Zantac Lawsuit

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

India: GSK Whistleblower Names and Shames - Part I

Navneet Kumar started his career with GSK India (Roorkee HQ) on March 2011 where he was assigned to meet doctors on daily a basis to persuade them to prescribe GSK drugs to their patients and to visit other Health Care Professionals (pharmacists, etc.) Kumar also used to organize 'Doctor Roundtable' meetings, and 'Continuing Medical Education' (CME) meetings for GSK product promotions. His job also saw him report to his Area Business Manager (ABM), Mr. Jitendra Singh Chauhan and indirectly to his Regional Business Manager (RBM), Sanjeev Jolly.

Kumar was awarded the 'Super Star' for his excellent sales performance and was given the opportunity to travel to Dubai (paid for by GSK). Many other sales awards were won by Kumar, and all seemed fine with his chosen career at GSK India, that was until he started to notice many irregularities, discrepancies, and became the victim of harassment for not adhering to the unethical sales pressures bestowed upon him by GSK management.

And now, Kumar no longer wants to remain quiet.

Kumar alleges that he and colleagues wrote to GSK Senior Management on the 29th December 2012 about a violation.

Septran (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole) is a combination of two antibiotics used to treat ear infections, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, traveler's diarrhea, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. 

On each last working day of the month, Kumar collected orders from stockists. Stockists, according to Kumar, are people who are authorized to buy drugs directly from the company and supply those drugs to chemists or doctors whilst adding their 10% margin.

Kumar told me:

"Stockists buy drugs from the company. Now, let us take an example - GSK's branded drug Septran has a maximum retail price of 100 Rupees. The price to retailers (chemists, etc) costs around 23.5%, around 76 rupees. Now, the same drug will cost stockists 10% less, around 66 rupees because stockists directly buy from the company. 

"Now. it was my manager who was forcing drug reps to do an adjustment. An adjustment is where we have to establish a mutual understanding with stockists. We force them to sell drugs at lower prices like if something is costing them 66 rupees we have to force them to sell the drug on for 60 rupees or even less. This how extra sales will be done. 

"The difference will be paid to stockists by drug reps through their incentive bonus and some part of their salary. This is the cost of staying in the job at GSK.

Managers earn their incentives by threatening the reps. If a drug rep reaches his targets automatically managers will achieve their targets. But the drug rep has to make an adjustment so the money he earns will go to the stockists. Managers earn incentives without any hurdles."

By "hook or by crook"

Kumar alleges that his Regional Business Manager, Sanjeev Jolly (pictured above), told him to reach his sales targets by "hook or by crook". Further, Kumar alleges that Jolly threatened to take action against him if he "didn't do as he was told."

In a nutshell, Kumar tells me, Jolly was telling him to pay his stockist out of his own pocket whilst Jolly reaped the monetary benefits.

According to Kumar, the standard operating procedure at GSK specifies that a drug rep should not be involved in any money-related matters with their stockists.

Other GSK reps have, in the past, received the same kind of threats from Jolly, Kumar and, as a result, saw them write an email to top officials at GSK. According to Kumar GSK's sales reps complained when Jolly instructed them to place an order of 100 cases of Septran tablets.

A grievance meeting was conducted at GSK's New Delhi HQ, Jolly apologized and, well, that was that. GSK officials took no disciplinary action against Jolly.

Jolly's LinkedIn page can be found here - His tagline says that he is an "inquisitive marketeer with an undying thirst to learn and achieve."

According to Kumar, he was the most senior rep but after the grievance meeting against Jolly he was transferred from his hometown to Dehradun (another GSK HQ) in 2015 without any given reason. That's when the harassment started. Kumar told me, "He started harassing me with the help of two Area Business Manager's (ABM), Jitendra Singh Chauhan and Manish Sachdev. They collaborated in handing me a Dealer list on which achieving the company objective was very difficult. Chauhan also sent me unnecessary emails and pressured me to carry out unethical work practices."

This harassment didn't stop at Jolly. Kumar told me that his ABM, Jitendra Singh Chauhan, "...took a massive advantage of his position. He used to send me phone messages at midnight, non-working days and holidays. He used to call me from his home for personal work. When I started objecting to his unnecessary demands, he started taking advantage of his position to harass me even more. He created false allegations against me and started making his own rules whilst overlooking the company guidelines."

