Zantac Lawsuit

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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

MHRA On GSK's Dr Alastair Benbow

What are Dr Alastair Benbow's sources?

From: fiddaman robert
Sent: 25 June 2011 13:08
To: MHRA Central Enquiry Point
Subject: FOI Request

- Show quoted text -

MHRA Information Centre

The following request I make under the Freedom of Information Act.

To whom it may concern,

1. In a 2002 interview with BBC TV's Shelley Jofre, GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson, Alastair Benbow, claimed that, "... the majority of patients who experience withdrawal symptoms - and the majority of patients actually do not experience any withdrawal symptoms - of those that do the majority of those symptoms are mild to moderate in nature and will go away without any treatment within two weeks." He was, of course, referring to the antidepressant Seroxat. Under the FOIA I would like the MHRA to provide me with the study/studies that substantiate Dr Benbow's claim.

2. Furthermore, in the same interview, Dr Benbow claimed, "maybe that a small proportion of patients do get more severe symptoms...". Under the FOIA I would like the MHRA to provide me with the study/studies that substantiate Dr Benbow's claim.

The full transcript, which has recently been released, was part of disclosure and used in litigation against GSK in the United States and is attached for your perusal.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Fiddaman

Dear Mr Fiddaman,

Thank you for your recent enquiry to the MHRA.
We cannot give you a definitive answer, we would advise you to contact GSK directly to ascertain what studies Mr Benbow considered supported his statement. Any studies he may have considered should have been published on our website. You may wish to review the SSRI Expert Working Group report published on our website (link below), the report outlines all the data the Agency has considered in relation to the issue of withdrawal reactions with Paroxetine.

The Agency has previously released relevant data that has been submitted to us with regards to withdrawal reactions and also data submitted to us by GSK in the context of this review and the European Article 31 referral, which is also available on the GSK website.

Please contact us again if you need further assistance with this, or any other queries.

Kind Regards,

Central Enquiry Point
Information Services
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
Tel: 020 3080 6000

I sent the same FOI to GlaxoSmithKline - they never even bothered to acknowledge receipt of it.

Transparent as ever!




Wednesday, June 29, 2011

If You Build It...They Will Come - CCHR March, Brighton, Tues 27th June

Yesterday I joined the kick-ass machine in Brighton for a march from Victoria Gardens down the the Hilton Hotel where a psychiatry symposium was underway. The day started off hot and sticky as many protesters gathered for the one and a half mile walk down the esplanade to amass outside the lavish Hilton.

A lone drummer followed by a group of children led the chanting as the Brighton traffic come to a standstill and passers-by looked on smiling and taking photo's of the 200 or so banner-waving protesters.

CCHR's Lady Margaret McNair and Brian Daniels stood outside the Hilton lobby to prise a response from the psychiatrists, many of whom were taking their own personal photographs of the protest across the street.

The hot, sticky summer soon vanished as thunder rolled in, huge bolts of lightening flashed over the sea but it did not deter the 200 - strong crowd.

What could beat this experience?

CCHR, not content with just a 'protest' erected a huge tent under the Hilton, inside the tent was their travelling Industry of Death museum, it's going to be there for a week or so. [If you build it...they will come]

Human Rights winner, Sharon Parnell, who is a campaigner against psychiatric drugs and founder of Revelations UK, gave a moving speech outside the Industry of Death tent, mine came shortly after but it was interrupted by a huge clap of thunder and a downpour of epic proportions.

The whole day was a great show of solidarity and one that was another huge step toward creating awareness regarding the dangers of psychiatric drugs.

Myself and Sharon had the honour of officially opening the Industry of Death, first time in my life I've cut a ribbon!

It was a day to remember and one that should never be forgotten.

What we have here is a group of people who are trying to bring about change, they've been successful since forming in 1969 and have achieved much in the way of helping victims. Their history speaks for itself and despite the mud-slingers who fail miserably to discredit them, they continue to rock AND roll, kicking ass along the way. If CCHR were a woman, I'd marry her!

Big thanks to Phil for the journey down and Vicky and Lindsey for the journey and company, back to Birmingham.

Huge thanks to CCHR for...well, for being who you are.


CCHR Industry of Death Interactive Tour

Monday, June 27, 2011

DSM-V Slammed By The British Psychological Society

Assorted nuts

The proposed DSM V has come under fire from The British Psychological Society after they expressed concerns about over medication of the general public.

The DSM V, due to be published in May 2013, is widely used by psychiatrists and healthcare specialists to diagnose patients whom they think have some sort of 'mental disorder'.

Three of the new proposals that have been slammed by The British Psychological Society are:

Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome

Gender Dysphoria

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The authors of the DSM V [Psychiatrists] believe that the above are all signs of a mental disorder. Here's what the American Psychiatric Association [APA] have to say about Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome.

"Young people at risk for later manifestation of a psychotic disorder can be identified. It has been established in follow-back studies that early signs and symptoms of schizophrenia, for example, are present years before diagnosis is established."

Yup, that's right, it appears the APA are privy to that time-travelling DeLorean that Australian psychiatrists such as Patrick McGorry and Graham Burrows are privy to. The APA claims that Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome can be predicted even in infants!

The Dimensional Assessment for Gender Dysphoria in Children is quite revealing and leaves me wondering what kind of mind comes up with these questionnaires.

This from the APA website:

Dimensional Assessment for Gender Dysphoria in Children

Questions A1-A8 are the dimensional metrics for the corresponding categorical criteria.

Instructions: Please circle the letter next to the statement that applies to your child the best.

