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Author of The evidence, however, is clear, the Seroxat scandal
Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award Recipient (Twice)
Humanist, humorist

Monday, January 31, 2011

GSK settles Avandia heart attack case before trial

Image: avandialawyercenter.com




Burford case settled on eve of jury trial in Philadelphia

GSK, who have always robustly defended their diabetes drug Avandia, settled a U.S. federal court case alleging its diabetes drug led to the death of a man from a heart attack.

Burford, who died in 2006, was the first to go to trial and could have resulted in a large award against GlaxoSmithKline. Alas, the unknown settlement [with gagging orders] suited both parties.

The settlement also means that Glaxo have quietly settled two other Avandia cases brought in Philadelphia by two plaintiff attorneys, Joseph Zonies and Thomas Cartmell.

In the UK, cases like this go before a judge, no jury is in attendance.

The current UK Seroxat litigation, of which I am a claimant, will be the subject of future posts on this blog. I've remained quiet due to legal reasons but will be going public with revelations shortly. Both ITV and BBC have already approached me.

Watch this space.

Fid

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

HERE WE GO AGAIN - Viibryd, the new SSRi

Image: Business Wire

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your doctor and not be presented with a new option of antidepressant medication.

On Monday 24 January, it was announced that the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] had approved vilazodone HCl tablets, to be marketed under the brand name Viibryd, for the treatment of adults with major depressive disorder.

According to a press release, Viibryd is a new molecular entity and the first and only selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and 5HT.

Stephen M. Stahl, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, promotes the use of Viibry with the following:

"When treating MDD, our goal is to offer treatment options that meet the individual needs of each patient..." "Viibryd is an important new treatment option with proven efficacy and a demonstrated safety profile."

Wow a psychiatrist promoting a pill, whatever next?

Clinical Data, which owns worldwide rights to vilazodone from Germany’s Merck KGaA, will offer the drug as a new option for treating patients with major depressive disorder.

They confirmed the safety and effectiveness of vilazodone in two eight-week clinical trials. The drug not only acts as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, not unlike the antidepressant paroxetine [Seroxat/Paxil], but it also is supposed to impact the so-called 5HT1A receptor, a target for the anti-anxiety pill buspirone. Though the combination makes the drug unique, the company says the mechanism of the drug isn’t fully understood. [1]

I just love the last line, "...the company says the mechanism of the drug isn’t fully understood."

No shit Sherlock!

Can we, as consumers, accept that the two eight-week clinical trials were carried out with no manipulation of data? Are we expected to offer ourselves up as guinea pigs when the manufacturer is unsure how the drug works? Surely, if they are unsure how it works, they will be unsure how to treat any adverse reactions that  will more than likely arise out of patients taking it?

Here's an idea. It's free advice to doctors.

When a patient comes in feeling depressed, don't reach for the prescription pad because you only have a 5 minute slot with your patient. Tell them to exercise, it's proven to be more effective than the apparent minimal benefits drugs such as Seroxat can offer.

I suspect Clinical Data would have already briefed their reps regarding the promotion of this rebadged brain zapping drug - just like Glaxo did with their little cash cow.


It amazes me how a medicine regulator can grant licence to a drug that can increase suicidal thoughts in those taking it. I suspect the warnings will be minimal, "dizziness, nausea, diarrhea."

No doubt the patient information leaflet will be laden with the phrase "Talk to your doctor if you suffer this or that"

Pharma market it.

Regulators approve it.

Doctors prescribe it.

Patients endure it.

Great. I sincerely hope coroner's keep their eyes on Viibryd.

Rant over.


[1] Clinical Data Stock Surging on FDA Approval of Anti-Depression Drug



Fid

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Terence Young MP - "...regulators still aren't issuing proper safety warnings."



Terence Young, an Ontario MP whose daughter's death was blamed on a now-discontinued prescription drug, Prepulsid, is spreading the word with regard to calling for an independent drug safety agency.

I believe that Terence Young is right, I also believe that both the UK and US need a new independent drug safety agency.

The following video was taken from CTV News and shows Terence explain why an independent agency is needed. He told the morning show:

"Nothing significant has changed since Vanessa died. There are dangerous drugs on the market right now, because regulators still aren't issuing proper safety warnings," Young said.

"Twenty-two prescription drugs that Health Canada and the pharmaceutical industry told us were safe to our families have been taken off the market since 1997 for injuring and killing patients."

