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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sara Carlin Inquest - Local MP Slams GlaxoSmithKline


Image: Sara Carlin

It's one of them moments where I wished I was a public citizen of Canada. It was a moment that this inquest has been crying out for - someone to tell it like it is.

Enter witness for the Carlin family, Terence Young MP.

I've wrote about Terence before on this blog, or rather the book he wrote entitled, 'Death By Prescription' - my review of this outstanding yet harrowing book can be read on Amazon.

In a nutshell, Terence's daughter, Vanessa, was just 15 when she was prescribed Prepulsid for an eating disorder.

A drug manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.

Terence's story echoes that of Sara Carlin in many ways.

Like Paxil, the Prepulsid side effects were played down its manufacturers.

Like Sara, Vanessa was prescribed this medication off-label by her doctor.

Like the Carlin family, the Young's were never given any warning about the more 'severe' side effects of a drug their daughter had been prescribed.

The two leading newspapers in Ontario reported on yesterday's events at the inquest. The Oakville Beaver, which for the majority of it's coverage has ran with one-sided headlines, and the Toronto Sun, which yesterday ran with the headline, 'MP takes war on drugs to inquest.' The Beaver opting for a more bland headline in, 'Young testifies at Carlin inquest.'

Terence is a father who experienced his daughter die right in front of him. The Carlin's are a family who witnessed their daughter slowly spiral into decline until eventually finding her in the basement of their home hanging from a noose made up of wiring.

I want you all to digest that. It's brutal isn't it. Unthinkable and God forbid we ever have to experience anything like that.

Because many reading this will not have experienced the death of a child this shouldn't make us all turn the other cheek. We should all learn from Sara's inquest. We should all see how pharmaceutical companies and medicine regulators pass the buck and take no responsibility in the drugs they manufacture and grant licence to.

Since covering this tragic case, I have been contacted by many both via email and on Facebook.

Sara's video I created has been viewed over 300 times in just 24 hours, it's made people cry and respond with their stories regarding Paxil and other SSRi type drugs.

Of course, you will always get the odd comment from folk that have had no problem with taking Paxil or withdrawing from it - same way you get smokers who live well into their 80's.

Fact is, Paxil has received so much attention in the media both here and in the United States, the attention hasn't been that favourable.

This inquest is, in essence, to protect children and adolescents in the future. It's a chance for the jury to make recommendations to protect the public.

From day one, GlaxoSmithKline lawyers, doctor's lawyers and even Coroner's Counsel have been so side-tracked by protecting themselves that they really cannot... do not wish to grasp the bigger picture.

The Oakville Beaver also has to take responsibility with it's eye catching pro-Paxil headlines too. They have a responsibility to report to the general public about the dangers of these drugs - much of what the Beaver has wrote has been about Sara's use of alcohol and illegal drugs - they, like the lawyers, it seems, are not protecting any child that may be prescribed Paxil in the future.

Yesterday saw Terence Young eloquently put his position across.

This from the Beaver:

Young spoke of some of the adverse reactions listed on GlaxoSmithKline's product monograph, such as akathisia.

"Akathisia has been described as a horrible torture where you feel like you want to crawl out of your own skin. It's just a living nightmare. It also says Paxil can cause alcohol abuse and depersonalization. This (depersonalization) is perhaps the worst one where you feel like you're watching yourself, but you can't stop what you're doing," said Young.

"We know Paxil causes nightmares."

At this point Paxil manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline's lawyer Teresa Walsh called on the Coroner to restrict Young to the topics he was called to the inquest to testify about.


You see, the mere mention of yet another side-effect, in this instance Akathisia, had the Glaxo lawyer screaming OBJECTION [metaphorically].

Why?

Because GlaxoSmithKline don't want this out in public, it's another adverse reaction Glaxo have played down over the years. It adds more credence to the reasons why Sara did what she did - by objecting, Glaxo lawyer, Teresa Walsh, was merely suppressing the truth from being outed.

I only hope the jury can see past this.

Finally Terence Young hit the nail on the head when he was cross-examined by Walsh.

This from the Toronto Sun:

Lawyer Teresa Walsh, representing Paxil’s makers, queried Young on Sara Carlin’s alcohol consumption two years before taking Paxil.

Young balked at the questions, refusing to answer them and noting by Grade 10 alcohol use is widespread.

“It’s irrelevant. You’re planting the earworm (idea) that it’s the alcohol, everything but the Paxil,” replied Young, who was warned by the coroner to simply answer Walsh’s questions.


GlaxoSmithKline hire the best lawyers money can buy, they have to.

It has occurred to me that there is information Glaxo wish to keep out of the public domain when they hire lawyers to defend the death of a child, an adult or withdrawal effects caused by Paxil - hence the reason they have paid out $1.1 billion dollars in the US alone in out of court settlements and other cases where they have tried to defend Paxil - Schell & Kilker

The Oakville Beaver article can be read HERE

The article from the Toronto Sun, HERE

The inquest concludes Monday with closing arguments.

I'm burned out writing about this inquest - reading about this inquest and what the Carlin's are having to go through is harrowing.

I'm merely a blogger who has been trying to point out the dangers of this drug for the past four years. I'm a member of the public who has took issue with the lack of protection users of Paxil and other SSRi's are getting from the UK regulator, the MHRA.

I hope they are keeping an eye on events in this case. I hope Kent Woods, Sara Morgan and Simon Gregor, three employees of the MHRA I have sat and discussed the issue of withdrawal with, are all sleeping with clear consciences and can return to work on Monday with their heads held high, safe in the knowledge that they have done everything they can to protect children, adolescents and adults in the UK from Seroxat and it's severe side effects.

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

Nessun Dorma





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