The Troubled Life of Study 329: Consequences of Failure to Retract

September, 8, 2015 | 13 Comments


  1. Terrified, witless, in 2002; was I really all alone with this?

    Thirteen years later; this background white noise is music to my ears.

    Thank you for providing Background and Timeline and giving us the opportunity to read how it played out.

    Thank you, to everyone, who was persistent and didn’t let it go.

    The consequences are grave if there is a not a retraction.

    Who knows where all this may be leading?

    3.23 minutes with….

  2. If someone were to ask the surviving authors of Study 329 the question: “Knowing what you know now, if you had to do it over, would you agree to participate in that study again?”, many would probably say no.

    Do you really think so?

    If they were opposed to it then wouldn’t they have made their feelings known by calling for its retraction?

    Maybe, they have been ‘warned off’ by GSK not to call for it to be retracted, maybe GSK have told them that any monies paid to them (for adding their names to the study) will be clawed back?

    Then again, we know how GSK operate. Maybe they have threatened the authors with some form of character assassination should they call for a retraction?

    Keller, it appears, is just about the money, the guy probably has more bling than Ali G.

    As for the others, who added their names to the fraudulent study, they have each been commended and, probably, made serious amounts of money on the back of the study (ie; giving lectures over the years)

    329 is, in my opinion, worse than the thalidomide debacle. At least then, once it was known, efforts were made to warn the public. It’s taken a bunch of academics to right a wrong, many years of needless prescribing of a drug that was known to cause suicide in kids.

    Witty had a golden opportunity to call for its retraction.

    In the words of Robert De Niro, Mr Witty, “You had your chance and you blew it.”

  3. A tribute to Shelley Jofre—
    the true heroine of this tale of woe…

    My favorite line, which so apply applies to Shelley’s tenacity:

    “As a noted scientist, it’s a bit surprising that the girl blinded ME with science.”

    Hi ho!

  4. All the news of the restoration of study 329 makes me feel so hopeful that there is going to be a major shift in the attitude towards Pharma. That it won’t just be us from the club who nobody wants to be in led by the few academics and professionals who care about what’s happening. It also makes me feel very emotional thinking about all those people who have died in the long wait for this to happen.
    What happened to my son has happened now and can’t be undone. We just have to do the best we can to live with the consequences and he has to live the best life he can with the cards he was dealt. I really hope that a time is coming when others won’t have to.

  5. Seroxat is the mental health thalidomide..

    It would be interesting to know how many young people and children were prescribed Seroxat/Paxil/Aropax over the years?..

    In 2003, it was reported that “Seroxat …was first licensed in the UK in 1990 for treating depression and last year, 8,000 under-18s were treated with the drug.”

    Alasdair breckenridge (MHRA)

    Read more:

    How many classes of suicidal children were there in that 8000 children in the UK?

    If, (according to Alastair Benbow- former GSK representative ) there is a ‘small class size’ of around 1000 children who would get these suicidal effects then were there up to eight class sizes who would have got suicidal reactions? How many of these eight class sizes went on to self harm, attempt suicide, of complete a suicide?

    If it was 8,000 a year, how many each year came off it? and how many each year were started on it? Could the figure be higher, per individual factored in?

    We can also multiply that figure of ‘small classes of suicidal children’ massively when we take into account the amount of kids who were prescribed it globally over the last 15 years, or more. If it was several thousand in the UK, it was likely tens of thousands, or into hundreds of thousands in North America -Canada and the US (and everywhere else added in- in Europe, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and all the other countries which Seroxat/Paroxetine was sold under different brand names etc).

    When you add the risk of Alastair Benbow’s ‘small class of suicidal children” up to a global scale, you can see that this small class was really more like dozens of large schools of suicidal children…

    And then what of the young adults, and the adults and the older people?
    And the miscarriages, birth defects etc?

    The scale of human suffering from Seroxat is immeasurable…

    • “It would be interesting to know how many young people and children were prescribed Seroxat/Paxil/Aropax over the years?..”

      This is something that might be powerful alongside the line-up of professionals who participated and benefited from Study 329: a line-up of children who were seriously affected by Seroxat. I haven’t been able to find much right off hand but some of you may already know of a number of these youngest victims and have perhaps already told their stories in other places. Facts and statistics are important yet tend not to have the same emotional impact as a well-chosen photo and/or story of one vulnerable child. (A recent example is the photo of the Syran boy on a Turkish beach).

