The Oakville Beaver, a newspaper that serves the residents of Oakville, Ontario, is today reporting on the Sara Carlin inquest. Today's article, I feel, is more balanced that the previous articles it has ran during this inquest, and it clearly highlights that not one single person wants to take responsibility for Sara Carlin's death.
As far as I can see, and trust me I have been following this inquest very carefully, the parties involved in the defence of GlaxoSmithKline's drug, Paxil, are involved in a game of passing the buck. Make no bones about it, it's a defence.
Sara Carlin was prescribed a drug called Paxil. It was a drug that was known to cause suicide in Sara's age group yet the practice of off-label prescribing is as rife in Canada as it is in the UK and United States.
So here we have two grieving parents in Neil and Rhonda Carlin. They have taken on the might of the medical profession in Ontario. For their sins they have been subjected to inconsiderate, callous lawyers and a coroner's court that seems hell bent on proving that Paxil did not cause Sara to have a complete personality change that would ultimately end in death.
Today's Oakville Beaver runs with the headline and question, 'Should parents have been told daughter was prescribed anti-depressant?'
This, it seems, is a question of ethics.
We are not talking about a morning after pill here, nor are we talking about a birth control pill. We are talking about a drug that, by it's manufacturers own [late] admission, can cause children and adolescents to kill themselves.
The answer to the question is a no-brainer for me.
To put this in simple terms:
There is a creek owned by a local ranger called Jack. Kid's started to swim in this creek. All seemed well until one day a boy struggled with an undercurrent and drowned.
Jack saw this. He did nothing.
Some months later another child drowned, then another, and another. It continued until one day a witness saw that Jack was not reporting these deaths, he was doing nothing to safeguard the children swimming in his creek.
Evidence emerged that Jack had kept quiet about the danger of his creek and the local authority slapped him with a heavy fine and told him to put warning signs around the creek.
Nobody goes swimming in his creek anymore. Worried parents have told their children that the creek is dangerous. Jack argues that it is only dangerous for those who cannot swim properly.
Despite the warnings around the creek, despite the dangerous undercurrent, despite the deaths, Jack is still allowed to sell tickets to children at $5 so they can swim in his creek.
He cites that the benefits of swimming far outweigh the risks. He believes that swimming is great form of exercise and has medical evidence to prove it. Jack draws a graph which shows that over 5,000 children have swam in his creek and only 4 have died.
Despite Jack lowering the price of a swim to $3, nobody wants to go swimming in his creek any more.
Sadly, Sara Carlin was prescribed a drug that resembled Jack's creek. When Sara got caught in Paxil's undercurrent she had nowhere to swim. She fought hard, she battled hard and did everything possible to free herself from the grip of the 'undercurrent'.
Paxil, like Jack's creek, took a hold of her, it wouldn't let her go.
The Oakville Beaver cites that during cross examination, GlaxoSmithKline lawyer Teresa Walsh pointed out that Rhonda [Sara's mother] was not in the treatment room when Sara went to see the family doctor about Paxil and therefore has no idea what the doctor told her about the side-effects.
Glaxo's lawyer, Teresa Walsh, was not in the same room of the Paxil paediatric studies  either, a study that would have told her that warnings should have been put on the packets of Paxil long before Sara Carlin was prescribed them.
Walsh, may also like to answer my question.
Why, if Paxil has such bad side effects in children and adolescents, is the company that you represent, GlaxoSmithKline, currently running a Paxil Post Marketing Paediatric Study in Depression (Double-blind, Placebo Controlled Study) in Japan? This study has recruited children between the ages of 7 and 17 years - a study loaded with children who they think will do well.
The company you are representing, Ms Walsh, are running a study on children who fall into the very same age category as Sara Carlin.
The lawyers at the inquest will do everything in their power to shift the finger of blame away from Paxil. They will paint a picture of Sara to put doubt in the minds of the jury.
If the jury cannot see through this then I fear that the practice of off-label prescribing to children and teenagers of a drug known to cause suicide will continue without question.
There will be another victim - another swimmer who struggles.
When asked what recommendations she would like to see come out of the inquest, Sara's mother, Rhonda, said she would like to see changes to the way Paxil is prescribed with the patient’s family engaged and all parties warned about the side-effects.
It is such a tragedy that it would take the death of such a beautiful young girl to put such a recommendation in place. Glaxo and Health Canada should have done this years ago - they had a duty to put the warning signs around the creek.
Sara Carlin was prescribed Paxil off-label because it was thought that the benefits outweighed the risk [suicide]
An age old question that has never really been answered is, what exactly IS the benefits of taking Paxil?
Jack the creek owner has gone out of business now.
Glaxo, it appears, want to re-open a new creek in Japan.
On May 6, 2007, Sara Carlin, a beautiful 18-year-old girl with everything to live for, grabbed a piece of electrical wiring, fashioned a crude noose and hanged herself in the basement of her parents house while under the influence of the antidepressant drug Paxil (Seroxat in the UK). Paxil/Seroxat is an antidepressant documented by international drug regulatory agencies as causing worsening depression and suicide particularly in children and young adults.
Please help inform others of the risks of these drugs. Forward this video to everyone you know.
RIP Sara Alison Carlin
Sara Carlin Inquest – Latest
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Sara Carlin Inquest – Coroner’s Witness In U-Turn… And That Man Shaffer!
SARA CARLIN Ontario, Canada
Coroner’s Inquest – Glaxo & Friends Vs The Carlin Family
Sara Carlin Inquest – Local MP Slams GlaxoSmithKline
SARA CARLIN PAXIL INQUEST VIDEO FOOTAGE
SARA CARLIN PAXIL INQUEST GLOBAL TV NEWS
SARA CARLIN INQUEST - What The Jury Should Know
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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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