Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit

Monday, September 21, 2009

GlaxoSmithKline's Dr Alistair Benbow

Dr Alistair Benbow GSK

1999 Quote regarding GSK's Requip



"...ropinirole was associated with sleepiness, but only in a tiny minority of patients, and that the company had never previously come across patients who experienced sudden sleep attacks"


10 years later...

Requip Safety Information.

Side effects
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

Very common (affect more than 1 in 10 people)
Feeling sick (nausea).
Sleepiness (somnolence).
Difficulty performing voluntary movements, resulting in jerky or involuntary movements or muscle twitches (dyskinesia).



2004 Quote regarding GSK's Seroxat

"All of the safety data was submitted to the US and European regulatory authorities and was publicly presented in a timely way. In fact safety data from study 329 had already been submitted to the regulatory authorities and had been presented publicly before this document was written."


4 years later...

The MHRA spent four years looking at over one million pages of evidence to determine whether GSK had withheld information.

Professor Kent Woods, MHRA chief executive said they were disappointed GSK had not given them information earlier and that drugs firms had an "ethical responsibility".

"I remain concerned that GSK could and should have reported this information earlier than they did."



2007 Quote regarding GSK's Avandia after it had been suggested that Avandia almost doubles the risk of heart failure.

"...it was "well recognised" that this class of drug could cause fluid retention and the risk was "clearly stated" on its medication. This could be resolved if the patient was well monitored and prescribed diuretics ." [drugs that prevent water retention by promoting more frequent urination]


Article from Bloomberg in 2007

GlaxoSmithKline Plc was warned by U.S. regulators in 2001 against playing down the risk of cardiac disease associated with Avandia, the diabetes drug linked this week to an increased risk of heart attacks.

A year earlier, in March 2000, a diabetes expert from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration complaining about the company's ``rampant abuse of clinical trial data'' related to the drug's cardiovascular safety.



2007 Alistair Benbow reported to the General Medical Council [GMC]
Correspondence between Charles Medawar [Director of Social Audit Ltd] and the GMC.



1 February 2007
Dear Sirs,

I am writing to enquire about the possibilities and appropriate procedures for making a complaint about a registered medical practitioner, in circumstances which do not appear to be covered by the guidance given on the GMC website. I should be grateful for your advice about how to proceed, in the light of the following possibly complicating factors:

1. The complaint I seek to bring does not directly relate to standards of treatment or practice by the individual concerned. I am not a patient of the doctor in question, nor do I have reason to believe that he lacks qualities that would call into question his fitness to practice medicine in a clinical setting. My concern is about the conduct of medically qualified individuals in an institutional/organisational setting.

2. The subject of this prospective complaint is a well qualified physician who acted as the principal spokesperson for the manufacturers (his employers) of a widely prescribed antidepressant drug. I would wish to allege that, in that capacity, and on several occasions, he offered inappropriately reassuring advice about the safety profile (benefit-to-harm ratio) of that drug, in programmes broadcast on television (Panorama: BBC-TV), distributed worldwide. I would wish to allege [a] that his statements were (by omission and/or commission) inaccurate, misleading and possibly reckless; [b] that the statements he made did not reflect the evidence to which he had unique access, whether or not he availed himself of those data. (It is relevant to note here that some submissions to the UK drug regulatory authorities were made in his name); and [c] that substantial harm very probably resulted from his failure either to critically assess the evidence available to him, and/or to his presumption that there was no cause for concern.

In short, and in the light of the evidence that has since become publicly available, this man’s statements on television leave the impression that he conceived his primary duty of care to be to his employers, rather than to the many people (including health professionals) likely to have trusted his judgment as a doctor, and to have been influenced by the reassurances he gave. (Panorama has broadcast four programmes on this subject and this man was interviewed for the first two, but made appearances in all four). I believe that, in the UK, the audience for each of these programmes has been over 3.5 million viewers).

3. My status as a prospective complainant is untypical. The complaint I would wish to bring would and should be in my name – but in my professional capacity as a medicines policy analyst and reporter, with a particular interest in the marketing and effects of this (and related) medicinal products. Therefore it would also seem most appropriate to bring forward any complaint under the letterhead of the organisation (Social Audit Ltd) which employs me in this capacity.

