaulted against your will or because you did not fully understand what you are doing. I would never wish for a sexual assault victim to feel trivialized after the horror they have endured.
    I have witnessed someone go through withdrawal from a prescription drug and he has been ravaged and raped by it physically and mentally. Although recovered to a certain extent I don’t think he will ever be the person he was before he went on the drug. It’s as if his very self has been destroyed. He looks the same, sounds the same but he isn’t him anymore just a washed out version of his former self who no longer feels emotions in the same way, doesn’t seem to derive any pleasure from life and feels ashamed about what happened to him. So I would say he has been raped not sexually but he has been raped and pillaged of his personality. The difference being that he was assaulted in a completely legal way and no one except him will ever be held accountable or punished for it.

    • Doubtless some people who have been raped will be horrified at the comparison. If you compare rape to dry mouth, or constipation then of course this is a no-brainer. But what if we compare rape to the autistic spectrum disorder that steals away a child, or that gives a child spina bifida, or the frantic agitation that leads an elderly father to throw himself out a window impaling himself on the the iron railings below, or the delirium that leads a father to murder his own child or worse again children, or a 13 year old boy to hand himself in the bathroom between his parents bedroom and his own?

      And has any rapist ever behaved worse that the legal team for Pfizer sending a private detective to scrape the bathroom carpet in an effort to show this was erotic asphyxiation gone wrong rather than suicide on Zoloft?

      Are there really any mothers or daughters out there who think rape is the wrong word for this?

      David Healy

      • Not me! My son was violated in the worst possible way by pharmaceutical greed and stupid uninformed doctors. After 17 days of taking the prescribed celexa, he killed himself and someone else – behaviour totally alien to him. He was prescribed this drug for heart-break, so no, sadly I don’t think its the wrong word. I think it’s a fair discription.

      • Not me. My son was ‘violated’ repeatedly over a long period of time – and it was more like gang rape. Every possible means of self defence was removed. They broke his spirit. It was devastating to stand helplessly by and watch.
        Will he ever heal emotionally? I don’t know. The scars will always be there….

    • Back in 1995 when I was first prescribed Seroxat, there were no warnings on the patient information leaflet that the drug could cause persistent sexual dysfunction, persistent emotional numbing, chronic insomnia, suicidal ideation or electric brain zaps (on withdrawal) or severe aggression and rage. Seroxat literally turned me into the devil. It made me NOT CARE about anything, indifferent, nonchalant and almost arrogant. I was dismissive of people’s feelings and that was one of the side effects that really stuck out. I didn’t like the idea of being indifferent to people’s feelings. The drug makes you so high at the same time that you feel a sudden sense of superiority and you lose all inhibition. It gives you a false sense of feeling great. It makes you suddenly outgoing and daring. You get addicted to the feelings of greatness. I’ve never taken cocaine, but can only imagine it’s similar to being on Seroxat. I basically went from being a timid, caring and quiet nineteen year old to a conflictive adult within weeks of taking it. My mother always said of me that I was the most sensitive of the family who looked out for and worried about everyone. But now, my whole family noticed the sudden change in personality, and my mother was quick to remind me that it was to be taken for a period of only 6 months. Time came to come off it and all hell broke loose. I was an emotional wreck. I was plagued with unexplainable bouts of intense rage, was aggressive, experienced the well-known electric brain zaps that come along with Seroxat withdrawal, the depersonalization, the increased abnormal levels of anxiety, the night sweats, the diarrhoea, the vomiting and panic attacks. There were moments where I would dig my nails into my gums till they bled. Something in my brain was triggering a violent spell. It only occurred to me recently that it was a form of self-harm – something I never did in my life. I remember how withdrawal drove me so insane, I drank down 200 pills without even realizing what I was doing that had me in a coma for 2 days. The temporary, artificial behaviour that surfaces during consumption and on withdrawal gave a puzzled psychiatrist no other option than to write me off as having Borderline Personality Disorder. I made the mistake of telling my family this, and I’ve been harshly judged. It was an unfair and inaccurate diagnosis that was made while I was under the influence of a mind-altering drug, and no-one would put my behaviour down to Seroxat, because it was an approved, legal prescription “medication” “suitable for the treatment of depression”. My reputation as a sane, respectable person has been so tarnished by this drug that even though I’m no longer on it, my family remain weary of me because of the diagnosis given during consumption. The storm subsided but once you are labelled, you remain labelled. To cut a long story short: withdrawal was such a horrendous experience that I ended up going back on and leaving the drug for a full 15 years. In 2007, I reported to my now ex boyfriend that I was having serious problems experiencing human emotions. I had become emotionally numb. In 2009, it came full circle. I woke up one morning and was no longer able to experience any emotions whatsoever. I couldn’t respond to affection, love, anger, etc. I had no interest in the places I once loved. I couldn’t appreciate the sun on my face or the view of the mountains. IT WAS NOT A CASE OF A RETURNED DEPRESSION. At the same time, I realised I had become 100% sexually dysfunctional. Insomnia soon followed. I knew full well the game was up. I knew it was time to get off Seroxat no matter what, with the hope of getting back to normal. So, I went back to the family home where I was thrown into the depths of hell again where a second suicide attempt took place, reaffirming to my family yet again the diagnosis of BPD. I managed to get off the drug, but the chronic sexual dysfunction, emotional numbing and chronic insomnia remain. I know full well Seroxat has done this to me, but I have had family members tell me that it’s BPD and as I “refuse therapy”, it’s now a case of: “Well, how do you expect to get better so”? No-one believes the drug is capable of leaving you sexually dysfunctional, emotionally numb or an insomniac. People assume it’s psychological or a returned depression. I too have gone from being the person I once was to being a recluse. I too have had my mental and physical self damaged and assaulted against my will. I too have been ravaged and violated to the point of no return by a prescription drug. Until I recover my ability to climax, feel emotions and sleep, I will never be the person I was before I went on the drug. The very essence of who I was has been taken way from me and I didn’t give consent to anyone to do that to me. My right to love my family has been take from me. My right to sleep at night has been taken from me. My right to feel sexual pleasure has been taken from me. I gave NO-ONE consent to do this to me and therefore feel in a sense I too have been raped, but out of respect for those who have experienced sexual assault, I will continue to use the word violated.

  8. I would hope not because pharmaceutical rape exists, it is a danger that people need to know about. The word rape has almost become synonymous with sexual attacks, but rape does mean to violate, to abuse, to take without consent, to destroy and to ruin. Pharmaceutical companies are guilty of all of these acts and in my eyes they are also guilty of murder as well.
    They have no shame, the case of that poor young boy who hung himself makes my blood boil ! He must have been so desperate and frightened. Not only did his parents lose their son in such a horrific way they then had to endure the violation of their sons memory by Pfizer who would do anything to get themselves off the hook even slander a dead child. They disgust me.

  9. I’m grateful for all of these comments. They reflect an understanding of what I intended when I wrote out the definitions, especially the “pharmaceutical rape culture” definition.

    Here are some comments reflecting the considerable pushback I got on a facebook forum. This mental health support group considers itself ultra progressive and is very concerned with all things politically correct. I asked commenters to share their views here on Dr. Healy’s blog, and since they declined, I asked for permission to share the following. While I am tempted to believe some people find the definitions offensive because they do not yet comprehend the massive devastation that is being incurred by pharmaceutical prescribing within our medical and mental healthcare systems, I want to fully consider these points of view in order to proceed respectfully.

    The comments:

    ” Look, the problems with violating consent are parallel and that point is all well and good, but I think it’s in really bad taste to approach it like this.
    “Rape is a much more personally devastating event than unethical pharma. It trivializes rape, especially since it’s a riff on an article about rape. I think it’s fair to borrow terms like victim-blaming that aren’t rape-specific, but to use “rape” in this analogous way seems pretty fucked up.”

