Zantac Lawsuit

Researching drug company and regulatory malfeasance for over 16 years
Humanist, humorist

Friday, May 24, 2024

Rockstar Law Firm to Lead Baby Food Litigation


On May 17, 2024, a federal judge overseeing the Baby Food Products Liability multidistrict litigation (MDL 3101) appointed R. Brent Wisner and Aimee Wagstaff as Co-Lead Counsel, along with several members of a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to lead the litigation for plaintiffs alleging toxic heavy metals in commercial baby food caused their children to develop autism or ADHD. Wisner emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety of baby food and seeking justice for affected families. The lawsuits were consolidated into a mass tort overseen by District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in the Northern District of San Francisco. 

Wisner Baum, based in Los Angeles, represents thousands of children affected by heavy metals in baby foods, including lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic. The litigation aims to hold companies like Beech-Nut, Gerber, and Walmart accountable for selling products tainted with heavy metals. The appointed attorneys on the steering committee are dedicated to achieving a fair outcome and advocating for affected children. The mass tort includes numerous federal lawsuits nationwide, alleging that toxic metals in baby foods have led to long-term health issues for children.

Here's what Co-lead counsel Brent Wisner had to say:

“Ensuring the safety of baby food is paramount for our children's’ well-being, and I am honored to be appointed to lead this critical MDL. The evidence we've gathered over the past two years is compelling, and we are prepared to present a robust case to secure justice for the families affected. This litigation is not just about compensation; it's about protecting the health and future of our children. When food companies make billions selling food containing poison—food that is simply unfit for human consumption, let alone a baby’s consumption — there needs to be accountability.  This litigation is a first step in dealing with a generation of babies that have been poisoned and now face an epidemic of autism."

“This tight-knit group of attorneys is chalk full of rockstars,” according to Wisner. “We have some of the sharpest legal minds in the Plaintiffs’ bar. These Defendants have no idea what’s coming.”

The judge’s pretrial order can be downloaded here.

Bob Fiddaman


Previously on this blog

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Baby Foods Contain "Staggering Amounts" of Toxic Heavy Metals, Lawsuit Alleges

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Toxic Baby Food, the Subject of Lawsuit

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Toxic Baby Food Trial Set for 2023

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Baby food makers pursue 9-year-old with autism for $600,000

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Baby Food Brain Injury Lawsuit Looms

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Baby Food Brain Injury Lawsuit Looms


On April 11, 2024, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) made a significant decision, consolidating all federally filed lawsuits concerning baby food. This consolidation resulted in the creation of MDL No. 3101, named In re: Baby Food Products Liability Litigation, to be presided over by the Honorable Jacqueline Scott Corley, serving in the Northern District of California. R. Brent Wisner, the managing partner at Wisner Baum, who presented arguments before the JPML in March, released the following statement in response to the establishment of the Baby Food MDL:

“We are excited about the JPML's ruling. We have been assigned a smart and accomplished jurist and we think the Northern District of California is the right venue for this case. The next step is to get this MDL organized and get the new judge up to speed on the two years of litigation we have already done. This mass tort is going to end up being one of the most important litigations in recent history. Baby food must be safe, and these Defendants not only know that some of their products aren't, but they refused to be honest with parents about it. It’s difficult to fathom the scope of brain injury that has been inflicted on babies in this country. This MDL is the first step in taking account of the full scope of that damage and, hopefully, finding some justice for the children whose lives have been forever disadvantaged.”

Representatives for Gerber, Beech-Nut and Campbell, which opposed the creation of an MDL, have yet to comment publicly.

What is MDL

Imagine you have a bunch of people who all have similar legal claims against the same company, like if many people got sick from the same medicine. Instead of each person filing a separate lawsuit all over the country, those cases might be grouped together in one court. That's an MDL, where one judge handles all the pretrial stuff to make things faster and more efficient. After that, each case might go back to its original court for trial, or sometimes they get settled together. It's like a legal shortcut to deal with a bunch of related cases at once.

While there isn't a precise overall percentage for settlements in Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) cases, settlements are quite common in these proceedings. Many MDL cases are resolved through settlement negotiations before they reach trial. The exact percentage varies depending on the specific MDL and the nature of the claims involved. However, it's not uncommon for a significant portion of MDL cases to be resolved through settlements, as they offer both plaintiffs and defendants the opportunity to avoid the uncertainty and expense of a trial.

Bob Fiddaman

Previously on this blog:

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Merck Hit with Two New Wrongful Death Suits Over Gardasil


Isabella Zuggi and Sydney Figueroa, before and after Gardasil

Last week, Wisner Baum's vaccine attorneys initiated two fresh wrongful death litigations. One was filed on behalf of a North Carolina mother, asserting that Merck's Gardasil HPV vaccine led to the demise of her 10-year-old daughter. The other lawsuit, representing a Pennsylvania mother, alleges that Gardasil caused the passing of her 12-year-old daughter. Both cases argue that the HPV vaccine triggered severe autoimmune and neurological complications, culminating in the tragic loss of their daughters.

Monique Alarcon, Bijan Esfandiari, Michael L. Baum, and Stephanie B. Sherman, attorneys specializing in Gardasil lawsuits, are representing Kristine Zuggi. Zuggi's daughter, Isabella, a vibrant fifth-grader, tragically passed away merely ten weeks following her Gardasil vaccination. Additionally, they're representing Lynne Guzman, whose 12-year-old daughter, Sydney Figueroa, became wheelchair-bound post-vaccination and sadly succumbed shortly thereafter.

The lawsuits target Merck & Co., Inc., a pharmaceutical powerhouse based in New Jersey, and its subsidiary, Merck Sharp & Dohme. The allegations are as follows:

1/ Merck consistently jeopardizes lives despite being fully aware of Gardasil's limited effectiveness and significant risks.

2/ Merck knowingly neglects to inform both the public and healthcare providers about the potential for injury or fatality associated with Gardasil.

3/ Merck is accused of perpetuating an aggressive propaganda campaign aimed at instilling fear and guilt in parents to compel them to vaccinate their children with Gardasil.

4/ Merck deliberately introduced a substantial risk of harm to children and patients who received Gardasil injections, thus justifying the awarding of punitive damages.

“The senseless deaths of these two beautiful young girls brings home the seriousness of the allegations against Merck in these cases–that the company has exaggerated the benefits of Gardasil as cancer preventative and ignored the risks, including death–all for the sake of the company’s bottom line” said Wisner Baum attorney, Monique Alarcon.