By way of background information, I am enclosing a copy of the review posted to the Social Audit website of the Panorama programme broadcast on 29 January: www.socialaudit.org.uk now gets >750,000 visits/year.

I understand this review is to also be posted to bmj.com

I would welcome your advice on how best to proceed. Thank you for your attention; I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully
Charles Medawar
—————————————


From the GMC 22 February
Dear Mr Medawar

Your complaint about Dr Alastair Benbow

Thank you for your letter of the 1 February 2007.

The main statutory objective of the GMC is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public. One of the ways in which we do this is by maintaining the integrity of the medical register (on which all doctors wishing to practice medicine in the United Kingdom must be included) by ensuring that those doctors on the register are fit to practice and taking appropriate and proportionate action against those whose fitness to practise may be “impaired” (by virtue of misconduct, ill-health, performance, criminal conviction or regulatory determination). Should we continue with your complaint it would almost certainly fall within the misconduct category.

Your complaint appears to relate to statements made by Dr Benbow, in his capacity as head of European clinical psychiatry at GIaxoSmithKline, on two Panorama programmes in relation to the safety (benefit to harm ratio) of paroxetine (seroxat) on depressed adolescents and children. You have helpfully enclosed with your complaint a copy of a review of his and others comments made on the programme(s), which was posted to the Social Audit website following a broadcast of one of the programmes on the 29 January [2007].

In order for the GMC to determine whether Dr Benbow’s fitness to practise may be impaired by reason of misconduct we would need to consider the nature of the allegations you are making (taking into account all the circumstances of the case and our guidance in Good Medical Practice) and whether there is tangible evidence to support a finding of misconduct.

Whilst I appreciate that Dr Benbow’s comments have caused you concern, at present there is nothing in your complaint in its current form to suggest that his medical abilities are affected as a result of the comments you say he made. Therefore, if you wish the GMC to consider this matter further I should be grateful if you would provide me with further details of the allegations you are seeking to make against Dr Benbow, including specific details of exactly which comments you take issue with, when and in what context they were made, and why you take issue with them. If you have any documentation which would support your complaint, then I would be grateful if you could supply this. It would be of particular help if you could provide me with a videotape or DVD of the programmes in question if you are able to do so.

I look forward to hearing from you by Friday 2 March 2007.

Yours sincerely

Anna Neill
Investigation Manager


—————————————
From Charles Medawar 28 February 2007

Dear Ms Neill,

Thank you for your letter of 22 February. I’m sorry if I didn’t make it clear in my letter of 1 February that I was not so much bringing a complaint about Dr Benbow, as enquiring about whether and how to do so in the unusual circumstances I outlined.

I mentioned that my search of the GMC website yielded no guidance, nor obviously applicable case law, but thank you for telling me that allegations of misconduct would almost certainly best fit. However, I have checked the GMC website again and have found no pithy judgments, definitions or precise guidance about what misconduct might entail. I would therefore welcome any advice you might give about what might be relevant and appropriate in pursuing the issues in this case.

It might help to clarify these matters at the outset, because preparation of the case would involve me in a lot of work – and a great deal more by the GMC, if the case were to be investigated and pursued. What was said in the broadcast interview would need to be tested against substantial, sometimes detailed evidence, to establish how true, fair and appropriate it actually was. You will appreciate this from the recordings and transcripts of the programme I shall send you, though the gist is clear.

Dr Benbow publicly and emphatically denied the existence of risks with Seroxat® when his employers were in possession of evidence that those risks were substantial and real. The book, Medicines out of Control? gives a summary of events and context, through December 2003, and I shall send you this too. Meanwhile, Panorama specified two main problems:

1. Some users experienced severe and prolonged withdrawal symptoms and felt addicted to Seroxat®; they were unable to stop taking the drug when they very much wanted to. This problem was clearly significant: there were (and are) more such adverse drug reaction reports for Seroxat® than for any other drug. With apparent sincerity, but also quite deviously, Dr Benbow denied their significance. However, within three months of the second Panorama programme, GSK withdrew its claim that Seroxat was not addictive, and radically revised its previous insistence that withdrawal symptoms were rare and mild. They admitted (as they were required to do) that about one-quarter of all users would experience withdrawal reactions, some severely so.