    Me: I appreciate the feedback. I wonder if this kind of response, while understandable, may underscore the cultural denial regarding pharmaceutical harms.

    “I don’t think comparing pharma harms to rape is going to do us any favors in fighting that denial.”

    “I think what can be compared to rape is when a person is actually forced to consume a pharmaceutical. That really is like rape. Lack of complete information- lack of informed consent due to lack of information- not quite. Pretty close because of the amount of fraud perpetrated by the drug industry, but it’s not the same. For one thing, a person has the option to say no to anything they don’t know everything they need to know about, research it by other means than asking the prescribing doctor, seek alternatives, etc. It’s not the same. Forced drugging (such as in mental hospitals) IS the same, and people who have experienced both, say so.”

    “Like I know where you’re coming from so I don’t want to be harsh but this kind of rhetoric is one of the things that held me back from getting involved in mad lib/anti psychiatry for a long time.”

    ” i think side-effects and lies would more easily be considered a civil and human rights violation than a “rape”, personally. I think it holds more weight too historically, to link it with continual historic disregard for life experiences of certain populations of people (in a very wide range, from race, to gender, to illness) as determined by an elite group who decide someone has deviated from a small set of rules in behavior or standards oddly based entirely on ability to perform for a certain length a set of work and society tasks. In my mind I connect side-effects and and pills with past medical and other traumas (I’ll spare everyone triggering details, and assume you all know), which is ultimately what side-effects are. It’s just a pill doing it to you rather than a direct person.”

    Me: I really appreciate these points of view and will take ample time to consider them. I first began thinking in these terms when someone posted a meme of Bill Cosby with the definition of rape culture. That definition fit spot on with my experience as someone trying to tell my pharma story and having no one actually take it seriously. When the “side-effects” are life-altering disabling outcomes and death, and when the perpertrators walk free, well, many of us do feel this was a plunder of our lives, an abuse of our beings, an EXTREME violation of our trust and of our bodies.

    ” Seconding those who have pointed out that using the word rape as a metaphor for other kinds of coercion is deeply unhelpful and messes around with the definition of what happened to those who have experienced rape. It’s disrespectful and unhelpful to do so. I also think it is pretty unimaginative not to come up with some other way to describe what happens with forced drugging and other malpractice with regards to psychiatric “treatment”. For sure there is a massive cultural problem with the way these “illnesses” are described and dealt with. I don’t dispute for a millisecond that these issues are serious and widespread and wrong. But it really is not the same kind of violation as sexual rape. To conflate the two makes me feel a bit seasick. And I think enough others have pointed out similar that it might be worth taking on board…………. ”

    The discussion really goes downhill after this with some commenters angrily shaming me for daring to use the word “rape” metaphorically in regard to pharma harms.

  10. I have another example: the use of pharmaceuticals in end of life “care” to keep a person alive when they’ve really had enough. In theory I think patients can refuse treatment, but I’m not sure what happens in practice, particularly if a psychiatrist has been called in and made a diagnosis of clinical depression. How much choice would such a patient really have to refuse, say, antibiotics to treat pneumonia?

    Vaccination is more complicated because it’s a public health issue – an individual’s decision not to vaccinate can harm others. No-one puts this better than the brilliant Mitch Benn with Vaccinate Your Kids…

    Spoiler Alert! Some of you may find this song outrageous and offensive.

    The song makes passing reference to the debunking of fraudulent claims of a link between MMR and autism. It’s worth remembering that the Lancet fell for the fraud and bolstered Andrew Wakefield’s credibility by publishing his shonky paper in 1998. It fell to Sunday Times journalist, Brian Deer, to do the debunking – it took the Lancet 12 years to fully retract the fraudulent paper.

    • Fran

      You have it completely wrong about Wakefield and Deer – this is about the lowest and coarsest journalism I have ever encountered, having studied the matter in detail over many years (and having been personally abused by Mr Deer – allegedly a professional journalist – many times):

      It is particulary relevant a the current moment because the NY Times, LA Times and Washington Post have all seized on the “discrediting of Wakefield” as a pretext for a power-grab over vaccine mandates. The argument is spurious because even if a particular study was found to have been fraudulent it would say nothing about the countless snubbed parents still expressing concerns. But the fact is that everything Deer claimed was untrue. They had to isolate and destroy Wakefield because he listened to parents.

      This is the text of a short article I wrote last month:

      ‘Upworthy’ Lies About the Wakefield Lancet Paper

      Before yesterday morning I had not heard of ‘Upworthy’ which according to Wiki is a “website for viral content” founded by Eli Pariser (Chairman of AVAAZ, pictured) and Peter Koechley (former managing editor of ‘The Onion’), for which Kim Kellerher of ‘Wired’ is also a board member. A presentation “curated” by Adam Mordecai and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation states:

      “After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything.”

      What, of course, this does not tell you is that the senior author and clinician in the paper, Prof John Walker-Smith, who also compiled eleven of the twelve case histories appealed to the English High Court over the GMC findings and was completely exonerated nearly three years ago – Walker-Smith, unlike Wakefield, was funded to appeal. All that ‘Upworthy’ are doing is playing the same trick as CNN and Wiki – which I reported on last year – and peddling disproven stories without mentioning that they have been disproven.

      CNN, having cited wiki, blocked the following comment:

      But this is a flawed account. The findings were confirmed by both histopathologists in the paper subsequent to the hearing . [See also here ]

      When the Deer/BMJ findings came under the scrutiny of Dr David Lewis in November 2011 they were forced to re-trench (reported in Nature ):

      “But he (Bjarnason) says that the forms don’t clearly support charges that Wakefield deliberately misinterpreted the records.

      “The data are subjective. It’s different to say it’s deliberate falsification,” he says.

      “Deer notes that he never accused Wakefield of fraud over his interpretation of pathology records…

      “Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ, says that the journal’s conclusion of fraud was not based on the pathology but on a number of discrepancies between the children’s records and the claims in the Lancet paper…”

      Although Godlee had previously stated in February 2011 :

      “The case we presented against Andrew Wakefield that the1998 Lancet paper was intended to mislead was not critically reliant on GP records”. It is primarily based on Royal Free hospital records, including histories taken by clinicians, and letters and other documents received at the Royal Free from GPs and consultants.”

      But it is clear that the judge who presided over Walker-Smith’s exoneration and reviewed the Lancet paper in detail could not find any evidence of this. His one major quibble was over the statement about ethical approval paper which Walker-Smith says he did not see – however this is accurate too.

      “Ethical approval and consent

      “Investigations were approved by the Ethical Practices Committee of the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, and parents gave informed consent.”

      The paper did not have ethical approval and consent, and did not need it because it was simply a review of patient data (which was what was on the tin). The procedures needed ethical approval and consent and had them.

      So Wiki does not tell you any of this but repeats an account that is long disproven.

      Having considerable respect for the good works of AVAAZ I think it is a great pity that Mr Pariser – author also of ‘The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You’ – should be associated with this travesty, and he really ought to look into it. It seems that the entire defence of the vaccine program hinges on the false claims that have been made about the Wakefield paper (which did not even purport to prove that vaccines cause autism). If the vaccine program is so good, why the dirty tactics? Why the straw man? Vaccine safety and effectiveness is a messy business: making Wakefield the scapegoat won’t work much longer.

  11. I can see why you use the word rape but in some cases its far worse than that. Like you said the man that killed his children, I’m sure he feels far more than raped but dangerously deceived by the real murderers.

    When I was pinned down naked on a cold concrete floor in a police cell I felt raped but when I stood in the courtroom doc and was told I was guilty I felt deceived and entrapped by a corrupt system.

    • This is a really important point. Its well known that Rape victims are treated badly by the criminal justice system and that Court can be an ordeal. In the case of drug induced injury – its impossible to even get to Court outside of North America. In the US, while its possible to win some cases, you become aware of the power of the system – how its heavily loaded against people who have legitimate cases.

