Zantac Lawsuit

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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Australia: Beyond Blue... Beyond Belief!

I've been corresponding with an Australian author of late [Rebekah Beddoe] and we started musing over the help needed when withdrawing from SSRi's. Rebekah wrote a heart wrenching account of her time on a whole host of anti psychotic and antidepressant drugs, her book aptly entitled 'Dying For A Cure', is a terrific read and highlights the dangers of these drugs but more importantly the lack of knowledge the medical profession have regarding the addictive qualities and consequent tapering programs [or lack of] for patients.

Rebekah pointed me to Beyond Blue, an Australian organisation that provides information about depression to consumers, carers and health professionals. To be fair, I had heard of these before and have, in the past, visited their page. I seem to remember a conflict of interest regarding Beyond Blue but can't for the life of me remember whether I wrote it or read it elsewhere [my memory isn't what it used to be, thanks GSK]

The Beyond Blue website is pretty impressive, looks like a lot of time and effort [and money] has gone into its construction. They provide a wealth of information through various links, I say wealth in the 'an awful lot' sense.

Beyond Blue, it seems, are well respected throughout Australia and their mission reads: "Our mission is to provide a national focus and community leadership to increase the capacity of the broader Australian community to prevent depression and respond effectively"

They have disabled any right clicking on their web page so one cannot copy and paste. Their full mission statement can be found HERE.

My interest in Beyond Blue became heightened when I read their 'Medications' page.

I'm angry.

Angry because all the hard work myself and others are doing to raise awareness about SSRi's is single handedly being destroyed by advice given by Beyond Blue. Some of you may be aware of my recent meeting with the MHRA where the withdrawal process of SSRi's was discussed, certain campaigners for mental health wrongly assumed I was there to discuss Seroxat... I have still not received an apology for their wrongful assumption [I can live with it]

I digress.

Now, there are those that gently beat the drum and there are those that bang it loudly. Gently beating the drum is fine if you are a mouse politely asking the owner of your abode to buy more cheese. Banging it is a different matter, more of a demand. I believe that it was my 'banging' that got me my meeting with the MHRA. I'm not blowing my own trumpet here, although it may appear so. All I am saying is, everyone needs to stop pissing around being a mouse and start pissing on the likes of regulators and organisations such as Beyond Blue... not to mention the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture, market and promote pills that can possibly cause more damage than actually rectify the illness.

Beyond Blue - Medications

Why do I need to take antidepressant drugs?

• Medical research indicates that depression is often associated with specific changes in the chemical message systems of the brain (serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine).

• Antidepressant medication can quickly relieve poor sleep, anxiety, tiredness, poor appetite, poor concentration and agitation.

• Antidepressant drugs do not change your personality.

• Antidepressants take several weeks to have their full effect.

• Antidepressants are usually prescribed for a period of time after your symptoms have stopped (six to 12 months) to prevent relapse of the depressive illness.

• For mild or moderate depression, psychological treatments alone may be sufficient.

• Antidepressant drugs do not make people more dangerous.

"Medical research indicates that depression is often associated with specific changes in the chemical message systems of the brain (serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine)."

So where is this research? Was it conducted by Beyond Blue, if so was it funded by the likes of GlaxoSmithKline Australia who STILL tout the chemical imbalance nonsense on their Australian web page. The Therapeutic Goods Agency [TGA] don't seem that bothered by it, I've mailed them a few times about this fraudulent promoting of a dangerous class of drugs before [they have never got back to me on the issue] - maybe I am out of their 'jurisdiction' and they don't see my banging as a major concern? 'The Pom will stop mailing us if we ignore him'. Hmmm, Now where have I experienced that before? Here is what GSK Australia say about Aropax [Seroxat, Paxil, paroxetine]

Snip: "Aropax corrects the chemical imbalance and so helps relieve the symptoms of depression."


It's a great marketing strategy Glaxo, hats off to you for a great subliminal message to concerned patients who choose to browse your Aropax page looking to see if it is safe for them or their family, friends, neighbours to take.

Back to Beyond Blue

"Antidepressant medication can quickly relieve poor sleep, anxiety, tiredness, poor appetite, poor concentration and agitation."

