I had no reply to the letter sent in September featured in last week’s post – Spotlight on the Politicians. Michelle O’Neill had a nothing response to a letter she sent the Northern Ireland Office. Vaughn Gething’s office (Wales Health Minister), when asked, acknowledged receipt of the letter but figured they had only been sent it for information – there was no need for them to do anything.
Hancock and Ashworth (Labour), Gething and the Northern Irish Office have been sent further letters stating that the original was not just for information – suggesting possible actions.
The driving force behind the O’Neill inquest are a family, especially its women. And this has been replicated in other Irish inquests. Celtic society was matriarchal – the image of Maeve ruler of Connacht above and as the featured image brings this out.
Shane Clancy, from Wicklow just south of Dublin in Ireland, was put on citalopram in 2009. Three weeks later he killed his former girlfriend’s new boyfriend, and injured her and her boyfriend’s brother, before killing himself in a grisly fashion. His mother, Leonie Fennel, was convinced that the citalopram he had been given after she took him to the doctor had changed him utterly and caused the carnage.
The grisly nature of what happened and Leonie’s efforts to make sense of it made this a high-profile case – helped no end by the Professor of Psychiatry in University College Dublin, Patricia Casey, who took to the airwaves to rebut the idea that antidepressants could ever cause anything like this. Casey took part in mobilising the other professors in Ireland to come out as a group saying antidepressants were great wonderful and marvellous – an extraordinary move for any professional body.
See Professional Suicide and The Clancy Case and Model Doctors.
I had been raising concerns about SSRI and related antidepressants for several years prior to this, making similar points to those I made in the O’Neill inquest. Patricia Casey was to the forefront in complaining to every journal who published any of my articles.
In 2003, a debate was organised in Dublin on the topic of whether SSRIs can cause suicide. Casey and another colleague, in my opinion heavily briefed by the pharmaceutical industry, made a series of ad hominem attacks without grappling with the issues . They lost the debate.
In the course laying out the issues, I made the point that were any doctor in the audience to end up on the wrong side of a death or injury caused by an antidepressant they had prescribed, they could turn to me for expert input – that I would say they had been kept in the dark, there was no access to the trial data and all articles on the drugs in question where ghost-written, hyping the benefits and hiding the harms and this was not widely known. This was 2003.
After Shane’s death, there was an inquest in Wicklow in 2009. The coroner convened a jury of Wicklow townspeople – men and women with an average age in their 50s. I submitted a report and gave evidence. Casey was present but not called to give evidence. The jury returned a verdict that Shane Clancy had not committed suicide.
Following this, Leonie took her concerns to Irish politicians but got nowhere. She approached the Archbishop of Dublin and later Jose Mario Bergoglio – but got nowhere.
See Silent Night in the Vatican and An Irish Epidemic.
Ten years later, at the O’Neill inquest, Stephen’s family asked for a jury but were not granted one.
In 2013, Stephanie and John Lynch, from Dublin, found themselves facing an inquest, when their son Jake, aged 14, was put on Prozac and a few weeks later shot himself with a gun. They turned to Leonie for support. I offered a view that this would not have happened had he not been put on Prozac. The Dublin-based Health Service Executive (HSE) defended the input of their clinicians who had noted Jake’s mounting concerns on treatment but responded that this would wear off. The HSE argued simply that Prozac was an approved drug for children.
The Irish Medicines Board said there had been concerns about this group of drugs in 2004 but further results had shown Prozac to be safe. There are now 7 trials of Prozac – all of them negative, all of them showing increased suicidality – in one trial 34 suicidal events linked to Prozac versus 3 on placebo.
Jake’s inquest began at the end of May 2014. It ended in October 2015. A protracted process. The Lynches retained a well-known and costly lawyer who didn’t seem to me to have a good grasp of the issues.