2. Concern was expressed also about the risk of paroxetine-induced violence and self harm including suicidal behaviour, especially in children and adolescents. Again Dr. Benbow denied the available evidence, though a few weeks after the second Panorama programme, the UK regulators required Seroxat® to be contraindicated for use by under 18-year olds. Having seen the relevant data, it took them just two weeks to do so. Independent reanalysis of the original data in 2006 showed the risk for children to be greater still, and that a significant risk existed for adults too.

In my earlier letter, I alluded to the apparent complexity of the issues, but perhaps too obliquely. The prospective complaint is not primarily about Dr Benbow’s abilities as a clinician, the traditional concern of the GMC. Nor is it to do with traditional notions of professional misconduct. The complaint is also very much to do with context: what is proper, or ‘behaviour unbecoming’ or ‘misconduct’, when a doctor assumes responsibility for communicating to millions of people ‘the facts’ about the risks and benefits of using a specified drug, when he also has unique access to the unpublished and most relevant data?

Another complication is that it seems impossible to measure with any precision the health impact of Dr Benbow’s advice – arguably the key indicator of appropriateness of behaviour. My sense is that, if he had been free to reflect what he knew (or ought to have known), and to promote his beliefs and values as a doctor, [a] Dr Benbow would have been very much more circumspect and honest in dealing with Panorama; and [b] this would have spared many people significant injury, loss and distress.

It seems relevant to note that there would be no grounds for complaint about Dr Benbow, had he complied with the terms of the pharmaceutical industry’s codes of practice for drug sales representatives – e.g. “Information, claims and comparisons must be accurate, balanced, fair, objective and unambiguous and must be based on an up-to-date evaluation of all evidence and reflect that evidence clearly. They must not mislead either directly or by implication.”

In this connection, you should be aware that, between 2001 and 2003, Social Audit made two separate complaints to the ‘Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority’ about gross misrepresentation of risk of dependence by GSK staff. Both complaints were lodged before Dr Benbow’s appearances on Panorama, and both were upheld. As Dr Benbow represented GlaxoSmithKline at the second hearing, he would have been familiar with the issues – including those relating to definition. Dr Benbow’s statements in the first Panorama programme cannot be reconciled with the relevant WHO advice on this subject. See attached letter (20 May 2002) and specifically the section on the definition of ‘dependence’:

Since publication of the ICD-10 guidelines, the World Health Organisation (1998) has published a statement on “Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and withdrawal reactions,” which makes it clear: [a] that dependence should be regarded as not an ‘on or off’ phenomenon, but as a condition that should be measured by degree; [b] that on existing definitions, sensibly interpreted, SSRIs can and do cause ‘dependence’; and [c] that in the last analysis, the patient’s experience with the drug is the test of whether or not a drug causes dependence:

“There is obviously some confusion about the concept of dependence … The simplest definition of drug dependence given by WHO is ‘a need for repeated doses of the drug to feel good or to avoid feeling bad’ (WHO, Lexicon of alcohol and drug terms, 1994). When the patient needs to take repeated doses of the drug to avoid bad feelings caused by withdrawal reactions, the person is dependent on the drug. Those who have difficulty coming off the drug even with the help of tapered discontinuation should be regarded as dependent, unless a relapse into depression is the reason for their inability to stop the antidepressant medication.

In general, all unpleasant withdrawal reactions have a certain potential to induce dependence and this risk may vary from person to person. Dependence will not occur if the withdrawal symptoms are so mild that all patients can easily tolerate them. With increasing severity, the likelihood of withdrawal reactions leading to dependence also increases …” (WHO Drug Information, 1998)

Should this case be progressed as a formal complaint, I would need to refer to other relevant documents on the Social Audit website. In the meantime, I hope that the programmes, transcripts and other materials I am sending will help you to determine whether and how you would wish to proceed.