It can also quickly bring on suicidal and homicidal thoughts or do Beyond Blue not know about the case of Donald Schnell? In 1998, GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Paxil, was ordered to pay $6.4 million to surviving family members after Donald Schnell, 60, just 48 hours after taking Paxil [Aropax], flew into a rage and killed his wife, daughter and granddaughter.

They were ordered to pay! That suggests to me that they played a part in that particular crime.

So apart from antidepressant medication quickly relieving poor sleep, anxiety, tiredness, poor appetite, poor concentration and agitation, it can also bring about rage, homicide and suicide. FACT! Unless Glaxo paid $6.4 million dollars to the Schnell family for another reason other than it was their drug that was partly responsible for the actions of Donald Schnell?

Maybe Glaxo's lawyers would care to comment?, they visit this blog on a regular basis.

"Antidepressant drugs do not change your personality."

No? Mild mannered Donald Schnell turned into a violent murderer. Some personality change doncha think? The current Paxil Petition will show you personality changes of people after taking the miracle pill that was supposed to help them! On a personal front, my personality changed when I was on it, reading Rebekah Beddoes book and one cannot fail to see the personality change in her. Quite where Beyond Blue get this information from is not known. I can tell them this - They are wrong and they are wrong big time. Check out Paxil forums, check out Efexor forums, Prozac forums... the list goes on and on.

"Antidepressants take several weeks to have their full effect."

But hit the bloodstream immediately. And what exactly is their 'full effect'?

Are we talking about numbing you into a zombie, stripping you of empathy, causing you sleep disturbances, causing you agitation, causing you audible problems. Forget the sickness, dizziness and diarrhea, they are an absolute breeze to deal with and one that Glaxo mouthpiece, Alistair Benbow, seems to think is the only problems with one particular SSRi.

"Antidepressants are usually prescribed for a period of time after your symptoms have stopped (six to 12 months) to prevent relapse of the depressive illness."

Subliminal message here folks. Can you read through the lines? I can.

It's genius Pharma marketing. Let's play it out. [Scenario]

PATIENT: I'm so low Doctor, I feel so blue and down.

DOCTOR: Here, take these twice daily [Hands patient prescription for SSRi's]

PATIENT: But these are addictive aren't they? I've heard so much bad press about them.

DOCTOR: Scaremongers, they are safe to take because the medicines regulators are on the ball, they wouldn't allow drugs like these onto the market if they didn't think they were safe.

PATIENT: Thanks for the reassurance Doc.

DOCTOR: No problem. Now, come back and see me in a month.

The patient goes back to see the doctor because their depression doesn't seem to be shifting. The Doctor increases the dose of the SSRi. Once again he puts the patient's mind at rest, telling them these drugs are not addictive.

So the patient remains on these SSRi's for a period of [let's say 8 months]

8 months later...

DOCTOR: It seems you are over your depression, I think it's time we tapered you from your medicine.

PATIENT: Tapered?

DOCTOR: Yes, these drugs are quite dangerous if you stop taking them abruptly.

PATIENT: You did not mention this when you first prescribed them to me?

DOCTOR: Come, come now, you will be fine. Snap the tablet in half and reduce your dosage by taking half a day instead of a full tablet.

The patient, on the advice of their Doctor, complies. One month or so later they are back in his surgery. Doctor 'Knowitall' writes them out another prescription for their SSRi and tells them that the depression hasn't quite lifted. He recommends they go back to the original dose.

Here we have what Pharma wanted. A brilliant marketing strategy that would dupe the public for years... still does unless one has successfully tapered off the shit.

"For mild or moderate depression, psychological treatments alone may be sufficient."

Also expensive and a drain on resources. Solution?

"Take these whilst we get you some counselling"

"Thanks Doc, but aren't they addictive..."

The cycle begins.

"Antidepressant drugs do not make people more dangerous."

Here's a question for Beyond Blue and I want them to take their time in answering it.

What do the following 'events' have in common:

Cho Seung-Hui's murderous rampage – during which he killed 32 students and faculty members at Virginia Tech

1988, 31-year-old Laurie Dann walked into a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Ill., and began shooting. One child was killed and six wounded.

