Mid-morning, on Tuesday September 24 2019, Britain was gripped. Lots of people stopped what they were doing and turned their TVs or computers to live feed from the Supreme Court.
Spider Woman (Brenda Hale) was taking on the Joker (Boris Johnson). She punched him in the nose. The Joker had suspended Parliament at a critical moment in the Brexit process. Spider Woman told him what he had done was null and void. Boris (aka the British Government) threatened to change the law to make sure the Supreme Court (Brenda) could never do anything like this again. (He hasn’t so far).
It’s unusual for the Brits to gasp. Even more so in a Court room. But they did. It looked like a cool evisceration by Spider Woman, who instantly became a lot of people’s favourite Super Hero.
I had met Brenda Hale nearly 20 years before when I gave a talk at a law and medicine meeting in Australia at which I presented a Spider Slide that has adorned many of my talks since. It had obvious implications for anything happening on the interface between medicine and law. Brenda was interested. At the time, no-one at the meeting had any idea she was likely to rise to the heights she did and become an honourable lady.
See Does My Bias Look Big in This for the latest incarnation of the Spider Slide.
I contacted Brenda again some years later on the topic of ghostwriting and the implications of this for legal processes. She remembered me and the issues and was still interested but not in a position to do anything.
Following the O’Neill Inquest, in September mulling over who to contact within legal systems who might be able to make a difference, Brenda appeared on my screen. Who better to follow up or get the wider legal system to consider the legal implications of medical ghostwriting for inquests and justice more generally?
On October 1 2018, Brian who runs AntiDepAware posted Ten Years of Denial. It chilled me to the bone. The first page is reproduced here but the full text complete with photographs of those who died and their coroners is available on Brian’s site.
In October 2008, ten years ago this month, the inquest of 65-year-old Ian Fox, an ex-postal worker, was held at St Pancras Coroner’s Court. Ian had jumped in front of a train at Finchley Road tube station (right). An account of the inquest appeared in the Camden New Journal, under the headline: ‘Wonder drug’ played a part in man taking his own life – coroner.
Ian’s widow Maria told the court that Ian had been prescribed Citalopram for a month before his death, and “had expressed a wish to come off it, complaining of confusion and anxiety.” She said that “until he began taking Citalopram he had only been suffering from mild depression, brought on by retirement from his Royal Mail job and a foot injury. She added that Ian’s action was completely out of character, and said: “I felt Citalopram was to blame for my husband’s death.”
Delivering a narrative verdict, Coroner Andrew Reid (left) ruled that Ian had taken his life, adding: “I’m satisfied he did so while the balance of his mind was disturbed while suffering the adverse effects of Citalopram.”
What is significant about this inquest is that it is the most recent account that I have managed to find online where a British coroner has admitted that Lundbeck’s SSRI antidepressant Citalopram can induce suicide.
The reason why, for the past ten years, coroners have been in denial over the propensity of Citalopram and other SSRI antidepressants to induce suicide may well have emanated from events in Cumbria earlier that year.
In March 2008, an inquest in Cumbria heard that retired bank manager Nigel Woodburn had deliberately driven his car into a tree, four days after having been prescribed Citalopram. Coroner Ian Smith (left) told Nigel’s relatives that he would write to the Committee on the Safety of Medicines (CSM) as “he knew of several other suspected suicides involving the same group of antidepressants, known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs).” He said: “I have to say this is probably the fifth, if not sixth inquest I’ve heard within a period of three years when somebody either just going on to Citalopram or Seroxat, or coming off it, have killed themselves one way or another, totally out of the blue, totally without expectation, without a history of suicidal thoughts in the past.”
The following month, Mr Smith presided over the inquest of 56-year-old farmer Philip Morton, who had been prescribed antidepressants a few days before his death by hanging. Once again, Mr Smith “criticised the use of antidepressants and expressed concerns over a pattern of people taking their own lives days after being prescribed the drugs.”
The report concluded with this extraordinary sentence: “Mr. Smith went on to say that he had dealt with six to eight cases in a short period where people had taken their lives days after starting antidepressant drugs and he had reported these concerns to the health authorities, despite coming under criticism for speaking out.”
I suspect that we will never find out the identity of the person or the organisation that was in such a position of influence that it was able to criticise one of the country’s leading coroners. However, what I do know is that, from that point in time until his retirement in 2014, I found no more reports of Mr Smith’s admitting to the link between SSRIs and suicide, although he was presented with opportunities to do so.