Chauhan (Seen below as 'ABM Boss' (1)) told Kumar he wanted him to call 12 dealers per day. The company guideline, however, stipulates that reps will meet no more than 6.5 dealers per day (2)


(see Work Norms/Rules a) and e(i)


"I will finish your career, you and your family will be out on the street."

In effect, Chauhan was almost doubling the workload of Kumar, who believes the unrealistic request to target 12 dealers a day was an effort to get him to resign. I've seen many screenshots of the text messages and, it appears, Chauhan was, in many instances,  sending messages just before and after midnight.

Kumar, despite the demands being put on him, decided to continue working, he would not resign. 

Sometime later, however, he was called into a meeting at GSK's New Delhi office by Sanjeev Jolly. Kumar told me:
"I thought he called me for in for a training program . In a closed room he gave me a white paper and I was asked to submit my resignation. I was shocked and refused to resign. He started threatning me and told me "I will finish your career" and that, "You and your family will be out on the street." He also told me that he will not allow any company to recruit me.
"I was under immense pressure to resign but I didn't. I asked him to provide reasons for why he is doing all these things. Then he presented a charge-sheet in front of me and, once again, asked me to resign. I decided to go with the charge-sheet rather than resignation. He (Jolly) did the same thing with my ex-colleague some months previously, he, like me, was called to the New Delhi office, and under pressure from Jolly, he resigned. This a pattern by GSK management to threaten the employee and they usually resign because the pressure is overwhelming for them. I didn't do that."

Coming up in Part II

  • How Navneet alleges that there is no code of conduct amongst GSK India's senior management
  • More evidence of retaliation and harassment
  • Alleged forgery by GSK management
  • Emails to former GSK CEO, Andrew Witty, GSK's Global Head of Investigation, Jason Lord, and current CEO, Emma Walmsley, and some other top officials of GSK
  • For the first time, Kumar will reveal a document that, so far, has been unseen by the public.

Bob Fiddaman

Back story - Truthman Blog

Thursday, March 22, 2018

GSK's Nutcracker Dilemma

A tough woman who, when provoked, will literally crack your nuts. - Urban Dictionary (5)

GSK has been delivered a swift kick in the gonads regarding the Dolin Vs GlaxoSmithKline appeal process.

The company was held liable in April 2017 when a jury found it responsible for the labeling on their Paxil product as well as generic equivalents.

Ever since then GSK, via their hired attorneys, King & Spalding, has been crying like big babies. Motions have been filed whereby they blame the jury. Motions have been filed whereby the blame the Judge too.

In fact, since this case first came to light GSK have blamed everyone but themselves, including the victim, Stewart Dolin, his doctor, and even the FDA!

Now they have someone else to blame, namely the States of California and Massachusetts.

In a decision released last Friday in Rafferty v. Merck, case number SJC-12347, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that brand-name drug makers can be sued for recklessness if they intentionally fail to update warning labels for their products that makers of generic versions must also adopt. Rafferty had alleged that he suffered from side effects, including sexual dysfunction, after taking the generic version of Merck’s Proscar. Rafferty's case against Merck was previously thrown out but the ruling was reversed last week, allowing Rafferty to sue Merck for recklessness rather than negligence.

Recklessness basically means the claimant has to show that a drug maker intentionally failed to update its warning label despite knowing the risks. This was already proven in the original Dolin Vs GSK case; hence the jury reached a decision that found GSK liable. The jury found for Dolin and awarded her $3 million. However, she has not seen a penny as GSK has filed motion after motion in efforts to avoid paying and have the judgment overturned. Now the recent Massachusetts decision means GSK will have to rethink their strategy, possibly by blaming Wendy Dolin's next door neighbor's cat!

Back in December 2017,  the California Supreme Court also ruled that brand-name drug makers can be sued for failing to warn users about the risks of generic versions of their drugs.

It's not looking good for GSK as their appeal to the Seventh Circuit to overturn the Dolin verdict seems dead on arrival. Today's news is great for Dolin's attorneys, Baum Hedlund, who are now also looking to help consumers who have attempted suicide whilst taking paroxetine manufactured by Apotex.

Back stories of how the Dolin trial unfolded below.

