Blogging Since 2006

Blogging Since 2006
WHEN INJUSTICE BECOMES LAW, RESISTANCE BECOMES DUTY

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mark Kramer - M.D cum Jazz Man

Mark Kramer - Jazz Pianist and Consultant to the Pharmaceutical Industry



It would appear that I and others have ruffled the feathers of Professor of Psychiatry, Mark Kramer over at the Boring Old Man website.

The author of Boring Old Man, Mickey Nardo, himself a retired psychiatrist, is, just like me, asking questions regarding some of GlaxoSmithKline's ghostwritten publications, namely 329 and 352, both Paxil studies.

This prompted a lot of debate in the comments section of his post entitled, "Paxil study 352 – what’s ghost-writing?"

What started off as a mild debate, sadly turned into a free-for-all finger pointing tirade that clearly misses the message of the original post.





I was enlightened by the comments of Professor of Psychiatry, Mark Kramer, who joined the debate.

Kramer acknowledged the case against 329 and 352 with, "It is a revolting situation." He then went on with:

"There is another side to the issue. While at Merck I was first author on 90% of my own papers. I did invite others as co-authors, some of whom who were outside OLs, who did work. In every case, even after exhaustive internal review of my work by Merck nitpickers being paid big bucks, those outside the company also tore my first draft to shreds. Sorry. Not a rubber stamp. At Merck I coordinated the first draft of a minority of papers on which I was not first author, First author KOL ‘s tore the drafts to shreds, often asking for (and receiving) additional data – not once but several times per paper.


"Unless I am misreading it . . .entirely possible . . . the gist of this blog is that all or most drug success in psyhopharm is market driven by mostly bogus papers, objectivity didn’t exist at the companies; their collaboration with KOLs was contrived; KOLs are uniformly cheats and scoundrels.

"Please! This is insulting. It is not correct. Sure I know who the narcissists and scoundrels are. But what of the others who are thoughtful, kind, beyond brilliant, hard working, and beyond reproach."


Kramer has a point in as much that we, as consumer advocates, shouldn't really tar all key opinion leaders with the same brush.

Kramer added more to his comment and claimed that medication does not come to market unless it is safe and effective, an issue that I completely disagree with and one that really doesn't hold water. If all drugs were safe and effective then why have post marketing strategies in place?

If Kramer is correct then drugs such as Reductil, Avandia and Raxar are all safe and effective.

Reductil [Abbott Laboratories] was withdrawn from market because of increased cardiovascular risk, Avandia [GlaxoSmithKline] was, in 2010, withdrawn in Europe because of increased risk of heart attacks and death while Raxar [Glaxo Wellcome]was withdrawn in 1999 due to it causing Prolonged QT interval.

One has to remember that Cocaine was once a prescription drug too.

Kramer's initial comment saw others join the debate. Kramer was pretty much lambasted for his ties to the pharmaceutical industry and also some of his comments.

I do love a debate with academics, particularly ones who seem to think that antidepressant medication saves lives, I don't know if that is the stance of Kramer though but nonetheless I thought I'd add my comment into the mix.

Kramer's original comments are in italics, my response to them in Roman.

“Sure I know who the narcissists and scoundrels are.”


Then maybe you should name them, it is they who are tarnishing the very same argument you are putting out here.

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“Even so, you generally don’t get a medication to market unless it is efficacious and safe.”

Hogwash! Medications are put to market normally after an 8 or 12 week clinical trial. Two years down the line and a whole host of side effects reported that show the drug isn't safe highlights how thoroughly misleading your statement is. Many of the SSRi’s cause facial tics and severe withdrawal problems and suicidal ideation… not to mention completed suicide, many do not work – How is this safe and effective?

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There are more here - you will note that Kramer came back at me using quite a tirade of self-indulgent quackery. It never ceases to amaze me that professionals in charge of a person's mind quite often 'lose the plot' when their profession is questioned. Indeed, if I were to use the DSM, by which Kramer and his peers base their diagnosis, I'd assume that Kramer has some sort of mental disorder or, at the very least, anger issues. He's safe though - 1. I'm not a psychiatrist and 2. I personally think the DSM is about as believable as a JRR Tolkien novel.

This is not a witch-hunt against Kramer - I have kind of lost respect for him after he wrote the following paragraph:

"Mr. Fid. If you or yours have ever had side effects, and still think you need a psychotropic then you just have to keep trying them all – hopefully while you are supported by a good friend or doctor. Unfortunately the latter are also treated like cattle by 3rd party insurers. I don’t have the answer. Life sucks.except when it doesn't  Why were you born anyway? To do exactly the crap you are doing!"


Mark Kramer is a Member of Clinical Advisory Board, Avera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He has had over 11 years of experience as the head of the clinical psychopharmacology group at Merck Research Laboratories. He is a consultant to several pharmaceutical firms.

He's also a jazz pianist, quite a decent one too judging by some samples here.

I'll stick to my air guitar and AC/DC though. {Air guitar playing = Delusional Disorder}



The comment section has now been closed on the post.