Even at the inquest of 10-year-old schoolboy Harry Hucknell (right) in 2011, Mr Smith decided to “hit out at the pressures placed on youngsters by today’s society,” rather than to blame the lethal combination of Fluoxetine and Ritalin prescribed by a psychiatrist who had clearly flouted NICE Guidelines but, according to Mr Smith, “had acted appropriately”.
Coroners have no box to tick for a prescription drug induced death. Street drug induced death yes but prescripticide no. They don’t collect details of the drugs people were on at the time of their death, an issue that is becoming increasingly important as even before Covid-19 struck, life expectancies were falling and drug induced death had become a leading cause of death – more than Covid-19.
This is a much bigger problem than just inquests. The living are in as grim a position as the dead. You cannot now get a fair trial in the UK or anywhere else if a prescription drug is involved.
This was brought home to me in the Holmes case, where a young man facing the death sentence, despite having a very strong drug defence, didn’t have lawyers with the guts to run this defence for him. See Prescription for Murder and The Man who Thinks he is a Monster.
This affects you – not just people in the extreme position James Holmes was in. Whether you die at the hand of someone made delirious by a drug, or by your own hand after you become delirious or die from a drug induced heart attack or stroke, our legal and medical systems are incapable of recognising that when we prescribe we risk killing you or someone you love and in some way the system needs to recognise this.
If we kill or injure you, we will fall over congratulating ourselves on only using MHRA, EMA or FDA approved drugs and for having kept to NICE or other Guidelines, as the coroner and doctors did after the death of Stephen O’Neill – see The Death of Stephen O’Neill and The Perfect Killing Machine.
The idea that the drug we gave you might have killed you is now more unthinkable to those doing any root cause analysis of what happened to you – after your death or injury – as the idea that you might have been poisoned by a Eucharist put in your mouth by a Catholic priest – in lots of places the Church is now producing gluten free Eucharists.
Medicine now shares an increasing amount in common with religion. It deals in sacraments – things that can only do good and cannot harm – where once it had the maturity to deal in poisons.
This problem is getting steadily worse as Brian’s post and Stephen O’Neill’s inquest reveals.
The NICE before Xmas ends with advice for anyone looking for input on the management of SSRI toxicity or toxicity from any drug – don’t bother. You’d be better asking Santa Claus than MHRA or FDA or NICE or any of the other bodies you might instinctively have thought of turning to.
Most of you don’t have access to a Super Hero. But I do. I figured Brenda would be a good person to broach these issues with – if only to find out who she thought might be best placed to take things further.
Her office replied that she would not be responding. This was her response – not an automatic response.
The times are badly out of joint, when taking on the Government looks like an easier thing to do than grappling with such a blatant and scandalous wrong as led to the death of Stephen O’Neill.
We have woven a web from which almost no-one – not the Supreme Court, not the Government, not the Knights of the Realm, not the flower of the medical profession – can see an escape. To escape would involve the Supreme Court, the Knights of the Realm, the Joker and their counterparts throughout the Western world owning up to some inconvenient truths they have been not just party to but worse – made honourable for their efforts in setting up this system.
This is the key dilemma of the times we live in. There is no Escape/Sanity Clause.
Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
Fears hospitals could face blame over NHS Covid-19 deaths
Coroners will be able to investigate deaths of NHS workers who caught Covid-19 and lacked protective equipment but they won’t be allowed to question national policy
The chief coroner for England and Wales, Mark Lucraft QC, has issued guidance that “an inquest would not be a satisfactory means of deciding whether adequate general policies and arrangements were in place for provision of PPE to healthcare workers”.
Ed Humpherson to His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft QC
Dear Judge Lucraft
I am writing to highlight the issue of death-registration delays in England and Wales and their impact on mortality data and statistics. I am also writing to The Hon Mrs Justice Keegan, head of the Coroners Service in Northern Ireland, about this matter.
I would welcome any support you can offer via your guidance to Coroners to help raise awareness of the importance of timely death registration once an inquest has concluded. Any steps that could help reduce the amount of time before an inquest takes place would also be very welcome.