Bob Fiddaman

Dolin v GSK - Opening Arguments

Dolin Vs GSK - Day Two - "Jack-In-The-Box"

Dolin vs GSK - Healy 'Rocks Da House'

Dolin Vs GSK - JP Garnier Video Deposition

Dolin Vs GSK - The Dunbar Tape

Dolin Vs GSK - Day 4 - Slam Dunk

Dolin Vs GSK - 8.9 Suicide Increase For Adult Paxil Users

Dolin Vs GSK - Day 6 - Ass Kicking Semantics

Dolin Vs GSK - Day 7 - Abraham Lincoln

Dolin Vs GSK - Day 8 - Get to the Point, Todd!

Dolin Vs GSK - Glenmullen Nails It!

Dolin Vs GSK - "Babes"

Dolin Vs GSK - Wendy's Cross and GSK's Petition

Dolin Vs GSK - Robert "Bling Bling" Gibbons

Dolin Vs GSK: Suicide Prevention Warning "Futile", Claims GSK Exec

Dolin Vs GSK: Jury shown List of the Dead in Paxil Clinical Trials

Dolin Vs GSK: Last Man Standing & The Return of Dr. Healy

Dolin Vs GSK: Closing Arguments

Dolin Vs GSK - The Verdict

Exclusive: Interview With Wendy Dolin

From Chicago to New York - The Legacy of Stewart Dolin

Dolin Wins...Again

Dolin Vs GSK: Personal Vendetta or Bigger Picture?

GSK's Attorney Labels His Failure An "Accomplishment"

Generic Paxil Lawsuits Filed

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Is This The World We Created?

You know that every day a helpless child is born
Who needs some loving care inside a happy home
Somewhere a wealthy man is sitting on his throne
Waiting for life to go by.

Is this the world we created?
We made it on our own.
Is this the world we devastated
Right to the bone?

If there's a God in the sky looking down,
What can he think of what we've done
To the world that He created?

'Is This The World We Created?'
Mercury, May

I'm dumbfounded and disappointed at recent events in the business of psychiatry. Why is the blindingly obvious ignored or downplayed by people in positions of power-positions that could be used to save human suffering and lives?

This isn't intended to target psychiatrist and Royal College of Psychiatrists spokesperson, Carmine Pariante. I've been pleasantly surprised that in recent weeks Pariante has been open for civil discussion shown on Twitter.He appears to understand the need for informed consent and has even suggested that drug safety advocates work alongside psychiatry. I have to give him a hearty round of applause for not taking the stance many psychiatrists take on Twitter. That is, they cry "pill-shaming" when a victim of "antidepressant" ADRs speaks out. Others simply block patient advocates who share research and experiences via Twitter.  (See ~ Who's Hiding the Clinical Trial Benefits of Antidepressants?)

However, what I do take umbrage with is Pariante's recent stance on an article I sent to him via his Twitter feed. The article, from journalist, Kirstie Brewer, was featured on the BBC website and entitled, 'I was suicidal - the NHS didn't know what to do with me'.

It's important to click on the link (here) to review this article as it is the same link I sent to Pariante asking if he thought it was possibly drug related? (1)


Notice my use of the word 'possibly' in the tweet. I wasn't categorically stating that the young woman featured in the article had attempted suicide because of the meds she was prescribed since age 13. (After re-reading the article, I learned that she was 13 and not 11.) I was just opening a dialogue about ADRs and causation. However, in this instance, it seemed Pariante didn't want to play ball with me. (2) (3) (4)




I was dumbfounded that Pariante wouldn't even entertain the possibility that the young woman featured in the article could have been suffering from psychosis as a result of the drugs she had been prescribed from a young age. Instead, he shifted the conversation suggesting that neither he or I knew any clinical details regarding this young woman. That may be so but here's some selective text taken from the article that begs the question, "What is Pariante failing to see here?" The relevant points are in bold font.

It was the ninth time in the space of 10 days that Sherry Denness had tried to kill herself. "It felt like checkmate - there were no open doors or other ways for my life to turn, I just wanted to die," she says.

Only just 18, Sherry has been diagnosed with a number of mental health conditions, including borderline personality disorder (BPD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

On seven of her nine suicide attempts, which took place in November last year, the teenager had landed in A&E, been patched up and deemed well enough to be sent home with no further help. Another time she'd taken all of her prescribed medication in one go and ended up in critical care for two days. 

"I was psychotic and I was hearing Kieran in my head telling me I need to leave the house." Kieran is one of the voices Sherry hears - the worst one, she says.

