|Alastair Benbow: "...the information clearly says that Seroxat is not addictive, and it is not."|
The Drug Industry Document Archive [DIDA] has obtained and released over 200 previously unseen court files from various Paxil litigation cases. Browsing through them last night was akin to losing £10 then later finding £100...make that a £1000
The Project on Government Oversight [POGO] is an investigation into ghostwriting in academia. They have managed to obtain many files, one of which I shall be highlighting today.
The file in question has, to my knowledge, never been seen before, it's 19 pages long and is a transcript from an interview given by Glaxo's Alastair Benbow to BBC TV's investigative reporter Shelly Jofre back in 2002. What makes this transcript so unique is that much of it was never actually aired on BBC TV when the interview went out.
You will see how Jofre pushes Benbow for answers, answers that he just does not want to give. You will see Jofre push him for answers on the withdrawal issue regarding Paxil [Seroxat] and. time and time again, you will see how Benbow avoids the question.
Benbow has mastered the art of deflection but Jofre is an ankle biter - she just does not let go.
These files are like gold dust, I am highlighting this one in particular because I think it is important to see Glaxo's stance on how they believe, despite evidence to the contrary, that their drug does not cause major withdrawal problems for those that take it.
What I find interesting is the exchange between Jofre and Benbow regarding the word 'addiction'. Jofre, using the Oxford English Dictionary pushes Benbow on the definition of the word:
Q. Your leaflet says 'remember you cannot become addicted to Seroxat', but that's not true is it?
A. Yes, it is true. There is no reliable evidence that Seroxat can cause addiction or dependence, and this has been borne out by a number of independent clinical experts, by regulatory authorities around the world, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and a number of other groups.
Q. If people cannot stop taking a drug when they want to stop taking it they are addicted are they not?
A. No, that is not correct. The definition of addiction is not as you describe it. Addiction is characterised by a number of different criteria, which includes craving, which includes increasing the dose of the drug to get the same effect, and a number of other features, and those are not exhibited by Seroxat.
Q. That is not with respect what the Oxford English Dictionary says. It says, "Addiction is having a compulsion to take a drug, the stopping of which produces withdrawal symptoms."
A. It is true that a number of patients will experience symptoms on withdrawal.
Q. That is what addiction means is it not?
A. No, it is not.
Q. That is what the dictionary says.
A. That is not a clinical definition of addiction or dependence. Dependence is very clearly laid down by international
Q. But when people start taking Seroxat they do not consult a medical dictionary.
A. No, and they will not consult the Oxford English Dictionary either.
Q. The Oxford English Dictionary tells you what common usage of the word addiction is. People understand that if they cannot stop taking a drug it is addictive.
A. The reality of the situation is that regulatory authorities around the world, independent clinical experts and key groups like the Royal College of Psychiatrists, have agreed that Seroxat is not habit forming or addictive.
Q. But your patient leaflet is meant to help and inform patients is it not?
A. Yes, it is, and it does I believe.
Q. Not according to the people we have spoken to who feel they were not warned that this could happen to them. They read, "You cannot become addicted to Seroxat" and thought they could stop the drug any time they wanted.
A. No, the reality is they can stop the drug, but it is true...
Q. But you cannot stop any time you want.
A. Yes, they can and the information clearly says that Seroxat is not addictive, and it is not. It is true that a proportion of patients may develop symptoms on stopping the drug. These are generally mild to moderate in nature ... [Inaudible due to interruption] permitting, and will go away usually within a two-week period.
If this hasn't angered the hundreds of thousands of sufferers world-wide yet then wait til you read the full exchange.
The way Benbow plays down the severe withdrawal issues has to be noted, they way in which he refuses to acknowledge the many thousands that have suffered horrendous side-effects at the hands of his company's drug is also striking.
Back in 2008, Alastair Benbow instructed lawyers to contact me because I had apparently caused him 'unwanted distress' with a video I had created and subsequent comments to that video. I hope Benbow does not feel such unwanted distress with this file that is now in the public domain.
It's fair to say that I do not like Benbow. I do not like the way he comes across when giving interviews on TV and his constant denials that there really isn't a problem with Seroxat withdrawal. One only has to go to the Paxil petition to see that either over 10,000 people are lying or Benbow is...or wishes to ignore patient reports about his company's drug.
Benbow, in effect, is calling me a liar, he is saying that I, along with thousands of others, are experiencing what is an 'extreme reaction' and, in truth, he and his company just don't know why or how to help people who are suffering these severe reactions.
Only last week I highlighted how a patient had telephoned GlaxoSmithKline because she was at a loss of what to do regarding her tapering. She, just like me and many thousands, was finding it extremely difficult to wean herself off Seroxat, a drug that, claims Benbow, is not addictive. Glaxo told her to go and talk to her doctor, they refused to discuss the matter with her, citing some pharmaceutical code of practice ruling.
This is the company whose corporate motto is "Committed to improving the quality of human life."
It's a fascinating document, if only to show how dogged investigative reporter Shelly Jofre is and how Benbow appears to be in denial throughout the whole interview.
The document can be downloaded HERE
**If you, or anyone you know, is struggling withdrawal problems with GlaxoSmithKline's Aropax [Seroxat/Paxil], contact GSK directly and ask them for help. If they refer you to your doctor, please contact me by email. [Email address in left hand sidebar]
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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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