The investigation of cause of death is a vitally important process that will, sometimes, require a lengthy inquiry. Without a mechanism for Coroners to register the fact of death before an investigation is complete, delays to registration will have an impact on statistics reporting mortality patterns within specific time periods. Most (95-96%) deaths in England and Wales occur in their registration year.However, for some specific causes, as many as half of the deaths registered in a calendar year will have occurred in the previous year, or longer ago. This can make it harder to identify emerging trends or concerning patterns, for example with drug-related deaths.
As the UK’s independent regulator of official statistics we are responsible for monitoring adherence to the Code of Practice for Statistics………..
A case of Snakes in the grass (one other example of the poisonous way they deal with those who rock the boat and expose them)
The Adath Yisroel Burial Society (AYBS) has responded to Mary Hassell’s revelation that the Chief Coroner had previously described her controversial burial policy as “excellent”, despite condemning the protocol a fortnight ago.
The AYBS called Ms Hassell’s comments “unedifying and hopeless”, noting that Judge Mark Lucraft, the Chief Coroner for England and Wales, had taken “advice from a specialist barrister”, after which he had adopted his current position.
Ms Hassell, the senior coroner for Inner North London, submitted an addendum to the court last week ahead of the upcoming judicial review
The addendum stated that, before communicating her burial protocol last October, she had sought advice from Judge Lucraft, who appeared to approve of her position.
In his own comments to the judicial review a fortnight ago, Judge Lucraft called Ms Hassell’s policy “unlawful”, “discriminatory” and “incapable of rational justification”.
However, in a response to Ms Hassell’s addendum, Judge Lucraft said he had misinterpreted the protocol when describing it as excellent.
He again confirmed that Ms Hassell’s protocol “is not rationally justifiable”.
Ms Hassell had told the court: “If the Chief Coroner had told me that my approach was unlawful, then of course I would have reconsidered this immediately.”
However, the AYBS described that as “hard to believe”.
Trevor Asserson, the solicitor representing the AYBS, said Ms Hassell’s position was becoming “more untenable by the minute”.
He also noted Ms Hassell’s statement that she had been subjected to bullying over the affair.
“Ms Hassell calls us bullies for writing her letters,” he said.
“This is a baseless and disgraceful allegation. If she were to comply with her legal obligations we would never have had to write her letters in the first place.” (bullying by the top judge ? surely not)
kind of reeks of Matt Hancock telling a woman MP to whatch her tone when replying to him in the commons)
Congratulations to HH Judge Mark Lucraft QC, 58, who becomes Recorder of London (top Old Bailey judge) on 14 April. No surprise, though the job has been vacant since November. But it leaves vacancy in his former but increasingly important post, Chief Coroner of England and Wales
11:16 AM · Apr 8, 2020 but someone who causes so much ‘disruption’ is still in both positions..
Very important but unfortunately under-resourced with no unified national approach – needs reform but govt won’t do anything about it
It would be a total waste of time to expect this lot to behave decently – their call handlers would have a standard letter drawn up already.
In 2004, the world was ‘buzzing’ with Seroxat
‘Upset and angry’ at lack of action
The so-called recent independent enquiries into the safety of SSRI’s, a type of antidepressant – which include Seroxat – have been beset by scandal and failure.
These drugs have been reviewed by the UK government regulator five times over the last decade yet the most recent review has highlighted some disturbing facts.
In an article in the Guardian in December 2004, almost 15 years ago, the head of the NCISH, “mental health tsar” Professor Louis Appleby (right), was mentioned as one of three people who were to give a press conference the following day on the dangers of antidepressants.
After months reviewing the international data on the drugs, known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), the government’s drugs regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, has concluded that GPs are prescribing far too many pills for people who do not have a serious clinical condition.
They will warn doctors they need to think ‘long and hard’ before putting patients on the medication.
At a press conference tomorrow, Professor Kent Woods, mental health tsar Louis Appleby, and the chief executive of the National Institute for clinical Excellence (Nice), Andrew Dillon, will give their reasons for the warning.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists and Royal College of General Practitioners have thick-legs by being heavily-instrumental in blowing-away Antidepressants as a cause of Suicidal and Homicidal behaviour..
The first UK litigation of its kind against GlaxoSmithKline and the dangerous drug Seroxat began around 2004.
Notes on a Scandal …
“The report concluded with this extraordinary sentence: “Mr. Smith went on to say that he had dealt with six to eight cases in a short period where people had taken their lives days after starting antidepressant drugs and he had reported these concerns to the health authorities, despite coming under criticism for speaking out.”