Isabella Zuggi, a vibrant 10-year-old who adored Harry Potter, received her first and only Gardasil injection on August 26, 2022, with no prior health concerns. Two weeks later, she began experiencing headaches, lethargy, stomach pains, body aches, and intermittent fevers. An infectious disease consult revealed she had MOG antibodies, associated with acute, inflammatory, demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system. The complaint alleges a link between MOG antibody disorders and several vaccines, including Gardasil, which research identifies as a common trigger for central nervous system demyelination. Isabella tragically passed away on November 5, 2022, with her death attributed to Acute Encephalitis Associated with Anti-MOG Antibody Production. Her mother, Kristine, regrets not being informed of Gardasil's potential risks and feels pressured by Merck's marketing tactics into vaccinating her daughter for cervical cancer protection.

Sydney Figueroa, aged 11 at her first Gardasil dose in December 2017 and 12 at the second, was an accomplished student and athlete, active in soccer, track, and band. Post-vaccination, she suffered from a plethora of debilitating symptoms including headaches, fatigue, and neurological issues, eventually leading to her confinement to a wheelchair and full-time care. Diagnosed with POTS, Tourette's Syndrome, and Functional Neurological Disorder, Sydney tragically passed away on June 2, 2021, due to a pulmonary embolism resulting from prolonged immobility caused by autoimmune diseases triggered by Gardasil. The wrongful death complaint contends that Julie Gerberding, then CDC Director, overlooked evidence of Gardasil's unproven efficacy and potential dangers during the regulatory process.

Sydney’s mother, Lynne, said, “Gardasil destroyed my daughter’s life. She fought for as long as she could but the injuries she suffered, ultimately, killed her. If I knew what I know now, I never would have let Sydney get the shots.”

Wrongful death complaints have been lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Case No. 3:22-md-03036-KDB). These cases are joining the Gardasil multidistrict litigation (In Re: Gardasil Products Liability Litigation, MDL 3036), which encompasses over 150 related cases awaiting resolution.

The press release can be read, in full, here.

Bob Fiddaman


Previously on this blog

"I don’t want this pain for other kids." ~ Victoria Trevisan, Gardasil Victim

Merck & Co Face Uphill Battle as Gardasil Lawsuits Consolidated

Parents of 13-year-old Boy File Wrongful Death Lawsuit against Vaccine Manufacturers, Merck

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Baby food makers pursue 9-year-old with autism for $600,000


Back in September, 2022, I wrote about the case of Noah Cantabrana, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder ASD when he was two years and nine months old.

As a baby and toddler, Noah consumed high amounts of baby foods that were manufactured by the following:

Nurture, Inc. (Happy Family Organics and HappyBABY) of New York

Beech-Nut Nutrition Company of New York

Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Earth’s Best Organic) of New York

Gerber Products Company of Michigan

Plum PBC (Plum Organics) of California

Walmart, Inc. (Parent’s Choice) of Arkansas

Sprout Foods, Inc. of New Jersey

Noah's parents initiated legal action, alleging that their son's consumption of high quantities of baby foods led to a diagnosis of ASD and ADHD.

Attorneys representing the Cantabrana family assert that young children exposed to toxic metals through baby food products face an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders. This heightened risk stems from the fact that the brains of infants and toddlers are still in the crucial stages of development.

Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to metal exposure due to their higher food intake relative to their body weight and their increased susceptibility to metal absorption, which can be 40% to 90% greater than that of adults. Moreover, their bodies have less developed mechanisms for metabolizing and eliminating heavy metals, coupled with weaker detoxification and immune systems compared to adults.

Research indicates that even at low levels, exposure to heavy metals can result in severe and irreversible neurological damage, potentially leading to conditions such as autism and ADHD. A notable study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, which focused on twins to mitigate genetic influences, highlighted the role of early-life exposure to heavy metals like lead in influencing the risk of autism spectrum disorder.

In September 2021, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Noah to address these concerns and seek appropriate legal recourse.

In 2022, a judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court permitted Noah's case to proceed, ruling that the opinions of the plaintiff's experts, asserting that heavy metals could be a significant factor in causing ASD and ADHD, were admissible.

Subsequently, in September 2023, another judge acknowledged that the opinions of Noah's experts, linking exposure to heavy metals to autism and ADHD, were grounded in solid scientific evidence. However, the case was dismissed due to a technicality. During a hearing, this judge rejected crucial expert witness testimony regarding the calculation of the dose of heavy metals ingested through baby food, thereby preventing Noah's case from reaching a jury.

Now, it seems that the multinational corporations associated with brands such as Beech-Nut, Hain Celestial (Earth’s Best), and Sprout Organics, as well as retailers like Walmart (Parent’s Choice), Nurture (Happy Family), and Plum Organics, will seek to compel Noah Cantabrana, a fourth-grader from Temecula, Calif., to pay over half a million dollars following the dismissal of his lawsuit against these companies.

You read it right. 

“Six of the largest baby food manufacturers in the world, who claim to focus on the health and well-being of our children, seek to make an example of a nine-year-old boy with autism for daring to sue them,” said Noah’s attorney, Pedram Esfandiary, a partner of Los Angeles-based Wisner Baum. "The companies’ sole purpose in seeking such an obscene cost is a twisted desire to punish Noah."

The defendants in Noah's case included seven of the world's leading baby food manufacturers: Walmart, Beech-Nut, Gerber, Hain Celestial ("Earth's Best"), Sprout Organics, Plum Organics, and Nurture ("Happy Family").

All of these companies, except Gerber, are pursuing legal action against Noah.

In their court brief, the companies seeking to hold Noah accountable for costs argued that their request is reasonable. They emphasized that the assessment of costs should not be influenced by the identity of the plaintiff or the defendant, contrary to the plaintiff's assertion. According to them, when a plaintiff initiates a lawsuit and does not succeed, they are legally responsible for each category of recoverable costs.

According to ABC News - Noah's attorney is urging the judge to reject the request from the baby food makers, and asserted that, Defendants—large, wealthy, multinational corporations—aim to impose $636,731.91 in litigation costs on a nine-year-old child grappling with neurodevelopmental disorders. He added, "This move by the defendants not only lacks decency but also goes against legal principles, fairness, and basic common sense."

Esfandiary is counting on public support to intervene in this matter.

“I urge everyone, contact these companies, put pressure on them to abandon this attempt to destroy a young man's life," said Esfandiary.

The ruling does not bar the advancement of future cases related to baby food.

Bob Fiddaman

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Joey Marino: Trapped in a Living Hell


The following is a guest post from author and researcher, Beverley Thomson.

Bev has featured on this blog in the past, here and here.


I wrote this article for Joey Marino some time ago and Joey and I intended to publish it. It was never the intention it would be following the news of his passing away on January 14th, 2024.