      Within the UK mental health system, its almost impossible to persuade the system that treatment is producing the problems the person has – even though in an increasing proportion of cases it is. This leaves lots of people wondering whether to secure their sanity or health, they should leave the country


  12. What about the phrase rape of the land or rape of the countryside why is it ok for that to be used as it often is to describe violation and devastation of land but it’s not ok to describe the devastation of a Person by prescribed drugs as pharmaceutical rape.
    Rape is a very strong word and shouldn’t be used lightly but if these people had seen the devastation left behind when pharma goes wrong they might understand why the word rape has been used.
    To rape is to violate and abuse against someone’s will and that is what is happening.
    The word isn’t being used as a metaphor it is being used for what it means, rape can take place in many different scenarios it doesn’t mean exclusively sexual rape.

  13. From Anonymous thro David Healy

    Anne Marie’s comments above were like my experience. I wasn’t only stripped naked I was assaulted several times too. I had my face rammed into the floor being suffocated, My head was then rammed into a sharp object. I had handcuffs tightened so tight I felt like shards of sharp glass were cutting into my wrists and when I screamed I was in pain they tightened then even more. I was then eventually given a gown only for that to be ripped off me again, then when I attacked them back they pulled me to the floor and rammed my head with such force into the concrete ground I thought my skull would break.

    What was my crime – like others SSRI induced alcoholism and all the problems of job loss and loss of friends and family that can go with that.

    When I came out of the cell I wanted to get a machine gun go back and take everyone of them out, I also felt like ramming my car into the central barrier of the motorway the following day. I have never felt so violated, hurt and angry in all my life.

    I imagine this is how a rape victim must feel also? I am therefore very concerned not to minimize what happens to them – the last thing I would want is to make a victim feel their suffering was less than something else. But while those of us who have not been raped can imagine how awful it is, it seems those who have not been violated by drugs don’t seem able to imagine what we have been through.

  14. I remember 40 years ago attending an Amnesty International meeting addressed by Tom Stoppard about the torture of Russian dissidents with psychiatic drugs. He didn’t completely dissociate himself from the problem of mistreatments in western psychiatric hospitals but he claimed it was a different issue. I am sure it was well meant but perhaps all you really conclude at certain level was that some people were more important than others – of course I am glad that there was support for the Russian dissidents but it doesn’t really seem that the right liberal lessons were learnt there for very long either.

    • I think the two outrages do have features in common. Simply because the people coerced in the mental health system here are usually not political dissidents, that doesn’t mean it’s not a political question. Just like the plight of millions of (mostly minority, almost all poor) Americans in prison is a political question, even though most of them are not political dissidents either.

      In both cases the victims are considered disposable people, and at least potential sources of trouble if they’re not locked up or constantly threatened with lockup. And in both cases the people actually doing the coercion are making a WHOLE lot of money out of the process. In both cases there’s a lot of reasonable voices saying this is not only cruel but irrational. Yet it’s hard as hell to make any headway against those who have an interest in continuing the outrages.

  15. Another brilliant and stunningly accurate article from Dr Healy.

    I can remember while in acute withdrawal writing a complaint to our Health commissioner and saying exactly that …’i feel like i am being mentally and psychologically raped daily while suffering and having no option but to endure wave upon wave of drug induced suicidal ideations’ this went on for two years. Finally it receded but like all monstors of horror once being raped i was then left with the complete loss of all sexual functioning, ‘Helen Keller-ed’ in the genitals, now an asexual being …i guess a punishment to ensure i never forget the perpetrator and a silent torture for the rest of my life.

    Thankyou for speaking the truth.

  16. I feel this way also after having an adverse reaction to one dose (10mg.) of citalopram. My NP told me that I should have been a better informed consumer (not patient) before I took that pill. Didn’t offer me any help or refer me to another doctor that might have been able to help me figure out what was going on in my CNS. I think she just wanted me gone at that point because the drug didn’t work like she was told it would by the drug reps. I’m in 5yrs at the end of 2015 and my nervous system is still screwed up and have some type of brain damage. So yes, it feels like I was violated without my full consent.

  17. These comments are heartening. I tried to share some of your stories with the facebook mental health support group that was offended by the use of the word “rape.” I had hoped when they heard these tragic stories they might reconsider if this usage actually trivializes experiences of sexual assault. I had hoped they might be touched as I was by the words of those of you who shared about your life-altering experiences and followed by saying you would not use the word “rape” out of respect for survivors of “real” rape. What the post generated was more outrage, so much that a few who initially agreed ended up apologizing to the bullies. Last I checked the administrator had taken the post down. I guess I need more information/input from rape survivors before I can be comfortable with this usage.

    • I am a rape survivor. I was violently raped at knife-point, told if I didn’t do what this man wanted he was going to kill me – at 13 yrs old. Profound shame & severe PTSD followed for countless years. At 19 yrs old I was kidnapped and raped by two men I didn’t know. Profound Uncontrollable Rage and PTSD followed for countless years. The trauma from both those rapes combined comes nowhere near the trauma I suffered after going through a ‘cold turkey’ Klonopin withdrawal. When my Mental Healthcare Professions whom I was heavily involved with at the time for over a year informed me it would be ‘just fine’ to abruptly stop Klonopin, I did. When NOT one of my Mental Healthcare workers (I was under the weekly care of 7 workers, one therapist, one Psychiatrist) neglected to inform me of ANY (not one single symptom) that I may encounter from this ‘cold turkey’ withdrawal – I call this RAPE. When not one of the Mental Healthcare Professions neglected to provide any emotional or mental support while enduring up to 50 severe symptoms including Psychosis and Seizures that landed me in the Psyche ward and a trip to the Emergency Room (most of this at home alone)- I call this RAPE. I was DENIED access to my Psychiatrist at this time also. When not ONE of my Mental Healthcare workers informed me of the devastating long term Brain Impairment caused from this ‘cold turkey’ withdrawal – I call this RAPE. That withdrawal was the MOST traumatic experience I have ever endured in my 58 years on this Planet. If I would have had a gun in my house at that time, I would not be writing this today. I would have used it. I prayed for one every day to escape the Horror I was caught up in. It was complete and utter MENTAL TORTURE causing the most severe case of Post Traumatic Stress I have ever had. This is RAPE of the Mind in the most severe sense of the word. And why? Why was I refused help when I needed it most? My life depended on it. Because my Mental Healthcare Professionals are incompetent, under educated, and obviously lack compassion. And my insurance was billed $39,000. for services rendered while under their care for that year. That is 4 times what what I make in a year while on Disability caused from decades on Psychiatric Drugs. Been RAPED in body and RAPED in mind. When will this abuse ever stop?

  18. I don’t see how anyone can be offended by the word ‘rape’ – it can be used in many contexts – not just sexual ones. The fact people become alerted by it shows you have used the right word to try to convey exactly how it must feel to some people – a direct violation of their dignity without their consent.:)

  19. Who is to judge people’s experiences of traumatic events in their life. It’s not a competition of whose is the most terrible. I would never trivialize sexual rape or the victims of it for very personal reasons.
    On the other hand who is anyone else to trivialize and judge whether a Mother losing her son to suicide, a family torn apart because their loved one has killed someone, a child throwing themselves off a bridge because they’ve been pumped full of antidepressants is not as traumatic as sexual rape, how could anyone else judge if the victims of prescription drugs gone wrong are too trivial to be called pharmaceutical rape.
    We are not talking about someone who has nausea because of a new medication. We are talking about people who have been driven out of their minds, people taking their lives and the lives of others. Committing acts that would previously have been unthinkable to them. Suffering terrible mental and physical side effects. Children killing themselves and babies being born deformed because pharmaceutical companies hid data. How is that not destruction, abuse and violation towards victims who had no control over it happening.
    The trouble is they cannot and probably will not get their heads around the fact that rape is a word used to describe violation, destruction, abuse it is not a word specific to sexual rape.
    By saying that we are wrong for using the word rape in this context is hypocrisy because they are doing the very thing they complain about which is trivializing other people’s abuse.
    People who are victims of abuse whether it be sexual, physical, mental or pharmaceutical should be supporting other victims not having petty arguments over the use of a word.

