Study 329: Conflicts of Interest

October, 20, 2015 | 15 Comments


  1. Yes..absolutely…yes..absolutely

    Who needs a Journal signed up to Alltrials…it seemed good at the time, I think she needs to reconsider….

    May I go back to Walter and the last post…..

    I liked your comment following the link. It was kind, gracious and forgiving.

    Actions speak louder than words…and sometimes all it takes is a bit of encouragement from one person to another… get some sort of ball rolling…………..

    Are you just an intelligent bystander or have you taken drugs yourself when you describe yourself as a ‘psychiatric survivor’?

    I think the majority of people need to totally reconsider their position.

    How obvious does it have to get while they all become so politically correct….saving their own skins and bacon………..put on the spot never got worse….

    So, far, I have seen nothing loyal to patient’s interests apart from…….

    Walter K on October 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm said:
    Your blog is honest, refreshing and gives wonderful insight into the richness of Scottish culture. I have been coming here for a while now. My name is Walter, and I am a psychiatric survivor.
    The woman I loved was born in Scotland in the same year as you were, and her father was a don at the University of Stirling. Several years ago, her SSRI dosage was increased, and over a few weeks she changed from a kind and wonderful woman, into a cold-hearted and hostile alien who I no longer recognised. I felt as if she had been the subject of an experiment by Dr Josef Mengele, and that she had been slowly buried alive. A few months after she abandoned me, she resumed the relationship with the man whose emotional abuse of her had caused her to seek psychiatric ‘help’ in the first place. She remains in that ghastly zombified condition.
    So few doctors speak out like you do, about the corrupting influence of the drug industry on healthcare. There are thousands of us out here, whose lives have been unravelled by this diabolical arrangement. The few of you give hope to the many of us. I just thought I’d let you know.
    Thank you for all you have done.

    • Annie – thank you for your kind comments, I’ve only just read this.

      I’ve never taken drugs myself, although I was tempted to seek emotional oblivion when my GP, an otherwise kind and intelligent woman, tried to prescribe me Citalopram when I found myself in a very dark place after my ex-partner disappeared. I had loved her passionately, and I grieved for her as if she had died; I don’t think there was a day in 2013 that I did not weep for her.

      We hit our fifties, our life seems good, and we think we are well-informed because we read a broadsheet and listen to R4 every day, but we miss the nuances…and then one day, a trapdoor opens beneath our feet and we fall into a foul, fetid drug-strewn pit we never knew existed. So, shocked and bewildered, we look online, and find only horror piled upon horror, and no Morpheus and no Trinity to help us. Only all-powerful Mr Smith: Big Pharma and chemical psychiatry in the ascendancy, harming more and more victims, and a desperate rearguard action by a few ethical doctors and journalists and bloggers, derided and ridiculed as conspiracy theorists and reactionaries.

      As I gained knowledge, in those early months, googling relentlessly at 3AM, my grief preventing sleep, a second horror confronted me: I now have a strong (unspoken) suspicion about why my youngest son has learning difficulties, because for most of her adult life, my ex-wife was on SSRIs (and her own sister is a senior partner in a GP practice).

      So what are we to do? How can we oppose or expose this horror? How can we prevent more unwitting people from falling into this hideous trap? If 65,000 people contacted Panorama after Shelley Jofre’s expose on Seroxat, that suggests that hundreds of thousands may have suffered SSRI ADRs. If just 1% of such a number came together, as law abiding activists, to form something along the lines of a grassroots-run ‘League against chemical psychiatry’…and not just to oppose psychiatry, but also to offer support to those who have suffered as a result of iatrogeny.

      Yours in hope,


      • Dear Walter

        Excellent reply.

        You are upset and I’m sorry and I completely understand.

        If you read Comments, Rxisk site, you are very lucky you didn’t swallow what was offered to you. If you had, you might have gone through/going through most of which is addressed by intelligent people who are describing very detailed accounts.

        Some of us are left in complete limbo:

        Tinnitus which is not tinnitus
        Sleep which is not sleep
        Nervous reactions to normal problems
        Perpetual fear of minor stuff going wrong
        Criticism which can send you into spasms

        This is some of our legacy from the ‘jokers’ doctors whose instinctive reaction is to belittle us and because of that scorning, ridicule, or, even, kind, sympathetic, do nothing to address the worlds most endemic problem.