Joey Marino loved life. He always had hope until the doctors so willing to prescribe the drugs had finally given up on their victim. “You have a one percent chance of getting better. There is nothing we can do. It is incurable.” “It” was incurable iatrogenic damage caused by legally prescribed medication. Joey’s hours and hours of voice messages and our conversations convinced me his life must be a lesson to us all; most importantly that one prescription for a psychiatric medication can lead to a life ruined by poly-drugging and entrapment in a mental health system unfit for purpose. In what kind of health system can patients become so vulnerable that every living hour of every day is a constant fight to stay alive? Joey Marino did not want to die and if anyone asks, it was peacefully, in his sleep. What actually killed him should be a lesson to us all.


March, 2023

At 63, Joey Marino is trapped in a living hell. His body is controlled by Tardive Dyskinesia and Akathisia. Constant involuntary repetitive body movements like jerking, writhing, grimacing, sticking out his tongue and the smacking of his mouth and lips are the result of eight years of poly-drugging with psychiatric medications. “How I am alive I do not know”, he tells me. It started with a prescription for Prozac during a period of situational anxiety. He became suicidal within days, something he had never previously experienced. “I don’t think my body will hold up much longer, but I don’t want to die. To be or not to be that is the question” he told me in a recent voice message.

This resonated for so many reasons and took me back to my school days when I studied Hamlet. "To be or not to be"; is the first line of a famous soliloquy from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Prince Hamlet thinks about life, death, and suicide. He wonders whether it might be preferable to commit suicide to end one's suffering and to leave behind the pain and agony associated with living. However, he quickly changes his tune when he considers that nobody knows for sure what happens after death, namely whether there is an afterlife and whether this afterlife might be even worse than life. This realization is what ultimately gives Hamlet (and others, he reasons) "pause" when it comes to action. Hamlet fears the uncertainty dying brings and is tormented by the possibility of ending up in Hell—a place even more miserable than life.

Joey Marino describes his life now as “one in hell” and like Hamlet, his troubles are numerous and unending. For years he was judged to be mentally ill because no professional picked up on the fact it was the medications causing adverse reactions and making him increasingly debilitated. Repeatedly abruptly withdrawn from drugs, reinstated, dosages increased, given cocktails of antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics and never any acknowledgement it was iatrogenic harm. He was Gaslit by professionals and family and made to feel guilty for his understandable anger and resolute inability to forgive those who have harmed him.

Joey is an actor and lives in California. He worked for years on the successful TV drama ER. He tells me he was previously obsessed with true emotion. He was a storyteller, communicator, a connector who lived life spontaneously, always taking care of himself mentally and physically.

Many people think these cases are rare…they are not. No one knows how a drug will affect them until they take it. Why do we often not remember life gives us the opportunity to be our true authentic self, unharmed and undamaged by unnecessary drugs. We all have the choice to learn about these drugs and the harm they have the potential to cause. We all have the right to take them if we wish but we should be informed there are no guarantees they will not change the course of our life. The number of suicides caused by akathisia is undoubtedly hidden, often willfully by the powers that be. If suicide prevention organizations truly wish to reduce suicide rates, then prescription drug-induced suicide is an issue they must address. Whether it be because of relentless thoughts of suicide or the intolerable physical adverse effects, in some cases prescription medications are killing us. It is very easy to find many celebrities who have perhaps ended their lives due to akathisia.

“Creatives are sensitive souls” Joey tells me. “This does not need to happen to people, and it is happening every day. Neurologists have nothing to offer when the harm is done.” At this time, I agree, though there appears to be a new generation of professionals who seem to make spurious claims about regeneration of our brains and nervous system. We must wonder if the damage, in some cases is ever repairable. Time will tell.

I like Joey Marino and feel privileged to know him. The nine-hour time difference between us has done nothing to prevent me understanding his true selfless and charming character. I hope we can find someone who can help him…I hope someone is out there. I hope we learn from his courageous suffering.

Few of us will have the opportunity to play Hamlet……every one of us has the chance to become Joey. Don’t let it be you.


Joey passed away on January 14th, 2024.


Beverley Thomson is a writer, researcher and speaker with a focus on psychiatric medication including antidepressants, benzodiazepines and ADHD drugs; their history, how the drugs work, adverse effects, dependence, withdrawal and development of patient support services. Her aim is to help inform and empower the patient to make informed choices about medication. She has a particular interest in withdrawal management and prescription drug-induced suicide. In the past 10 years, she has worked with organizations such as the British Medical Association, the Scottish Government (as part of a working group addressing the issue of prescribed drug harm and dependence in Scotland), the UK Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry (writing evidence-based summaries to be used by professionals and the general public), and the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence. She has contributed to articles in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and mainstream media including TV and radio.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Families Lodge Complaints Over Seroxat, Citing Adverse Reactions Leading to Tragic Outcomes


Romain Schmitt, 16

Last week, Radio France ran a heartbreaking story about two young men who tragically died after taking the controversial antidepressant paroxetine. Paroxetine is more commonly known by its brand names, including Seroxat (UK), Paxil (US & Canada), and Aropax (Australia & New Zealand). The bereaved families are fighting to establish the link between the taking of Seroxat and these two suicides.

The story, investigated by journalists Par Rozenn Le Saint and Benoît Collombat, can be read in full here. 

Vincent Schmitt and Yoko Motohama, parents of Romain, who was 16 years old when he tragically ended his life in September 2021, are now seeking justice. Convinced that their son's death is linked to the use of Seroxat, they have filed a complaint for involuntary manslaughter, focusing on the potential connection between the young man's suicide and the Seroxat he was prescribed.

The parents assert that their son's behavior underwent a transformation between 2-3 months after taking Seroxat, an SSRI marketed and manufactured by GSK, which exacerbated his anxiety. "It was hell," Vincent Schmitt recounted. Adding that Romain began engaging in gambling and obsessively focused on football games. His behavior became increasingly worrisome, and he directed anger towards them.

Most notably, the teenager seemed to lose all sense of danger. "One day, he impulsively swam in a lake without regard for safety. His rescue came thanks to a pedal boat," Vincent Schmitt recalled.

Around 3 months after being on Seroxat, Romain's sleeping cycle was completely reversed. His parents complained to the prescribing doctor, and bizarrely, his Seroxat dosage was increased. What started as a 10mg daily dosage, ended (by 31/2 months) to 40 mg/day. The prescriber then added Tercian to the mix before taking a 1-month vacation. Tercian, also known as Cyamemazine or cyamepromazine, is a typical antipsychotic drug. When combined with SSRIs, it increases the risk of extrapyramidal adverse effects. Extrapyramidal effects refer to involuntary movements that cannot be controlled. An example of this is akathisia.

For years, GSK has steadfastly denied any connection between their best-selling SSRI and suicide completion. Despite reaching numerous out-of-court settlements with victims' families, they maintain that Seroxat is safe and effective. 