Just before the end, the coroner was inclined to return a verdict of suicide but changed his mind after being shown an email Jake wrote to a friend the night before he died:
“They have me on anti anxiety stuff which they did not tell me was an antidepressant, I feel drugged out of my mind that I am trying to suppress all these bad feelings”.
The coroner said,
“this changes everything, this child does not meet the criteria for suicide so I cannot record a suicide verdict. Jake was not in his right mind but I will not elaborate on the medication”.
He asked the family if they would like an Open or narrative verdict. They asked for and got an Open verdict but the death certificate underneath that stated “Self inflicted gunshot wound to head”.
After the inquest, the Lynches approached Sinn Fein, the only political party that has representation in both the North and South of Ireland, who worked with them to introduce “Jake’s Amendment” into the Irish Senate in 2018.
The amendment wanted to add an option to make possible the recognition of treatment induced death – a reasonable option if the labels of these drugs now state in some countries that these drugs can cause death. And of course there are many deaths other than death by one’s own hand these drugs can cause.
The debate is Here and there is a succinct commentary on AntidepAware Here.
When first introduced the amendment had cross-party support. The second reading however appears to have been ambushed and the amendment failed. The then Minister of Health, James O’Reilly, was a doctor and it appears that his view was that the amendment would open doctors to lawsuits.
Stephanie and John later met the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, and the lead coroner who both informed them there would never be such a verdict, as it leaves prescribers open to lawsuits, even though the amendment states ‘without apportioning blame’. The verdict they wanted is covered under medical misadventure, they were told. It was also suggested that if it was money the family were after, they could take a civil case.
The role of doctors in what’s going on here is perhaps best brought out by Patricia Casey. In addition to speaking out about the unalloyed benefits of antidepressants, for years Casey was perhaps Ireland’s most prominent pro-life medical campaigner. Several years ago following verdicts in a series of birth defect cases involving paroxetine in the USA, leading GSK to hand over more than a billion dollars to families, I drew her attention to the literature showing that SSRIs could cause miscarriages, birth defects and increased rates of voluntary terminations, inviting her to help me raise awareness of these issues. When asked to choose between her Catholicism and her Psychotropism, the psychotropics won out.
These issues all feed into the O’Neill inquest covered in these recent posts. In all these cases, it is families, commonly their womenfolk taking the lead, who pick up the gauntlet the system has thrown down.
It seems they can’t depend on politicians, or the clergy but then almost by definition people who go into politics or the clerical life do so because they are not pickers up of gauntlets.
In the English speaking world (not the Irish), damsels in distress once used to be saved by Knights, champions, who picked up the gauntlet for them. If it is not to be women alone, where might these Knights come from?
Doctors are the obvious candidates but when you need them they somehow manage to be hidden behind the arras or wherever.
A doctor, Erling Oksenholt, however, gave a great example of just what a doctor could do if they summoned their courage to the sticking point.
In 1981, Oksenholt, based in Seattle, was sued by a patient who went blind after he put her on Myambutol for tuberculosis. After settling with her for $100,000, he sued Lederle Laboratories for withholding information their drug could cause blindness. He won $50,000 in damages, an unspecified amount for future loss of earnings and $5 million in punitive damages.
It needs the Dr Brannigans of this world, who prescribed to Jake McGill Lynch, Shane Clancy and Stephen O’Neill to agree at inquests and elsewhere that it looks like the drug they put their patients on caused a death – and a horrible one at that – and that these deaths in great part stemmed from the fact that critical information was withheld from the doctor and patient – information that might have made all the difference.
When Shane Clancy died there were a lot of treatment induced deaths every year but now our life expectancy is falling. At some point soon, doctors if they are going to continue in business are going to have to come out from behind the arras and screw their courage up to the sticking point.
But as we’ve seen there is something about becoming a doctor (knight), now, perhaps shrinks especially, that can trump Catholicism and pretty well every other deeply held belief, and perhaps even trump the courage of women.