She was 11 when she was first assessed by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs.) Eventually, at 13, she was given treatment for ADHD.

"I have been to A&E a lot of times for self-harm and suicide attempts", Sherry Says.

With all these references in plain sight, I find it remarkable and quite telling that Pariante refuses to accept the 'possibility' that her deterioration might be drug-related.

Let's take a look at a research study (SSRI - Induced Extrapyramidal Side-Effects And Akathisia Implications for Treatment) from almost 20 years ago. It was authored by Roger Lane and featured in J Psychopharmacol.1998;12(2)

A note of interest here: Between 1992 - 2001 Roger Lane was the Senior Medical Director at Pfizer. Today he is the Vice President, Clinical Development Neurology for Ionis Pharmaceuticals.

Lane wrote:
“It has been suggested that SSRI-induced akathisia may be associated with the emergence of ego-dystonic suicidality (Lipinski et al., 1989: Rothschild and Locke, 1991: Hamilton and Opler, 1992). The most consistent factor implicated in these anecdotal accounts of rare adverse reactions involving suicidal ideation and behavior during fluoxetine treatment was the development of akathisia with agitation, restlessness and dysphoria (Power and Cowen, 1992).”
“It may be less of a question of patients experiencing fluoxetine-induced suicidal ideation, than patients feeling that ‘death is a welcome result’ when the acutely discomforting symptoms of akathisia are experienced on top of already distressing disorders."
During the 20 years in which this word, 'Akathisia' was mentioned, there have been many deaths by suicide whilst patients have been on prescription drugs. On one side of the fence, we have psychiatrists who claim that the SSRI/akathisia link is not proven despite the research and causation admission noted above. On the other side, we have loved ones whose family members, including children and young adults, have had psychotic reactions to SSRIs that precipitated unimaginably violent deaths.

When faced with possibilities of causation, Pariante should be stepping up to the plate and looking into SSRI-induced psychosis. He should, at the very least, acknowledge the possibility that these drugs can and do precipitate psychosis and death for unsuspecting ADR victims.

Last year the subject of drug-induced akathisia was highlighted in Chicago in the case of Dolin Vs GSK. The transcripts and trial exhibits have now been made public for more than a year (See the right-hand side of this blog). During the trial, it was learned that the victim, Stewart Dolin, leaped to his death because he was suffering from drug-induced akathisia. After a 6-week long trial, the jury found for the plaintiff, Stewart's wife, Wendy. They carefully reached this verdict after hearing 6 weeks of evidence presented by both Dolin and GSK.

Another active Twitter psychiatrist is Duncan Double. Double disputes that SSRIs can induce akathisia and after sending him a link to the Dolin transcripts and trial exhibits he had this to say:

"Legal judgment is not necessarily the same as scientific fact."

Upon informing him, the jury sat through six weeks of evidence Double remarkably replied:

"One doesn’t know which bit of evidence the jury based its decision on."

I told him good jury's don't base a decision on one bit of evidence, they base it on all.

Hours later, Double tweeted:

Nice, and kind of big of the man to state that he was wrong. This, however, didn't last for long as later in the day he bizarrely stated, "I’d still like to debate whether I might  be right."

So, just two instances of psychiatry at work here.

I'm not definitively claiming that the young woman featured in the BBC news article tried to take her life because the "drugs made her do it." There may be other mitigating circumstances. You see, I'm open to other possibilities whereas, it appears, Pariante and Double are not, despite Pfizer's own scientist stating, "death is a welcome result’ when the acutely discomforting symptoms of akathisia are experienced."

I wrote a book back in 2011 called, "The Evidence, However, is Clear." It would appear I was wrong because, for some, the evidence is invisible. Yet sometimes we find ADR evidence that was unwittingly documented by people who are no longer visible but speak from the dead. I'm talking about a diary kept by a young woman who, just like the young woman featured in the BBC article, was harmed by a medical field whose diagnoses are largely based on guesswork.

Natalie Gehrki was just a year older than the woman featured in the BBC article noted above. There are striking similarities between both, and we can learn much from the experiences of each young woman. Natalie was prescribed the SSRI, Zoloft, NOT for "depression." She never received any specific diagnosis at the time of her death. Doctors who are unfamiliar with akathisia and serotonin toxicity often don't take the correct steps to stop it. Natalie died less than two days after her doctor increased Zoloft-over the phone to the maximum legal dose allowable, 200mgs.