Over the years, this blog has extensively documented Seroxat-related suicides, with particular emphasis on the tragic case of Sara Carlin, a young Canadian girl who tragically took her own life. Sara's story also holds a prominent place in my book, 'The Evidence, However, Is Clear...The Seroxat Scandal.'

Sara's death at the hands of Seroxat prompted a series of recommendations at her inquest, a list that can be read here.

I reached out to Romain's mother, Yoko, to learn more about her son, Romain and what happened on that fateful day. She told me:

"I was sitting on the bench at the entrance of the station, enjoying the end of the summer's sun while waiting for Romain. It is such a tiny station, not even 10 meters away. Little did I know that Romain was already on the platform.

"From where I sat, I could see the school's entrance. It was after school, and all the kids were leaving. I heard a loud noise, possibly a train, followed by a strange silence and people reacting oddly. I started to worry that we might be late for our appointment with the psychiatrist for Romain.

"Teachers rushed to the station, and I noticed signs indicating that the train was delayed. Concerned about our appointment, I decided to call Vincent to request a car pickup. As I dialed his number, I began searching for Romain and approached a teacher to inquire about my son's whereabouts. The teacher asked for his name, and I replied, 'Romain Schmitt.' To my surprise, she abruptly left without saying a word, which struck me as strange.

"Soon, ambulances arrived, and a sense of unease began to intensify. Many firefighters gathered around me, and a man in a white coat approached. He delivered the devastating news that Romain was dead.

"For me, this marked the beginning of a profound sense of despair and loss. This is my story of that tragic day, a day that would forever be associated with suicide."

I asked Yoko what Romain was diagnosed with, she told me:

"That is also part of the question we are asking. Actually, no doctor gave us any official diagnosis. Romain liked sports and was very healthy. He liked footballers, like Christian Ronaldo. So, like many other boys of his age, he started muscle training. At the same time, he started doing a kind of special diet.

"Getting quite escalated and obsessed, his eating habit became painful to our family. Removing all fat parts, juice, sauce on the plate, and requesting a specific product, etc. But I could not really discuss with him, and he did not listen to me. He also needed to take a shower before football. He was not good at waking up in the morning to prepare for school and was always late for dinner because he needed to do muscle training just before eating, etc.

"Anyway, witnessing his new eating habits, we started seeking some help from specialists. But nothing was helpful. At the same time, I was searching on the internet what a disease could be. And we found that it can be an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

"The first psychiatrist we saw didn't believe Romain had OCD so we took him to see another. Within 20 minutes of seeing the 2nd psychiatrist, we were told that Romain's habits were a "serious disorder". Romain was then started on Seroxat."

Approximately one month later, Romain's eating habits seemed to level out, he became less obsessed with his previous dietary regime. However, he seemed to be sleeping most of the time. This, according to Yoko, was during the Covid lockdown. Things became estranged between Yoko and Romain and shortly after his dietary obsession returned.

Romain, nor his parents were informed by the prescribing psychiatrist about Seroxat's propensity to induce suicidal thinking. His father, Vincent, did, however, read the patient information leaflet where, hidden amongst the minor side-effects, was the warning about increased suicidality when taking Seroxat, particularly for patients of Romain's age.

Yoko told me, "On Friday, the morning prior to his death, he planned with his good friend to participate in some sports, and then do some homework together over the weekend. At the canteen, Romain had lunch with many friends and laughed a lot while sharing a banana."

Hours later, Romain, at the age of 16, tragically ended his life by stepping in front of a moving train.

After his death Romain's parents researched the link between Seroxat and suicidality, it was then they learned of many others who had taken their lives whilst taking GSK's powerful, mind-altering antidepressant.

Too little, too late for them but they want to warn others.


Gilles and Giusiana Mannoni have, along with Yoko and Vincent, also filed a complaint after their 20-year-old son, Florian, hanged himself. His father told the France Bleu website, “We learned on Thursday evening around 10 p.m. that Florian had hanged himself."

"A week later, when we gained access to the apartment, we found a prescription with a drug based on paroxetine. Florian's psychiatrist explained to us that he did not have a problem with his family or his friends, but just a problem with a rumbling in his stomach, that he was not depressed. I asked her why she prescribed the antidepressant, and she told us she prescribed it to everyone.”

Florian was due to go on a skiing trip with his parents.

Both Giles and Giusiana contacted GSK after the death of their son. They were, somewhat, callously told, adverse effects, such as suicidality, appear in the medication leaflet.

Maître Jean-Christophe Coubris, the lawyer representing both families, issued the following statement:

'Like most of us, I will never read a notice in its entirety.' He laments that most people prescribed antidepressants will not have the correct information regarding the increased risk, possibly triggering an irreversible action, which is two to three times higher. 'It's a gigantic umbrella that the laboratories open. You could even call it a parasol. I fear that no one is informed about the risks of over-suicide while taking antidepressants in all age categories."



Since 2006, I've been researching GSK and Seroxat. In the case of Romain, GSK will argue that Tercian, also known as Cyamemazine, caused the changes in his behavior. This is a classic move that drug companies, and even prescribers, make when their products come under fire. They will blame anything and everything other than the product they are defending. They, along with the prescribing psychiatrist, might even suggest that Romain's apparent OCD pushed him over the edge, along with his strained relationship with his parents.

If this case goes to trial, attorneys will focus on Romain's parents and their friends, attempting to imply that Romain took his life due to their parenting skills. This situation bears a resemblance to what happened to Wendy Dolin when she filed a lawsuit against GSK. Below is an excerpt from an exclusive interview I conducted with Wendy:

"I knew when I filed this lawsuit, it was going to be a very difficult process. But I was unprepared for the sheer number of depositions and subpoenas GSK demanded. I was told this was a record number of requests. I understood the need for certain information, but it became very clear early on that GSK's goal was to send a powerful message to me: That is, when you have the audacity to challenge GSK, all attempts will be made to harass everyone you care dearly about. GSK also repeatedly tried to humiliate me. For example, depositions that should have been a few hours became eight hours in an attempt to wear people down. GSK asked the same question over and over and over again hoping to manipulate, confuse and take people's comments out of context.

"Some of the irrelevant but personal questions GSK asked me included, "How many times do you go to temple? Are you dating anyone? Who are my partners at work?" They even requested Stewart's high school transcripts. All were totally irrelevant and useless questions posed by attorneys from King and Spalding and Dentons. They were calling my friends, not identifying themselves and trying to get people to somehow say terrible things about my relationship with Stewart. There was nothing to say, of course, and GSK's attorneys just embarrassed themselves. It became a joke amongst my friends as to who would be called next and who did GSK think they were dealing with that they thought their sweet talking female attorney was somehow going to get information?"

