Study 329: Republic to Empire

March, 16, 2016 | 13 Comments


  1. Thank you for such an interesting account Sally; there is nothing better than a ‘true life’ account from someone who has suffered the awfulness of a situation. I admire the way that you are able to look at the whole picture despite your experiences being , more or less, on one side of the fence. I truly believe that, unless we’ve been there, it’s almost impossible to be sure how we would react if we were to be one of the workers in a large company with ideals that are abhorrent to us. How can we be sure that we would not comply? Are we sure that we are strong enough to become a whistleblower, disregarding the financial loss that would follow? I think not. Of course, being an onlooker, we can safely say that what we see is totally wrong and that we SHOULD shout from the rooftops when we hear of the wrongdoings. Unfortunately, ‘should’ and ‘would’ are two very different concepts!
    What, then, can we, the outsiders, do to bring about change? In my opinion, the first step is to make sure that we inform as many people as possible of the drastic state of the workings of pharma companies. (The practises are not restricted to those companies alone but they have the greatest effect on the lives of ordinary human beings in my opinion). Also, we should never shy away from sharing our experiences of these companies with others – not only on forums of like-minded people but face to face with people we meet, particularly those who see ‘capitalism in action’ as being ‘the way of the world’ and quite acceptable. If people hear a message often enough, they just might stop to think about its relevance to their lives. Advertising seems to work for the big companies – let’s copy them and see if it works for us!
    These may be tiny steps but, possibly, if we take enough tiny steps we might end up completing a marathon.
    Best wishes, Sally, and thanks again.

  2. At the end of my comment, I have put up a talk by Sir Andrew Witty, given yesterday, and, I, for one, was captivated……

    It might help to answer this question by providing a little more background knowledge and to realise that the Pharmaceutical Industry is in a unique position to develop new products like Paroxetine and price them high and either end up as a Shkeli or as a possible ambassador on the speaking circuit and possibly a senior advisor to hm guv..

    David Healy
    19 hrs •
    In the latest post on, Sally MacGregor asks ‘How do good people become corrupted?’

    10 of the Worst Big Pharma Company Rip-Offs — and Their Plan to Keep the Gravy Train Rolling

    Mar 17, 2016 12:34 pm | By Martha Rosenberg, The Influence

    Witty’s future has been in doubt for some time amid flagging sales and profits and questions over his focus on consumer health products such as headache pills and toothpaste.

    “…plots, intrigue and manoeuvring.

    “…were the chief corporate bogeymen a decade ago.

    Just sayin’…

    “…to curate


    Sir Andrew Witty

    Center for Strategic & International Studies
    The Bio-Pharma Industry and Society
    17 March 2016

    Introduction….”he is such an outlier”

    GSK Retweeted
    Smart Global Health ‏@SmartGlblHealth 18 hrs18 hours ago
    .@GSK Sir Andrew Witty: data transparency doesn’t stifle innovation, it encourages it. #CSISlive

  3. The moderate tone of this piece on the heels of the pharma rape series is perfect. Blaming and shaming those we see as responsible for our injuries is only natural, but this post really sheds light on the utter complexity of the situation.

    Perhaps an important thing to note about the cogs in the system is that they’re still sitting ducks. Ours was a rude awakening but hey, we’re awake.

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    Published on 17 Mar 2016
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  5. Apparently my last comment was un-publishable..
    anyhow, that’s ok, I respect that blogs have to be moderated etc…

    I would just like to say, I don’t really buy into the premise of this article…
    That’s not to say that i don’t understand it, and it’s not to say that it’s not a valid perspective… it is, and it is well written, and genuine…
    It’s just , I am not convinced..
    Zypreza and Seroxat didn’t happen in some ancient historical time-frame where everyone was so afraid of losing their job in the pharmaceutical industry that they had no choose to keep quiet about dangerous side effects…
    These are very much current scandals…
    And the internet has documented everything.. so there’s no excuse now for anyone in the industry or anyome thinking of joining Big Pharma a career- not to know the nature of the beast they ‘choosing’ to assimilate into…
    The culture in pharma (and big business in general) is to maximized profits- this has not changed… we live in a capitalistic greedy world- what is to stop future Zyprexa’s or Seroxat’s happening again?
    Unless the drug reps, and other workers in the industry demand a sea-change- things will stay the same…
    This takes courage..

    • I was very dismayed experiencing the *brain dead* phenomena that seemed to inflict ALL of my nursing colleagues — whenever I tried to engage around topics one would naturally associate with a leading academic medical center’s interests, I saw that *light’s on, but nobody’s home* look one might also see on the face of a child who is hoping to escape notice for his/her *pranks*.

      Are there really reasons for willful avoidance of academic discussion and debate amongst professionals earning a good living in the health care/pharma industry? I don’t find myself looking for a reason–, as I don’t think there is justification for *irrational* behavior by the educated elite we place our trust in.

      I do not think it is even a good idea to approach this scourge from a *why or why*? perspective–. We desperately need, a WHEN do we act decisively?- position, and a plan.

      Really? Really.

      There is no *reason*– hence NO excuse. IF you receive a pay check working in the industry that is directly connected to people, YOU are obligated to give a damn about the effect your work (in whatever capacity) has on -PEOPLE.

      Who is in peril today because so many *professionals* have lost their voice along with their conscience?

      Better to be poor as you contemplate an honest means for making a living, than to collect a dime from an industry that exploits vulnerable people for profit; an industry that harms, even kills innocent children– .