You will appreciate that my underlying concern is about the meaning of being ‘a doctor’, and about the extent to which the public should trust that status, and depend on professional commitment to procuring health and doing no harm. To what extent should the public trust a doctor, when substantial conflicts of interest are involved? Perhaps Dr. Benbow’s fitness to practice is less important than the principle of the thing. I am very much open to suggestion, more concerned about the effective resolution of these concerns than about how this is achieved. I look forward to hearing from you

Sincerely,

Charles Medawar
Director

Attachments: DVDs and transcripts of Panorama programmes, Medicines out of Control? and other relevant materials. The reply from the GMC indicated a reply might be expected “within a couple of weeks”. It took ten.
—————————————


From the GMC 11 May
Dear Mr Medawar
I am writing further to your correspondence about Dr Alistair Benbow. I am sorry for the delay in our response.

From the information that you have provided so far, we cannot identify any issues that would enable us to conduct an investigation into Dr Benbow’s practice. In the absence of any clear criminal or other regulatory proceedings relating to the research into, and/or production or marketing of, Seroxat, to which Dr Benbow can be directly linked, there is no information available to us which could amount to an allegation of misconduct capable of calling into question Dr Benbow’s fitness to practise.

We are also of the view that it would be disproportionate and/or premature for us to commence an investigation at this stage for the purposes of searching for information or evidence sufficient to make an allegation regarding Dr Benbow’s fitness to practise.

We do not have information sufficient to make (or support) an allegation that Dr Benbow’s fitness to practise may be impaired. Although our file in this matter is now closed, this will not preclude us from reconsidering this matter in future, should new information or evidence come to light, which indicates that Dr Benbow’s fitness to practise might be called into question.

Please find enclosed your DVD, as requested. We have not taken a copy.

Yours sincerely

Tim Cox-Brown
Investigation Officer
—————————————


From Charles Medawar 24 May 2007
Dear Mr Cox-Brown

Thank you for your letter of 11 May (Ref E1-6XK3V) in response to my enquiries dated 1st and 28th February. Thank you too for returning the Panorama DVD that I sent to Anna Neill. I received both on 18 May, several days after I had read the duplicate letter you sent to another complainant, Mr. Derek Brown. He posted your correspondence on the Internet, but you should know that I had no contact with Mr. Brown on this matter: these were independent complaints, albeit prompted by many of the same concerns.

I am now minded to post our correspondence on the Social Audit website (>1m visits/year), to allow others to decide whether my enquiry was handled appropriately. My view is that this response casts doubt on the General Medical Council’s own fitness for purpose. The response to date signals to me lack of competence, capacity, imagination, independence and commitment to health, though in what proportions I can’t be sure.
I was struck by the emptiness of your letter. Everything you wrote emphasised that the GMC believes nothing can or should be done. The available evidence was sufficient to persuade Panorama to complain that Dr Benbow, representing himself as expert, had broadcast false and misleading statements about the safety of Seroxat (paroxetine). Yet the GMC seems unconcerned.

Is this really in the public interest, and in line with public expectations of the GMC? I very much hope not. It seems absurd that the GMC should be satisfied with the conduct of a registered medical practitioner, even when he/she falls short of pharmaceutical industry standards for drug sales representatives:
“Information, claims and comparisons must be accurate, balanced, fair, objective and unambiguous and must be based on an up-to-date evaluation of all evidence and reflect that evidence clearly. They must not mislead either directly or by implication.”

I bent over backwards to explain that I don’t have it in for Dr Benbow either as a clinician or personally but – along with many others – I am extremely concerned that any doctor should so uncritically toe the company line, when evidence of drug risk and harm is so strong. The generic issues seem critical: are doctors who speak for drug companies under too much pressure or otherwise professionally compromised? Are they simply to be regarded as company spokespeople, owing correspondingly less to the public by way of duty of care? It seems really feeble that the GMC should conclude so blandly, authoritatively and emphatically that there is nothing to be said, case closed.