I suspect that we will never find out the identity of the person or the organisation that was in such a position of influence that it was able to criticise one of the country’s leading coroners. However, what I do know is that, from that point in time until his retirement in 2014, I found no more reports of Mr Smith’s admitting to the link between SSRIs and suicide, although he was presented with opportunities to do so.”
This is just heartbreaking to read.
Wonder if in the safety of retirement Mr Smith would elaborate on what went down back then? Probably a book could be written on that one.
So many deaths are just going under the radar as what was the true cause take the dreadful murder in nz recently of the British girl Millane yet read the backstory of the murderer https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12287282
and you will read this small uncommented on sentence “I’ve recently been diagnosed with severe anxiety and currently take medication” .
I wonder what exactly that man was swallowing from his doctor!
In 2014 bereaved parents of our many youngsters who’d died by suicide after taking isotretinoin (and for some, additional SSRIs and antipsychotics prescribed for the anxiety and ‘depression’ that drug for acne can cause), those many parents met Earl Howe, Norman Lamb, then health secretary, and some of our MPs. Sir Nick Harvey MP was keen to approach the Head Coroner but I don’t think that ever happened. He wanted to make a difference but we don’t think he found a way through. Not long after that he lost his seat as a Lib Dem in the election.
We write to every coroner involved in a case dealing with a suicide where isotretinoin is implicated. We never get an answer. Are they in an ivory tower somewhere, or do they have their hands tied, do they not understand what’s really happening in the real world. Or, more concerning still, is Dr Judy Markovits correct when she reports in her recent book ‘The Plague of Corruption’ just how much of a stranglehold the pharmaceutical industry have over every aspect of our lives, and is it hopeless for us to pin our faith to the idea of ‘Justice’ any more?
One or ‘two’ for ‘the book’ Kiwi
Coroner calls for withdrawal of Seroxat (PAXIL)
March 13, 2002
Coroner calls for withdrawal of Seroxat (PAXIL)
Following the death of a 56 year old retired headmaster within two weeks of taking the antidepressant, Seroxat (PAXIL), a British coroner told a court “”I have grave concerns that this is a dangerous drug that should be withdrawn until at least detailed national studies are undertaken.”
PAXIL and the other SSRI antidepressants are shrouded in controversy as they have been implicated in the deaths of previously non-suicidal persons who have suddenly and without warning taken their lives. The UK medicines control agency announced a review of Seroxat “after growing concern about withdrawal symptoms and side effects.”
“I have grave concerns that this is a dangerous drug that should be withdrawn until at least detailed national studies are undertaken,” he told the court on Tuesday.
“It is my intention to write to the Department of Health and to the secretary of state to ask him to hold an urgent inquiry into Seroxat and consider whether it should be withdrawn from sale in the UK.
Coroners have alerted the health and social care secretary for England to two deaths from side effects of the antipsychotic clozapine and asked what action he intends to take to prevent future deaths.
Two coroners have sent “regulation 28” letters to Matt Hancock
The MCA and the CSM receive reports of suspected adverse drug reactions to medicinal products via the yellow card scheme. Since marketing authorisation was granted in 1990, the MCA and CSM have received 8,702 such reports for paroxetine (Seroxat). One of these reports has been received from a coroner.
In addition the MCA has written to the coroner for Brecon to obtain further details of a recently publicised case.
Annie thankyou for posting that link about paxil.
I hadn’t seen that before.
What I just cant get over is that was written in 2002 !!, 2002! and whats been done about it ….nothing!!
Bet that ‘urgent enquiry ‘ got dismissed somehow just like all the rest of us who have tried to raise concerns.
Yet there is nothing there that is a surprise to any of us paxil survivors.
The medical profession should be deeply ashamed of themselves.
“completely unexpected, out of character and violent.”
The Human Cost of a Misleading Drug-Safety Study
A reexamination of old data for Paxil found that the antidepressant is more dangerous than the authors let on. How much harm has been done in the 14 years since it was published?
September 18, 2015
Sara works to create awareness of the about medicines adverse effects and withdrawal problems. You can hear Sara at the next “Selling Sickness” meeting.
Sara is particularly concerned about antidepressants and has been involved in the following web site.