There is a substantial amount of publicly available history regarding Seroxat on the internet, offering abundant resources for family lawyers to investigate. Unfortunately, such resources were not accessible to other families who lost loved ones to Seroxat over the years. This blog has covered many of these cases, and I'm aware that Yoko has downloaded a significant portion of my work here. It's encouraging to know that Yoko has also reached out to David Healy, who is an expert in SSRI-related issues and has historically been a thorn in GSK's side.

To be frank, I'm astonished that Seroxat is still being prescribed, given its atrocious track record of ruining lives. To give a 16-year-old 40mg of this mind-altering drug is, in my opinion, tantamount to gross negligence.

The journey ahead for both families is bound to be lengthy and filled with numerous obstacles. This endeavor is not driven by a pursuit of financial gain; rather, it's about raising public awareness so that no family has to endure the suffering that the Mannoni's and Schmitt's are currently experiencing.

No parent should ever have to bury their child, especially when such a tragedy could have been prevented, as in both of these cases.

I'd like to thank Vincent and Yoko for helping me clarify the events. It can't have been easy for them reliving such a traumatic experience.

It's worth noting that no formal case has been filed against GSK at this point. Both families have lodged complaints of involuntary manslaughter and these complaints are now being investigated.

If successful, the families could pursue lawsuits against the prescribers, the French regulatory authorities, and even GSK. The complaints are currently in the hands of the prosecutor.


Yoko has now created a website that you can view here (

A photo album of Romain can also be viewed here (

For updates and to offer your support, please follow Yoko's Twitter (X) account here (

Bob Fiddaman

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Seroxat Complete Care VHS Set ~ Choices


Fig 1

The following is number 1 in a series of 5 blog posts where I will aim to exclusively post 5 videos that have came into my possession.

The videos, which run for approximately 12-15 minutes, were produced by Dragon Communications Limited (now dissolved) on behalf of SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (Now known as GSK). They were all part of an attempt by GSK to educate GP's in the UK back in 1992. Seroxat, by the way, was first licenced in the UK in 1990.

Although the brand name 'Seroxat' isn't mentioned in the videos, we can see by the accompanying VHS cases (Fig 1) how GSK subliminally and, it has to be said, successfully, convinced prescribing GPs in the UK that Seroxat should be the 'choice' of drug when treating depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

Dragon Communications Limited, as mentioned above, have now dissolved. They and GSK also teamed up to create a Hepatitis-B educational video. The video, published in 1986, was called, 'Hepatitis-B : it doesn't happen here'.

They also wrote a 4-volume book for Pfizer regarding Inflammation and arthritis. When I say 'wrote' they probably just wrote what Pfizer told them to.

The 5-set videos were purchased on Ebay by my very good friend, Brian Daniels of CCHR UK. He, in turn, converted them into a digital format so I could, firstly, watch them and, secondly, distribute them so others  could draw their own conclusions.

Remember, it was 1992 in the UK when GP practices would have received these videos. At the time, Prozac had a stranglehold on the UK antidepressant market and GSK were desperately trying to knock it off the perch. It was also a time when Tricyclic antidepressants were coming to their end because of side-effects associated with them, something GSK really drive home in the 'Choices' video below.

Since 1992, Seroxat has been the subject of many lawsuits, it's been through the courts (in the US) and evidence has come to light that it causses severe withdrawal problems, suicidal thinking, suicidal actions and birth defects. There are links at the foot of this post that I've covered previously on my blog.

Okay, without further ado, here's the video. Be sure to pay attention to the clever marketing tricks they use without crossing the line. They are all but telling GPs that depressed and anxious people have a chemical imbalance...without actually uttering the term. The 'sciency' type graphics in the video were, I believe, created as a distraction when you listen to the narrative played over them.

Terms such as:

"It is thought"

"It may"

"Likely to be of importance"

"The theory provides support"

"Are thought to be important"

"Could increase"

"May result"

"Sleep and wakefulness are thought to be controlled..."

"It's thought that serotonergic neurons..."

"The role of serotonin in depression, anxiety and sleep disorder, suggest..."

"May be a useful approach"

"It seems evident"

"Various minds of evidence" 

Anyway, here's the video. I make no apologies for the acting performances.

Seroxat and homicide

Thursday, October 05, 2023

New Video, New Book


I'm happy to announce a new promo video has just been launched for my novel, 'No Other Man'.

The book is available in most bookstores and also online in both paperback and Kindle versions.

Some links are posted below.

Bob Fiddaman

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Netflix, Painkiller & the GSK Connection


Netflix hit on a gem when they launched Painkiller, the story of the Sackler family owned Purdue Pharma and the outrageous promotion of the painkiller, Oxycontin.

It's compelling viewing, even for those who have little understanding about pharmaceutical reps and their persuasive ways to get doctors to prescribe something that really isn't safe at all.

Each show starts with a member of the public making the disclaimer, “This program is based on real events. However, certain characters, incidents, locations, and dialogue have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes.” They then hold up a photo of a loved one lost to Oxycontin addiction.

Episode 5, Hot, Hot, Hot, hit home for me, particularly. It shows how Richard Sackler, played by Matthew Broderick, ignores the news that many hundreds of thousands had died of overdosing on OxyContin. Undeterred, he walks onto a stage, complete with sunglasses, to a mass of Purdue Pharma reps, in the main, good-looking females. They break into a frenzy as Sackler announces, "We are burning up the competition with sales of OxyContin, it is now the number one opioid brand in the country." Adding, "We are not stopping."

In reality, however, it wasn't Sackler who addressed the gushing Purdue Pharma reps, it was an executive named 'Mark'.

This from the website MotherJones:

"You know, it’s always hot here in Palm Springs. That’s why it’s a perfect place to have our meeting … because we’re hot … we’re burning up the competition with our sales of OxyContin! Do you know it’s now the number one prescribed opioid brand in the U.S.?"

“Now, you’re probably wondering what else can be done to sell even more OxyContin,” Mark went on. “There are also some things we’re cooking up for the coming year to help you and OxyContin and the whole pain market as well.” These initiatives allegedly included collaborating with the American Pain Society to develop materials that would “be distributed to hospitals across the country” and “weekly feature stories about pain and its management in newspapers.” The goal, said Mark, is to “raise awareness of undertreated pain” and to “Make the whole pie bigger, not only for us but for our competition as well.”

Mark concluded:

"I hope you enjoy your stay here in Palm Springs, I know I will. Enjoy the weather … because let me tell you, OxyContin’s continuing success, is going to make every part of this country from Seattle to Detroit to New Orleans as hot as it is here in Palm Springs this winter for every one of you. You are the force for the future … let’s make it happen!"