Add to that the fact that Health Canada, like it's British and American counterparts, are funded by the pharmaceutical industry and you can see why there is a need for change.

Terence Young also gave evidence last year at the inquest of Sara Carlin, an 18 year old teenager who tragically took her life whilst on Paxil [Seroxat in UK]. The jury at that inquest called for an independent health regulator to be set-up.

With so much opposition to Health Canada, it's hard to see why they still "regulate" prescription medication. But with a regulatory body financed by the pharmaceutical industry, it will be extremely difficult to knock them from the perch they have been sitting on for so many years.

Terence is also the author of "Death By Prescription", a harrowing account of the untimely death of his daughter, Vanessa.

I read the book some time ago, the opening chapter had me in floods of tears.

Here's the video from CTV

**Apologies for the poor synch quality.



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FACEBOOK: STOP THE LIES ABOUT SEROXAT/PAXIL AND OTHER SSRIs




399 Members and growing.

One subscriber has been removed for having ties to GlaxoSmithKline and their lawyers.

Please join and invite those on your Facebook friend list to join.

**Note

You will need a Facebook account to join.



Fid

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hurry Tomorrow - A film by Richard Cohen and Kevin Rafferty



This documentary gives a rare look at the pill-pushing that goes on in mental institutions.

For six weeks in 1974, an independent film crew was granted full access to a locked psychiatric ward in Los Angeles, where they recorded brutal scenes of dehumanizing treatment and forced drugging.

Video - Psychiatric treatment filmed in a locked psychiatric ward at Metropolitan State Hospital. Jack gets the staff to let his wife leave. He is then coerced into getting an injection. Scene from Hurry Tomorrow.



More details and videos HERE

Fid

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fish, Chips...and Prozac!

Image: thecartoonpictures.com


Alarm bells are ringing in Montreal, Canada it seems.

St. Lawrence River fish have been found to be loaded with Prozac and other antidepressant drugs.

One would think that anglers with nothing better to do had been experimenting using Prozac as bait to satisfy their need to hook their catch [pun intended]

Maybe pharmaceutical companies are carrying out a huge benefit/risk assessment on the little fishies in St Lawrence river, that would be absurd, right?

The Montreal Gazette writes:

Researchers at the Université de Montréal and Environment Canada have discovered large quantities of antidepressants in the liver, muscle and brain tissues of brook trout exposed to three months of various levels of treated effluent from Montreal's sewage treatment plant.

According to the peer-reviewed study, published this week in the journal Chemosphere, most of the drug was found in liver tissue. Slightly less was found in the brain. The least amount was found in muscle, which is the filet eaten by humans.

One can only begin to imagine how Percy the perch or Carol the carp are coping now that their waters have been invaded by levels of serotonin. And what of the pregnant fishies, maybe an increase in defective births is on the cards?

The problem stems from people flushing unwanted meds down the toilet, more worryingly it also stems from residue in human faeces as most sewage treatment plants are not equipped to deal with pharmaceutical products.

The research team found eight kinds of anti-depressants in the fish. The highest concentrations came from Prozac.

If you are a keen angler, maybe the time is right to cast your line into the St Lawrence river. Prozac and other SSRi's are inhibitors and the fish may find themselves taking risks. Who knows, there may be a suicidal hotspot beneath the water, a place where fish with suicidal ideation commit suicide by jumping out of the water...or maybe find discarded fishing line to strangulate themselves.

Beware of the Prozac induced pike, the Seroxat induced salmon or the eel doped up on Effexor.

This is one tapering program I'd just love to see in action!

Full story HERE

Hat-Tip - CCHR

Fid

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Seroxat Sufferers Goes over the Quarter of a Million Mark.



I must be doing something right.

Thanks to those who keep coming back.

Gracias.

Quick update on the book: The editing is complete, just waiting on a prominent figure to finish writing the foreword for me.


Fid

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Seroxat Toilet Paper?

Image: beforeyoutakethatpill.com


Calls for the infamous 'Seroxat in adolescents' published papers to be withdrawn is gathering momentum.

Jon Jureidini and Leemon McHenry are calling for the controversial 2001 paper in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) that concluded that Seroxat was “generally well tolerated and effective” for treatment of major depression in adolescents.

The paper misled healthcare professionals that read it as it showed impressive results treating adolescents with Seroxat.

