The Daily Star, a British tabloid, today ran with a story regarding the safety of Tamiflu and the conflict of interest that exists within the UK drugs regulator, the MHRA.
Regular readers of this blog with know how, in the past, I have corresponded and met with MHRA officials, discussing various aspects of SSRi safety, in particular the withdrawal issues concerning this class of drugs.
The article, by Jonathan Corke, shows how, when reviewing the safety of Tamiflu, the swine flu anti-viral, the MHRA had insisted that the product was not responsible for 13 deaths in the UK.
We also told how the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had received reports of 2,084 suspected adverse reactions, including suicidal thoughts, convulsions and psychotic episodes.Welcome to the world of reality Mr Corke, I'm surprised that you have just learned of the *revolving door at the MHRA, it's been going on for years and nobody seems in the slightest bit interested.
The MHRA insisted Tamiflu handed to more than 1.1million people in 2009 is safe and was not “directly responsible” for the deaths.
But health professionals have questioned the make-up of the MHRA as many members who sit on its committees have links to drug firms.
We found at least 18 people on committees and advisory groups with links to Tamiflu makers Roche.
Some declared “personal interests” in the Swiss company, others received cash for lecturing or consultancy work and some sit on advisory boards.
If you think 13 related deaths on Tamiflu is serious, check out the related deaths from SSRi type drugs.
The following from the MHRA website:
Citalopram [Cipramil] - 148
Escitalopram [Cipralex] - 28
Fluoxetine [Prozac] - 240
Paroxetine [Seroxat] - 177
Sertraline [Lustral] - 102
"Safety reviews carried out by the MHRA have seen them give each and every one a clean bill of health.
In my book, The evidence, however, is clear...the Seroxat scandal, I highlight the conflict of interest and lack of help patients have received over the years from the MHRA. They are an influential body but they influence nothing. Why would an "independent" body, wholly funded by the pharmaceutical industry, bite the hand that feeds it?
There's an ever bigger problem, the MHRA, despite being sent evidence, refuse to acknowledge that GlaxoSmithKline's wonder drug, Seroxat, is a teratogen . This is putting many lives at risk. In fact their protection of Seroxat over the years hasn't gone unnoticed. Hardly surprising that a body of regulators whose Chairman, Alasdair Breckenridge, is a former employee of GlaxoSmithKline, would sway on the side of the industry. Their Head of Licensing, Dr Ian Hudson, is former World Safety Officer at GlaxoSmithKline too.
Earlier this year I was mildly surprised to learn that the UK Seroxat litigation will feature witnesses [experts] for GlaxoSmithKline. One such witness is Rashmi Shah, his former job? -Senior Medical Officer at the MHRA.
Whilst the Tamiflu deaths are poo-pooed by the MHRA they will continue backslapping each other, devoid of any conscience that they are clearly not doing their jobs properly. They've been doing it for years... and will continue to do it with pharmaceutical funding.
On September 2, 2008, I met with the MHRA to discuss the management of withdrawal on SSRi type medication  - During the meeting they agreed to meet with Prof David Healy, an SSRi withdrawal expert.
Both my meeting and the meeting with Healy  proved to be fruitless - they still bury their heads in the sand regarding the SSRi withdrawal issue and they still refuse to accept that Seroxat is a teratogenic substance, despite evidence to the contrary.
|Stakeholder Analysis MHRA June 2008|
In fact, it would appear that the MHRA are more concerned about their own reputation than that of the patients they are supposed to protect. In 2008 they commissioned a web consulting firm to analyse the influence and popularity of various online information sources for people interested in learning more about Seroxat and the MHRA,  quite why they did this still remains a mystery.
I refuse to liaise with the MHRA any more, the reasons of which are covered in my book.
*revolving door - A term coined by investigative journalist Evelyn Pringle.
1. Teratogen - any substance, organism, or process that causes malformations in a fetus.
2. Guidance on the Management of Withdrawal from Seroxat (Paroxetine) and Other SSRIs
3. Meeting to discuss awareness and management of withdrawal reactions with SSRIs and related antidepressants
4.Stakeholder Analysis MHRA June 2008
ORDER THE PAPERBACK 'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman US and CANADA HERE
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