It could have been Mark Timney who, at the time, was a CEO for Purdue. This is just speculation on my part. 

GSK Advair

In 2012, British pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), agreed to pay $3 billion in a fraud settlement.

The three criminal charges involved Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia and included a criminal fine of $1 billion. The remaining $2 billion involved fines in connection with a civil settlement over the sales and marketing practices of the blockbuster asthma drug Advair and several other drugs.

Before Advair’s approval, a Glaxo scientist told the FDA that it wasn’t appropriate for patients with mild asthma. The agency agreed but it took five years to make that clear on the drug’s label. Advair, an asthma drug, generated more than $80 billion in global revenues. 

GSK has faced hundreds of lawsuits and claims brought by people whose relatives died while taking Advair.

So, why do I bring this up?

Well, the Department of Justice (DOJ) publicly released many exhibits from the 2012 fraud settlement, one of which was a video that shows an eerily similar scene as depicted in the Netflix mini-series, Painkiller.

If you've already watched Painkiller, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Watch the video from Advair’s Las Vegas product launch. Advair’s product manager, Jim Daly, asks the crowd, “Who wants to be a millionaire?” He adds, “There are people in this room who are going to make an ungodly sum of money selling Advair.”

Bob Fiddaman

Friday, August 11, 2023

And Finally...


6 years in the making. What started as a short story, a novella if you will, turned into something that pushed my limits as a writer and creative thinker.

Where on earth did this story come from? To be honest, I've always been fascinated with repeating numbers, religious beliefs and ufology.

As a kid I used to watch the skies, prior to the release of the Spielberg classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). I've witnessed countless strange things in the sky that, for me at least, left me perplexed. I won't go into too much detail but sufficed to say whatever these anomalies were, they left a long standing impression on me.

So, writing 'No Other Man' I was able to combine my fascination with repeating numbers, religion and, to an extent, ufology.

Many don't know that back in 1999, I became the Poetry Slam Champion of my then hometown, Birmingham. I beat a teacher of poetry in the final. My poems, back then, were humorous, some written for children and some written for adult audiences. Nothing came of that victorious moment, aside from a local library dedicating a section of my work to be displayed.

One of those poems features in 'No Other Man', it has not been altered in any way. It's the one poem that has always stayed with me, so much so that I had a line of it tattooed onto my arm. A reminder that it's okay to ask questions even if we don't get the answers.

I wrote the first 14,000 words or so of 'No Other Man' over a period of 7 days. It had a beginning, a middle, and, what I thought at the time, an end. I then added dialogue and tried to build up the characters. Soon I was hitting around 30,000 words and it was at this point that I decided to delete the ending and expand on a complex twist. It ended up a 246 page thriller.

Little did I know that the poem I included in Chapter One would play a major role in where the story was heading. I restructured the story, re-wrote, re-wrote, and re-wrote, over 15 times until I was happy with the finished product. Lots of research into specific areas had to be sought so it wasn't just a matter of creating fictional towns and places.

Some of the characters in my book are a mish-mash of real people I know, obviously exaggerated versions of them.

So, what's 'No Other Man' about? Here's the blurb on the back cover:


I’d like to acknowledge those spiritual beings who guided me throughout this whole writing process. I cannot prove they were around me, I just felt they were. Their guidance unlocked this story that was held captive inside my head. This, along with a musical soundtrack and imaginary silver screen provided me with an insight, my own movie premiere, if you will. It was a silent movie until I made the characters come alive. Musical composers Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Danny Elfman, to name but a few, provided me the music, via Spotify, to accompany the scenes.

I’d also like to acknowledge an old school teacher (who shall remain nameless). “Fiddaman”, he once said, “You’ll never make anything of yourself.” Thank you for being the driving force of my imagination, sir.

A very special thank you to my publishing team, Austin Macauley. From the editing to art departments, they have been a superb professional outfit that I hope to be associated with for the second, and possibly third instalment, of this story.

No Other Man can be ordered online via my new website here, via Austin Macauley Publishers here, and via Amazon here. It is also available via bookstores around the globe, such as Waterstones, etc.

Bob Fiddaman

Thursday, July 06, 2023


After researching SSRI risks for the past 17 years, I took a hiatus from regularly covering the subject to spend time pursuing another project. Now that this project, a fictional novel unrelated to pharmaceutical and drug regulator malfeasances, was recently published, I'm back to covering a drug-related topic today. I first heard the new acronym, PSSD, which stands for Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD), a few years ago. 

Any reader with a Twitter account likely knows PSSD has been gaining considerable coverage in the past six months or so. This is likely because the pharmaceutically-induced harm negatively impacts more people than drug companies and doctors will acknowledge. 

Until receiving the guest post below, I didn't fully realize that PSSD can cause many symptoms and is not limited to sexual dysfunction. My comments follow Sean's post below.


Sean has chosen to keep his surname hidden.

My name is Sean; I am a 23-year-old male from the USA. During the COVID pandemic in 2020, I was experiencing more anxiety than usual. I had always been an anxious person, so getting help for that was on my to-do list. The therapists were fully booked then, and I could not get an appointment. My doctor was down the street, so I made an appointment to discuss my concerns. After a 15-minute consultation, my doctor diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and prescribed fluoxetine, more commonly known by its brand name, Prozac. At no point did my doctor inform me of the possible side effects associated with Prozac.

Within 3 months of the 20mg Prozac tablet, it appeared it wasn't doing much, if anything at all, to lift my anxiety. It was pretty much ineffective. After speaking with a nurse via telephone, I decided to taper off by following her guidance. She told me to split the pill in half and take it every other day for the next couple of weeks, then stop once it ran out. I suffered no withdrawal symptoms or other side effects during my tapering regime.

After hearing from multiple people that it takes a couple of tries to find the right medication, I gave in again and went back over a year later to try another SSRI. This time it was Citalopram at 10mg per day. This new doctor diagnosed me with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Once again, I was not informed about any possible side effects Citalopram could pose.

Within an hour of taking the first pill, my genitals were completely numb. In the hours following, I experienced intense brain fog, and I was losing my range of emotions and sexual function. At this point, I was panicking and had a mental breakdown.

When I woke up the next day, I felt like I was dead, as if my soul had been removed from my body. Music became nothing but a sound. The best way to describe it would be like making an animal listen to music; they don't understand it. I felt nothing from seeing my family, no more love or empathy, no more happiness--just nothing. My entire life has just been shot down from one pill of an SSRI. I thought to myself, how is this even possible?

After becoming suicidal from this horrifying experience, I tried turning to alcohol. I didn't think it could get any worse, but it did. I couldn't feel the effects of the alcohol I was drinking; I literally had no escape.

