Lead author of the now infamous Paxil 329 paper, Martin Keller, has, it seems, retired from his position at Brown University. This will no doubt free up some time for the hard working child shrink so he can sit on more pharmaceutical advisory boards [for a fee] or attend more symposiums [for a fee] or maybe give after-dinner speeches [for a fee].
Keller, along with the study he is supposed to have wrote, became infamous around the time GlaxoSmithKline were trying to push their antidepressant, Paxil, on children and adolescents.
Paxil, known as Seroxat in Europe and Aropax in Australia and NZ, was never meant for children and adolescents but Glaxo pushed it on this population regardless.
The study, "A Multi-center, Double-blind, Placebo Controlled Study of Paroxetine and Imipramine in Adolescents with Unipolar Major Depression", has caused much controversy over the years. In a nutshell, it's a piece of fraud and lists Martin Keller as the lead author. The study itself was penned by Sally Laden, a ghostwriter hired by GlaxoSmithKline. Laden miraculously turned three poor Paxil clinical trials into one good one. In truth, children and adolescents would have had a better chance of survival in a clinical trial for Russian roulette.
Calls for Keller to be removed from Brown Uni have been loud. Brown Uni have stood by their man as much as the Journal where the ghostwritten study appeared all those years ago.
I'm not the first to slam this study, many have done it before me, Leemon McHenry, John Juriedini, Evie Pringle, Shelley Jofre, Alison Bass, to name but a few. For what its worth, I even added my two penneth for the study to be retracted.
Many continue to dissect it, One Boring Old Man author being one such advocate.
What I do know is that this study has been responsible for persuading doctor's around the world to prescribe Paxil to children and adolescents 'off-label'. This sits perfectly well with Keller et al and the editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry [JAACAP]. It would appear that having a misleading piece of literature which, in essence promotes an unsafe drug to children and adolescents doesn't really bother GlaxoSmithKline either, if it did surely they would have asked for its retraction. Why would they though, it would be an admittance of fraud.
Sara Carlin and Sharise Gatchell are just two examples of what can happen to children on Paxil. They both hanged themselves. The 329 study showed there was an increase in suicide for Sara and Sharise's age group, an increase that was hidden by GlaxoSmithKline.
For those unfamiliar with the whole fraud behind Glaxo's study it's easily explained in the half hour documentary aired by BBC TV's Panorama team, the fourth investigation into Paxil. [Video below]
GlaxoSmithKline have been let off the hook on numerous occasions. Their role in the 329 study should never be forgotten. Keller and all those other key opinion leaders who added their names to the study should, along with ghostwriter Sally Laden, be utterly ashamed that the influence of their names has caused so much heartache for families bereaved by suicide.
Those who added their names to the study are listed below. Not one of them, to my knowledge, has apologised for their part in influencing doctor's in prescribing Paxil to children and adolescents. They can argue that they didn't know but they have each had more than enough time to retract their names from the study or, at the very least, speak out about how it... or they was manipulated by GSK.
News of Keller's retirement can be seen on the blogs of Alison Bass and Ed Silverman
BBC Panorama documentary about the fraudulent study is below.