  20. I am not surprised that there is an eliteist projection over semantics . No different , really , than the language manipulation that has prevented the much needed defining of the collusion between doctors and Pharma that is criminal in every sense of the word. I have met and worked with victims of medical assault and battery and victims of rape . There is more similarity than difference.

    What I believe is crucial to changing minds is the development of resonance amongst doctors and licensed prescribers , those who suffer for harm they unwittingly caused due to pharmaceutical rape. Rape is a crime. So is fraudulent business practices that cause harm . When licensed medical professionals collude with profit driven business and violate the trust of the public — I find the silence of the latter to be the most ominous sign – . Unless these crimes are named , we continue to be called consumers , clients -/ everything but the rape victims we are.

  21. I read Crazy and it was yesterday.

    What bothers me today is this……….

    However contentious Laurie’s topic – Are Seroxat/Paxil or Aropax happy with this relationship?

    ……….saving face…

    When your ‘talking friends’ change their language from ‘Clinical Trial Transparency’ to ‘Research Transparency’, then, the 1st thing you should ask yourself, is – “can I trust my friends”?

    We are the 1st pharmaceutical company to sign up to the AllTrials campaign for research transparency.

    GSK has said publicly that “the more eyes on our data the better for us.”

    I think we need to watch this relationship as to how we got to now and who get’s to keep their reputation…

    If there is one body I would buy a stiletto shoe for and hover it above the face of key personnel it is for Alltrials which was a moral crusade… but appeaars to have sold its soul.

    I am sure rape victims would also like to grind their heel into their attacker, but, have too much self control and try the police and courts first which often ends in complete disaster…..and they have my sympathy vote.

    I would not expect one in return.

    Pharmaceuticals are mostly insidious; it’s the gang-bang that is such an affront.

    • Annie, thank you for reading the book. Are you using the language-rape example to illustrate what many rape survivors find so offensive by my use of the definition? (It’s a really great example). And are you saying that the pharma companies who are our violators might actually benefit if we use that definition?

  22. Many good comments, and a continuing good post by Healy.

    I agree with Lisa who describes it very sensible and well.
    It’s not a competition, it’s a comparison. And the similarities are there, but no one is saying this or that about the other.

    Personally I don’t like to use the Word rape, because I’m male, but I too have been seriously harmed. But there is no doubt I have had things taken from me by “Medical force”. Or call it chemical force.

    My own naivity led me to Think I was given a “happy pill” and that was the end of it. I had no reason to research if I could become violent from these pills, since violence was never a part of my persona to begin with. And no one certainly told me this could be the case, even if you are the most loveable person out there.

    And this leaves me feeling “violated”, because I’m the only one who can say, with 100% certainty, that I would never have seen the inside of a prison if it weren’t for the pill.

    • Ove,
      Your comment rings true with me.
      My son has a neurological condition which causes him to collapse and temporary paralysis. He was prescribed an SSRI off label to try and control this. He too had no reason to research if it could cause violence because it had never been part of his persona and he had no reason to believe it would. He had never been in any kind of trouble before the SSRI.
      He took the drug believing it would help him to live a more normal life and all it has done is ruin his life. It turned him into a completely different person and has affected all of our families lives and caused a lot of distress to him, his family and others.
      So I don’t think he had any choices in the matter because he didn’t know there was any choice to make because according to the pharmaceutical company there’s no link between their drug and violent behaviour. So when the very company who make the drug don’t warn patients how is he, you or anyone else supposed to have informed choice.
      He too feels violated, he told me he no longer feels that he can trust himself in his thoughts or actions because of the total loss of control he experienced.
      The only thing I’m grateful for is that he is still alive because I truly believe that if he hadn’t been apprehended he would have killed himself.

  23. Would the word “assault” be less “offensive” to those people, and still be an accurate description?
    Given that there are people who cling to their drugs, who buy the idea that they are helpful, and who believe the hoax that is psychiatry, there has to be a better word.
    Also drugging usually isn’t one incident, it is ongoing.
    We have to get the words correct or people can’t relate.

  24. rape1
    the offence of forcing a person, esp a woman, to submit to sexual intercourse against that person’s will See also statutory rape
    the act of despoiling a country in warfare; rapine
    any violation or abuse: the rape of justice

    Rape is not being used as a euphemism it’s being used for the meaning of the word.
    Yes the word rape has become synonymous with sexual rape but it can and does apply to other situations as well.
    The word does not just belong to the victims of sexual rape it belongs to all victims who have been violated, abused, destroyed without their consent or knowledge.

  25. I agree with you wholeheartedly Lisa. One thing that should never be taken from victims of abuse are the words they need to describe what happened. I am going to begin writing more on this today.

    • Good for you Laurie because I think it is bullying to tell other people how they are allowed to describe any abuse or violation that happened to them and the irony is that bullying is a form of abuse.
      Words are just that, they are just tools people use to describe their feelings and thoughts. Not one person on here has disrespected sexual rape victims all we are doing is using a word in the right context to describe the atrocious abuse the pharmaceutical industry gets away with every day.

  26. It is particularly galling when you read comments written about you as ‘articulate’ and ‘above average intelligence’ several times and still you they cannot see the person, cannot think out of their box and it hits you smack in the face that something as simple as ‘talking to someone’ can lead to serious problems.

    From the front cover of Laurie’s book to the content, Laurie has defined articulate to a new level with her straightforward descriptions of how simple people can give you the ‘run around’ whilst they live in a medical strait-jacket.

    Watching other people’s behaviour can seem quite simple, eventually….and, I think this is what I learnt mostly from reading Crazy and it was by Laurie.

    I don’t think we should sell ourselves short and I don’t think we should allow other people who have sold themselves out – to profoundly hurt us with a sense of profound superiority… is just not on.

    February 2, 2012 at 1.03 am…….

    If I had one wish today, it would be that everyone started went back and read all the post here and on RxISK.. and got up to speed.. and then, we are all in the same frame

  27. That’s what upsets me the most about this the air of superiority that one form of abuse affects victims more than another.
    It’s shocking really that it doesn’t seem to offend them that Pharmaceutical Companies hide data, wreck people’s lives and get away with murder every day but is does offend that the word rape was used.

  28. FYI, recent paper published in JAMA Intern Med: “Research Misconduct Identified by the US Food and Drug Administration – Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of the Peer-Reviewed Literature”:

    Importance: Every year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects several hundred clinical sites performing biomedical research on human participants and occasionally finds evidence of substantial departures from good clinical practice and research misconduct. However, the FDA has no systematic method of communicating these findings to the scientific community, leaving open the possibility that research misconduct detected by a government agency goes unremarked in the peer-reviewed literature.

    Conclusions and Relevance: When the FDA finds significant departures from good clinical practice, those findings are seldom reflected in the peer-reviewed literature, even when there is evidence of data fabrication or other forms of research misconduct.

  29. I find this almost ironic when people are trying define RAPE from the stand point of true ‘rape’ compared to the Psychiatric Rape in which I’ve experienced both. I was violently raped twice in my life: at 13 yrs old and again at 19 yrs old. Both experiences left me with crippling PTSD. The only difference being, and it is a huge, devastating one to my life is that my Klonopin ‘cold turkey’ withdrawal after a 10 year addiction provided by my loving Psychiatrist was 100 times more traumatic leaving me to fight for survival on a daily basis – ALONE. When my Mental Healthcare Professionals withheld information and refused to inform me of ANY withdrawal symptoms I may encounter while under their care- this is Psychiatric RAPE! I told this to my Mental Health care therapist at the time and she looked at me as if I were Crazy, not believing a word I was saying to her. Where are we suppose to go for help when our own MEDS (DRUGS) are killing us after being on them for over 3 decades if our own Drug & Alcohol counselor’s, therapist’s & Psychiatrist’s at our local Mental Healthcare won’t believe us?