There are many more Natalie's out there, some dead and some still alive. We owe it to them to warn of akathisia. If two publically renowned psychiatrists won't discuss SSRI-induced akathisia and the necessary steps to prevent akathisia & SSRI deaths, we must rely on teenagers with first-person insight and no conflicts of interest.

Dr. Oz's Fantasy World

On a related note, last week Dr. Oz ran a show that was supposed to be a serious examination of the connection between drugs and violence. It was shockingly bias and omitted critical information. Natalie's mom, Kristina, was one of many viewers who wrote to the Dr. Oz producer. Her letter is beneath the video.

Here's Natalie.

And here's Natalie's mother, Kristina, writing to the producer of the Dr. Oz show.

Dear Ms. Varney,

I'm writing to express my shock and dismay regarding Dr. Oz's recent show about drugs & violence. As a trained journalist, I expected a variety of experts would discuss reliable data, relevant pharma documents, legal cases and consumers' reported ADR experiences. Instead, I quickly learned your panel of three  "experts" all had ethical &/or financial conflicts of interest. While Dr. Oz casually and promptly glossed over these conflicts, declaring conflicts of interest does not remove these conflicts of interest.

I waited in vain to hear from experts with opposing viewpoints to the pharma-connected panel. But few of these experts were featured and those that were received minimal air time. This includes Wendy Dolin, founder of MISSD. When you flashed on the screen the 3 million settlement a jury awarded for her husband's prescribed Paxil death, it was misleading and offensive. Not only has Ms. Dolin not received a penny from GSK after the jury's wrongful death award, it was beyond the pale to flash a cash amount on the screen. Such sensationalized antics are akin to a sordid game-show gimmick.

Given your producers felt this financial info was necessary for viewers to know, I pose the question: Why didn't you similarly treat your panel in the same manner? When Dr. Oz was glossing over conflicts of interest; you could have visually informed your viewers of the amount of money each panel member has already taken from pharma. Your slanted, one-sided journalism has been the topic of much negative discussion on many social media feeds. But even if the public didn't notice the appalling bias, as a producer you should have recognized such before airing.

Lastly, aside from a professional and academic background in journalism and crisis communication, I am the mother of a 19-year-old daughter whose death was precipitated by another SSRI (Zoloft). Medical experts determined Natalie was suffering from prescribed akathisia and serotonin toxicity prior to her death. After death blood tests showed she could not efficiently metabolize SSRI toxins. Her prescribed tragedy is found at and 

Your irresponsible journalism was a disservice to public health and safety. Undoubtedly, it will cause avoidable suffering and more ADR-related deaths. Nothing can change the damage caused by the show you produced. Nevertheless, you have an ethical obligation to apologize and air a follow-on show that transparently shares unbiased accurate data in a fair and balanced manner.

Kristina Gehrki


Bob Fiddaman

Friday, March 16, 2018

67.5 million antidepressants - Joining The Dots

To put this into context, since I've been blogging about the dangers of antidepressants, the prescription rates for them have risen by over 30 million. Yet I'm 'scaremongering' or 'pill-shaming', further, I'm a 'smeary conspiracy theorist'. All labels thrown at me by people who believe I'm wrong. I'm even criticized because I have no medical background. All efforts to silence me have failed.

Yet the carnage continues...

Do the maths then read the link at the foot of the pictures. If you still can't join the dots then I respectfully suggest a new pair of reading glasses.

Prescriptions - Rising

Mental Health Conditions - Rising

Suicides Since 2007 - Rising

The article below (15 March 2018) features a quote from Matt Blow, a policy manager at YoungMinds. I've omitted the comment but you can read it by clicking on the link at the foot of this summary.

YoungMinds is, according to their website, "the UK’s leading charity championing the wellbeing and mental health of young people." They claim, amongst other things, that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Further, they claim medication "can help to address chemical imbalances and make someone feel more ‘normal’"

'I tried to kill myself nine times before the NHS helped me'

It was the ninth time in the space of 10 days that Sherry Denness had tried to kill herself. "It felt like checkmate - there were no open doors or other ways for my life to turn, I just wanted to die," she says.

