Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit

Friday, May 25, 2007

What we have here is... a failure to communicate

The saying goes that there are two sides to every story. I am a firm believer in that saying, hence the comment sections within this blog - yes, they are moderated but I have only on one occasion refused to let a comment go through due to the bad language that was used.

The Seroxat debate also has two sides. There are some that say it is a great drug and has helped them whilst there are others who say the complete opposite.

As some of you know, I have touched on patient support groups on this blog, in the main my gripe was with the Australian patient support groups as you can see HERE, HERE, and more importantly, HERE.

It was the author of Seroxat Secrets that uncovered a 'tangled web' with his posts about Depression Alliance, a patient support group here in the UK. To be honest I try to steer away from subjects covered by Seroxat Secrets because the author writes so well and I feel I could not do justice to his investigations.

I became involved when a friend of mine informed me of a post on a blog on the popular myspace.com website. Reading it I felt the person was misinformed . I posted comments questioning the author's stance but unfortunately these were deleted as were comments by fellow campaigner Roger Cleghorn. The reason, say's the author, was that we were rude.

The blog post was created by Amelia Mustapha who is Vice President of the European Depression Association and Communications Director of the UK’s Centre for Mental Health. Amelia was previously Fundraising, Marketing and Communications Director of the Depression Alliance, the leading UK Charity for people affected by depression.

What caught my immediate attention was her particular stance on anyone who dared speak out against Seroxat - you can read the blog that first gained my interest here and you will see exactly what I mean. Terms such as ' Panorama witch-hunt programmes about Seroxat' and 'There have been 5 or 6 programmes in all and each has been an exemplar in bad science and shock tactics' . Not content with speaking out against the Seroxat (Panorama) programmes, Amelia later has a dig at Scientology and Prof David Healy, using inverted comma's to describe Healy as an expert. She also accuses certain patient support groups jumping on the 'profitable' anti-Seroxat bandwagon. One can see why this invoked a response from me.

It became apparent that adding comments to the blog post were really getting us nowhere so I contacted her and we emailed one another with opinions, admittedly both her and my emails were childishly filled with tints of sarcasm at first but after a while we seemed to be making headway although we both still strongly held our own views. We were pretty much in agreement over the MHRA and the chemical imbalance theory, so much so that she wrote to GSK to ask why they state on their Australian site that ' AROPAX corrects the chemical imbalance and so helps relieve the symptoms of depression.'

I asked Amelia if she would be prepared to talk to a group of us about Seroxat but seeing as we were just in the early stages of correspondence she declined. I also asked Amelia if she would accept a challenge to come up with more than 10,000 patients who support the use of Seroxat opposed to the 10,000 + that I could give her.

Unfortunately Amelia ceased contact with me after She learned that Seroxat Secrets had mentioned her name - I don't know why as I am not affiliated with Seroxat Secrets and cannot control what one wants to write about on their personal blogs. To be honest if anyone should be annoyed for being lambasted then it should be David Healy after what Amelia wrote on her blog about him.

Amelia never told me she was not going to communicate with me anymore, that was left to her friend, Jim Thomson (More on Jim Thomson another time). It's a great pity that two adults with opposing views cannot debate without one throwing the 'dummy out of the pram' and doing a runner because of something negative that was written about them on a site that has nothing to do with Seroxat Sufferers apart from sharing the same passion for justice.

Everyone is entitled to their own views but it is my belief that someone who works with mental health patients should talk to sufferers and collect their stories before writing off Panorama's Seroxat programmes and labelling them a 'witch hunt.'

I'm sure deep down Amelia is a nice person with a genuine belief that she is right and others including SSRi experts are wrong. The evidence she provided me to back up her claims were all funded by Pharma. Breggin's evidence, which I sent to her, was merely glossed over and added with Amelia disputing his credentials.

In truth, we could have gone on for years arguing over who was right and who was wrong. Any evidence I may have put forward to her will have been written off with a whim. The difference between my opinion and Amelia's is that I have experienced the perils of Seroxat first hand - she hasn't. Yes she has spoke to sufferers but I have spoke to women that have had babies and I and any other man could not possibly know the pain a woman goes through when giving birth.

As always, this post is open for comments.

Later this week I shall write about my brief correspondence with Dr Chris Manning of Primhe (formerly of Depression Alliance) and also the rather animated Jim Thomson who used to be the CEO of Depression Alliance.

Keep em peeled

Bob
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