I went to see my doctor and explained how unlucky I felt for experiencing this after my first day. I was told that what I'm experiencing is depression. I knew for a fact that this was incorrect. Genital numbness is not a symptom of any mental illness. I experienced depression as a teenager and told the doctor that it felt nothing like this. After I was given another antidepressant, I threw it away and researched what I was experiencing.

After a few hours of searching, I came across the PSSD subreddit. That was the day I learned I may be experiencing Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD)

I prayed for my body to return to normal as I distracted myself from suicide daily. I felt as if I became asexual overnight. I had no libido and no attraction to anyone. There was suddenly no bond that could be formed. I tried talking to my friends at school and felt like I was talking to a wall. There was no connection to anything.

After seeing multiple doctors and informing them about this, they all became defensive and tried to put me on more antidepressants. I felt so violated. I was shocked that PSSD is not even listed as a side effect in the USA.

Fast forward to 2023, as I now write about my experience. I have seen no improvements in my PSSD symptoms. The fear of this lasting forever has become a reality, and the only way that the thousands of us suffering can escape from this is through research. Having to fund all of this on our own is disgusting, but we don't have a choice as we are still being ignored by the FDA and many doctors and psychiatrists.

Recently, a documentary about antidepressant withdrawal was released by BBC Panorama. The documentary mentions PSSD and those of us who have been left to suffer are also left with no answers. In the UK, the MHRA and Royal College of Psychiatrists have received reports of PSSD since 1991, and yet neither of these organizations has addressed it. In 2018, a petition was made to the FDA asking to include PSSD somewhere on the labels, yet we are still being ignored. Technically, the only action so far has been from the European Medical Agency, whose 2019 updated SSRI label now states that 'enduring sexual dysfunction may persist'; however, there is no mention of permanent genital numbness and debilitating emotional blunting.

There has been some recent literature,  containing one study that estimated the prevalence of PSSD to be 1 in 216. Nowadays, this should be alarming as millions of people are taking antidepressants, and the majority of them are not being informed of this serious risk. No matter how small the chance of PSSD might be, tens of thousands of sufferers, including myself, can promise whoever is reading this that it is not worth it. No innocent soul should have to go through a life of endless torture and emotional and physical feelings of "nothingness."



SSRI withdrawal is a harrowing experience, but eventually, most sufferers see an end to their symptoms after withdrawal is complete. PSSD, however, appears to be permanent. Robbing people of physical and emotional intimacy and leaving them numb, with little to no support and acknowledgment of this iatrogenic harm, is best described as a rape of the mind, body, and soul.

Like SSRI withdrawal, PSSD is downplayed by many prescribers. Their years of medical training did not provide any information about PSSD, and they're unlikely to look for symptoms of this disorder in their medical practice. Blaming PSSD symptoms on some DSM-created labels is easier and more convenient. 

Medical professionals no longer listen to patients but instead stick to their manuals and outdated training. SSRIs are prescribed as plasters to heal normal, albeit troubling, situations and related emotions. When people are uninformed of risks and accept the dressing only to later suffer iatrogenic harms, the same prescribers refuse to acknowledge the damage their actions caused--and they give out more plasters, or "Band-Aids" with specific brand names. 

One 10mg pill robbed Sean--and thousands of others. 

I hope Sean's guest post is shared widely. A handsome young man who should be enjoying life but instead is suffering and has nobody to turn to except support group members and old bloggers like me.

For more information and support on PSSD, follow PSSD Network on Twitter and on their website.

Bob Fiddaman

Thursday, June 22, 2023

My Take on Panorama's 'The Antidepressant Story'


On Monday, June 19, the BBC's flagship current affairs programme, Panorama, broadcast the long-awaited, and much anticipated 'The Antidepressant Story'.

Living, as I do, in Central America, it's difficult to watch British TV, especially live broadcasts. With the help of a useful app, however, I didn't fret too much.

While most of Britain settled down at 8pm on Juneteenth, the time difference here meant a 2pm viewing here for me.

I watched with my partner, who also has an interest, given her daughter died at the hands of antidepressants.

Many, reading this, will know I've been banging the drum for over 16 years regarding the safety and efficacy of SSRIs so watching this hour-long special saw me (internally) go through a range of emotions. It's only now, some three days after it aired, that I'm able to write about it.

My main focus has always been about the withdrawal effects of SSRIs and also their propensity to induce suicidality. Although 'The Antidepressant Story' covered the withdrawal issue they never delved into the suicide link. I totally understand why as this has been covered four times (brilliantly) by the Panorama team during the first ten or so years of the 2000's (Links at the foot of this post)

I watched with interest as they covered PSSD. For me PSSD is a confusing acronym, at first glance it looks like PTSD, an invented disorder that promotes the use of psychiatric drugs. If an experienced old fella like me, who's researched these SSRIs for many years, finds this confusing, I have to wonder if the same can be said about the general public?

The two acronyms are very different though.

PSSD is Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction, a condition caused by the use of one or more serotonergic antidepressants that persists despite the cessation of antidepressant treatment. PTSD is Post-traumatic stress disorder, an apparent "mental health" condition that's triggered by a terrifying event.

Although I agree many suffer when recalling terrifying events, I refuse to give it a mental health label. PTSD first appeared in 1980 in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-lll) published by the American Psychiatric Association, a manual used by psychiatrists, such as the ones who appeared (for balance) in 'The Antidepressant Story', namely Wendy Burn and Prof David Nutt. More about them later. 

The Antidepressant Story kicks off with Audrey Bahrick, a patient who tells her story about reading about Prozac and its beneficial properties. She was going through a sticky patch at the time and thought Prozac would give her the lift that she needed. After taking it, Bahrick felt "confident and energized", adding, "I loved being on Prozac."

Another patient, Trish Matthews, also tells her story. Trish was training as a nurse in the 1990's and found the pressure of training whilst trying to manage her homelife, she became stressed and struggled to manage her daily life. She went to her doctor and was prescribed an antidepressant. She believed, after reading various articles, that her stress was brought on by a chemical imbalance. 

Drug company adverts, such as the one below, were flooding TV stations across the US and New Zealand (The only two countries that allow Pharma Drug To Consumer advertising)

It wasn't long before those adverts turned to print so other nations, such as the UK, could read about an apparent serotonin deficiency and how to treat it.

It was genius marketing by the drug industry but it was pure fiction, a fiction that was lapped up by the likes of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and its members. They never once questioned it. They could now prescribe en masse and give a reason, albeit fictional, why they were prescribing.

The chemical imbalance myth has been debunked so many times over the years. That I'm still writing about it baffles me. It's ingrained in society, moreover in rooms with pens and prescription pads. It's cult-like and many who are hanging on to this claim are part of that cult.

Back to Bahrick and Matthews

As the show progresses we learn that Audrey Bahrick and Trish Matthews both started to experience the dark side of the SSRIs they were prescribed.

