Derek Roger Smith (pictured) of Bridport was 65. He had been prescribed GlaxoSmithKline's antidepressant Seroxat. His body was found at the foot of West Bay cliffs last December.
The inquest into his death was, as we've come to expect with antidepressant related deaths, a bit of a sham.
No evidence that Smith had been prescribed Seroxat was entered into the inquest. Quite often a coroner will decide what evidence can or cannot be heard prior to the inquest. If he decided in this case that Smith's use of Seroxat was irrelevant then one has to ask why, something his partner, Annette Woolley, has done after an open verdict was issued at the end of the inquest.
An open verdict in an inquest is when the Coroner decides that the evidence given is insufficient to deliver one of the specific verdicts; natural causes, unlawful killing, suicide, accidental death or death due to industrial disease. However, if new evidence becomes available at any time which varies the verdict, the inquest can be re-opened.
Serious questions need to be raised here. Why did the coroner not allow the evidence of Smith's Seroxat use in, on what basis did he deem Smith's use of Seroxat was irrelevant to the investigation into his death?
The inquest focused on Smith's "mental health" issues and how he had attended a mental health course earlier in the year, no further evidence was presented about his medical history or the drugs he had been given.
I find this utterly baffling given that the role of a coroner is that they have a duty to investigate the circumstances of sudden, unnatural or uncertified deaths that are reported to them. They have to find out the medical cause of the death, if it is not known, and to enquire about the cause of it.
How much effort would it have taken for the coroner in this case to enquire about Seroxat use and suicide? I mean, it's plastered all over the Seroxat patient information leaflet about the suicide risk and there have been many documented cases since the birth of this toxic drug.
Both GlaxoSmithKline and the British drug regulator, the MHRA, need to step up to the plate here. Glaxo, obviously have something to hide because Seroxat is manufactured and marketed by them. The MHRA are the 'independent' drug regulator who tell us what's safe and what's not. They have failed on a gigantic scale where Seroxat is concerned. Time and time again they have been bombarded with patient reports regarding the suicide link and Seroxat...they pass them off as being 'anecdotal'. If the likes of the MHRA won't come out publicly and slam Seroxat then coroners will take the side of the pharmaceutical industry, in this case, GlaxoSmithKline who, even after being found guilty, still deny that Seroxat causes suicide. [See Tobin v SmithKline Beecham Fig 1]
The above case clearly shows what the jury thought after hearing all the evidences put to them in the Tobin v SmithKline Beecham case.
Even after this verdict Glaxo still denied Seroxat [known as Paxil in the US] could cause suicide.
This would be like you or I being found guilty of a heinous crime and protesting our innocence. Only difference being...we'd be protesting our innocence behind bars. Glaxo shelled out $8 million for the above case. This after the decision was appealed by them and they were allowed to settle 'out of court'.
The coroner in the smith case said “Having looked at the evidence in this case, I am going to return an open verdict because I am not satisfied on the evidence I have before me that Mr Smith intended to take his own life.”
Too right he didn't...he was pushed over the edge, quite literally, by Seroxat.