For Male Children (Parent-Report)

A1. Over the past 6 months, how intense was your son’s desire to be a girl or insistence he is a girl?

a. None
b. Mild
c. Moderate
d. Strong
e. Very Strong

A2. Over the past 6 months, how intense was your son’s preference to wear girls’ or women’s clothing during dress-up play or activities (e.g., during dress-up play or at other times)?

a. None
b. Mild
c. Moderate
d. Strong
e. Very Strong

A3. Over the past 6 months, how intense was your son’s preference for female roles in fantasy or pretend play?

a. None
b. Mild
c. Moderate
d. Strong
e. Very Strong

A4. Over the past 6 months, how intense was your son’s preference for the toys, games, and activities typical of girls?

a. None
b. Mild
c. Moderate
d. Strong
e. Very Strong

A5. Over the past 6 months, how intense was your son’s preference for girl playmates?

a. None
b. Mild
c. Moderate
d. Strong
e. Very Strong

A6a. Over the past 6 months, how intense was your son’s rejection of typically masculine toys, games, and activities?

a. None
b. Mild
c. Moderate
d. Strong
e. Very Strong

A6b. Over the past 6 months, how intense was your son’s avoidance of rough-and-tumble play?

a. None
b. Mild
c. Moderate
d. Strong
e. Very Strong

A7. Over the past 6 months, how intense was your son’s dislike of his sexual anatomy (e.g., that he dislikes or hates his penis or testes)?

a. None
b. Mild
c. Moderate
d. Strong
e. Very Strong

A8. Over the past 6 months, how intense was your son’s desire for the sexual anatomy of a girl (e.g., sits to urinate, pretends to have breasts, would like to have a vagina)?

a. None
b. Mild
c. Moderate
d. Strong
e. Very Strong

The questionnaire then moves on to the criteria for female children.

Finally, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, they claim, is a persistent pattern of angry and irritable moods along with defiant and vindictive behavior as evidenced by;

Angry/Irritable Mood
1. Loses temper
2. Is touchy or easily annoyed by others.
3. Is angry and resentful

Defiant/Headstrong Behavior
4. Argues with adults
5. Actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ request or rules
6. Deliberately annoys people
7. Blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior

8. Has been spiteful or vindictive at least twice within the past six months

The British Psychological Society's response to the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-V Development can be downloaded here.

Related Posts:

Orgasm - Mental Disorder [DSM Satire]

DSM - From Boneheads to Boners!

Callous-Unemotional Traits - The DSM to Strike Again!

Dr Louis Cypher Speaks...

The Seroxat Sufferers Alternative Guide to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM]

Video contains adult language [written word]

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Irish Lawyers Threaten Blogger Mom

Professor Patricia Casey, Professor of Psychiatry, UCD and Nora Broderick, product manager psychiatry, Lundbeck (Ireland) Ltd

Irish lawyers, Brophy Solicitors, have sent a threatening letter to Leonie Fennell, the mother of Shane Clancy, who writes about her son's death and offers opinion as to why he died.

Shane was just 22 when he killed a young man before turning the knife on himself. The subsequent inquest found an open verdict, large traces of the SSRi antidepressant citalopram [Cipramil UK, Celexa US] were found in his system.

Irish psychiatrist Patricia Casey was present at the inquest representing and observing for Psychiatry Ireland and to ask questions if the need arose. Casey has come under fire from Fennell on a number of occasions, in particular her relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and fees, grants etc that she has received from them.

Casey was at Shane’s inquest and took issue with some aspects of it, according to Leonie, Casey has publicly stated that there is no evidence to suggest that antidepressants can cause suicide or homicide and she is also a member of psychiatry Ireland  and has worked in association with Lundbeck, the manufacturers of citalopram.

The threatening letter from Brophy Solicitors carries an odd disclaimer at the footer, this, more than the threatening content, rather intrigued me.

The information contained in this message may be privileged and confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this messages is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to message and deleting it from your computer.

I just love the use of the word 'may' here. It either is...or it isn't. It appears Brophy Solicitors are trying to stop Leonie Fennell from posting the letter or passing it on to third parties. Quite what disclosure they refer to is baffling as no court proceedings are in place to my knowledge.

What lands in my inbox becomes my property and I can do with it what I wish to do. I certainly wouldn't pay any attention by a law firm who represent a psychiatrist!

The content of the letter appears to be telling...not asking...Leonie to remove certain segments of a post she wrote about Patricia Casey.

Our client has instructed us in relation to comments appearing on your internet blog in which you repeat a statement that another lady made to you that “Patricia Casey ruined my son’s life”.

You also publish a letter on your blog to the Irish Medicines Board on 16th March 2011. As part of this letter you say “... as Patricia Casey has a long and I am sure lucrative association with Lundbeck ... you can take from that anything you want to”.

So, let's just get this straight. A blogger uses a quote from another person and then writes an opinion about Casey's association with Lundbeck. For that she is sent a threatening letter because Casey didn't like it?

Boo hoo.

I imagine writers across the blogsphere are shitting themselves!

I find it comical that a psychiatrist such as Casey wishes to suppress opinion, particularly when the whole field of psychiatry is based on opinion. The mere fact that Casey hands out antidepressants to children is based on opinion...unless of course Casey can provide evidence that shows her patients have a mental disorder? Blood tests, urine samples will suffice. Incidentally, SSRi antidepressants are not recommended for children in Ireland but they can be prescribed 'off-label' - in other words, if the doctor or psychiatrist are of the opinion that a child will benefit from them then they will prescribe them.

Leonie Fennell is right to question a psychiatrist who has links to the manufacturer of the drug that, she believes, killed her son. If she didn't question then what sort of mother would she be?

Brophy solicitors are making assumptions as far as I can ascertain.

"The implication in this second comment is that our client either knows or ought to know of what you describe in your blog as the potentially fatal side effects of certain antidepressants, and yet continues to prescribe these anti-depressants."

First off, it is Brophy Solicitors that have drawn that conclusion. If they feel that antidepressants do not pose a fatal reaction to young people then they are going against what medicine regulators around the world claim. The fact that their client, Patricia Casey, prescribes them should be in question, particularly when they are not recommended for Casey's younger patients. Visit the MHRA website HERE - I'll leave it to Brophy Solicitors to work their way around that particular labyrinth to find what they are looking for.