  30. I have to add this also: While in a Psychiatric Hospital from suffering severe PTSD from my Klonopin withdrawal the previous year, extremely suicidal and Homicidal rages from that withdrawal I was Court Ordered to take Risperdal, Cogentin, Neurontin and Ambien the z-drug benzo although I begged them to treat me without using drugs and I was drug free upon arrival. While taking my ‘Court Ordered’ drugs so I wouldn’t go to jail, I took them all before bed and while under the influence of Ambien my house catches fire and burns to the ground leaving me totally homeless with no house insurance or money in which to rebuild. And the Doctors continually inform me that ‘THE BENEFITS OUT WEIGH THE RISKS!’ They are not the homeless right now – I am while struggling to live on Disability wages and move on in my life.

  31. Sandra, thank you for your comment. I hope things are getting better for you.

    When they say the benefits outweigh the risks, I’m pretty sure they’re only talking about for themselves.

  32. These are truly shocking experiences under the influence of so called antidepressants etc. I am beginning to understand the sheer horror that overcame my 20 yr old daughter when she took her own life so suddenly. She did not know and I did not know that withdrawal could be a lengthy process – more than 3 months. Absolutely no discussion of side effects took place at any time during the 2+ years of repeat prescribing – certainly no informed consent. Zilch. A 15 minute visit to the GP resulted in a diagnosis of “a return of the depression” (which was only a maybe when she was 17) – now upgraded to clinical depression, a prognosis of the likelihood of the same for the rest of her life and a prescription for 20 mg citalopram with the assurance that all would be OK as she had been on this before. I know. I was there too. Within 24 hours she had ended the suffering. I wasn’t able to understand or help because I had no guidance or information on the effects of these deadly drugs. My poor daughter must have been tortured beyond endurance. She would never have inflicted so much pain on her family. Rape fittingly describes the assault on my daughter by our uninformed GP and an informed profiteering pharmaceutical company. Another statistic. How long before there is informed revolt?

  33. so sorry to read your story; I fully understand your feelings of despair at the lack of knowledge given to parents/carers when these medications are prescribed/withdrawn. My son (thankfully still alive) had horrific reactions to SSRIs and had it withdrawn “cold turkey”. He had to be watched constantly throughout the first weeks of withdrawal – which was agonising to watch, I can not imagine what it must have been like for you.I truly believe that we, parents/carers are the ones that have it in our power to make small changes which could build up into your suggested “informed revolt”. I say this because the ones who have been damaged are so busy trying to repair the damage that they have little energy left for fighting their corner.We need to support them every inch of the way through their battle with the authorities but,also, have the right to shout out loud about the effects of their suffering on our lives too.

  34. It really is time the pharmaceutical companies are taken to task over the anti -depressant tragedy – Surely they have enough evidence to see what is happening.
    Can’t Doctors and the medical profession form a united front and get things changed?
    I think Doctors have a huge problem in a way, because some of them are aware of the dangers of certain drugs and can only warn you of the dangers whilst others don’t acknowledge them at all and seem to arrogantly prescribe them without thinking of the potential harm.

  35. Sinead this is an outrageous comparison! Talk to someone who has been raped and they will tell you that it is much worse than wholly mistaken medication. Two friends of mine (both male) have been raped and in both cases rage and bitterness lasted for years. I have taken quite a lot of rough and ready medication (for cardiac problems) in my time and it’s NOT rape.

    • Much worse than entirely loosing your grip on reality? Much worse than a mother prostituting herself? Much worse than killing friends or members of your own family? Much worse than suicide? How many horrendous outcomes do you want me to list?

      My wife was raped as a young girl (not violently, but rape is rape) – I know for certain that the nightmare of Effexor and Prozac IS the worst experience of her life, IS beyond any pain she thought possible, DID take her to a level of suffering so great that meant she overwhelmingly wanted to die, AND she understands that she got off lightly compared to many.

      Rage and bitterness… you have no idea – I don’t even know where to begin with that.

      • Neil: you are evidently angered by my response. Yes I do think that rape is worse than grossly mistaken medication. As it happens I was nearly killed in a French hospital after being left for hours on a Heparin drip and woke in a bed full of blood. That was very nasty, but it wasn’t rape.
        I now see that this list holds to an orthodoxy which is that anti-depressive medication is either i) always bad or ii) (the belief of Deirdre Oliver) useless, a mere ‘sugar pill’. Deirdre argued that I should seek therapy which, implictly in her response, is the path of virtue, and reject drugs.
        This position contradicts the findings of Dr Healy in ‘Pharmageddon’ which argues that very serious negative side effects of drugs were suppressed by manufacturers. Sugar pills don’t cause birth defects (see p.44). All I can say is that I reject the comparison with rape as strongly as I can and I would like all those who have had bad experiences with anti-depressive medications to realise that there is a genuine group, perhaps a small minority, who benefit from them. As I have experienced many years ago the full horror of the side effects of Amiodarone (all acknowledged by the manufacturer) I am not naive in this area.

        • ‘grossly mistaken medication’.

          That’s a couple of times you used that phrase – I will be honest and say I don’t understand what you mean by that.

          Yes I still get angry even after 5 years, and it wasn’t even me who took the drugs. I only had my family taken from me, I was only emotionally destroyed and almost financially ruined. I only had everything that mattered to me taken away from me, I only had my very perception of reality questioned. What did I do? I tried to protect my wife and my family. My daughter who was 4 at the time, she only had her family torn apart at a very important time in her life, she was only taken from her home, her school, her friends, her father – she only nearly lost her mother, she only howled like a wounded animal and only has emotional and attachment problems to this day.

          I could go on for pages about all that my wife suffered and continues to suffer. I will say that what I went through pales in comparison. But the worst bit, is that every time she turned to them for help, they denied the truth and applied more of the offending medicine, and things escalated and the suffering increased…and you have no idea how close we came to being a 6 o’clock news story!

          “I was nearly killed in a French hospital after being left for hours on a Heparin drip and woke in a bed full of blood. That was very nasty, but it wasn’t rape.”

          I agree that isn’t rape, that was obviously gross negligence. It has taken me 2 years to recover from the damage caused by intravenous antibiotics – that wasn’t neither rape nor negligence.

          “now see that this list holds to an orthodoxy which is that anti-depressive medication is either i) always bad or ii) (the belief of Deirdre Oliver) useless, a mere ‘sugar pill’. Deirdre argued that I should seek therapy which, implicitly in her response, is the path of virtue, and reject drugs.”

          Ah, now we get to the real issue. It was never about the term rape, its about defending the medication and dismissing peoples suffering as simply hyped or influenced by the anti-psychiatry movement. Just like the women who got all upset over informing women of childbearing age that antidepressants can cause birth defects – it was never about women’s rights, it was always about defending the medication.

          I don’t know who Deirdre Oliver is, and as for that list, I experienced first hand what can happen so you can talk about holding to an orthodoxy all you want, but those who have lived it rather than read it in a book won’t be very happy with you…surely you understand that? There are people who read this blog this who have lost children, lost partners, have had a murder/suicide happen in the family, you just have to go and read the stories on RxISK. Who knows how many people I have communicated with over the past five years who have lived through or been very close to one of these horrors…let’s just say plenty. We didn’t get it from any Deirdre Oliver, or from David Healy for that matter, we lived it.