Only just 18, Sherry has been diagnosed with a number of mental health conditions, including borderline personality disorder (BPD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

On seven of her nine suicide attempts, which took place in November last year, the teenager had landed in A&E, been patched up and deemed well enough to be sent home with no further help. Another time she'd taken all of her prescribed medication in one go and ended up in critical care for two days. 

"I was psychotic and I was hearing Kieran in my head telling me I need to leave the house." Kieran is one of the voices Sherry hears - the worst one, she says.

She was 11 when she was first assessed by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs)

Eventually, at 13, she was given treatment for ADHD.

"I have been to A&E a lot of times for self-harm and suicide attempts", Sherry Says.

What was the total of your sum, folks?

Answers on a postcard to The Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Bob Fiddaman

Graphs courtesy of James Moore

Sunday, March 11, 2018

GSK Whistleblower Spills The Beans To Blogger

After a three month hiatus, GSK Licence To Kill blogger, the Truthman, has come back with all guns blazing.

He's been contacted by a Whistleblower from GSK India who has a series of allegations that may be worrisome for GSK CEO, Emma Walmsley.

Amongst the allegations are:

"His area manager was asking for personal favors and he wanted the rep to give him money (back-handers). For example: he wanted the rep to pay the school fees of his children (the whistle-blower has screenshots- proof)- and his rent- from the rep’s salary. The rep pleaded that it was ‘not in the culture of GSK’ to pay back-handers to area managers- and that he worked for GSK and not the area manager. The manager was relentless in his pursuit of these backhanders, often harassing the rep whenever he chose.
The rep/whistle-blower refused to pay backhanders and engage in fraud, and  because of this he was harassed, bullied and eventually set up with false charges- which led to his termination."

The allegations come hot on the heels of the Serious Fraud Office announcement late last year that they will be soon finished an investigation of corruption and fraud into GSK's foreign practices.

Maybe they need to hold the front page as Truthman releases more information on GSK's antics in India?

For more of GSK India's dirty deeds, head on over to the exclusive at  GSK : Licence To (K) ill

Bob Fiddaman

Friday, March 09, 2018

Scooby and Those Pesky Tweeters Rumble Psychiatry

I've stood back in amazement whilst watching psychgate unfold. It's been fun to watch the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) crumble over the past few weeks. Back in February, they were rejoicing about the release of a "new" study proclaiming antidepressants work better than placebo and that they now have evidence to prove it. Wow!

Remarkable, 30 years after the launch of Prozac and we are being told we now have evidence that it, and other SSRIs, are actually better than placebo!

Reading between the lines of the study and the flurry of tabloid headlines and you'll see the results have been known for many years - RCP just put a different spin on it, along with the Science Media Centre, of course. Drugs marketed as "antidepressants" appear to possibly be better than placebo ONLY for sufferers of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). And this result was limited only to a drug trial lasting 8 weeks. It's not known if "antidepressants" are better than placebo after 8 weeks and these drugs were never meant for long-term consumption despite that many psychiatrists lucratively prescribe them permanently to uninformed patients.

Anyway, I've pointed out the flaws in past blogs.

Moving on to more recent events

As I reported previously, Wendy Burn and David Baldwin, both of the RCP, landed themselves in hot water when they co-authored a letter to The Times newspaper. They claimed, "We know that in the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing antidepressants have resolved within two weeks of stopping treatment."

One has to dissect the above comment to understand its meaning. Not only did they claim a majority of patients, they claimed a "vast majority." By saying "vast majority" they are implying it's at the high end of the spectrum. So, not just a majority, but a 'vast' one.

In actuality, both Burn and Baldwin were hideously wrong, their figures, or rather their estimation, was plucked out of thin air, in much the same way that is a diagnosis. When asked for evidence of their hideous claim, both Burn and Baldwin have failed to show any. The comment remains and no effort of a retraction has been made, nor an apology for getting it catastrophically wrong.

It was James Moore who set the ball in motion when he confronted Wendy Burn on Twitter. The correspondence (tweets) can be seen here. I shall now refer to James as Scooby as he's the brains behind the exposing of Burns and Baldwin. (Ugh, what a horrible thought, Burns, and Baldwin exposing themselves.)