"The very clear implication here is that our client receives payments from drug companies and is quite happy to prescribe anti-depressants to individuals who should not take these drugs and who would be placed in danger if they did take these drugs."

Brophy Solicitors really need to do their homework. Children and adolescents ARE placed in danger when prescribed these drugs. It is on Casey's own behest [her opinion] that despite not being recommended she continues to prescribe after weighing up the risks versus benefits.

"The first comment – that our client ‘ruined’ someone’s life is even more serious and while it is entirely untrue and without foundation, it is clearly extremely damaging to our client."

This is a particular sticky issue and, as I understand, Leonie Fennell, has now removed that comment. It kind of runs against those programs you see such as Crimewatch where the victim is silhouetted and their voices are changed. They do so for protection. Fennell claims the woman who made that statement feared repercussions from Casey, hence the reason for leaving her name out.

Are Brophy Solicitors going to send out letters to all bloggers who have opinions about their client or who question their client's ties to the industry?

Leonie Fennell lost her son because he was prescribed an antidepressant on the opinion of a doctor. No blood samples were taken, no urine samples were taken, no MRI scan, PET scan or X-rays. It was the opinion of Shane's doctor that citalopram would help lift the blues he was feeling. Sadly it didn't and Shane took his own life. If these drugs worked then there would be no suicides. If they were so safe then regulators around the world would not have imposed restrictions on them...restrictions that Casey appears to ignore because she has her own opinions on these types of drugs.

Leonie has published the threatening letter in full and added her own opinion HERE

If either Casey or indeed Brophy Solicitors wish to debate the ethics of giving children and adolescents drugs that are not recommended for children and adolescents then I'm all ears. Feel free to leave a comment beneath this post. If the benefits outweigh the potential risks then please feel free to send me a detailed list of those benefits.

For the record I take umbrage to Casey making the following statement on the Irish Health Website:

“Around 50% of people do not have a trigger or risk factors for depressive illness”, she said. “The outcome for those who get treatment is very good. It is also important to be aware too that antidepressants are not addictive”.

Coincidental that Casey sings from the same hymn sheet as the manufacturers of antidepressants?

Perhaps Casey would like to tell the 10,000 or so paroxetine users that what they are experiencing is not addiction?

Maybe she should confront the 20,000+ Prozac sufferers who have posted online regarding Prozac's addictive qualities?

Or she could oppose the near 24,000 who have expressed their views regarding the SNRi Effexor online?

I could go on but then again I'm of the opinion that psychiatrists who don't speak out against psychiatric drugs have irrational and delusional traits - Just an opinion of mine I happen to hold.

Here's a classic reason why:

“Fidgeting and foot movements (known in our research setting as ‘Wender’s sign’) are very common signs of hyperactivity in adult ADHD patients – so much so that such patients can usually be diagnosed in the waiting room by a knowledgeable receptionist.” - Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Paul Wender [Paul H. Wender, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults, Oxford University Press, New York, 1995, p. 20]

Professionalism at its very best.

In the meantime, stick in your headphones and listen to the mother of Shane Clancy pour her heart out in a recent podcast she did with me HERE.

Am I sticking up for Leonie Fennell because she did an interview with me? Nup, I'd stick up for any parent who was having their voices stifled by lawyers who have not done their homework with regard to the way their client's prescribe drugs to a generation, despite those drugs not being recommend by world-wide medicines regulators.

All of the above is my opinion, I'm sure many other bloggers will offer theirs over the course of the next week or so. I'm of the opinion that Casey has brought some rather unwanted attention on herself by using Solicitors to try and suppress the voice of a grieving mother.

Some bedtime reading for Brophy Solicitors - - Your opinion and Casey's too, on the stories featured, would be greatly appreciated, there's over 4,500 of them!  If you disagree with the 4,500+ stories, I won't be sending you a threatening letter, it is, after all, just your opinion, however wrong you may be.

Related Media

Podcast - Robert Whitaker on Today With Patricia Casey

Glaxo Warned in 1994 About their "False & Misleading" Information on Paxil/Seroxat

Another gem of a file from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), who recently uploaded a total of 296 documents to the DIDA Library.

This particular document shows how, in 1994, GlaxoSmithKline were warned by The Department of Health & Human Sciences [DOHHS] about their promotion of Paxil [known in the UK as Seroxat]

The complete 12 page letter, which can be downloaded here, shows how the DOHHS sent Glaxo a warning letter pointing out that their promotion of Paxil carried many false and misleading claims.

Here's a few tasters:

7. "A low discontinuation rate" chart. (PX1004, pg. 16)
This chart presents the two most common reasons for discontinuation in the clinical trials, suggesting that the sum of these rates, 5-7%, provide an estimate of the overall rate of discontinuation. Because the actual overall rate of discontinuation due to adverse events is much higher, 21%, this suggestion is false and/or misleading.

8. Failure to provide fair balance.
Pages 16 and 17 of PX1004 are incorporated into a fold-out page layout design. These pages discuss the warnings and adverse events associated with Paxil therapy. However, unless the viewer is actively searching for this important risk information, it is unlikely that SKB's sales representatives will call attention to this disclosure. Moreover, since the brochure is a detail aid for sales representatives use and is not left behind for the healthcare provider, this likelihood is further diminished. The presentation of risk information is completely inadequate and is false and/or misleading.

11. "Proven safe and effective in long-term treatment and relapse prevention." (PX1634, pg. 16)
This claim and accompanying graph are derived from the study by Duboff et al. entitled, "Long Term Treatment of major depressive disorder with paroxetine." This study consists of a one year, multicenter, open-label study involving 433 patients with ma^or depressive disorder followed by a long-term extension study including 110 of the patients. As discussed in Comment 1, the lack of a placebo control arm renders the efficacy resultsuninterpretable. Therefore, this study is inadequate to support this claim, and this claim is false and/or misleading.

14. "'Like many other antidepressants, common side effects..." (PX1604)
The phrase, "like many other," minimizes the importance of the side effects associated with Paxil therapy. Therefore, this statement is false and/or misleading.