          “medication is either i) always bad”

          I find it surprising that you can assume all this simply because I mentioned some of the problems that can happen with psychiatric drugs… Nothing is always bad, you won’t find any black and white thinking here. Quite the opposite really. Understanding he multifaceted nature of the truth is my number one interest in life and has been for some time now. Antidepressants are neither good nor bad, just like sexual intercourse is neither good nor bad… other factors determine the good and bad part in both cases.

          “the belief of Deirdre Oliver) useless, a mere ‘sugar pill”

          An active chemical is never like a mere sugar pill….but, is the chemical any more effective at treating mild to moderate depression than a mere sugar pill?, I know you understand that is a different question all together.

          “I would like all those who have had bad experiences with anti-depressive medications to realise that there is a genuine group, perhaps a small minority, who benefit from them.”

          I guess you don’t read this blog, but while opinions vary the general consensus among people here and certainly the editorial line is is that all drugs have their uses and can be helpful, but when the information is incorrect, incomplete or misinterpreted then medicines can be very dangerous. And when side effects are dismissed, ignored, diminished by the very people who should be taking it seriously, then you have a potential horror story wating to happen.

          Lastly – language is a very personal thing by its very nature. If a word means something to someone, and if they use that word to communicate with others, because to them that word comes closest to describing the thing that they want to describe, then who is anyone to argue? Besides, no person or group can own a word nor can they demand others understand and use that word like they do.

          • Neil, this has come to resemble one of those long wrangles on the Guardian comments page.
            First it WAS about Rape: I thought the comparison absurd and insulting and I still do. As I am female, I might have a point of view.
            Your family obviously suffered dreadfully, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t benefit from a form of medication of which you dissaprove. Deirdre Oliver made an earlier comment on my first contribution to this list/blog. You could probably find her comment in an online search. She is someone who strongly supports therapy rather than medication for serious clinical depression.

          • I don’t think it helps that Deirdre Toomey has not disentangled the semantic issue from the issue of whether some people benefit from the medications. As to the latter it seems that it might be too much of a game of roulette in which someone has to bear invisible but horrific consequences in order for another person to benefit. And, of course, if the wheel of fortune spins in your direction you may be relatively indifferent to the problem of those it harms, and even seek to diminish how much it harms those it has. Perhaps even more fundamental in the game of roulette is that the ultimate winner is not any of the gamblers – except temporarily – but the casino. Naturally, also the casino has to rope in as many players as possible and it depends on addiction.

            I write as someone who has mostly advocated over the dangers of vaccines where the social and institutional drive to promote benefits over the harms has been over-whelming. It is obvious that vaccine roulette is great if it is not your kid that has been harmed. Unfortunately, many harmed in this way will not only not get acknowledgement they will go on to be re-harmed by psychiatric medicines as well, and they may not even be able to tell you about it.

          • Dear Mr Stone: you evidently assume that vaccines can be dangerous. Have you looked at the demographic evidence from Iceland and Denmark? In both countries, which have admirably full medical records, those parents who rejected(for whatever reason, the MMR vaccine) were followed and to nobody’s astonishment, their children had exactly the same incidence of Autism as did the children of those parents who had accepted the vaccine.
            My father, a pig-headed man, refused to allow me to be vaccinated aginst polio. I was finally able to be vaccinated when I was a student. Of course, up to that point I had been protected by herd immunity. Would you heroically refuse to have your children vaccinated against small pox? With the prospect of blindness and death on the cards?
            Perhaps you should reflect on the situation in those regions of Nigeria in which vaccination against polio is rejected, on religious grounds. Many disabled children.

          • Deirdre,

            First of all you have not answered the point I made about anti-depressants.

            Regarding the Madsen study of autism/MMR in Denmark. Cochrane 2005 noted:

            “The follow up of diagnostic records ends one year (31 Dec 1999)
            after the last day of admission to the cohort. Because of the length of
            time from birth to diagnosis, it becomes increasingly unlikely that those
            born later in the cohort could have a diagnosis”

            In other words they diluted the vaccinated group with cases that had not yet been vaccinated or had been been vaccinated but not yet diagnosed. This was a strategy of the CDC. A CDC officer Coleen Boyle wrote in an email to Frank de Stefano in 2000:

            2… “2. Since most of the dx’s are generally not picked up until the 2nd or 3rd year of life had you considered eligibility criteria of at least 18 months or 2 years?? What happens if you do this?” …. ”

            This was the strategy pursued in the Madsen MMR paper and the Verstreten thimerosal paper:


            Prof Samy Suissa, an epidemiologist at McGill University, wrote to NEJM at the time to suggest that autism rate in the vaccinated group ought to be 45% higher the unvaccinated group instead of 8% less but the letter was not published:


            Last year Dr William Thompson, a CDC employee, attempted to blow the whistle on the De Stefano 2004 study of which he was a co-author which suppressed evidence of two MMR subgroups in which incidence of autism was raised. He is expected to give evidence to Congress.


            The coordinator with the CDC of the Madsen study and many others, Poul Thorsen, is currently evading justice on multiple counts of financial fraud.


            You do not cite any evidence over Nigeria but in essence you are emoting – you are saying that all vaccines must be good because of what happened about vaccine x in place y but it does not deal with the ever expanding schedule in the US or the UK and their captive markets.

            Your belief in the safety and efficacy of vaccines borders on the supersticious.

            What are the ethics of administering SSRIs when some may benefit and other may be harmed and there is no herd immunity to be gained?

          • Mr Stone ‘my belief in the efficacy of vaccines borders on the superstitious.’ This is the most extraordinary statement I have ever read. As I have travelled widely in the Middle East, I have been vaccinated for a range of illnesses, and thank God for that. If you think that my behaviour is ‘mere superstition’, then I think that your own thinking verges on the delusional. As for Nigeria, the movement against polio vaccination centres on muslim (Hausa) areas and has led to outbreaks of Polio.
            In the C19 there were many anti- vaccination societies and you seem to be a throwback to them. In one case a man was prosecuted for refusing to have his children vaccinated against smallpox. He stood his ground until a smallpox outbreak in his neighbourhood caused a rapid change of heart. His was not a scientific stance, but a stance based on civil liberties. Roy Porter discusses this in his history of medicine.

          • Deirdre

            It was not my intention to side-track this discussion, but you make my point. Your response is in broad terms that the effectiveness and safety of vaccines are God-given, rather than industrial products which can easily go wrong. I think apart from anything else – given Victorian standards of hygeine – terror of the smallpox needle was no joke. What you actually learn from this is that anybody who raises objections will be ridiculed and bullied, which has more to do with social control than science.

            Of course, regarding my evidence about how vaccine studies have been manipulated like all the others you have nothing to say.

            But lets go back to what I was saying originally:

            “I don’t think it helps that Deirdre Toomey has not disentangled the semantic issue from the issue of whether some people benefit from the medications. As to the latter it seems that it might be too much of a game of roulette in which someone has to bear invisible but horrific consequences in order for another person to benefit. And, of course, if the wheel of fortune spins in your direction you may be relatively indifferent to the problem of those it harms, and even seek to diminish how much it harms those it has. Perhaps even more fundamental in the game of roulette is that the ultimate winner is not any of the gamblers – except temporarily – but the casino. Naturally, also the casino has to rope in as many players as possible and it depends on addiction.”

          • So what, does the post being long invalidate what I am saying somehow?
            Maybe its long because I am very I am passionate about this subject, precisely because of the amount of damage it has caused to my family? If a rape victim wrote a couple of thousand words about their experience would you have a problem with that? The hypocrisy is pretty shocking to be honest. Maybe its long because I feel I constantly I have to explain to the people like you like who try to trivialise it or twist it into to some anti-psychiatry rant or as an attack on your medication?