I jest, and I shouldn't really, because this is a very serious subject. Proclaiming withdrawal symptoms are resolved within 2 weeks is dangerous and throws further stigma onto those experiencing withdrawal problems. In essence, Burns and Baldwin are saying anyone who experiences severe withdrawal after 2 weeks is either a liar or is merely imagining the horrific, debilitating withdrawal effects. Nice, huh?

It appears Burns and Baldwin have messed with the wrong people. They may feel they have the weight of the profession behind them but you should never mess with patient safety advocates such as Moore (ahem, Scooby).

Today a formal complaint of misleading the public on a matter of public safety has been lodged with RCP against Burn and Baldwin. The complaint, signed by Professor John Read of the University of East London, on behalf of many psychiatrists and victims of antidepressant withdrawal can be read here.

Scooby Scoop

Scooby wouldn't be Scooby without a perfect ending. So, what does Scooby do? Well, he interviews the complainer, John Reed.

Reed comes across as someone who knows his onions. His utter dismay of recent events shines through in this short interview. He also has actual evidence that Burn and Baldwin are wrong as he conducted his own study into withdrawal effects from antidepressant drugs. Listen and share. It will have you whooping and shouting screams of approval, or disapproval, depending on which side of the fence you sit, the side with evidence, or the side without.

Credit to James Moore for starting the snowball and for continuing to roll it.


Bob Fiddaman

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Royal College of Psychiatrists - 63%

As many of you already know, Professor Wendy Burn, President – Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Professor David Baldwin, Chair, Psychopharmacology Committee – Royal College of
Psychiatrists have been sent a letter regarding recent remarks in an opinion piece published by The Times newspaper. The letter, sent to Burn and Baldwin, is calling for the pair to publicly retract, explain and apologise for the statement.

The opinion piece to The Times was signed off by both Burn and Baldwin and it caused quite a stir amongst users, and former users of antidepressants. Burn and Baldwin wrote, "We know that in the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing antidepressants have resolved within two weeks of stopping treatment."

Many outraged present and former patients took to Twitter to confront Wendy Burn where she was told that her opinion did not tally with a 2014 study posted on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website. It was a study that was due to be revised in Oct 2017, however, it appears, that it never was.

The study showed that 63% of people suffered from antidepressant withdrawal. The most common side effect listed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, was Anxiety (70%).  Electric shocks, better known as 'head-zaps' was seen in 48% of those who participated in the study. Imagine that, a drug gave 70% of patients symptoms of anxiety during withdrawal!

Burn, who often prescribes antidepressants claims that she never witnesses withdrawal in the majority of her patients. Let's assume 70% of her patients suffer anxiety during withdrawal - it's probably safe to say that Burn diagnoses them with such and re-introduces the antidepressant - and round and round the patient goes. It beggars belief - if an antidepressant can induce anxiety then (ahem) treat that anxiety with an antidepressant!

When the survey was pointed out to Burn on Twitter, she claimed she never knew of it. 24 hours later the survey was taken down and now many feel it was removed because it didn't tally with the comments made by Burn and Baldwin in The Times.

Carmine Pariante, who is often a spokesperson for The Royal College of Psychiatrists, claimed on Twitter that he had been told: "The leaflet expired in 2016 and should have been revised then. @rcpsyc will produce a revised leaflet with an updated evidence-base and with input from patients and GPs."

However, a video which seems to accompany the survey was uploaded in 2015 to youtube. Remarkably, there is no mention of the 63% who suffered withdrawal effects, nor is there any mention that a quarter of those surveyed experienced withdrawal effects for 12 weeks or longer (as was stipulated in the original survey (here)

The video, which claims that "Most people don't have troublesome side effects when coming off antidepressants," once again, goes against their own study findings. More bizarrely, the video contradicts the above claim with, "Most people said that their symptoms lasted up to six weeks."

If that doesn't confuse you then I don't know what will!

To add more confusion to the pot they claim that the side effects may just be your depression returning ("You may have some physical symptoms or your depression may return.")

Moreover, the video still remains in the public domain - for whatever reason, it has not been taken down by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. One can only presume that the findings in the video haven't 'expired' and the Royal College of Psychiatrists have no plans for an updated 'evidence-base and with input from patients and GPs.'

It seems to me that the Royal College of Psychiatrists are having their cake and eating it here.

Anyway, here's the video that was published on YouTube on Jun 26, 2015. A backup copy has been made just in case the Royal College of Psychiatrists decide to move this video too.


Bob Fiddaman

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