      • We will have an accoount from one such person on next week to coincide with publication – and hope that others will send us in more accounts


    • Thanks Bob, that is an awesome podcast, with many good details. I think you are right, it would be great on the 329 site. My favourite part is GSK telling Shelley Jofre that David Healy is not to be trusted…

      • I know Julie.

        It’s absurd huh?

        There are many great moments in the podcast, it’s a great insight.

        GSK telling one person not to trust another really is the pot calling the kettle black.

        It’s a defence mechanism when someone telling a lie is caught out. They cannot admit to their lie so they become the victim – it’s akin to your classic bully tactics.

        I remember Andrew Witty’s predecessor, JP Garnier upon hearing the news that the British drug regulator wasn’t happy that his company had held back Paxil pediatric data – his response? … “We’ve done nothing wrong.”

        Even with overwhelming evidence and convictions by juries, Glaxo still proudly go in front of the press and announce they robustly deny this, that and the other.

        When they plead guilty, it then becomes part of an era, “Not on my watch, guv.”

        Their lawyers will be all over David’s blog – They would be better off telling their client’s not to put kids in danger any more.

        I hope Todd reads this!

        • Bob.

          The “bully” tactics you describe play out the same way in academic clinical settings on the patient care units, where all of the professionals traditionally shared the common goal of providing best care/treatment for patients. That is no longer true.

          Inpatient, acute care is where dialogue and debate are expected to happen. This is the frontline for critical assessment of patient treatment safety and treatment efficacy. The patient is right there, verbalizing her response to treatment. All of the care givers can weigh in- parents, nurses, all available for face to face conferencing. This ideal setting to assess and evaluate patient response to treatment and provide critical feedback to the research teams, —-this very important link to maintaining a person centered/ patient centered model of care has been corrupted by *bullies* sending the clear message they will not tolerate dissenting opinions, heretical posturing by any front line clinician(much less a patient or a patient’s loved ones) towards the new, bottom line authority, which so happens to be: The latest clinical trial by prominent academic psychiatrists published in a leading professional journal. Who is the gatekeeper for this bottom line authority ? Academic psychiatrists- who maintained their tenure and managerial positions by NOT challenging the gold standard for developing treatment guidelines. I can only assume—

          The suppression of critical thinking and robust debating in academic medicine is a travesty that has yet to be qualified in an official sense , as the preeminent risk to all patients. The bullying, grand standing and subversive, unethical tactics that are topics for investigative journalists are life threatening for the rest of us. No one in mainstream media has brought that message home like Shelley Jofre.

          Shelley Jofre uncovered and revealed what can only be called, cold indifference to the suffering of the only real victims of this bullying– children. Cold indifference by every prominent scientist who rubber stamped Paxil Study 329, IS the story. Has Shelley become another victim of this bullying ?

          Shelley is every clinician who has gotten close enough to one of these bullies and sincerely asked: “Don’t you care that children are being harmed by this drug?” We all got the same answer, and the same label: “pitiful, contentious fool who does not know how science works”.

          If you’re just waiting to see the next Act of this dark tragic play, the response from GSK, prominent KOLs and the medical community at large, to the RIAT report on Paxil Study329, you are missing both the key message of this ground breaking work and all that has made it necessary. Now is the time to put this show on the road, so to speak—. We need to engage the public, make this a political issue and demand protection under the law.

          *Note the “Media” section on There is an inquiry form for media– but how will they know how important their attention to this story is, unless we alert them??

          Public outcries for immediate action, occurring in tandem with the tactics we know are in the works from *industry*, will move this issue toward resolution. As the saying goes– “Fool me once, shame on you–” fool me— repeatedly?–

  6. I am a pharmacist. My daughter was put on this when she was 14 or 15 to try and help with depression that had been cyclic for years and to try to help prevent migraines. She seemed very much better after taking it for a few weeks. Then she turned into a monster. Very irritable and hostile, even aggressive. Finally, I got her into a counselor who knew right away that the Paxil could be the problem, probably because she had seen other teens with the same results. My daughter insisted on abruptly stopping the drug and became reclusive and I worried about suicide. Fortunately, she is fairly healthy and well adjusted now at 28, but those few months were horrendous. I used to be a lot more trusting of Pharma than I am now. I have become quite cynical and disgusted with this industry.

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