"I was immediately sexually numb, within a day (of taking Prozac) my genitals were numb", Bahrick said.

Trish Matthews had been taking her prescribed SSRIs for 18 months and felt she was now better so decided to cease taking them. This is when her problems began. "Within 24 hours I felt absolutely dreadful", she thought her 'depression' was coming back. She rang her doctor who told her, "you have to go back on them."

Withdrawing from SSRIs can mimic the symptoms of why you were put on them in the first place. Prescribers are, largely, unaware of this as are those who take them.

Dr Mark Horowitz, a trainee psychiatrist, who also features in the show, was diagnosed with depression at the age of 21. 15 years later he tried to come off and experienced insomnia, panic attacks, dizziness, anxiety and low mood. He has not been taught about these effects of SSRIs at medical school or in psychiatry training. Horowitz, when reading the academic literature available to him, found that psychiatrists and academics at the institution he had studied at and others like them around the world had little helpful to say about withdrawal effects from antidepressants, they recommended stopping the drugs over 2 to 4 weeks, and reported that the symptoms were mild and brief. To date, Horowitz is still taking his medication.

Joanna Moncrieff, a practising professor of psychiatry and a part-time academic and author, says she was skeptical about these new antidepressants from the start. "My interest has always been in the role of drug treatment and whether they're as beneficial as we are, usually, led to believe that they are."

Pfizer, who are never out of the news these days, are briefly featured in the show. The Panorama team obtained a 'secret document' that showed how Pfizer execs wanted to play down the withdrawal issue. They also wanted to include claims about the chemical imbalance being a fact, they were declined by drug regulators but the chemical imbalance somehow made its way into the patient information leaflets that accompany SSRIs. With trickery, using wordplay, companies like Pfizer could set the 'chemical imbalance' promotion rolling by putting its main message amongst words like 'it is thought' or 'it may be'. Moncrieff was shown the document by the Panorama team, her reaction said it all, "Oh, my gosh".

Moncrieff has been instrumental in trying to debunk the chemical imbalance theory and in 2022, along with Benjamin Ang and Mark Horowitz, published a paper in the Science Direct Journal that found the field of psychiatry bears some responsibility for dissemination of the theory of the chemical imbalance  and associated antidepressant use.

This paper caused outrage amongst many leading psychiatrists and they took to Twitter not only to refute the findings but to target Moncrieff personally. I've watched it all unfold via my own Twitter account - it still continues today.

The Balance

As I mentioned previously, for balance Panorama asked two psychiatrists onto the show. The pharma conflicted Prof David Nutt and the former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wendy Burn.

As was expected both made claims that could not be backed up with evidence. Nutt opted to go down the emotive route with, "antidepressants have saved the lives of many hundreds of thousands of people”.

I find this claim astonishing and am bamboozled that it's rarely challenged by mainstream media or, indeed, programme makers such as Panorama.

As I wrote on Twitter, "If I believed listening to the Dixie Chicks whilst going through severe Paxil withdrawal saved my life, would this actually prove that the Dixie Chicks saved my life?"

Of course it wouldn't.

There is no scientific evidence that antidepressants save lives. Too many people are scared to challenge the narrative because many patients who believe this to be true will get emotional and throw hissy fits on social media platforms. Trust me, I have friends who think they or their kids' lives were saved by SSRIs. I cannot debate with them as it causes them obvious distress. 

Nutt knows this. He seems to be playing the system here, it's clever deception. Appear to have concern and show support whilst dismissing the likes of the patients that appeared in the show and millions of others who have suffered the darker side of SSRIs.

Burn didn't fare much better. Fidgeting throughout her (edited) interview, Burn said she personally regrets that severe and long-lasting withdrawal wasn't recognised sooner. "I can't really explain why it took so long, perhaps partly because of the overlap between relapse and withdrawal...I don't know, I can't really explain it."

What Panorama didn't show the public, because they probably didn't know, is an interview Burn did with Equally Well back in 2020. She told them that "when she was first trained she was told not to tell patients about side effects as it might dissuade them from taking medication."

The BBC didn't push Burn on why she has blocked or muted so many patients on Twitter who have reached out for help regarding withdrawal and PSSD issues.

Burn offered a personal apology on the show but it reminded me of Alan Partridge publicly apologising to Norfolk farmers. "If there's anybody watching who has gone through withdrawal and it wasn't recognized then I'm very sorry."

You'll notice she was making a personal apology here and not one on behalf of The Royal College of Psychiatrists, whose members with Twitter accounts are some of the most vile human beings I've come across regarding those injured by SSRIs. That's another blog though.

All in all, I thought the one-hour special did the job, it got the message across and, as predicted, infuriated many Royal College members on Twitter. Their anger was aimed at the apparent bias of the show. At no point did they show any empathy whatsoever to those harmed by the very same drugs they write prescriptions for. Targeting their cultish beliefs was deemed, it seems, unacceptable.

Psychiatry is in a mess but I can't let General Practitioners (GPs) off the hook here either. For too long now, GPs have ignored the SSRI withdrawal and PSSD issues as have the British Drug Regulator the MHRA. This needs to change, and it needs to change right now!

I sat down with the MHRA 15 years ago to discuss the SSRI withdrawal issue, back then I had no Facebook or Twitter support groups to help me, nor did I have any interest from the BBC or any other network channel. I made the visit alone and sat with the, then, chief executive of the MHRA, Kent Woods, their Head of Pharmacovigilance Risk Management, Sarah Morgan, and their Communication Manager, John Watkins.

I thought I'd struck gold, sadly that wasn't the case. The problem still exists today and many patients who are prescribed these drugs will, no doubt, go through what I did, what the patients in the show did, and what many millions of people worldwide are having to endure.

With that said, if you want to become an advocate for SSRI safety, it comes at a price. Members of the Royal College of Psychiatry have labelled me 'a conspiracy theorist', a 'far-right sympathizer', a 'misogynist', amongst many other labels designed to keep me quiet. It's straight from the pharma playbook, folks!

I'm not alone, many other SSRI safety advocates have had their fair share of crap thrown at them as they strive for answers, many of whom who have lost loved ones due to SSRI induced suicides.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists were 'royally' kicked in the nuts with this Panorama offering. It's going to get a lot worse with the insults, the accusations, the muting and the blocking. Cults don't like their belief system tarnished.

Bob Fiddaman

Watch the 'The Antidepressant Story' on BBC IPlayer here.

Outside the UK, watch here

Previous Panorama SSRI coverage

The Secrets of Seroxat

Emails From The Edge

Taken On Trust

The Secrets Of The Drug Trials

Please contact me if you would like a guest post considered for publication on my blog.