Many lawsuits in the US have showed that the paper was way off skew with its claims. In items of disclosure presented in US courts documents show that company employees and public relations advisers also saw the trial data as having failed to prove that the drug worked in adolescents.

They all kept quiet.

Worryingly, JAACAP’s editors maintain there are no grounds for its withdrawal.

Jureidini and McHenry believe that journal editors are too reluctant to retract papers when the extent of this influence is revealed. Editors are “jeopardising their scientific standing and moral responsibility to prescribers and patients,” by failing to retract, they argue.

Study 329, a study of 275 adolescents, was one of three clinical trials conducted by SmithKline Beecham (as GSK was then known) in the 1990's. Results showed that Seroxat was no more effective than the placebo.

Bad news for Glaxo but great news for their spin team who turned the findings full circle to show that Seroxat was indeed effective in the treatment of adolescent depression.

It was a this point that SmithKline Beecham hired the services of Scientific Therapeutics Information, a medical communications company, of which Sally Laden was an employee. It was Laden who drew up the first 'spinning' draft.

Laden's manuscript was then sent to the Journal of the American Medical Association, which rejected it after peer reviewers highlighted problems.

The paper was rewritten and sent back to the JAACAP. Despite showing that the results did not “clearly demonstrate efficacy for paroxetine”, the JAACAP published it.

The paper is synonymous with ghostwriting. Martin Keller and some of the other 22 listed authors had previously worked for GSK or had received funding from them, but this was not declared. Sally Laden was listed as providing “editorial assistance.”

Both Jon Jureidini and Leemon McHenry called for the article’s retraction in December 2009, accusing GSK of intending to deceive by concealing negative data.

GSK, in typical fashion, denied this and threw out the tried and tested safety net line, “GSK remains firm in the belief that we acted properly and responsibly in the conduct of our clinical trials programme, documentation and submission of results from studies of paroxetine to regulators, and in communicating important safety information.”

Despite overwhelming evidence that shows the published paper to be false and misleading, editors at the JAACAP refuse to retract it.

Question is...why?

More on the study at the excellent Healthy Skepticism website

SOURCE - Neuroskeptic Blog

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Health Canada's Revolving Door



You thought the FDA's ties to the industry were bad, or even the MHRA's 'jobs for the ex-pharma boys was repulsive. Think on!

Health Canada's revolving door for past employees of the pharmaceutical industry is, alarmingly, spinning out of control. Each rotation of the door at Health Canada sees the industry monopolise pretty much everything in Canada.

Arthur Schafer writes the following in a column for the Ottawa Citizen:

"The people who run Health Canada certainly know how to get the job done. First, you announce a series of "stakeholder" consultations on drug regulation. You call the process Health Canada Technical Consultations on Regulatory Modernization. The innocuous title - Who could be against modernization? - sounds as if it's little more than standard issue bureaucratic rigmarole. Ordinary folks are more likely to reach for toothpicks with which to prop open their sagging eyelids than to feel a sense of alarm. The pharmaceutical industry, however, knows exactly what's going on and it's always quick off the mark when the stakes are high.

"The participants' list for this governmental exercise in "public consultation" makes it obvious, but only to insiders, that the fix is in. Here is Health Canada's recipe: one-third of participants should be drawn directly from the drug industry; one-third should be health professionals funded by the drug industry; and one-third should be drawn from patient and disease groups, also funded by industry."

Welcome to yet another medicines regulator run by the pharmaceutical industry, where drugs will be granted a licence with the click of ones fingers, where adverse drug reactions, reported by the public, will be, in the main, ignored or played down. Where the buck will be passed from within the departments of Health Canada, in the meantime more patients struggle with the drugs prescribed to them by Canadian doctors.

Earlier this year saw recommendations made at the Sara Carlin inquest, one of the main recommendations was a call for an independent drugs regulator. Even the five person jury could see the total bias that exists with this particular bunch of limp-wristed yes men.

The pharmaceutical industry are having their cake and eating it, it's a two finger salute to the Canadian public, the two fingers dripping in Maple syrup with a crystal clear message to Canadian citizens. "It's no use complaining, we have the monopoly here. You will take the drugs we once manufactured, the drugs we now monitor."

The whole regulatory system is the proverbial 'jobs for the boys'. Goliath meets Goliath and keeps the public in check.

The pharmaceutical industry is holding the balls of Canadians, it's gently squeezing them. Complain and the squeeze becomes a firm grip.