There are 18 in all, all of which can be viewed HERE


Email Glaxo and tell them. Chances are, you will be referred back to your doctor, if so, email me.

Email GSK Customer Relations HERE

Related articles:

How Glaxo Wanted to Turn the Issue of Withdrawal in Their Favour

Previously Unseen Paxil GlaxoSmithKline Court Documents Part I




Saturday, June 25, 2011

Are You Struggling With Seroxat/Paxil Withdrawal?

Are you struggling with Seroxat withdrawal? Have you tried desperately to wean yourself off but find yourself addicted? Have you asked your doctor for a safe, proven tapering regime?

Never fear, GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of the drug you are desperately trying to wean off, should be able to help you.

Contact them and let them know you are addicted to their drug and you are struggling to wean off it. Tell them your doctor cannot help you as there is no available, proven protocol with regard to a safe taper.

Contact GSK Customer Relations via email at:

If GlaxoSmithKline respond by telling you they cannot, under the Code of Practice of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry [ABPI], offer you any personal advice regarding their product then please feel free to drop me a line.

Failing that, you could always contact the MHRA. They are the body that regulate the drugs you and I take. To date the MHRA have received 32,897 reported reactions to Seroxat and 10,563 Adverse reactions. 177 fatal adverse reactions have been reported to the MHRA.

If you seek help tapering off Seroxat and GlaxoSmithKline refuse to help you, drop the MHRA an email and ask them how you should taper from your Seroxat and, more importantly, how long it will take to be free from the withdrawal symptoms. Once again, if the MHRA quote the Code of Practice of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry [ABPI] clause at you then please feel free to write me.

The MHRA can be contacted via email at

Related article:

**EXCLUSIVE: Glaxo Turn Away Consumer Suffering Seroxat Withdrawal

Friday, June 24, 2011

How Glaxo Wanted to Turn the Issue of Withdrawal in Their Favour

One would think that a manufacturer of a product would act upon a defective product, particularly if that product was to be used by millions of people.

Glaxo launched Seroxat in direct competition to Eli Lilly's Prozac. Lilly, being Lilly, saw this as a threat. So battle did commence.

According to this recently surfaced internal file, GlaxoSmithKline [then SmithKline Beecham] knew of two studies that Lilly had carried out, those studies showed that Seroxat showed significantly higher rates of withdrawal problems when compared to Prozac.

How did GSK handle this?

Well, instead of addressing Lilly's findings they decided to play down the issue of Seroxat withdrawal. The fact that Seroxat withdrawal problems were significantly higher than Prozac saw Glaxo's team pull together the following plan.

Downloaded from DIDA Library

Downloaded from DIDA Library

You will note the date of the letter is July 1997, that's 14 years ago.

Let's catapult to present day, 2011, and an article I ran with on June 19.

GlaxoSmithKline UK had been contacted by a patient because she was at her wits end. She had, for some years, being struggling to withdraw from Seroxat. This was frustrating because she wanted to start a family and she knew the possible consequences of trying for a baby whilst hooked on Seroxat. Seroxat is a teratogen for those of you that don't know - The British drug regulator, the MHRA won't admit that it is though.

14 years on and, it appears, Glaxo still don't want to address the issue of Seroxat withdrawal. The woman who contacted them was told, not by Glaxo but by one of their lawyers, that Seroxat was not addictive and that she should "talk to her doctor."

The fact that this woman had already spoken with her doctor, who had no idea how to tell her to taper or how long it would take, seemed irrelevant to GlaxoSmithKline's lawyer!

"Zoe's" full story can be read HERE.

With Glaxo refusing to acknowledge those that suffer serious withdrawal problems at the hands of their product, we have a cluster of people who have been thrown onto the scrap heap. In a previously unseen BBC transcript [2002] from Panorama, Glaxo's Alastair Benbow told investigative journalist, Shelley Jofre, that Seroxat was not addictive, in fact he went one step further and said that people could stop taking Seroxat anytime they wanted, adding, "It is true that a proportion of patients may develop symptoms on stopping the drug. These are generally mild to moderate in nature."

It took me almost two years to quit Seroxat. For Benbow to suggest that my withdrawal was possibly mild to moderate in nature is seen as an insult. To suggest that "Zoe", the woman who featured in my June article, is possibly suffering only mild to moderate withdrawal also smacks of someone who has a characteristic of being conceited. Mine and "Zoe's" withdrawal are just two stories. Here's just a minuscule of other withdrawal comments left by people who have signed the Online Paxil Petition.

I've recently stopped taking Paxil after 18 months and have experienced many of the side effects associated with withdrawal - hot flashes, electrical "zaps", inability to concentrate, weight gain, dizziness, headaches, etc., etc., Had I been aware of these withdrawal horrors, I would have requested that my physician prescribe another medication.

I am going through hell trying to get off of this drug. I've been on it for 4 years - tried to get off of it twice, unsuccessfully, and am now trying a 3rd time. Each time I get so sick, I give in and start taking it again so that I can function. I never would have taken this drug if I would have known the consequences.

Very sick with electrical charges in head when trying to quite. This is like being addicted to hard core drugs. The manufacture needs to have a plan to withdraw people who take this. I have been sick for at least 2-3 days every time I try to decrease the dose. It's been a horrible experience. I want off this drug and no one seems to know how to stop it without getting sick.

There are more to read HERE, in fact over 10,000 more.

Glaxo's Alastair Benbow is aware of the voices on the Internet, in 2002 he had this to say to Shelley Jofre:

"...we cannot be driven by anecdote; we have to be driven by facts."

On being asked how long patients have to taper when coming off Seroxat, Benbow replied:

"That depends on the dose of Seroxat that the patient is on. In the majority of cases, if you are on one of the higher doses, it will only take a matter of weeks."

Maybe Benbow still remembers the 'plan' his employers set out in 1997 to basically debunk the withdrawal problems of Seroxat?