Maybe knights are a bit twentieth century:
The BBC Spotlight on the Troubles series on which this series of posts is based had 7 episodes and then an astonishing behind the scenes episode that must have left everyone who saw it wondering whose side any of the participants in the Troubles were really on.
Nest week Spotlight on the Suicides: Behind the Scenes.
Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
U2 -yes Tis very true (Sorry boys) and long live the Larry Mullen! I’ve been quoting this for years. ; ). Women do need bicycles however, as Nellie Bly can attest to. I’m not sure how to change things except to take your example and keep speaking the truth personally and professionally. These things must be challenged legally for what they are. All of these drugs can potentially stir things in people that would otherwise remain passing emotion. I’ve personally experienced this agitation -stirred up emotion-while on the drug(s) not knowing that’s that is what was going on. Its plainly apparent to me now that it was absolutely the drug(s). I unequivocally know this now that I’m no longer taking these things.
Vaughan Gething and co. have no code of honour like the Knights of yore, (as flawed as they were)they’ve been replaced by codes which allow them to sweep scandals out of sight. The labour party is claiming they will fight for preservation the NHS but the public knows the NHS is in a state where people are dying for lack of care or truth telling, which would prevent many deaths. VG is in a responsible position and could help to highlight the truth and block the expansion of another even bigger scandal than the ones he is dealing with currently re baby deaths. The harms and suicides caused by prescription drugs are becoming more and more known about in communities The troops are at the door, he can pull up the drawbridge or let the thruthsayers in.
Endless reports of what politicians refer to as ‘ordinary people’ taking action yet the biggest increase in deaths inUSA from including suicide is amongst young men . Women are hampered from taking action because many in the most deprived areas are themselves are taking prescribed drugs and subsisting in a harsh regime of poverty. As is common in UK It is happening out of sight of VG in UK . Women need men like VG MH to take their hands out of their pockets – their balls are not there but in the hands of pharma companies trading death for cash. The secret visits of the present government with pharma in USA has been called out. Health is a devolved issue in Wales and NI . The Welsh and the Irish could make an alliance of Celts to begin putting an end to the scandal across the UK – they need to stop pretending information/letters go astray/not in a position to do anything blah blah leaving it to the women and ‘hill billy’ men to act with honour ( no criticism of English implied! – just as DH is based the blog on Celts)
Actually in the USA the trend is the opposite … suicides in teen boys are up about 40% in the past ten years, but suicides among teen girls have more than doubled. And it’s overwhelmingly the girls who are being prescribed AD’s. Completed suicide is still several times more common in males, as it has been throughout recorded history. But under our current treatment regime, the gap is narrowing.
I think this applies on both sides of the Atlantic. There’s been an outcry about young people dying by suicide while waiting for some sort of therapy (if they are lucky enough to find even a waiting list). What remains unsaid is that so many are on powerful drugs prescribed in a 10-minute encounter with a GP while “waiting.”
What may be confusing is our epidemic level of accidental overdoses, which are NOT suicides. People are getting hooked on opioids, in some cases through recreational use alone; far more often, through medical use. In young people this is often via reckless prescribing for short-term conditions (say, for a sports injury or wisdom teeth). A certain number of patients will emerge from this craving more … In older adults, drugs approved at first for terminal cancer pain have been doled out long-term for back injuries, arthritis, you name it.
Accidental drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for males under fifty in the US. More than suicide, homicide or car crashes. Women, sad to say, are also catching up here.
Hi joahanna – do you know what gets recorded on the death certificates.? I wonder how How can it be decided whether it is suicide or ‘accidental death’ Would accidental death from an overdose of a named drug be recorded? , .
Perhaps, what we are really missing are liberal values ie the idea that it might be meritorious to stand up against corporate or state interest. Last week the BMJ and the Chief Medical Officer of GSK, Dr Thomas Breuer, were talking about launching a Greta style movement against “antivaxxers”
Unable stand up for themselves apparently, they need to bring ordinary people into the fight against ordinary people. Of course, once the mainstream media stood for something occasionally but since there are only ordinary people left we know who the enemy is now, and it is us. Also very illuminating about the death of liberalism is Robert F KennedyJR’s book ‘American Values’ published last year.