If ever there was proof that the industry regulates its own drugs then the current revolving door at Health Canada is evidence of that.

Further reading HERE

Fid

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Herbal Remedies - Are the MHRA Protecting their paymasters?

Image: thejabberwock.org


The herbal remedy business is booming it seems. More and more people have become disenchanted with the likes of the pharmaceutical industry whom seem to be in and out of court rooms making settlements to patients who have been harmed by their wares. The public, I feel, have also lost faith in the people that regulate the pharmaceutical wares, namely the Medicines Healthcare and products Regulatory Agency [MHRA]

The herbal remedy business is a huge threat to the likes of GSK, Pfizer and the other various pharmaceutical companies. For one, the side effects of herbal remedies are rare in comparison to prescription medication and the feedback of remedies highlights that we don't really need to take pharmaceutical products when more natural substances are readily available... at least they was until the EU stuck their oar in.

The BBC are reporting that hundreds of traditional and imported remedies on the shelves of health food shops and herbalists are set to be banned under new licensing rules.

Bizarrely, the EU is claiming that it is aiming to protect users from any damaging side-effects that can arise from taking unsuitable medicines.

Never one to miss a back-slapping opportunity, the MHRA, also seem to be backing this directive.

Richard Woodfield, of the MHRA:

"What regulation does is to ensure products meet assured standards. Although the standards are challenging, they are achievable and manageable," he said.

"We already have 24 different companies regulating under the scheme and they are certainly not all large companies."

Put a sock in it Rich, you cannot even regulate prescription drugs properly...or you are powerless to regulate, it's one of the two.

Be interesting to find out if the likes of Horny Goat Weed has actually made consumers suicidal or if the company that makes it have ever manipulated data or made out of court settlements to the tune of billions of pounds.

The MHRA really have their finger on the pulse, huh?

I'm sure the families of those who have lost children to SSRi medication will be delighted that the MHRA are working hand in hand to ban herbal remedies.

I'd like to congratulate the MHRA on adhering to their promise of safeguarding human health from herbal remedy products. It's glaringly obvious these are nasty "medicinal products" that can cause the consumer severe withdrawal effects, suicidal ideation, homicidal thoughts and heart defects in new born babies.

Yeh, the MHRA have their finger on the pulse alright!

**Footnote

The MHRA are fully funded by the pharmaceutical industry. Their Chairman, Alasdair Breckenridge is a former employee of GlaxoSmithKline [then SmithKline Beecham] as is their Head of Licensing, Ian Hudson [Former World Safety Officer at SKB]

This shit just writes itself.

Fid

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Glaxo - Devoid of ethics?



Fellow campaigner, The Truthman, asks the question, 'Are GSK devoid of ethics', on his blog, GSK, License To [K]ill

The Truthman is referring to an article from Meanie Newman, taken from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. She writes:

GlaxoSmithKline has unveiled a record-breaking £2.2bn charge to cover litigation costs that will wipe out its fourth quarter profits
.

Thanks to The Truthman for giving us this update.

Take a good look at the Truthman's blogroll [right hand side of blog], it features many fascinating articles relating to GlaxoSmithKline.

Fid

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Former Glaxo Exec Joins Agilent Technologies

Image: nihrecord.od.nih.gov


Former chairman of research and development and board member of GlaxoSmithKline, Tachi Yamada, is joining the corporate board of Agilent Technologies, a California maker of scientific instruments.

In a statement, Agilent President and CEO Bill Sullivan said of Yamada’s appointment “his extensive pharmaceutical industry knowledge coupled with his medical background gives him a unique insight into a number of issues facing Agilent that will serve us well as we continue to grow our life sciences business.”



About a year ago Yamada was pressured by the Senate Finance Committee over a report on GSK’s diabetes drug Avandia and its risks for heart problems. In essence, Yamada was accused of bullying Dr. John Buse, whom had identified what he thought were potential signs of dangerous side effects to Glaxo's diabetes drug, Avandia

This isn't the only controversy that follows Yamada.

Dr. Yamada was one of the top GSK executives deposed in the Donald Schell Paxil homicide/suicide case. (trial exhibits, more depositions and trial transcripts) Here's what Yamada had to say (about drug warning labels) when questioned under oath by Houston attorney Andy Vickery:

Dr. Yamada: ....We also have the pressure to understand that our drugs aren't safe and that every drug — although every drug — every drug has potential complications but the benefits outweigh the risks.