Related article:

Previously Unseen Paxil GlaxoSmithKline Court Documents Part I

Previously Unseen Paxil GlaxoSmithKline Court Documents Part I

Alastair Benbow: "...the information clearly says that Seroxat is not addictive, and it is not." 

The Drug Industry Document Archive [DIDA] has obtained and released over 200 previously unseen court files from various Paxil litigation cases. Browsing through them last night was akin to losing £10 then later finding £100...make that a £1000

The Project on Government Oversight [POGO] is an investigation into ghostwriting in academia. They have managed to obtain many files, one of which I shall be highlighting today.

The file in question has, to my knowledge, never been seen before, it's 19 pages long and is a transcript from an interview given by Glaxo's Alastair Benbow to BBC TV's investigative reporter Shelly Jofre back in 2002. What makes this transcript so unique is that much of it was never actually aired on BBC TV when the interview went out.

You will see how Jofre pushes Benbow for answers, answers that he just does not want to give. You will see Jofre push him for answers on the withdrawal issue regarding Paxil [Seroxat] and. time and time again, you will see how Benbow avoids the question.

Benbow has mastered the art of deflection but Jofre is an ankle biter - she just does not let go.

These files are like gold dust, I am highlighting this one in particular because I think it is important to see Glaxo's stance on how they believe, despite evidence to the contrary, that their drug does not cause major withdrawal problems for those that take it.

What I find interesting is the exchange between Jofre and Benbow regarding the word 'addiction'. Jofre, using the Oxford English Dictionary pushes Benbow on the definition of the word:

Q. Your leaflet says 'remember you cannot become addicted to Seroxat', but that's not true is it?
A. Yes, it is true. There is no reliable evidence that Seroxat can cause addiction or dependence, and this has been borne out by a number of independent clinical experts, by regulatory authorities around the world, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and a number of other groups.

Q. If people cannot stop taking a drug when they want to stop taking it they are addicted are they not?
A. No, that is not correct. The definition of addiction is not as you describe it. Addiction is characterised by a number of different criteria, which includes craving, which includes increasing the dose of the drug to get the same effect, and a number of other features, and those are not exhibited by Seroxat.

Q. That is not with respect what the Oxford English Dictionary says. It says, "Addiction is having a compulsion to take a drug, the stopping of which produces withdrawal symptoms."
A. It is true that a number of patients will experience symptoms on withdrawal.

Q. That is what addiction means is it not?
A. No, it is not.

Q. That is what the dictionary says.
A. That is not a clinical definition of addiction or dependence. Dependence is very clearly laid down by international

Q. But when people start taking Seroxat they do not consult a medical dictionary.
A. No, and they will not consult the Oxford English Dictionary either.

Q. The Oxford English Dictionary tells you what common usage of the word addiction is. People understand that if they cannot stop taking a drug it is addictive.
A. The reality of the situation is that regulatory authorities around the world, independent clinical experts and key groups like the Royal College of Psychiatrists, have agreed that Seroxat is not habit forming or addictive.

Q. But your patient leaflet is meant to help and inform patients is it not?
A. Yes, it is, and it does I believe.

Q. Not according to the people we have spoken to who feel they were not warned that this could happen to them. They read, "You cannot become addicted to Seroxat" and thought they could stop the drug any time they wanted.
A. No, the reality is they can stop the drug, but it is true...

Q. But you cannot stop any time you want.
A. Yes, they can and the information clearly says that Seroxat is not addictive, and it is not. It is true that a proportion of patients may develop symptoms on stopping the drug. These are generally mild to moderate in nature ... [Inaudible due to interruption] permitting, and will go away usually within a two-week period.

If this hasn't angered the hundreds of thousands of sufferers world-wide yet then wait til you read the full exchange.

The way Benbow plays down the severe withdrawal issues has to be noted, they way in which he refuses to acknowledge the many thousands that have suffered horrendous side-effects at the hands of his company's drug is also striking.

Back in 2008, Alastair Benbow instructed lawyers to contact me because I had apparently caused him 'unwanted distress' with a video I had created and subsequent comments to that video. I hope Benbow does not feel such unwanted distress with this file that is now in the public domain.

It's fair to say that I do not like Benbow. I do not like the way he comes across when giving interviews on TV and his constant denials that there really isn't a problem with Seroxat withdrawal. One only has to go to the Paxil petition to see that either over 10,000 people are lying or Benbow is...or wishes to ignore patient reports about his company's drug.

Benbow, in effect, is calling me a liar, he is saying that I, along with thousands of others, are experiencing what is an 'extreme reaction' and, in truth, he and his company just don't know why or how to help people who are suffering these severe reactions.

Only last week I highlighted how a patient had telephoned GlaxoSmithKline because she was at a loss of what to do regarding her tapering. She, just like me and many thousands, was finding it extremely difficult to wean herself off Seroxat, a drug that, claims Benbow, is not addictive. Glaxo told her to go and talk to her doctor, they refused to discuss the matter with her, citing some pharmaceutical code of practice ruling.

This is the company whose corporate motto is "Committed to improving the quality of human life."

It's a fascinating document, if only to show how dogged investigative reporter Shelly Jofre is and how Benbow appears to be in denial throughout the whole interview.

The document can be downloaded HERE

**If you, or anyone you know, is struggling withdrawal problems with GlaxoSmithKline's Aropax [Seroxat/Paxil], contact GSK directly and ask them for help. If they refer you to your doctor, please contact me by email. [Email address in left hand sidebar]




Thursday, June 23, 2011

Professor Graham Burrows - The "Cosmetic Psychiatrist?" [Updated 7.34pm]

 Professor Graham Burrows: "I don’t think there’s anyone in the world today who could emphatically say how an anti-depressant works." 

As Australian psychiatrist Professor Graham Burrows defends his corner against recent allegations of over medicating patients, misdiagnosing and bed-hopping with the pharmaceutical industry, many of his former patients are trying to get their lives back on track. Burrows, is, it appears, a firm believer in the pharmaceutical products he prescribes - one such product is GSK's Seroxat, known as Aropax in Australia and Paxil in the US and Canada.