19-year-old James Wilson went on a shooting rampage at the Greenwood, S.C., Elementary School and killed two 8-year-old girls and wounded seven others.

Kip Kinkel, a 15-year-old of Springfield, Ore., in 1998 murdered his parents and proceeded to his high school where he went on a rampage killing two students and wounding 22 others

Patrick Purdy, 25, in 1989 opened fire on a school yard filled with children in Stockton, Calif. Five kids were killed and 30 wounded.

Steve Lieth of Chelsea, Mich., in 1993 walked into a school meeting and shot and killed the school superintendent, wounding two others.

10-year-old Tommy Becton in 1996 grabbed his 3-year-old niece as a shield and aimed a shotgun at a sheriff's deputy who accompanied a truant officer to his Florida home.

Michael Carneal, 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in Heath High in West Paducah, Ky. Three died and one was paralyzed.

In 1998, 11-year-old Andrew Golden and 14-year-old Mitchell Johnson apparently faked a fire alarm at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., and shot at students as they left the building. Four students and a teacher were killed.

In 1999, Shawn Cooper, 15, of Notus, Idaho, took a shotgun to school and injured one student.

April 20, 1999, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, shot and killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 24 others.

Todd Smith walked into as high school in Taber, Alberta, Canada in 1999 with a shotgun and killed one and injured a second student.

Steven Abrams drove his car into a preschool playground in 1999 in Costa Mesa., Calif., killing two.

In 2000, T.J. Solomon, 15, opened fire at Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga., six were wounded.

Seth Trickey of Gibson, Okla., 13, opened fire on his middle-school class, injuring five.

Elizabeth Bush, 14, shot and wounded another student at Bishop Neumann High in Williamsport, Pa.

Jason Hoffman, 18, wounded two teachers at California's Granite Hills High School.

Cory Baadsgaard, 16, took a rifle to his high schooland held 23 classmates hostage in 2001.

In Tokyo in 2001, Mamoru Takuma, 37, went into a second-grade classroom and started stabbing students. He killed eight.

Duane Morrison, 53, shot and killed a girl at Platte Canyon High School in Colorado in 2006.

In 2005, 16-year-old Native American Jeff Weise on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota shot and killed nine people and wounding five before committing suicide.

In 1986, 14-year-old Rod Mathews of Canton, Mass., beat a classmate to death with a baseball bat.

William Cruse in 1987 was charged with killing six people in Palm Bay, Fla.

Bartley James Dobben killed his two young sons by throwing them into a 1,300-degree foundry ladle.

Joseph T. WesBecker, 47, shot 20 workers at Standard Gravure Corp. in Louisville, Ky., killing nine.

In 1991, 61-year-old Barbara Mortenson, "cannibalized her 87-year-old mother.

In 1992, Lynnwood Drake III, shot and killed six in San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.

Sixteen-year-old Victor Brancaccio attacked and killed an 81-year-old woman, covered her corpse with red spray-paint.

Dr. Debora Green in 1995 set her Prairie Village, Mo., home on fire, killing her children, ages 6 and 13.

Kurt Danysh, 18, shot and killed his father in 1996.

Beyond Blue claim "Antidepressant drugs do not make people more dangerous." All of the above have one thing in common. ALL were on a variety of antidepressant medications! [Source]

Beyond Blue are 'bigging up' the use of antidepressants on their web page. To me they are putting lives at risk with false and misleading information, that's my opinion and if they or Pharma don't like it then tough titty. I'm not about to stand by and let Beyond Blue [respected or not] get away with the advice they give regarding antidepressant use.

Doctors all over the world need educating, as do the regulators. If organisations such as Beyond Blue continue to hand out advice straight from the book of Pharma then Doctors and patients will continue to go through the routine of the scenario I painted above. They will see the illness as the cause and not the antidepressant.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is what Pharma want you to believe.


Read the new book, The Evidence, However, Is Clear...The Seroxat Scandal

By Bob Fiddaman

ISBN: 978-1-84991-120-7




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