Andy Vickery: And in that context, what is the importance of proper labeling as a means to accommodate these two competing interests? We need to get this drug out there on the one hand to people but the drug might hurt some people. Can that be ameliorated in some degree by proper labeling?

Dr. Yamada: That is the hope. That is the hope. It's not — It's not always been borne out, and so the FDA is rethinking about what they want to do, how they actually control the physician. I mean one of the problems is that — Maybe I'm saying too much here, Chuck. (Note: "Chuck" is GSK's counsel.)

Andy Vickery: I can't ask you what he said yesterday, but I bet one of them was just answer his questions. But I appreciate your helpfulness.

Dr. Yamada: It's like a pack of cigarettes. You see on there Surgeon General's warning.

Andy Vickery: Right.

Dr. Yamada: Nobody pays any attention to it.

Andy Vickery: Right.

And another excerpt from the Yamada deposition:

Andy Vickery: Dr. Yamada, as a physician, clinician, academician who not only practiced medicine but taught other doctors how to practice medicine for many years, would you agree that as a general proposition that if language appears in the warnings section in boldface that it is more likely that doctors will take heed of that information than if it's put back in the postmarketing surveillance section and it's not in boldface?

Dr. Yamada: Well, my experience would be that doctors just don't look at the label, period. Now, it could be because I was in an academic institution and that's what we did. Maybe we felt that we were more up-to-date and therefore we didn't need no label. I don't know, but my experience is that most physicians don't look at the label very carefully. And I'm not certain — I personally am not certain whether it would make a difference whether something was in a black box or in a warning section or in a precaution section, and if you would ask 20 young physicians, I'm not sure they could tell you the difference between those three.

Andy Vickery: Do you know that in the information disseminating process one of the truly important ways that your company communicates both the indications and the side effects of your medications to doctors is through the — I forget what title we were using about the detail men, as I call them, the people that call on doctors?

Dr. Yamada: Yes.

Andy Vickery: That's a very important conduit for information; isn't it?

Dr. Yamada: I believe it is, yes.

Andy Vickery: And do you know that your people are trained, your salespeople that call on doctors are trained to emphasize and reemphasize information that is in the warning section of the labels to doctors for the very reasons that you talk about?

Dr. Yamada: I believe so, but I don't know for a fact.

Andy Vickery: Okay, sir. How are you doing comfort wise?

Dr. Yamada: I'm fine. I'm fine.

Andy Vickery: Any time you want to take a break.

Yamada never explained why, in January of 2001, he testified under oath that a GlaxoSmithKline decision to put proper warning labels on one of its drugs (Paxil) is "never a business decision" when a confidential 1997 GlaxoSmithKline document (exposed via "discovery" by Paxil withdrawal plaintiffs' attorneys) reads:

Discontinuation: why this is an issue '97 Seroxat/Paxil sales to end Sept. already exceed $1 BILLION

Beneath this statement is an image of a big black money bag with a giant white dollar sign embedded in its centre.



Great to see those responsible for the continued dissemination of bad drugs rewarded with high paying executive positions, huh!

Fid

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Classic quotes from GlaxoSmithKline employees/personnel




Read them in the book, The evidence, however, is clear...the Seroxat scandal




Fid

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Glaxo's Cervarix Ads Pulled!



Journalist Christina England writes about her complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority [ASA] regarding a bunch of adverts she saw promoting GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix vaccine.

Christine, who writes on the American Chronicle website, became so incensed when she saw these ads that she complained to the ASA:

From the American Chronicle:

In February 2010, I wrote an article entitled Cervarix HPV vaccine adverts are untrue and should be banned. In the article I explained my outrage at the adverts in the UK advertising the Cervarix vaccine. At the time the UK advertising campaign used the phrase 'Armed for life' as their campaign slogan. This was an outright lie as this vaccine does not 'arm' teenagers for life against cervical cancer. I felt so strongly about these lies that I wrote to the Advertising Standards Authority and complained. I sent a very strong letter and backed it up with evidence. Imagine my surprise when I received a letter back stating:

"Based on the information you provided, it appears you have a valid point and with a view to acting quickly, we have instructed the advertisers to change the ad.We have asked them to amend the ad so that either the text 'for life' is removed from the claim 'Arm yourself for life', or the text 'The vaccine and regular cervical screening will help protect you for life' is added to clarify the headline claim."