In a 2002 short documentary Burrows claimed that shyness was a treatable condition, treatable with Aropax. In fact much of Burrows' statements from the 2002 transcript leave me wondering whether he was merely promoting GSK's product, I think it fair to make that assumption, tell me what you think:

Narration: Paxil or Aropax as it’s known in Australia is one of the Prozac-like antidepressants. And while many psychologists say they meddle with human nature, psychiatrists like Graham Burrows claim they’re merely much-need medications.

Professor Graham Burrows: I don’t consider it meddling if in fact this person is suffering so much that it’s interfering with their life that they want to be changed. They want to feel more comfortable, they want to be able to deal with the social situations. They want to enjoy life when they’re not enjoying life. That couldn’t really be called meddling.

The narrator continued by announcing that Burrows believed that up 13% of Australians had "chronic shyness" and more than half of them probably need permanent medication to turn their lives around.

Opposing this was psychologist Dr Sallee McLauren:

"One of the central things with people who suffer from anxiety is the sense of powerlessness. They think that they cannot control the anxiety. Now this is simply not true. We can certainly learn to manage that anxiety. That’s why it’s very important for people who suffer from anxiety not to just adopt that passive approach of just popping a pill. It’s very important instead to learn how to be an agent in your own life. So how to stand up to the anxiety".

Here's Burrows response to McLauren:

"That’s not true and I’d disagree with that sort of opinion and that’s often a divided opinion between psychologists and psychiatrists, it depends who you go to because there are people who have claimed that the person can be well, but in fact when you take them off the medication they get bad again and you get back into the CBT and they still have problems, that’s when they have to face the fact that this person needs medication."

"When you take them off the medication they get bad again?"

Did it, or indeed does it, ever occur to Burrows that they 'get bad again' due to the side-effects of the drug they are taking? Furthermore, to just take someone off Aropax is not recommended as the withdrawal symptoms can be horrendous.

Here, Burrows defies all the odds with one of the most eye-opening claims I have ever seen from a psychiatrist:

"There are people who have abnormal biochemistry in their brain. We can show that by blood tests. We can show that with positron emission tomography a neuro-imaging technique. We’ve done some studies to show that they actually have altered chemistry and by giving them the medication, their chemistry is converted back to normal if you like and they don’t have the anxiety and the depression they had beforehand."

First and foremost, THERE IS NO PROVEN PET SCAN to diagnose mental disorders.

Positron Emission Tomography, more commonly known as a PET scan is a pretty daunting procedure and one that doctors [GP's] certainly don't carry out before handing out psychiatric drugs, in fact, many of Burrows former patients have come forward to complain that he over-medicated them, one such patient claimed that Burrows prescribed him/her a psychiatric drug after just 30 seconds of diagnosis! If true, how did Burrows know his patient had a disorder?

The PET scanner is a ring-shaped apparatus with an attached table. You will lie on the scanning table, and the table will slide slowly through the opening in the scanner ring. One or two scans might be taken before the tracer is administered. After this initial scanning, either you will inhale the tracer or it will be injected into one of your veins, usually in your arm. Additional scans will be taken while the tracer is in your body.

During the scanning procedure, you must lie very still. The scanning table will glide you through the PET scanner, so you won't need to move. If your head is being scanned, special cushions may be placed against your head to hold it in place. The entire scan should take 30 minutes to two hours. Afterward, you can go home and resume your normal activities. [Source]

So if it takes a PET scan between 30 minutes and 2 hours plus the time taken for a medical team to assess the images caught, how can Burrows, or indeed any healthcare professional diagnose a patient with a 'mental disorder' based on a brief consultation? More importantly, if the PET scan is, once again, just based on theory it makes the whole process of dishing out psychiatric medication a complete nonsense, an unproven science with unproven disorders treated with unproven drugs.

The clincher, if a clincher was needed, of the 2002 short documentary come when Burrows made the following statement:

"I don’t think there’s anyone in the world today who could emphatically say how an anti-depressant works – whichever antidepressant group and having said that we do know a lot of chemistry about what actually occurs. Now I sometimes say does anyone know what electricity is, but we use it."

If Burrows can find the time I suggest he do a Google search, simply type in, "How does electricity work?"

In fact, Burrows should know how electricity works, in a study he co-authored [MJA 2007; 186 (3): 142-144] the use of electroconvulsive therapy is cited as being "the most effective treatment for severe depression."

Google the term, "How does electroconvulsive therapy work?" and you will find that nobody knows how it actually works, it's all based on theory, same as the chemical imbalance theory promoted by GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturers of Aropax.

The procedure for electroconvulsive therapy [ECT] is, for want of a better word, Frankensteinian. The treatment involves placing electrodes on the temples, on one or both sides of the patient's head, and delivering a small electrical current across the brain.

We know electricity can be dangerous if used incorrectly, after all, we wouldn't tell a child to go and stick his or her wet fingers into a live plug socket would we? We'd warn them of the dangers, the risks.

Children today are being prescribed psychiatric medication, the number is growing and it will grow larger if programs, such as Patrick McGorry's EPPIC program is not opposed. McGorry claims he can predict if a child will fall foul of a 'mental illness' in future years. The Australian government seem to back him, having thrown millions of dollars in is direction.

As Burrows rightly states, "I don’t think there’s anyone in the world today who could emphatically say how an anti-depressant works." Yet antidepressants are prescribed despite the medical and psychiatric profession not knowing how they work on the brain. If they don't know how antidepressants work then they won't know how to combat the side effects and, I put it to Burrows et al, that they are not in a position to defend the huge number of claims that antidepressant medication can cause those taking them to commit suicide or homicidal acts, all of which have been well documented.

Incidently, The a plus project was promoted in Burrows' Depression Awareness Journal (which was funded by GSK). The project saw starter packs being handed out to patients in 2002, around the same time the documentary was made. Counselling was offered to patients on the proviso that they continued taking Glaxo's drug, Aropax!