The GMC’s position seems all the more unacceptable given that your President recently, if unwittingly, instigated an oppressive investigation of Professor David Healy, on the basis of ropey evidence and dark hints. On that occasion, a bit of deviously orchestrated and nasty gossip was sufficient for the GMC to require Dr. Healy to justify, in some detail, his fitness to practice as a doctor. I suppose it is to the GMC’s credit that they later concluded there was no case to answer; several major pharmaceutical companies would have been well pleased if this monstrous complaint had been pursued.

Here too, the GMC seems to have missed the point. Commercial influence now has profound effects on the ethos of medicine, clinical practice and patients’ health – some undoubtedly welcome, but others unquestionably not. If the GMC wasn’t concerned about the evidence from Dr Benbow, it would strike at the heart of evidence-based clinical medicine. I’d be reassured to think that, as a matter of urgency, the GMC was at least thinking about giving guidance on the subject – strong enough to protect the conscience of honest doctors employed by drug companies.

Both to protect Dr Benbow’s reputation, and to safeguard its own credibility, I suggest that the GMC should now state publicly [a] whether or not Dr Benbow was asked to respond to any allegations? [b] whether and in what manner Dr Benbow explained his position to the GMC? [c] whether or not the GMC accepted evidence from Dr Benbow that he had faithfully described the risks and harms of paroxetine known to him? [d] that the GMC was satisfied that the evidence of risks and harms of paroxetine that were uniquely available to Dr Benbow was satisfactorily communicated and [e] whether he explained to the GMC’s satisfaction that his performance on Panorama was sufficiently guided by the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

One should expect nothing less from an honourable doctor than from a witness in court, but where does the GMC stand? The question is not rhetorical, but nor am I prepared to fall in with the executive propensity for delay. If you or anyone else from the GMC were to pick up the phone within the next working day or two, I would sympathetically engage in any discussion relating to issues, publicity and engagement – even on off-the-record terms, if that were to serve some greater good. An alternative might be Judicial Review.

Yours sincerely

Charles Medawar
Director
—————————————


From the GMC 31 May
Tim Cox-Brown (0161 923 6427)
TCoxbrown@gmc-uk.org

Dear Mr Medawar

Thank you for your letter of 24 May 2007.

We are currently considering your comments and we will contact you again in due course.

Yours sincerely

Tim Cox-Brown
Investigation Officer


2008 Quote regarding GSK's Ziagen [abacavir]

"...the company takes any new information about the safety of its drugs seriously but it did not want to highlight what may be “spurious observations” relating to abacavir."

and

"GSK investigated the Uppsala signal in 2005 and carried out a check of its own internal data, as well as the database of the American Food and Drug Administration, but could not replicate the finding. “So there was not a signal in our internal database or that of the FDA,”



1 year later...

Researchers Show AIDS Patients Treated With Ziagen Are At Higher Risk Of Heart Problems




2008 UK solicitors, Hugh James, recieve a letter from Addleshaw Goddard [GSK's solicitors] regarding a video and comments made by me.




I removed the video from youtube.com but it has since been uploaded by another advocate.





My statement regarding Addleshaw Goddard's letter.


The following is a message to my readers and also a statement from me that is, in the main, addressed to GlaxoSmithKline’s Lawyers, Addleshaw & Goddard and Dr Alistair Benbow, Head of European clinical psychiatry at GSK.

I have emailed Addleshaw & Goddard via their website with the following:

With reference to the letter you sent to Hugh James Solicitors regarding the posting and comment of your client GSK.

I have prepared and posted a statement and apology and would be grateful if Addleshaw and Goddard could confirm in writing within 7 days of receipt of yourselves and Dr Benbow reading the statement.

The statement can be read here:http://fiddaman.blogspot.com/2008/03/gsk-lawyers-target-seroxat-campaigner.html

I will understand Dr Benbow’s failure to respond to an apology given in good faith as churlish and provocative, and will prepare myself accordingly.

Yours sincerely
Mr Robert Fiddaman

----

Well readers, it seems I’ve been singled out for creating a video regarding Seroxat

GlaxoSmithKline’s Lawyers, Addleshaw & Goddard, have wrote to the solicitors handling the Seroxat litigation because their client (GSK) were not happy with the content of a video posted on youtube entitled ‘GSK – Not So Corporate Video’. Their client were also unhappy with a comment left regarding Alistair Benbow.