As a result of my complaint my local Primary Care Trust decided to remove all the adverts instead. Gradually all the adverts disappeared.

Congratulations Christina. It just goes to show that determination and tenacity go a long way.

Read Christina's full article HERE


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STOP THE LIES ABOUT SEROXAT/PAXIL AND OTHER SSRIs/SNRIs



Recent UK and US litigation has highlighted the well-documented controversies surrounding the group of drugs known as SSRI's (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors).

A 2010 meta-analysis reached the following conclusion: "...in mild and moderate depression, the effect of SSRI is very small or none compared to placebo, while it is clinically significant in very severe depression."

But still, the judiciary and the government continue to turn a blind eye to the ever-increasing evidence that supports the proliferation of suicides/murders/violent aggression etc etc that is evidentially linked to usage of this group of drugs. RIP Mark Jenkins; Sara Carlin; Donald Schell; David Hawkins and Sharise Gatchell to name a few.

Since 2010 in the UK the No. 10 Government E-Petitions facility (http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/new) has been withdrawn, effectively preventing the populace to further draw attention to the dilemma surrounding SSRIs.

Hopefully, this media format will go some way toward that end.

No donations are requested or will be accepted. Please just show your support through this media by sharing with your FB 'friends' Thank you.



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Monday, January 10, 2011

Ear Function in SSRI Withdrawal: A Comparison with other Ear-Related Syndromes



Among these Paxil withdrawal and residual subjects I found significant
correlations between very obvious ear damage ANY doctor should be able to
notice and the suicidal tendencies already well-known to accompany SSRI use
and withdrawal. In other words, doctors who notice INNER EAR PROBLEMS,
especially vestibular symptoms, in their patients going off SSRIs should be
alert to the potential for suicide. More than 50% of people in this study
having the most widely known inner ear symptoms contemplate or attempt
suicide. As the audio-processing deficits for suicidal depression were
established by the French ear/nose/throat specialist Dr. Guy Bérard as
hyperacusis at 2 and 8 kHz (in either ear) people with suicidal tendencies
should have their ears tested and then receive the right kind of ear
stimulation. Bérard cured 97.7% of his suicidally depressed patients with
high-frequency music.

[Copyright Page]
Copyright © Laurna Tallman 2011
ISBN 978-0-9811672-2-0

http://northernlightbooks.ca/MentalHealththroughMusic

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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Big Country - Busting A Nut In Birmingham



There have been many highlights that span the career of Celtic rockers Big Country, supporting the Rolling Stones, playing Knebworth Park, plying their trade to thousands of Russians in Moscow.

Last night saw the rejuvenated combo, comprising of Mike Peters [Vocals and guitar], Bruce Watson [Guitar], Jamie Watson [Guitar], Tony Butler [Bass] and Mark Brzezicki [Drums], perform to a packed audience at the O2 Academy in my hometown, Birmingham.

As a 46 year old I thought the days of sweating at concerts had long passed me by, in fact I was contemplating hanging at the back of the crowd as my days of bopping [frenzied pogoing] were last seen at Milton Keynes Bowl for an AC/DC gig.

Big Country have always given you value for money, be it with their vast catalogue or their concerts.

Last night they proved that you are never too old to rock. From the opening number of "1000 Stars", frontman, Peters, had the crowd eating from the palm of his hand. Bruce Watson took over the role of lead guitar, a role vacated by the untimely death in 2001 of former frontman Stuart Adamson.

Watson, along with his son Jamie, steered the ship throughout the set, a ship that was rocked from side to side by the 2,000 strong crowd.

Classics such as "Harvest Home", "Fields of Fire", "In A Big Country", "Wonderland" and the 'sing-a-long' "Chance" were met with great appreciation. The anthemic "Porrohman" saw Mike Peters join the crowd before being lifted back to the relative safety of the stage.

As a Brummie, I always like to think that Birmingham is the heart of rock. Many bands like the Birmingham audiences as they just let their hair down and go for it. Last night Birmingham did Big Country proud...Big Country did themselves proud.

A 5 star ball-busting performance and one that will, hopefully, stay in the memory for many years to come. I only wish I could see more of them.

Big Country play Liverpool O2 Academy tonight and will be back touring again in April.

Don't miss them!