Burrows' (2002) editorial:

We also examine the a plus project, a partnership of patients, GPs, pharmacists and psychologists, working together to improve treatment outcomes in depression.

Singh (2002):

The a plus project is a national programme for the treatment of clinical depression which employs a multidisciplinary, cooperative approach to ensure patients achieve the maximum benefit from their treatment. The a plus project is an example of a healthcare partnership in action, as it adopts a cooperative mental health approach featuring GPs, pharmacists, psychiatrists, psychologists and patients. (p. 8)

According to Singh, the a plus project was developed to improve the treatment received by GP patients: 'It was in response to such unmet community need that the a plus project was devised' (p. 10).

Singh likened the a plus project to beyondblue:

Australia recently witnessed another first in the treatment of depression building on the major national initiative of beyondblue. (p. 8)

Burrows, Graham D. (2002, June). From the Editor in Chief. Depression Awareness Journal, 11, inside front cover.

Singh, Bruce. (2002, June). The a plus project: A partnership in action. Depression Awareness Journal, 11, pp. 8-11.

[Professor Singh is and was a prominent, influential psychiatrist.]

Memo to Burrows:

If you are going to promote the use of Aropax for shyness, here's an idea - find out how it works and what the possible implications are when taking it. Until you have all the answers and scientific data may I suggest that you promote products that have been scientifically tested and that have been proven to be safe and effective - a simple cup of tea could be right up your street, make sure you are careful when plugging in that electric kettle though.

PS - Shyness IS NOT a mental disorder...unless you can prove otherwise?

**If you, or anyone you know, is struggling withdrawal problems with GlaxoSmithKline's Aropax [Seroxat/Paxil], contact GSK directly and ask them for help. If they refer you to your doctor, please contact me by email. [Email address in left hand sidebar]

Transcript segments taken from COSMETIC PSYCHOLOGY, ABC Television.

Related Articles:

The Marketing of Aropax in Australia and the A Plus Project

Australian Psychiatrist Graham Burrows Denies Any "Wrongdoing"

Are The Wheels Coming Off Patrick McGorry's DeLorean?

News 7: More Complaints Against Prof Graham Burrows

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Australian Psychiatrist Graham Burrows Denies Any "Wrongdoing"

Just before 7 News third installment highlighting Australian psychiatrist Graham Burrows abhorrent behaviour went to air tonight his lawyers issued a letter to the programme makers.

Burrows denied any wrongdoing and said that he is 'already subject to rigorous scrutiny by the medical practitioners board and peer review.' He also denied 'any suggestion that his patient care has been inappropriate.'

Tonight's airing sees "Barbara", a former patient of Burrows, say that she is "scared of him" and another former patient, "Lyn" claim that she has just over 20% of her kidney function left due to the drugs prescribed to her by Burrows. "Lyn" took her case to the medical board but it had to drop the case after Burrows notes were apparently destroyed.

News 7 coverage on this, although small, has been significant and more people have come forward to the program-makers.

Here's the third installment, the other two can be seen by visiting the links toward the end of this article.




Good Morning Australia - Want to know about Aropax?

The past 24 hours has seen 49% of my web traffic come from Australia, more than likely looking for the latest information on psychiatrist Graham Burrows, whom I highlighted here, here and here.

Seeing as many are tuning in for the first time to Seroxat Sufferers I'd like to make them aware of the antidepressant drug they know as Aropax - Known as Seroxat in the UK and Paxil in the US and Canada.

Rather than write a long post, I'm uploading 7 videos from Panorama, a UK flagsship current affairs programme.

If you...or you know anyone who is struggling to taper off Seroxat, contact GSK and ask them for help. If they refer you to your doctor then please feel free to drop me a line at fiddaman64 [at]

In the meantime, watch and learn how you have been kept in the dark by GlaxoSmithKline...

Related - The Marketing of Aropax in Australia and the A Plus Project




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Truthman Reaches out to GSK CEO Andrew Witty

Long time campaigner and good friend of mine, The Truthman, has sent Head of GlaxoSmithKline an open letter via the Andrew Witty blog. It's a call to Witty's conscience. Whether or not he reads it is another matter, thing is, it will be in cyberspace for ever more and when the day comes for those accountable for ignoring the pleas of former, and indeed present, Seroxat patients, we can all turn around and say, 'WE TOLD YOU SO'.

The Truthman's open letter can be read HERE

My open email to Witty, posted a couple of weeks ago, can be read HERE



Another One Bites The Dust - Canadian Teen's Death Cloaked In Secrecy

With the Ashley Smith inquest halted due to legal implications, another inquest is underway to determine how a 16-year-old boy known by the initials G.A was found hanging in a youth jail.

For background on the Ashley Smith inquest see HERE.

Meantime, the Coroner's court are desperately trying to suppress information with regard to "G.A." The province has deployed a small army of lawyers to keep secret all records that could explain how this happened. One has to ask why, exactly who or what are they trying to protect?

Staff reporter for The Star, Diana Zlomislic, has the scoop. She writes:

The case involves a 16-year-old boy known by the initials G.A., who was sent to Syl Apps Youth Centre in Oakville after a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a social worker determined he had “very serious mental health issues” and needed secure treatment. A judge agreed.

But the teen never made it to the jail’s secure treatment unit, a hospital-like setting. Instead, he was placed in general detention while the facility waited for $3,500 in government funding to complete another court-ordered assessment on the boy, who had been described as everything from paranoid and psychotic to polite and personable. Less than a month after arriving at the facility, and just five days after his 17th birthday, the teen hanged himself with a shoelace on May 13, 2008.

The inquest has heard that G.A. came to Canada at age 11 with his sister and parents from Kazakhstan, where he was a gifted student who excelled at math. He practised judo, karate, rock climbing and gymnastics.

Within days of arriving in Canada, his parents separated — something that had been planned without the children’s knowledge.

Both parents found new partners and the siblings split time between their homes in Ajax and Pickering.