      I speak from experience. Poverty is a circumstance one can change. Moral bankruptcy is a condition far more serious with a much worse prognosis..

  6. How I wish now that I’d just poured it down the sink.’

    ‘The link between suicide and Seroxat is the best known,’ says Professor Gøtzsche, ‘but Pfizer (which makes Lustral) and Eli Lilly (the makers of Prozac) have also hidden suicides and suicide attempts.’ The latest findings have provoked the ire of psychiatrists. ‘There’s no evidence or data from this . . . or previous published trials of an increase of actual suicide in young children who take antidepressants,’ declared the Royal College of Psychiatrists. ‘The possible risks of harm always have to be balanced against the benefit of treating depression effectively.’

    There is a place for antidepressants, adds Professor David Healy, a psychiatrist from Bangor, North Wales, who first raised concerns about SSRIs more than 20 years ago. ‘They are valuable drugs when used carefully — I prescribe them to my own patients — but we can’t just rely on what the trials say.
    ‘It would help if doctors were more ready to listen when patients tell them about the side-effects. However, their tendency is to believe the claims contained in flawed trials that side-effects are rare and my patients tell me that often the response is to advise a higher dose.’

    In 2003 a BBC Panorama programme revealed that GlaxoSmithKline had hidden trials showing that children who took the SSRI Seroxat were more at risk from suicide.
    The trials showed that 6.5 per cent of children prescribed the drug suffered ‘emotional lability’ compared with 1.4 per cent of those taking a placebo. In 2012 the company was fined a record £2 billion by a U.S. court, in part for wrongly promoting Seroxat as a treatment for childhood depression between 1997 and 2004. By 2005 authorities in the U.S. and UK had banned Seroxat’s use in children.”

    • Additional Reporting by Jerome Burne

      22 Mar 2016,

      Prozac is the safest drug for depressed children. Why this is a myth.

      By Jerome Burne

      “GlaxoSmithKline had been discovered hiding trials that showed Seroxat wasn’t effective for children and raised their risk of suicide.

      “It might be relevant to point out that the scientist who did both of these Prozac licencing trials was Dr Graham Emslie of University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center. Emslie was also one of the authors on the infamous Study 329 which claimed that another SSRI – Seroxat – was safe and well tolerated for use on children when it found nothing of the sort.

      A later analysis found there were ‘clinically significant increases in harms, including suicidal ideation and behaviour’. The company GSK was eventually fined three billion dollars for fraudulently promoting Seroxat. There are more details on Study 329 here.

      Time for an independent review

  7. Sharp intake of breath, did Sir Andrew Witty really say this:::0

    “Limited Market Life of doctor-prescribed medicines………

    GSK Retweeted

    Bloomberg Business ‏@business 9 hrs9 hours ago

    Toothpaste is helping Glaxo’s investors to clean up on dividends
    Glaxo’s Generous Dividend Policy Boosted by Twice-a-Day Brushing

    Ketaki Gokhale

    March 23, 2016 — 5:00 AM GMT

    The success of such over-the-counter products, which don’t face the patent cliffs and limited market life of doctor-prescribed medicines, mean that the consumer division can generate a steady cash flow to pay the dividends, according to Witty.

    “…..pain and erosion.
    Sense oh Die n

  8. I agree with Truthman. But I also understand that somewhere in the article lies the “middleground” or “mix” of events that has made a whole pharmaceutical branch toxic.
    That include the local secretary, the mid-management, the regulatory people, the doctors, governments and CEO’s.

    We (who visit DH’s blog) would like to change things, but it’s unlikely to happen, since all mentioned above are OK with the way things are..

    And, as Truthman says, money flows good in pharmaceuticals, so who on the inside would wanna stand up against the tide of cash?

    I’m facing up to the fact that I am just going to be remembered as an a**wipe, no one will know I was an “a**wipe” because of Paxil/Seroxat.

  9. Looks like Avoiding Apocalypse nearly have a David Healy, although to be fair it is quite a good title:)

    Sunday 29 May

    Doctors and The Danger Industry
    Philosophy Session
    David Healy.
    For the first time in a century, today’s treatments may be less effective than before. Outspoken Psychiatrist David Healy reveals the market forces that threaten our health.

    “An enfant terrible and a very brave man” TLS

    Sunday 29 May
    Venue: Spiegel Tent
    Event [177]

    After Doctors
    Philosophy Session
    Stephen Dorrell, David Healy, David Nutt. Mary Ann Sieghart hosts.
    Most of us still think doctor knows best. Yet troublingly a third of all hospital beds are filled with conditions caused by medical intervention. With sophisticated diagnosis just a websearch away is it time to rid ourselves of medical authority? Or do we need doctors more than ever in the chaos of information?

    Psychiatrist David Nutt, former Secretary of State for Health Stephen Dorrell, radical GP David Healy envisage the future of medical authority. Mary Ann Sieghart hosts.

    ………..Durham political theorist David Held

    Would the real DH please stand up….happy teaser:)

    Avoiding Apocalypse

    Philosophy Session

    Frank Furedi, David Healy, Patricia Lewis. Matt McAllester hosts.

    Fifty years on from the Cuban missile crisis we are so used to living with nuclear weapons that we feel strangely safe. Yet with the end of US dominance and the likelihood of proliferation the future looks precarious. Is a nuclear crisis at some point inevitable? Or can we avoid catastrophe, and if so how?

    Nuclear physicist and Chatham House international relations director Patricia Lewis joins Durham political theorist David Held and author of The Politics of Fear Frank Furedi to take the apocalypse seriously.

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