Quite why they have contacted solicitors handling the UK Seroxat litigation rather than contact me direct is baffling.

The video in question has been removed from youtube, it was a choice I made not because of the content, which in the main, was quotes from Alistair Benbow balanced out with quotes from the media that are easily accessible on the world-wide-web. The decison to remove it was made basically because it seemed I had used their logo and photo without their permission.

According to the letter sent to my solicitors Alistair Benbow is said have been caused ’serious distress by such unwarranted harassment’.

It is my belief that the video showed two sides to the Seroxat argument, however Addleshaw & Goddard think differently, they believe it was made to appear as if Benbow was lying. Could it not be argued that it was made to show that the media reports were lying? I’m just throwing the debate open here you see.

The video itself started off with the GSK logo then the GSK statement:

“We have a challenging and inspiring mission: to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer”

The next slide in the video read thus:

“GlaxoSmithKline knew even before Seroxat was approved that its drug could induce suicidality, dependency and withdrawal”

I don’t think there is anything defamatory within that statement as the MHRA have just proved that with their findings into their 4 year investigation into GSK haven’t they?

Or am I wrong?

The video continued with photos of Alistair Benbow followed by quotes he has made, the first being this one:

“The side effects (of Seroxat discontinuance) are things like dizziness, nausea, headache…”

This quote was followed by a paragraph taken from The Guardian:

“Britain’s best selling antidepressant, Seroxat, can cause adults as well as children to become suicidal”

The next slide in the video showed a photo of Benbow followed by another of his quotes:

“We take the safety of our medicines extremely seriously”

Once again Alistair Benbow’s quote is balanced out with another segment from The Guardian, this time:

“Glaxo played down Seroxat side effects”

Basically the video was showing the two arguments.

Yet again the Guardian quote is followed by one of Benbow:

“These medicines are not linked with suicide, these medicines are not linked with an increased rate of self harm”

To balance things out the next slide in the video was a segment from the BBC news:

“Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline knew that the anti-depressant Seroxat could not be proved to work on children in 1998, according to a leaked internal document.”

Once again I chose to counteract this statement with one from Benbow, as was seen in the next slide from the video:

“The information in the patient information leaflet and in the information we supply to doctors, is based on fact”

The following segment of the video was taken from the newspaper, The Argus, it reads:

“Happy pill girl’s suicide tragedy… A brilliant young artist killed herself after taking the controversial anti-depressant Seroxat”

A photo of Sharise Gatchell followed, I’d previously asked the mother of Sharise if I could use the photo.

The video continued with:

“Sharise had hanged herself. A packet of Seroxat, with 30 empty blisters, was lying on her bed”

The video then threw up another Benbow quote (purely as a way of balance)

“I utterly refute any allegations we are sitting on data, that (we) have withheld data or anything like that”

(Has the MHRA investigation just proved that statement to be incorrect?)

Or am I wrong?

The video then went into scroll mode and highlighted Paxil Study 329, more of which can be read here.

Again I allowed for balance by providing in the next segment another Benbow quote:

“I think patients have nothing to fear from taking Seroxat”

To counteract the above statement by Benbow I quoted a segment of a story taken from USA Today. It referred to a federal judge who had ordered GlaxoSmithkline to stop all television commercials nationwide that say the drug is NOT habit forming.

As was the pattern of the video I then opted to add another Benbow statement:

“Anybody who suffers side effects of any sort I feel every sympathy for”

The Daily Mail was my next source to use a quote from:

“Man slashed wrists on Seroxat. A coroner has called for Britain’s biggest selling antidepressant to be withdrawn after a retired headmaster who was prescribed the drug was found dead with slashed wrists”

The video then highlighted the story of 3 year old Manie from the USA, once again I asked permission to use the photos prior to the video being made.

Manie’s story can be read in detail here.

The video ended with the GSK logo.

In hindsight I would not have used the logo and to be fair I think the video was in the main a cross examination of both parties. The sufferers being represented by media reports and GSK being defended by Alistair Benbow.