Having said this, the BMJ/GSK initiative has a comforting ineptness about it.
John, can you tell me where I can find a DVD of Vaxxed, the first film, and also, if available yet, the second one. Or where I can access them online. I’ve found trailers and discussion programmes about Vaxxed but it’s frustrating not to be able to see the actual complete film.
‘There’s something terribly wrong: Americans are dying young at alarming rates’
Thank you to Microsoft News and the Washinghands Post
Reminds me of Letter from America, by Alistair Cooke – in those days everybody listened …
And then, these incredible women, who had suffered the dastardly deeds at the hands of the Drug Runners, packed up their bags and flew to Chicago, to support Wendy Dolin; her childhood sweetheart, Stewart, jumped in front of a train after a few Paroxetine (generic) tablets.
Wendy Dolin created https://www.missd.co/
– and has not ceased campaigning about Akathisia
‘Pharmaceutical companies will send academics and high-powered lawyers to a humble inquest in a small town to ensure the coroner or the jury returns a suicide verdict.’
‘The Irish College of Psychiatrists went into overdrive issuing statements left, right, and center that there was no evidence that citalopram could cause suicide or violence.’
Experts clash over anti-depressant link to homicides
“However, discussion of the risks involved must be based on evidence rather than conjecture or unfounded personal opinion.”
Jakes Amendment – blocked at the 11th hour. He added: “My suspicion is that senior medical professionals . . . spooked the Minister.”
‘I have no difficulty in facing that. If someone misprescribes a drug and, as a result, a young person takes his or her life, the person who misprescribed must face the consequences. That is the reality.’
…but I will not elaborate on the medication”.
‘It’s all part of a complete doctoring service’ …
People power not politicians or thebmj or any of the gang of pompous self regarding ,self interested duplicitious xxxxxxs who have long lost the any moral compass , have brought this about. If they start to have nightmares when they realise the how much their ‘behaviour’ as GSK quaintly puts it, is being exposed there are prescription drugs they can take..but they won’t need to read the warnings, they know about them already. They are probably already suffering from anxiety..hence the mass attempts to bully those who speak out. And Are probably a bit depressed at the low value of their shares since the law suits are finding them guilty, loads of drugs available to ‘help’ them – tip – just look out for the signs of Akathisia suicide and aggression.
BREAKING NEWS1,917 viewsNov 26, 2019, 04:39pm
Six Drug Companies Subpoenaed In Federal Opioid Investigation
Lisette VoytkoForbes Staff
Almost 400,000 Americans have died in the opioid epidemic over the past two decades.
Almost 400,000 Americans have died in the opioid epidemic over the past two decades.PHOTO BY JOHN TLUMACKI/THE BOSTON GLOBE VIA GETTY IMAGES
(Updated: 9:31 a.m. EST, 11/27/2019)
Topline: Brooklyn federal prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation of opioid manufacturers, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, adding yet another legal entanglement for the large corporations many have blamed for causing the country’s opioid crisis.
Companies that have received subpoenas: Teva, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, Johnson & Johnson, Amneal and Mallinckrodt (which disclosed its subpoena in a May investor filing).
The prosecutors are seeking to understand whether the drug companies violated the federal Controlled Substances Act for not reporting suspicious signs that opioids were being used for nonmedical purposes.
According to the WSJ, the probe is in its early stages and more companies are likely to be subpoenaed in the coming months.
Shares of all six companies were trading down leading into Tuesday afternoon’s closing bell.
The first federal opioid criminal probe ended in April with Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc. agreeing to pay $20 million to the government, but two of its executives, charged with conspiracy, have yet to resolve their cases.