When his sister started using drugs, the inquest heard the teen was devastated at losing what he felt was his last role model.

By the time he started Grade 9, G.A. started to experiment with alcohol and fell behind at school.

He was sent to Brookside Youth Centre in Cobourg in January 2008, after pleading guilty to assaulting his 23-year-old sister.

At Brookside, the youth told psychologist Dr. John Satterberg, who is now retired in Newfoundland, that he wanted “to straighten out his thinking.” He said he heard voices.

At their next session, G.A. seemed like a different person, the inquest heard.

The psychologist, frightened, ended the session abruptly after the teen kicked the table and lifted it off the floor.

Zlomislic adds that this isn't the first time a youth has died whilst in custody in Ontario. An inquest recommended the use of segregation cells be abolished after 16-year-old James Lonnee’s death at Guelph’s Wellington Detention Centre in 1996. Segregation cells are still in use today!

In 2009, 22 year old Kulmire Aganeh died following an altercation with several staff members at the **Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene, his crime? He stole a car.

It is becoming commonplace, it seems, in Canada for coroners and lawyers to keep the dead from having a voice. Something the coroners of Ontario seem to be ignoring is their own motto, “We Speak for The Dead to Protect The Living."

Keeping details from the public may be down to privacy acts but suppressing voices of dead children/adolescents who died whilst under the care of psychiatric doctors and nurses is unforgivable. It's bad enough that these young adults were deprived of their youth and, in the case of Aganeh and Smith, forced to take medication against their will.

Canada needs a kick up the arse, it needs to protect the vulnerable and not those that put these people in vulnerable situations. That goes for doctors prescribing drugs not recommended for children too!

Diana Zlomislic's full article can be read HERE

Interestingly, in another Canadian newspaper today, The National Post, Christie Blatchford writes about the legal implications in the Ashley Smith inquest.

It seems rather odd that two kids who died whilst in the apparent care of psychiatry  are both having their voices stifled by Ontario Coroners.

Point of interest here is the Ontario Coroners Code of Ethics:

21. Coroners shall not conduct themselves in a manner which might tend to bring their office into disrepute or affect public confidence in that office.

Recent findings would, I suggest, lean toward a lack of confidence from the Canadian public.

** Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene have recently changed their name to Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.




News 7: More Complaints Against Prof Graham Burrows

Australian psychiatrist Graham Burrows remains tight-lipped on recent allegations that he over medicated patients and prescribed them psychiatric drugs after just spending 30 seconds with them.

Australia News 7 yesterday broke the news and today, journalist Louise Milligan confirmed that "...the medical board is now monitoring the allegations to determine what action is necessary to protect the public."

The updated video below also features 'Diane' whose husband was prescribed Tolvin by Prof Graham Burrows, a week later he shot himself. In a startling interview 'Diane' alleges that upon hearing the news Burrows told her it was his fault as he should have hospitalized her husband.

The interview also features Bernard Daniels whose son, Garth, was prescribed Zyprexa by Burrows. Mr Daniels protested and Burrows tried to get legal guardianship of Garth to keep him on the drug.

I'm sure there will be more news about Burrows surfacing over the coming weeks.

Related story:

'Patrick McGorry's Delorean Pulls Over For New Passenger'

Monday, June 20, 2011

Are The Wheels Coming Off Patrick McGorry's DeLorean?

Biff Tannen and Psychiatrist Graham Burrows.One of them has delusions about going back in time... the other is Biff Tannen.

Back in May I highlighted Melbourne psychiatrist Graham "Biff Tannen" Burrows. Burrows had testified that Arthur Freeman, who threw his 4 year old daughter off the West Gate Bridge, had a "major despondent disorder" so he did not know what he was doing. Remarkably Burrows had been able to diagnose the mental state of someone 14 months back in time. Yup, that's right, Burrows had used the DeLorean to diagnose a patient... by going back in time by 14 months.

In my article, 'Patrick McGorry's Delorean Pulls Over For New Passenger', I highlighted the serious conflict of interests that surround Burrows:

Burrows is chairman of the Mental Health Foundation (founded in Melbourne Uni's Department of Psychiatry in 81); a department that receives funding from AstraZeneca, Servier and Pfizer. Burrows has also received travel assistance to attend Advisory Board meetings from most companies that market psychotropics in Australia.

Burrows is also the director of psychiatry at Austin Hospital in Melbourne where in 2006 the parents of a 30 year old man had to get a barrister to force the hospital to release him after the parents questioned the psychiatrists putting him on Zyprexa: [The parents won the legal battle to stop the psychiatrists "stripping them of all their rights to look after him."

The Mental Health Foundation issues press releases about the advantages of specific antidepressants: like Remeron [Avanza in Australia] and made by Organon.

In 2004, both Burrows and Patrick McGorry sat on the Advisory Board on Mental Health to advise the Victorian government on funding [Source]

It should come as no surprise then to learn that Burrows is now the subject of a major medical scandal in Australia. Calls for a government inquiry in to claims of over medicating and conflicts of interests involving drug companies.

This from 7 News Australia

Related Articles:

Patrick McGorry: "Hey... Paddy... Leave Those Kids Alone"

Patrick McGorry - Torn Asunder Down Under

Early Intervention, McGorry, Politics & TV Shows

Psychiatrist Patrick McGorry Slams His Critics [Diddums]

Is Australia's "Number One Man" Misleading The Public?

Pre-Mental Disorder Screening & Drugging - THE PHARMACEUTICAL DELOREAN

Patrick McGorry's Delorean Pulls Over For New Passenger

Patrick McGorry & Co Under Fire

Hickierie Dickory Doc - McGorry Turns Back the Clock

Psychiatrist's Assessment of Patrick McGorry

Patrick McGorry's "Back to the Future" 2008 Study

Australian Doctor Magazine Sees Patrick McGorry Defend His Position

Australian Member of Parliament, Martin Whitely, also speaks out against McGorry's Headspace initiative HERE.

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