The comment left on youtube I guess could have been deemed defamatory, it was a personal comment basically labelling Alistair Benbow a liar. For that I apologise, it was however, a personal opinion of which there are literally thousands across the world-wide web regarding Dr Alistair Benbow

Addleshaw & Goddard Solicitors suggest that.. “the natural and ordainary meaning of the video and the posting (comment) is that Dr Benbow has lied,acted hypocritically and/or been guilty of a cover up in making statements about Seroxat which he knew to be untrue”

I utterly refute that allegation and as you can see from this post – the idea was to leave the viewer with the question… Is Dr Benbow a liar or not?

My personal opinion (because we’re still permitted to have opinions, in western “civilized” democracies, even though GSK and its lawyers would appear to prefer that this were not the case), is that Benbow is either lying or is an ignorant person (for not knowing what was being discussed within his own company, on a subject upon which he was supposed to be expert). The latter possibility would be one for his superiors to address, assuming that they deliberately left him in the dark. This is fair comment on a matter of public interest, and I will not be silenced by some lapdog or lickspittle that has forgotten what the Law means.

I am entitled to my fair and balanced opinion on a matter of public interest by dint of the protection of the public interest privilege extended to the general public under the decision in Steel and Morris v UK, in the European Court of Justice. For the avoidance of any and all possible doubt, I reject utterly that my approach is malicious: I have nothing against Dr Benbow, though I find some of his utterances utterly incredible. Equally incredible is that a law originally designed to protect people from stalkers (The Harassment Act 1997) has been co-opted by these ‘professionals’ to protect Benbow from scrutiny.

Scrutiny now equates to harassment – I can’t see that that meets the definition in the Act, in any event. One piddling video ought not to be claimed to amount to harassment, and I can’t see that it does. I regret that he is reported to have claimed to have experienced distress – that was not the intention and I would apologize to Dr Benbow if the claim is true. However, until such time as he feels inclined to clarify whether or not he knew of the October, 1998 memo, I shall continue to speculate on the subject, lickspittles notwithstanding, because I see that question as key.

I suggest that this not-at-all veiled threat of legal action is viewed by myself as an attempt at intimidation on the part of GSK, which has prior form in this area (John Buse, etc). Naturally, I view this as utterly reprehensible if it wasn’t so transparent and unfounded, an abuse of its superior bargaining position, in terms of wealth, and so on.


I have insisted that Addleshaw & Goddard confirm, in writing, within seven days of receipt of this statement and apology to Benbow, that Benbow has accepted same.

I will understand Dr Benbow’s failure to respond to an apology given in good faith as churlish and provocative, and will prepare myself accordingly.

I will leave it up to my readers to decide whether or not they think Alistair Benbow is a liar and maybe revamp the video at a later date by removing the logo of GSK and the photograph of Alistair Benbow which apparently is the ownership of GSK. The rest of the video was basically two arguments.

There have been no physical threats made by me in this particular video and the reason Benbow’s quotes were used in the making of this video is that he has been the spokesperson of GlaxoSmithKline throughout thus making it impossible not to focus the subject matter on him.

I think it fair to say that I am not a great lover of GlaxoSmithKline because the drug they manufacture, Seroxat, has caused not only myself but thousands of others unwanted side effects. Is that statement defamatory? If so, then Addleshaw & Goddard may have their work cut out to prosecute the thousands of people that have signed and commented on petitions, blogs and websites here in the UK.

*On a footnote, this letter has made me feel intimidated and I feel the above statement from me is merely allowing myself freedom of expression and the right of reply.

----


Click here to watch Alistair Benbow discuss/defend Seroxat. [You will need Real Player to watch]


Alistair Benbow currently holds the following positions:


Vice President and European Medical Director
GlaxoSmithKline plc

Head of European Clinical Psychiatry
GlaxoSmithKline plc

Medical Director
GSK Europe

Related Link

The Magnificent Alistair Benbow in Full Flow


Fid

ORDER THE PAPERBACK
'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
SIGNED COPIES HERE OR UNSIGNED FROM CHIPMUNKA PUBLISHING
Post a Comment