In October, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Teva were part of a $260 million settlement that avoided the first federal opioid trial—one hour before opening arguments were scheduled to begin.
Key background: Almost 400,000 Americans have died in the opioid epidemic over the past two decades. Millions remain addicted, costing local governments millions of dollars and creating enormous strains on law enforcement, health providers and social services. Cities began filing lawsuits against the drug companies in 2014. By 2019, the number of opioid lawsuits ballooned to more than 2,500, with nearly every U.S. state filing separate litigation as well. The total economic toll of the crisis could range from $50 billion to over $1 trillion, according to estimates.
Today In: Business
What to watch for: Purdue Pharma (which manufactured OxyContin) is already the subject of a Justice Department probe. The company is in talks to resolve that probe while its owners, the Sackler family, offered a separate settlement of up to $12 billion in a civil opioid case and filed for bankruptcy in September. If the settlement is accepted, the Sacklers will relinquish control of Purdue.
Tangent: President Trump, who has made the fight against opioids a signature policy effort, donated his third-quarter salary (over $100,000) on Tuesday to efforts dedicated to the cause. Meanwhile, first lady Melania Trump was booed during a Tuesday speech at an opioid awareness event in Baltimore.
Yes, well lots of white middle class people are dying so it seems people care when this happens in the US. Quite a lot of people died during the crack epidemic in the 80s-90s the difference was those folks were black. Lots of them went to prison. “Just say no” – N. Regan. Thing is they are prosecuting these drug companies as drug dealers essentially with laws on the books that required these companies to flag suspicious distribution. One town in Cincinnati received over 2 million prescriptions for opioids in a town of 1400 people. I don’t recall the exact time frame but that’s just plain nuts. At any rate, these same drug companies promoted the speech “if you are using the meds for the right reason these drugs aren’t addictive.” This false narrative was marketed aggressively by these companies and the guidelines preached “pain is what the patient says it is.” This is what both patients and prescribers believed for many years. Sounds nuts in retrospect. So the number of deaths is so enormous and like I said the “right” people are dying so now things are being addressed but lots of people are still dying. But Hey 20 million – 100 million is small peanuts for companies that are worth billions. So really the question is what is going to be the breaking point with psychiatric drugs? How do you get people in power to realize and acknowledge the link with suicides deaths etc and that these drugs don’t ultimately cure anything when no one appears to be listening despite expert testimony, despite the data that supports this? Perhaps there’s an avenue in that these drugs were not reported to be addictive but people can’t stop.
Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen, of Cambridge University, said: ‘Imagine having a disease that killed almost a million people a year, a quarter of them before the age of 30, and yet we knew nothing about why some individuals are more vulnerable to this disease.
‘This is where we are with suicide. We know very little about what’s happening in the brain.’
I think someone should break it to her…. carefully… the disease is called pharma greed, the bullet is Akathisia/Toxic Psychosis, the trigger puller is your – usually but not always – GP/psychatrist.
Certainly, there are, Mixed Messages …
‘overall, antidepressants save lives. Most people successfully come off them without difficulty.’
‘can cause violent behaviour.’
“Court experts stated that it was highly likely that the behaviour of the suspect had been caused by the use of Paroxetine”.
recovery&renewal @recover2renew 12h
RxISK founder Dr. David Healy: Side Effects – The True Story https://rxisk.org/rxisk-founder-dr-david-healy-side-effects-the-true-story/ … via @RxISK
Side Effects launched in the USA on Februay 8, 2013 in a week that saw a Dutch court hear evidence that paroxetine (aka Aropax, Paxil, Pexeva, Seroxat, Sereupin) can cause violent behaviour. An English translation from the court records follows:
“The suspect bashed in his girlfriend’s head using a fire extinguisher and then shot a police officer. Other law enforcement officers then shot the suspect 5 times, but they still had a lot of trouble trying to restrain the suspect”.