Sara attended the APRIL charity conference 2008 and spoke about her experience and knowledge from years of research.
“the whole system is so invested now”
“is so deep-seated now”
– Sara Bostock
‘Warp Speed’ …
Former GSK vaccine head Slaoui to lead federal ‘Warp Speed’ project: reports
Sir Andrew Witty to Take Leave of Absence From UnitedHealth Group to Co-lead World Health Organization Efforts to Accelerate a COVID-19 Vaccine
Appointment of Dr Patrick Vallance as government Chief Scientific Adviser
GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3bn in US drug fraud scandal
As part of the settlement, GSK agreed to be monitored by government officials for five years.
GSK said in a statement it would pay the fines through existing cash resources.
Andrew Witty, the firm’s chief executive, said procedures for compliance, marketing and selling had been changed at GSK’s US unit.
“We have learnt from the mistakes that were made,” Mr Witty said. “When necessary, we have removed employees who have engaged in misconduct.”
“Operation Warp Speed” …
Annie – I didn’t realise really until i read in Children of the Cure – page 153 – A Witty was involved in the 329 Study –
The spider lady when asked about the choice of broach said that she had not chosen to wear the broach but it was just attached to the dress she was wearing. So, you only have to go one extra step to hit upon the fact that she chose to wear – and before that buy – the dress, and the explanation was no better than Boris Johnson’s for proroguing Parliament. So, anyhow she is perhaps just another state bureaucrat, and she isn’t going to take on the official advice.
I just love this.
Not just because it contains truths, that we are aware of, but because it contains such an original train of thought that we rarely see and could almost be put in the portals of a Samizdat such is its ‘wheels within wheels’ machinations…
“A society where it is viewed as a sign of madness to look into the prospect of corruption involving a company as massively, provenly corrupt as GlaxoSmithKline…
About Craig Murray
Doune The Rabbit Hole
Despite the fines, these frauds were still massively profitable for GlaxoSmithKline. A perfunctory search on the company brings up similar frauds and fines it perpetrated in South Africa and India. All this within the last decade. I cannot find any information that anyone was jailed, or even sacked, for these criminal activities. It is absolutely astonishing that such an habitually criminal enterprise carries on serenely in the UK. And what is particularly interesting today is that it carries on its crooked activity from its massive manufacturing and research base in Barnard Castle, County Durham.
You would have to believe that criminal activity may be occurring again involving GlaxoSmithKline of the kind which might lead to fines of 37.6 million pounds for overcharging the NHS, or of three billion dollars for fraudulent medical claims in the USA. Nobody sane believes that kind of thing, do they?
Link from CM –
GlaxoSmithKline fraud case: Does crime pay?
Video: ‘bad actors’
MUST Watch …
If anybody fancies ploughing through this – there’s no surprises.
CCBY Open access
BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1505 (Published 27 May 2020)
Correspondence to: R Moynihan email@example.com (or @raymoynihan on Twitter)
Objective To investigate the nature and extent of financial relationships between leaders of influential professional medical associations in the United States and pharmaceutical and device companies.
I will send her a copy of this blog which in the interests of ‘candour’ would add am interesting chapter. Spider woman could even write a response in her book.
The former Supreme Court president has secured a two-book deal
Supreme Court Lady Hale
So Lady Hale is smashing this whole self-isolation thing.
While the rest of us are binge-watching Tiger King, the recently retired Supreme Court president is using lockdown productively — by writing her memoirs.
The Bodley Head publishing house announced yesterday that Lady Hale’s autobiography will be coming out in 2021.
Describing the forthcoming book, Lady Hale said: “Mine is not a rags to riches story — either at the beginning or at the end — but it is the story of how a little girl from a little school in a little village in North Yorkshire became the most senior judge in the United Kingdom — when all the previous holders had been men from public school backgrounds with stellar careers as barristers. It is the story of how she found that she could cope. And it shows how other women and people from similarly small beginnings, without any connections or obvious advantages in the law, will find that they can cope too.”
Her deal with the Bodley Head is for two books: the memoir, plus “an exploration of the importance of the law… illustrated using key judgments”. Perhaps the publishers had to agree to the worthy tome as the price of getting the memoir.
Stuart Williams, publishing director at the Bodley Head, said: “I expect her books to be direct, warm, arresting and candid, and to introduce readers to a great mind and a great campaigner”.