            I will repeat…
            “the general consensus among people here and certainly the editorial line is that all drugs have their uses and can be helpful, but when the information is incorrect, incomplete or misinterpreted then medicines can be very dangerous. And when side effects are dismissed, ignored, diminished by the very people who should be taking it seriously, then you have a potential horror story waiting to happen”

            Who said you can’t benefit?
            Who said I disapprove of the medication?
            What’s any of that got to do with using the term rape in this context?

            No one here wants to take your medicine away from you. They want you to be properly informed of the dangers and the inadequacies of the current state of the evidence base and clinical guidelines… with no other motive than to make medicine safer for you and all of us. I don’t want you or anyone for that matter to have to go through what we went through.

          • Neil: I have read ‘Pharmageddon’ from cover to cover, so I am hardly ignorant of the potential side effects of anti-depressants. It is just that in my case and the case of a close friend, they work very well. He had suffered from disabling depression from the age of 17 , despite repeated therapy sessions, and his life was transformed by Sertraline, which he has now been taking for a decade. That such medication has caused your family great harm is indeed a tragedy, but this does not invalidate our very different experiences.

          • I am sorry Deirdre, but I am trying hard to understand your position on this.

            ‘it is just that in my case and the case of a close friend, they work very well.’

            Ok, I get that, I am happy for you both and I absolutely believe you. But in what way does that change anything for the people who have been seriously harmed? Why does that mean that someone who has had their soul crushed can’t claim to have been pharmaceutically raped? John Stone has already asked as much and you didn’t respond. I am only going on about it because I am trying to understand your position and this would help a lot.

            The way I understand it is that Laurie is using the term because it fits the dictionary definition, and it’s maybe the only word that conveys the despair and devastation of the victim and the culture of denial around the matter. That is underlining the seriousness of rape, not trivialising it.

            You are doing the opposite by saying the comparison is outrageous.

            This is legalised rape by people who are charged with your well-being and your protection. If you get caught in this then no-one can stop them – not your husband, not your children or parents, and in some cases not even your GP. At least if your a rape victim the state and the law will pretend to be on your side, rather than empowering or even ordering the actual perpetrators to re-offend with greater vigour and then punishing the ones who try to escape.

    • Deidre,
      My comparison that you find so outrageous, is my perceptive expression based upon my 40 year nursing career. Documenting observations, patient’s own statements, assessments, clinical evaluations, recommendations, re-evaluations– follow up on all of the above, in 5 different medical specialties where I have practiced as a registered nurse. I believe strongly in the thoughtful and knowledgeable application of language– not just because I have been strongly influenced by the fact that patient medical records are *legal documents*, but mainly because communication that gets to the crux, or the heart of the matter is a vital part of providing consistently appropriate medical care for vulnerable people.

      I mentioned familiarity with victims of sexual assault as background for sharing an informed opinion on the use of the word rape to communicate the egregious, inhumane violations of the minds and bodies of vulnerable people,– violations caused by unethical administration of deeply penetrating poisons– for what can only be called lust for power and wealth that unmasks depraved indifference to human life.

      The word,rape, is a fitting and proper description of a heinous crime. Apparently there are some people who will simply refuse to accept the best word , rape,–to describe this crime. Maybe they believe an industry marketing itself as *expert* providers of safe, effective, *treatments* for illness and suffering, that has some self-professed satisfied customers, cannot be guilty of rape? Or perhaps the fear and powerless to protect oneself that the word, rape, evokes, is so emotionally threatening, that some will immediately construct a barrier to believing it could possibly apply to a relationship based on the sacred trust that we reserve for exceptional people?

      In my original comment I meant to convey that the same hesitancy to employ language that essentially would be a criminal indictment of both psychiatry/pharma , is noted in reluctance to accept rape in the context it is being used here– based on Laurie’s original post. I think that refusal to confront the need to take decisive, definitive action is a the root of the hesitancy– like, “So long as I don’t call *it* a crime, it is only a topic for discussion and debate– ” ??

      I appreciate your challenging my comment and the discussion that followed in this thread. Upon more thorough reflection, I can’t help feeling more convinced that the need to deny and/or ignore any report of rape is a defense mechanism, which serves one’s need to preserve a false security bound to her/his own ignorance and belief in innocence, at the expense of another’s intensified suffering for lack of a human response to her/his serious wounds caused by the rape.

  36. I’m still open to the ideas of others, but for now, this is the stance I’m taking:

    As a survivor of multiple traumas, including child sexual abuse/rape, I have found it essential to discover and use precise words to name and make sense of my experiences. My choice to use the word “rape” to describe pharmaceutical violation comes not from a misunderstanding of the gravity of sexual assault, but from my understanding of it as an abuse of power that takes one by surprise, leaving years of confusion and destruction in its wake. It is my hope that this new definition can be approached with an open mind, and that survivors of all abuses, regardless of what type, will extend the use of full vocabulary to fellow survivors.

    As a side note, if I compare what happened to me as a child to many of the atrocities we call rape, I feel I have no right to use that word, for an actual rape. Comparing our traumatic experiences in this way just seems futile to me, and a bit nauseating.

  37. Hello Laurie, Neil and John

    Moving away slightly from this delicate discussion, what do you think of ‘the state of being pinned under’ as a concept?

    The weight of one person intruding on another.

    I read every single word on sites which clearly explain what it is all about, why so many have lost their lives, why so many feel tortured with withdrawal and why so many doctors are notoriously tight lipped about the damage they have done with the mis-appropriation of anti-depressants/vaccinations and their complete failure to protect the adult or the child.

    The whole business of medicating has gone a step too far and, I think, we can only thank our lucky stars that we are still around to talk about it…..

    And, that doesn’t mean we intend to take it all lying down…meekly…we have to rise up and help increase the knowledge of the pitfalls that can await any innocent bystander/child who might walk right into the trap that we did.

    It is quite empowering knowing we are not alone with this..the shocking waste of human life….

    When Sir Philip Hampton debriefs Sir Andrew Witty on May 7th, 2015 I would love to be a fly on the wall…..mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, asset swaps, sales targets, portfolios, bonus halving for bad performance and general bad international public relations giving lots to talk about – apart from pick a figure and then double it for patient settlement claims – in America.

    With ‘pricks’ of conscience…don’t hold you’re breath….

    The cash
    This underpins everything we do

    And then we heard an echo…
    Underpinned by science

    We protect and improve the health of millions of people every day through the effective regulation of medicines and medical devices, underpinned by science

    tr.v. un•der•pinned, un•der•pin•ning, un•der•pins
    1. To support from below, as with props, girders, or masonry.
    2. To give support or substance to: assumptions that underpinned their claims

    While we end up pinned under.

  38. Annie, speaking only for myself, I prefer to call it was it is: pharmaceutical assault (or rape) and leave off with the metaphors. I was told several times: rape is not a metaphor. So, I got that.

    Where I might find the concept of underpinning useful is when naming what we see above. Is Deirdre underpinning the status quo by using a form of victim blaming to distance herself from an uncomfortable idea? No offense to Deirdre, but how many times have we been accused of rejecting medicines entirely, of being anti-vaxxers, science rejectionists, or conspiracy theorists? And no matter how many times we painstakingly explain otherwise, people keep believing what they want to believe.

    Those who choose to see us this way aren’t making a genuine inquiry into what happened to us, but are using these arguments to maintain their sense of security in the face of our truly outrageous claim: that modern medicine (which includes their doctor) doesn’t know what the *f* it’s doing in regard to pharmaceuticals.

    See if it fits:

    • No offence to you either, Laurie. However I do find the rejections of well established vaccines troubling. Would Dr Healy himself urge the rejection of MMR? or Smallpox?
      A friend ‘s sister rejected all vaccination for her children, arguing that her superior organic vegan lifestyle meant that he children would not suffer from childhood illnesses. Her very healthy children were, of course, protected by herd immunity. Then when her youngest child was a baby the cohort of children to which he belonged began to be taken to hospital with serious whooping cough and she panicked, ran to the GP and begged him for all the vaccines which the child had missed.