“The officers stated that they shot the suspect in the chest but it did not seem to have any effect. After the suspect had also been shot in the leg and shoulder, the suspect was still able to resist arrest. He still managed to hit another officer in the head using his gun. Officers even used pepper spray but that too did not yield any results. The officers stated that the suspect acted like a zombie”.
“Court experts stated that it was highly likely that the behaviour of the suspect had been caused by the use of Paroxetine”.
recovery&renewal @recover2renew Dec 6
Interesting to revisit this too – transcript
‘Now if there was even a small association with either suicide or homicide with that scale of increase, you couldn’t, even a really small association, you couldn’t help but see it in suicide rates and homicide rates which are pretty tightly measured. And we haven’t seen. So I think some people have extrapolating from the side effects, that Clare has been talking about, agitation, restlessness etc and then making a very big jump into that is sometimes seen in people who have committed suicide or indeed committed homicide, that is the kind of things they may report before hand, but there is a huge gap in-between., and its a big leap there. The second point to make is the issue of addiction. Addiction is pretty well described and most of the population know what addiction is. But antidepressants are not active in the classic sense of addiction. You can’t sell them out on the street. There is no market for antidepressants. You don’t get a high from taking them, that’s one of the problems actually it takes weeks for them to have their effect. You don’t crave for them. You don’t do behaviours that go with people who are addicted to heroin, cocaine, and indeed benzodiazepines or opioids that are prescribed by doctors. So I think addiction isn’t the right issue to talk about. I think it is true, I think it is a fair point that withdrawal symptoms probably have been underestimated, they can be confused with relapse of the illness, which certainly happens as well. But overall, antidepressants save lives. Most people successfully come off them without difficulty. I think probably we have overlooked those who do have difficulty, and I also think we really don’t do much for them, that’s absolutely true. When I was President of the College we did support more funding for helplines for those who have problems with withdrawal and prescribed drugs. I think that is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
but I would be delighted to see good trial evidence ….. ‘
Your “Mixed Messages” provoke three responses:
RSM Podcast: –
1) CG refers to “Agitation” – “Restlessness”. This is AKATHISIA isn’t it?
Many RxISK and D.H. Blog followers have seen intense AKATHISIA induced by ill-conceived prescribing of SSRIs/SNRIs et al developing in their loved ones.
For some, this has been followed by akathisia induced suicidal ideation or action in those who have never ever been depressed.
Those who have never had any M.H. Illness.
Our loved ones have been drug-wrecked, and their lives destroyed or terminated by Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) – not by any other pathology or morbidity.
2) The “Huge Leap” from “agitation” and “restlessness” to suicidal ideation and suicide:
The epidemiological evidence that would clarify (for or against) these drugs inducing adverse prescription drug reaction mediated “Taking of Life by Self” would be most effectively compiled if all Coroners were duty-bound to document and analyse every psychotropic drug prescription.
Every drug introduction, dose change, product change, drug withdrawal, drug substitution and then correlate ALL “Rx” with family observed changes in feelings, emotions and behaviours preceding the tragedy.
Timing. Dose. Duration.
Future deaths cannot be prevented without diligent investigation of ADRs.
( Similarly for other AKATHISIA inducing prescription medication).
We have seen this phenomenon emerging in our loved ones, and been with them all the time.
Please listen to us, and learn from us.
We know them. We knew them. Prescribers do not.
“I do use antidepressants for patients who aren’t depressed —-”
“I do also use antidepressants in my sick doctor service who might have had referral to the regulator because I know that they are going to get depressed”.
KS to SW: ——
“What are your views of prophylactic use of antidepressants?”
“Well I think it is the same answer I would give whenever I am asked a question I do not know the answer to, well that is fine but you will need to come up with some pretty good evidence for that”.
“I am not aware that it exists – – -”
Evidence based medicine?
And another gloomy thought – could the global epidemic of forest fires be connected with SSRIs (obviously nothing much to do with global warming).