Here was I thinking the MHRA were trying to not only build bridges but to repaint their already tarnished image regarding the regulation of SSRi drugs in general. I have to seriously ask myself whether the meetings with SSRi campaigners has been nothing more than a token gesture and whether joining forces with the ABPI is merely a way to stifle the voices of those campaigners.
What sort of message do you the MHRA think this is sending out to patients?
Professor Kent Woods, chief executive of the MHRA, said: "Medicines can bring big benefits, but as with any medical treatment, no medicine is risk-free. By making as much information as possible publicly available, we can help people make informed choices about the medicines they take"
So can we!
I think the MHRA have learned nothing other than it's own growth of stubbornness and ignorance to the needs of patients suffering. What on earth do the MHRA think they are going to learn from the ABPI, surely the MHRA cannot be suggesting that the ABPI have the patients interest at heart? Personally, I see this as a massive kick in the teeth and any headway that has been made between the MHRA and SSRi campaigners seems to have been disregarded and merely kicked into touch along with bodies beneath the ground as a result of SSRi usage, along with broken relationships as a result of SSRi usage, along with the adverse reactions patients have had to endure as a result of the MHRA failing to regulate these types of drugs correctly.
It appears to me that many walls have been knocked down to get the MHRA to listen to patients but now they have basically built a moat around MHRA HQ by joining forces with the ABPI. I see it as competition against campaigners [bloggers] - if that's the way the MHRA wish to play it then so be it. They know how influential bloggers can be... is this the reason the MHRA have joined forces with the ABPI? It certainly looks like it.
My recent meeting with the MHRA appeared to be fruitful, had I known at the time that they were planning to team up with Pharma to dispel information about their drugs on websites and blogs then I would have taken what was said at the meeting with a pinch of salt.
I am hugely disappointed, more so because my attention has now been drawn once again to the conflict of interests between the MHRA and pharmaceutical companies when I should really be focused on GSK and withdrawal victims.
Karen Miller, a director at the ABPI, said: "More and more people are going online to find out about health-related issues, and while the internet is a superb resource, it contains a lot of disinformation."
Karen Miller may also like to know that more and more people are logging in to patient advocate sites because sites such as this one and many others are not funded by pharmaceutical companies... though I am guessing that she and the MHRA already know just how influential patients voices can be when it comes to expression on the Internet. The 'disinformation' she refers to is quite an insult. Maybe she should take a look at the way GlaxoSmithKline manipulated data to sell a drug!
Have the MHRA learned nothing from talking with patients? It seems to me that they are not taking me or other campaigners seriously and seems that by teaming up with the ABPI they are sticking two fingers up to those who have been trying to raise awareness about the regulation of SSRi type drugs and the problems facing patients withdrawing from those drugs.
I've laid off the MHRA for a while on this blog but really see this latest union of the MHRA and the ABPI as a total lack of disrespect for the work myself and others are trying to do. Worst of all, the MHRA must have been in talks with the ABPI during the meetings with myself and other campaigners which suggests to me that the MHRA were listening but planning to do nothing about our concerns, probably more interested in teaming up with the ABPI than listen to those who matter, the patients! At my meeting it was suggested that they could possibly 'persuade' the BNF to update the information in their book regarding SSRi withdrawal. It was also agreed that they meet with Prof. David Healy to discuss SSRi withdrawal and possibly come up with a tapering program as a guide for GP's and patients. As yet, nothing of note has been done about this. I know these things take time but with this recent union between the MHRA and the ABPI, I fear I may have been merely given the 'brush off' by the MHRA.
My attention is now back on the MHRA and my blogging will continue until the MHRA realise that we [the patients] are more important than Pharma. We may not have the money that they do but we have opinions that the MHRA know can be highly influential.
The MHRA may employ the services of outside companies to better their image, such as Machan, but their self image is not what matters here. The minute they realise this, the minute they will come to an understanding that it's patients that need help rebuilding their lives and not the MHRA who need help reconstructing their tarnished image!
Read the new book, The Evidence, However, Is Clear...The Seroxat Scandal
By Bob Fiddaman
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