      • Deirdre

        I cannot answer for David Healy, but personally I have not taken any absolutist view on vaccines, I have just taken a view on a system which very effectively denies its damage and provides an enormous, endlessly growing captive market: policy might look very different if it did not.

        You still seem to be unwilling to address the moral issue that for you to have benefitted from a certain medication many other people have had to suffer.

        • Moral Issue? I have indeed benefited from Small pox inoculation and various other vaccines. However on the issue of suffering I have nursed a friend through Cholera in the middle of the Sahara (Cholera vaccines are notoriously ineffective). I ate the same contaminated food but did not go down with the disease. So I have had direct experience of mixed responses. As for anti-depressants, I feel great sympathy for those who suffer ill effects (there is an Australian case of a man who drove his car into a dam with his three sons in the back: he is doing three life sentences, he was prescribed Zoloft for depression before the accident). His understandably bitter ex-wife at first believed it was an accident and then changed her mind.

  39. Interesting debate here at IAI, 24 May, 2015.

    Are Hospitals Bad for Us?

    I find Diane, labour, a bit screechy, Natalie, Australian, underprepared herself for an interview on R4 and it was world tweeted, Mark talks about sadness and Roger Bolton ‘he who never let’s them get away with it’….

    So, if our man is prepared, knows his subject, we are home and dry.

    Philosophy Session
    Are Hospitals Bad For Us?
    Diane Abbott, Natalie Bennett, David Healy, Mark Salter. Roger Bolton hosts.
    We ring fence NHS spending and western countries spend ever more on medicine. But a third of all deaths are due to medical intervention and the statistics suggest it is poverty not pathogens that makes the biggest difference. Is it a fantasy to believe that medical technology can solve health? Should we focus more on social justice and less on hospital medicine?
    Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett, psychiatrist Mark Salter, Labour politician Diane Abbott, and author of Pharmageddon David Healy get real about health. Roger Bolton hosts.

    • Obviously this is a rhetorical question. When the choice is A&E or death , well, one doesn’t hesitate. In March 2013 I had a severe asthma attack which resulted in a heart rate of 235 per minute. I was rushed to UCH and came in by the ‘back door’ , having been assessed en route. I was pumped full of Amiodarone, a medication with very serious side effects, but a life saver in these cicumstance. Next day I had a DC cardioversion which worked perfectly and I’ve been in normal sinus rhythym ever since.

      • I don’t think that you get what this blog is about Deirdre. No one is against medication that is needed and necessary. My son went through horrific SSRI withdrawal but he has a neurological disorder that he has to take meds for. His prescription is just under 200 pills a month and he needs the medication. So I for one am grateful for medications, research and new drugs being developed.
        What I oppose is the fact that greedy private companies control what we are allowed to know about side effects of drugs and they don’t give one jot if people are hurt or even die as a result of these side effects.
        I wonder if you would still have the same attitude if you or someone you loved had gone through the hell of severe withdrawal or suffered psychosis and deranged behaviour as a direct result of side effects.
        Would you feel so ‘ I’m alright Jack” if your son or daughter had killed themselves. What if your whole family was murdered by one of your own. If you had a baby born with heart defects and then found out it was caused by a drug you had been told it was safe to take and that the pharmaceutical company knew all along.
        What if your 12 yr old hung himself after being put on antidepressants and then the pharmaceutical company said that he did it because he was practising erotic asphyxiation.
        ‘When the choice is A & E or death’ I mean what has that got to do with the issues here. Your asthma attack has no bearing or relevance. Of course if you’re going to die the benefits of a medication outweigh the risks … because your going to die. What about when you die because of side effects when there was no risk of death before you took the medication … is that acceptable.
        You amaze me that you are outraged by the use of the word rape and yet you seem oblivious and almost show contempt to the people suffering on here.
        You keep comparing your various medical traumas to try and prove your point. It’s not relevant because there’s no comparison and to be honest it’s insulting.

  40. ” mistaken medication” for the people on here whose kids have committed suicide, people whose lives, families and relationships have been torn apart that’s a very diluted way of describing the horror they’ve endured.
    So you’ve had some rough and ready medication Deirdre, well think yourself lucky that you didn’t kill yourself or someone else.
    Your antidepressants work well for you … that’s great nobody here is against medication. Dr Healy is a Psychiatrist he prescribes meds. I take meds every day as I’m sure others on here do. The fault lies not with the meds but with the data about them being hidden away and pills being handed out like sweets even when they are not the right way to treat the problem.
    You say it’s an outrageous comparison well I find your comparison of your medical negligence in France to what’s happened to people on here outrageous. I nearly died from blood loss during the birth of my 3rd child, I had to have a very traumatic category 1 Emergency C section and lost 2 litres of blood. Would I use the word rape to describe that .. no of course not. Would I use it to describe my son’s SSRI withdrawal … most definitely. Rape means to violate, destroy, abuse and that’s exactly what happened to him. One year on we are still dealing with the consequences and will be for a long time so please don’t try and tell me how I can describe it. I have already had so much taken from me i won’t be told which words I can and can’t use.

  41. Lisa: please don’t tell me what to think, either. Outrageous comparisons are just that. I agree with Dr. Healy that full publicity should be given to side effects and that pharmaceutical companies should be sued in the criminal courts if they supress evidence.

    • Deirdre,
      I would not presume to tell you what to think. You are entitled to your opinion. You can think and believe whatever you like. I don’t believe I told you what to think. I just expressed my view on your condescending and totally unsympathetic attitude towards the people on here who have endured real suffering.

  42. Dear Dr. Healy,

    Thank you for writing and sharing this post.

    I would like to share my own story about pharmaceutical rape (i.e., forced administration of midazolam and haloperidol + involuntary placement + coercion into psychiatric treatment).(1,2)

    I don’t know if you are already aware that I am also a critic of the drug industry because I recently (about 1 year) started to engage in public debates via my blog, journals, and social media. I still have a lot to learn from other influencers like you Peter and other academics of high respectability. Nonetheless, I don’t know if anyone of you have already experienced coercion into psychiatric treatment as a method (a desperate resource indeed) to silence your critical opinions about the drug industry, including (but not restricted to) psychiatric drugs.(3)

    Finally, I would like to mention that my research data independently supports Peter statement regarding psychiatric drugs.(4)


    Jorge H. Ramírez






  43. Dear Dr. Healy,

    You said some people who have been raped will no doubt be horrified by the comparison.

    I have been raped and I am not at all horrified by the comparison.

    It is accurate.

    It took my breath away to read it at first. The mentality really is a rape mentality! Complete with blame the victim and shut up and go away etc.

    Amazing work. Thank you.

  44. It might make sense as a comparison and I fear it probably does. This doesn’t change the way I feel on seeing it written down or even saying it aloud. To the outsider this looks like another misuse of the word rape, such as “the banks are raping us” and so on, thus seemingly giving that kind of usage credence. It’s certainly necessary to draw attention to the issue, but I feel incredibly uncomfortable using that word to describe it for reasons I’d rather not divulge.

    I mentioned pharmaceutical rape to a group of friends and they all assumed I was talking about sexual rape perpetrated by someone in some sort of medical profession (I didn’t press them further, I just wanted to know their first reaction).

    Like it or not, language doesn’t care about what the dictionaries say. Language is what people speak and hear every day, and for most people, that’s what rape means.

    • I was butchered by criminal doctors involved in the hysterectomy racket and felt so abused and violated that I went to the library and found books written by gynaecologists on unnecessary hysterectomies and one was written by a bio-chemist who called her book: The Ultimate Rape: What All Women NEEDS to KNOW about HYSTERECTOMY.. Her title was so apt to what me and many other women feels. One woman wrote that she was raped by a predator and years later she had a hysterectomy and said it was like being raped all over again.. Medical rape is rampant in the evil, corrupt, medical system…

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