        Doctors today have no place in modern medicine and the sooner they realise that and we can get rid of them and replace them with modern doctors learning about modern medicine, the better.

        This is not going to happen in our lifetime.

        The whole culture of all these new drugs means that the every day gp, is a useless, worthless, spineless critter.

        You can walk into one of thousands of medical outlets and you will never get a systematic uniform opinion of any worth whatsoever on Seroxat, Librium, Diazepam, Statins, Aspirin….the list is endless.

        Thank you for being a rare breed of observational intelligence.


  2. Great blog post…

    however, a very disheartening too.

    I honestly feel that it’s close to impossible to affect real change in respect to challenging the pharmaceutical industry, particularly a giant Goliath like GSK, but that shouldn’t stop us from documenting all this for future generations…

    I think your blog will be referenced in future generations as a touch stone for information on how it all went very wrong…

    The corporatization of human health, people’s lives, and the world generally, will be our undoing…

  3. Eisenhower’s speech (as you infer being highly apposite to the medical industrial complex) also warns ‘we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist’. This places medical science in a highly politicised, subjective context and yet expects us all to have blind faith in its claim to objectivity and benevolent aims. What a morass of contradictions!
    Perhaps we should reflect also on the words of Andrei Sakharov, who described the biologist Lysenko (father of the disastrous bio-agricultural experiments that almost destroyed Russian farming) as being accountable for inter alia ‘adventurism, for the degradation of learning, and for the defamation, firing, arrest, and even death of many genuine scientists’. (Birstein, 2001, The Perversion of Knowledge: The True Story of Soviet Science). Or maybe not…Sakharov was eventually exiled for speaking out for political truth and scientific objectivity though, of course, this was under an authoritarian regime, unlike…..

  4. I’m beginning to think we’d be much better of without these journals, and the plethora of ‘peer-reviewed’ literature that is being used to impose an ever-increasing amount of questionable medical interventions in our lives.

    The way it seems to work is a pharmaceutical company dreams up a product, runs ‘clinical trials’, gets the (biased?) results published in the ‘peer-reviewed’ literature, then presents data to the ‘regulator’, which provides a rubber stamp of approval, and voila another product in the marketplace, and the ‘regulator’ gets its cut too via ‘fee for service’ payments. So the pharma companies, the academics involved in trials, the journals publishing the papers behind paywalls, the ‘regulators’, and the doctors who are the frontline sales force, all benefit from this cosy arrangement.

    And when it comes to vaccines they’ve really worked the system to the hilt, particularly in those countries where vaccines are being made compulsory to access financial inducements and/or access to childcare and schooling (e.g. Australia and the US).

    Sure, maybe some vaccines are justifiable for serious, easily transmitted diseases. But things have now gotten way out of hand and vaccines and revaccinations for all manner of ailments are being added to vax schedules.

    The United States can take a bow for facilitating the current flood of vaccine products as it provided vax manufacturers with protection from liability in the 80s. I bet Volkswagen wish they had such a good deal…

    And when a vaccine doesn’t work, e.g. pertussis, the proposed solution is another revaccination. In Australia pertussis vaccination is now recommended for babies (x 3 shots), 18 months olds, 4 year olds, teenagers, pregnant women for every pregnancy, anybody involved with a baby. And yet studies are indicating the acellular pertussis vaccine may actually be causing new strains of the disease to develop(1), and spreading the disease via vaccinated individuals(2). What is going on here?

    (1) In March 2012, The Conversation reported on a new strain of whooping cough that appears to be resistant to vaccination i.e. “A team led by scientists at The University of New South Wales believes the emerging strain of the Bordetella pertussis bacterium may be evading the effects of the widely-prescribed acellular vaccine (ACV) and increasing the incidence of the potentially fatal respiratory illness, according to a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases”. See Vaccine-resistant whooping cough takes epidemic to new level: In The Conversation article, Professor Lyn Gilbert, a Professor in Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Sydney, said there was a range of ways scientists might tackle the new strain of whooping cough, including administering “more boosters of the current vaccine”. The question is, how does increasing the numbers of ‘boosters’ of the current vaccine protect against the new strain? Also see my email enquiries on this matter to Professors Lyn Gilbert and Ruiting lan in December 2012: which did not receive a response. Also see Octavia, S. et al. Newly Emerging Clones of Bordetella pertussis Carrying prn2 and ptxP3 Alleles Implicated in Australian Pertussis Epidemic in 2008-2010. JID 2012:205 (15 April). Brief Report: and Sharp rise in cases of new strain of whooping cough. UNSW Australia Newsroom, 21 March 2012:
    (2) See for example FDA study helps provide an understanding of rising rates of whooping cough and response to vaccination. FDA News Release, 27 November 2013: and Jason M Warfel et al. Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model. PNAS, 22 October 2013:

  5. “the specific challenges posed by … you as the paper’s authors” – this is enormously concerning. “…the story of a vulnerable Goliath, who while laboring away at making the medicines critical to all of us, and providing jobs, is at increasing risk from an unscrupulous and unethical David” indeed. Also greatly worrying is BMJ’s signing up to AllTrials.
    Thank you so much for highlighting complex and critical issues.

  6. Well this puts us right back into biblical territory: “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel!” “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

    Both are from the Book of Matthew in which Jesus upbraided the timid and conventional authorities in his own community. Those scribes and Pharisees of course were just trying to survive under the rule of an emperor with a two-by-four in his eye, and with unlimited resources to hunt down his critics. Some blatantly sold out to the empire, while others tried to walk a fine line, doing the best they could while being careful not to challenge the empire TOO openly. A lot like today’s medical journals.

    Well, in the end, the BMJ DID publish this paper, and for that I’m glad. Just as in the end they refused loud calls from the worst of today’s Pharisees to retract that paper showing statins were more likely to harm than help the majority of patients who take them. In both cases they dithered and sweated for months, but finally stood up for what’s right. More than most of their colleagues have done.

    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed woman is a visionary, I guess …

  7. EMA speaks to Georgia…

    Adelaide speaks to UK…

    BMJ speaks to RIAT…

    After some eloquence of import>

    >Someone else spoke…

    ben goldacre ‏@bengoldacre 5h5 hours ago

    MEDICAL DATA DORKS anyone got a nice structured dataset that maps between UK and US drug names? it’s for a thing.

    A Bridge too Far?

    Is flip pant the new decorum for gla so mit line and will be em jay admit to split loyalties?

  8. Back from the film festival – my journey to activism has begun.

    And it’s needed, dr. Healy Points to numerous issues, in psychiatry as a whole but even more so concerning the drugs they use.

    So now I’ve personally met Whitaker, David Cohen and John Read. I watched Peter Kindemann give a speech. They all seem like intelligent and good people, all aware of a needed shift in direction for psychiatry.

    But, yes there is a but, all these names have been fighting for change for so long, why should I engage in a fight where change is the last Word that comes to mind?

    The BMJ shows the behaviour of a scared dog seeking affirmation with its owners for its behaviour. When confronted with a new breed of science, that aims to give any and all peer-reviewers the same access to data, the BMJ themselves start to ask for the authors to “revise” their conclusions. But it’s THEIR conclusions, let the readers build their own when they have access to the same data????

    They way I understand this is that when a scientist back in the 80′, 90’s and 00’s put forward his conclusion, no one could verify this with root-level data???
    And now when they can, the journal asks the authors to withhold their bold claims???

    I’m sorry, but this is academic nonsense at the SAND-PIT level again!!!
    /Ove 2015

  9. Er…

    It is not as obviously fatal as many physical illnesses



    Simon Wessely ‏@WesselyS 1 hr1 hour ago
    Well done @TheEconomist for leader on #mentalhealth and specifically research funding. Fortunately they want more

    David Healy
    4 hrs • Twitter •
    The entire 12-month history of ‪#‎Study329‬ pre-publication review (all 7 drafts) is here:

  10. I would like to see evidence that there is a *conflict of interest*– across the board. Where is the *proof* that anyone of these for profit industries has an interest in protecting “patient’s’ from harm? or in identifying and correctly treating the underlying, root cause of a “patient’s” suffering.

    I don’t see the *conflict*– just various degrees of willingness to chalk up harm done as a necessary component of progress–, or rather, collateral damage in the quest to profit from the suffering of others.

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