Fan footage from last night's gig in Birmingham:




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Friday, January 07, 2011

BIG COUNTRY - RESTLESS NATIVES IN BRUM



My excitement is at fever pitch as I prepare to set off to tonight's Big Country gig at the O2 Academy in Birmingham.

I've liked this band for many years, travelled far and wide to see them perform, met many great friends along the way.

Many readers of this blog will think Bob Fiddaman has turned into some sort of line-dancing freak. Not yet.

Big Country are, and always have been, a straight down the middle rock band, who pull out all the stops when performing live. I have sweated with them all back in the 80's and 90's, a non-stop sea of heads [and bodies] jumping up and down to the raucous and thumping guitar sounds, solid drums and punching bass.

Sadly, lead vocalist, Stuart Adamson, passed away in 2001 and, to many, Big Country did too.

A 25 year anniversary mini-tour in 2007 saw remaining members Bruce Watson, Tony Butler and Mark Brzezicki hit the stage again to whet the appetites of the masses. It was the benchmark of what we have today in 2011.

Mike Peters, frontman for Welsh rockers, The Alarm, takes up the vocals whilst the fruit of Bruce Watson's loins, Jamie Watson, adds and extra guitar to the unique sound that is Big Country.

If you have never caught Big Country in live performance then try and catch them, you won't be disappointed.

Forget dieting after overindulging in Christmas fayre. Grab a ticket, head to the front of the stage and I guarantee you will lose many pounds through jumping up and down and rockin' out.

Big Country hit the Birmingham O2 Academy stage later tonight.

Fid

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Glaxo In Denial At "Hell Cidra" Whistleblower Allegations.



Never one to refute claims, GlaxoSmithKline have crawled from underneath their stone and rejected claims recently aired by ex -GSK employee, Cheryl Eckard.

Eckard's role at GSK [before she was canned] was to oversee the quality assurance at various GSK operational plants. One such plant was, the now infamous, Cidra plant in Puerto Rico.

Eckard aired her views on the flagship US current affairs programme, '60 Minutes' and was highly critical of Glaxo execs and their handling of her concerns regarding the plant.

"All the systems were broken, the facility was broken, the equipment was broken, the processes were broken. It was the worst thing I had run across in my in my career." Eckard told 60 Minutes [VIDEO AT FOOT OF THIS POST]

You can also listen to a phone conversation with Eckard and an unnamed GSK head HERE

In typical fashion, a Glaxo spokesperson said:

"GSK strongly disagrees with 60 Minutes’ implication that patients suffered harm as a result of the Cidra issues. The FDA, the US Department of Justice, and Neil Getnick, Cheryl Eckard’s attorney, all stated there was no indication that patients were harmed as a result of the production issues at Cidra."

I find it odd that they have just bothered to answer the one allegation here when the 60 Minutes segment revealed far more.

On the subject of Cheryl Eckard losing her job because she blew the whistle on the state of the Cidra plant, the spokesperson added, "...the company strongly rejects any claim of retaliation for whistle-blowing."

Here's the 60 Minute episode that prompted GSK to bite back.



Further reading:

GlaxoSmithKline - Filthy, Disgusting, Abhorrent...and that's Just the Plant! Read the Charges!

Glaxo Whistleblower - Complained to Glaxo and was Fired!

Fid

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Glaxo Whistleblower Spills the Beans to CBS News

Image: bnet.com


In a startling interview, GlaxoSmithKline whistleblower, Cheryl Eckard, speaks for the first time to the public regarding her role as head of quality assurance at the GlaxoSmithKline plant in Puerto Rico. [BACK STORY]

Eckard:

"All the systems were broken, the facility was broken, the equipment was broken, the processes were broken. It was the worst thing I had run across in my in my career."

Watch the video and learn how water, used to make tablets, was tainted with bacteria, failures on production lines made some drugs too strong, some not strong enough.

Eckard reveals how a pharmacist had called the company with a story about a mix up with Paxil [Seroxat] - The patient was an 8 year old boy!



And in an extra video from CBS, here you can hear a tape recording where Cheryl recorded a conversation between herself and a Glaxo official regarding the state of affairs at, the now, infamous, Puerto Rican plant.

Many thanks to Soulful Sepulcher and Pharmagossip for pointing me in the direction of these videos from CBS.

Fid

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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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Saturday, January 01, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR





"STAY ALIVE"




Fid

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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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