Some people ask me why I'm, seemingly, hellbent on causing GlaxoSmithKline grief. I would have thought it was plainly obvious given their sombre history where kids are concerned.
The recent RIAT findings that showed (clearly) how this British pharmaceutical company hid important patient information in an effort to make money should have embarrassed GlaxoSmithKline bosses, it should have embarrassed every single person that works for GlaxoSmithKline (past and present) - more importantly this new information should have made your average person angry - sadly, there are still people who read the headlines, shrug their shoulders, and continue posting photos of their dinner on Facebook or a photo or video of a cute cat or dog. The marketing of Paxil to kids doesn't seem to bother them because... well, because it happened to other children and adolescents and not theirs. This attitude is akin to people turning their cheeks when Hitler went on his journey - "Ah well, it won't affect us, we ain't Jewish, it's not our problem."
I have a beef with apathetic attitudes, moreover I have a beef with the people with these attitudes.
I understand that everyone of us have our own agendas, I just can't fathom out what some people's agendas are?
Then there are the organizations who receive funding from GlaxoSmithKline, of which there are many.
In a perverse twist of fate we have the aptly named 'Save The Children' charity who proudly boast...
"Save the Children works in 120 countries. We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfil their potential."
I have to take my hat off to any charity that puts children first and I salute Save The Children for all that they do regarding the protection of children.
Here's what I don't get...
In 2013, GSK and Save the Children formed an ambitious and strategic global partnership. At the time of joining forces, GSK CEO, Andrew Witty, had this to say...
“A partnership of this scale gives us an opportunity to do something amazing – to save the lives of one million children, and to transform the lives of millions more. At GSK we are motivated by developing innovative life-saving medicines and getting them to the people that need them.
“By joining forces with Save the Children, we can amplify these efforts to create a new momentum for change and stop children dying from preventable diseases. I hope this partnership inspires GSK employees and sets a new standard for how companies and NGOs can work together towards a shared goal.”
GlaxoSmithKline, along with the 22 original authors of the JAACAP paper, potentially put thousands of children and adolescents at risk of suicide (potential figures here)
Would it have made us all be more vocal if the risk would have been death by poisoning? Is the suicide thing debatable because the majority of us think that kids who kill themselves are mentally ill and it has nothing to do with medication inducing suicide?
How can a charity, who aim to save children's lives team up with a pharmaceutical company who did/do exactly the opposite?
With this in mind, I wrote the following to Save The Children (I have also wrote to a number of other children's charities who are affiliated with Glaxo.)
Whom may I speak with regarding your affiliation with British pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline?
As you will probably know by now, a new study that was recently published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has shown that GlaxoSmithKline knowingly withheld vital patient information back from regulators and the public regarding it's best selling antidepressant Seroxat, known by the brand name of Paxil in the United States. The new findings have urged the associate editor of The BMJ to write a scathing feature on GlaxoSmithKline - this is unheard of in medical journals.
The clinical trial, known as Study 329, originally showed that adolescents/children, across the world, were at no harm in taking Seroxat, when in actual fact, there were 12 adolescents in the original study who suffered suicidal feelings whilst on Glaxo's drug.
Glaxo never informed the people they should have and, for the past 14 years, academics have been calling for the retraction of this fraudulent study. GlaxoSmithKline, despite new evidence showing how they hid the data, have declined to remove the study, a study that is still used by healthcare professionals when deciding whether or not to prescribe children Seroxat off-label.
It makes a mockery of your affiliation with them. On one hand you are running an organisation that is trying to help save children, on the other hand you are affiliating yourselves with a company who put children at risk, and continue to do so.
The new study and the background can be found here - http://study329.org/
I strongly urge you to inform yourselves and reassess your allegiance with GlaxoSmithKline.
If this is just about receiving funding from GlaxoSmithKline to help your cause then you may wish to find out exactly how much money they have made over the years regarding the sale of paroxetine (generic name) to children and adolescents.
I don't expect for one minute that you will respond to this email but as a matter of conscience I urge you to, at the very least, read the new study and the history of this whole sordid affair that has put children and adolescents at high risk of suicidal thoughts and, in some cases, completed suicide.
I often wonder if I am wrong to do what I do and if I should just, like the millions of others on Facebook, just bury my head in the sand and use my status profile to tell people that I have just ordered a chicken madras or egg foo yung for my tea... then proceed to post a photo of it on to my wall when it arrives.
Such apathetic attitudes of the general public make it easier for the likes of GlaxoSmithKline and the charities that align themselves with them.
I created this blog almost 10 years ago - I wanted to get to the bottom of the whole Seroxat/Paxil debacle because I had taken it and suffered the horrific withdrawal effects from it. When I learned that this antidepressant, and other SSRIs were actually causing kids to kill themselves (adults too) I changed direction - this wasn't just about me, it was about others less fortunate than me. I suffered horrendous side effects but I lived to tell the tale, others were less fortunate than I.
This is for them, it's also for the Facebook Fluffy Bunny Brigade.
Enjoy your chicken madras.
**Update - Save The Children Respond** - Here