Zantac Lawsuit

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

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Suicide Expert Embroilled in Twitter Controversy

Louis Appleby, (above) the UK's leading expert on suicidology, has sparked controversy on Twitter after seemingly joining forces with former UKIP press secretary, Jasna Badzak.

Appleby, who has been repeatedly asked by drug safety advocates on both Twitter and via email to investigate iatrogenic deaths, (suicides) recently retweeted Jasna Badzak's claim that drug safety advocates enquiring about iatrogenic deaths and akathisia are nothing more than, "a dangerous cult".

Badzak's tweet featured screenshots from just four patient safety advocates, myself included. This prompted Appleby to block anyone who wanted to ask him about akathisia and/or iatrogenic deaths caused by antidepressants.

Remarkably, the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wendy Burn, then retweeted Appleby. If anything, this highlights how both Appleby and Burn are not adept in research skills. Worrisome, given their positions and influence in the mental health field.

Despite many people pointing out to Appleby that Badzak allegedly has a less than savoury history when it comes to her online activities, Appleby's and Burn's tweets remain. (Badzak back-stories at the end of this post)

Let's just dissect what Appleby wrote. He claims that the behaviour of people asking questions about iatrogenic deaths and akathisia are actually causing distress to bereaved families. I find this odd given that all the questions have been aimed at Appleby. Is Appleby using the excuse of bereaved families to not answer specific questions about antidepressant-induced deaths and/or akathisia?

Earlier this month I emailed both Appleby and Wendy Burn and asked them if SSRI's can cause self-harm fatalities. Neither of them answered. I repeatedly asked them both on Twitter, they both evaded the question.

This is a matter of informed consent and as a patient, they are violating my human rights by not answering me. Other patients and former patients have also asked them the same question via Twitter. Again, they have failed to answer.

As I mentioned, Appleby shared with his 19,000+ followers a tweet that made assertions that people who ask questions that are, seemingly, difficult for him to answer are "a dangerous cult".

The four people Badzak highlighted were myself, Fiona French, Dee Doherty, and Wren Cage.

Personally, it's water off a duck's back to a seasoned blogger like me. I have been writing and researching about the dangers of antidepressants for over 13 years during which time I've been targeted by my very own cyberbully. But Fiona, Dee, and Wren are patients who have been seriously harmed by prescription drugs. Questioning a suicide prevention 'expert' about the iatrogenic/akathisia link shouldn't be treated in this manner particularly when Appleby knows very little about their backgrounds.

Questions should now be asked whether he should be employed by the UK government as a suicidologist given cyberbullying, of which he is retweeting, can, by his own admission lead to suicide, at least, he claims, in teenagers. French, Doherty and Cage aren't teenagers but they are three women who have suffered at the hands of psychiatric medication and through tenacity seek answers so they can protect patients from future harms.

Fiona French, 65, Aberdeen, who it appears has been the target of attacks from Badzak, told me, "I was horrified and dismayed when I saw Prof Appleby’s retweet. First, he has stated that he blocks people because of their behaviour.  I am blocked and have only asked him pertinent questions about SSRIs and suicide. Second, he had retweeted Jasna Badzak who has been harassing and insulting myself and other campaigners, making false accusations and generally being abusive. "

On Badzak, Fiona told me, "I first encountered Jasna in a thread on 8th September.  Dr David Gorski was criticising an article written by David Lazarus about his own experience of antidepressant withdrawal.  Jasna made a comment about chemical imbalances and I said there was no scientific evidence for chemical imbalances. Caroline Ost entered the thread and we spoke about withdrawal.  Jasna then accused me of harming people." (see below)

Click image to enlarge

It comes to something when a pensioner cannot voice her opinion online without being verbally attacked by a former UKIP Press Secretary. Fiona has collected many more images from Badzaks timeline. Fiona was prescribed Nitrazepam for 40 years for myoclonic jerks and many different antidepressants for depression over 35 years, latterly Effexor for 15 years.  Tapered off Nitrazepam in 2013, on medical advice. She tapered off Effexor in 2015. The shock of withdrawal rendered her largely bedridden for 4-5 years.

Dee Doherty, 43, Wexford, who was also targeted by Badzak and subsequently retweeted by Appleby, was prescribed Seroxat at the age of 21. Whilst, years later, trying desperately hard to try and taper from Seroxat she lost her job. She was then prescribed Effexor and a whole host of other drugs during the next 20 years. Her symptoms of akathisia have never been acknowledged by any mental health professional. Dee, upon seeing Appleby's retweet from Badzak felt compelled to send him an email, she also included the UK's Human Rights Ombudsman. Her email to Appleby can be seen here. To date, he has not responded.

Wren Cage, 57, from the United States, has made four suicide attempts whilst trying to taper from psychiatric medication. On Appleby's retweet, she told me, "I don’t think his retweeting it was as much as agreeing with her, as it was an “F you” to all of us and the work we do to advocate for informed consent and against prescribed harm."

Who is Jasna Badzak?

In 2013, Badzak (above) was convicted of forgery and fraud. Judge Michael Gledhill QC told her she would have been jailed for a year had she not been the sole carer for her 15-year-old son, who is studying for his GCSEs.

Instead, he suspended her 12-month prison sentence for two years.

Passing sentence, Judge Gledhill told her: "In November 2011 you were taken on by Gerard Batten on a three-month contract and you were to be paid by the European Parliament.

"You knew there would be a delay in payments and you were not to be paid until January.

"In fact, the European Parliament paid people earlier than expected, in December.

"You doctored your online bank statement with your NatWest account by removing the £2,500 payment so someone looking at the statement would think it had not been paid. That was flagrant dishonesty."

It's my understanding that Badzak appealed the sentence.

In November 2014, she was sent a cease-and-desist notice by the Metropolitan Police, alleging that she had harassed another former party worker "by providing information to reporter Glen Owen [of The Mail on Sunday] of a false nature"

In 2016, Jason Lee, a researcher, human rights campaigner, and writer alleged that he too had come under harassment from Badzak. He writes:

"Just recently, one such woman, by the name of Jasna Badzak, despite having a police warning against her, and having been served with a cease and desist notice, not to abuse or harass me, decided to have another go at me. Yes, she has done this before, hence the police warning and cease and desist notice."

Way to go, Appleby! The UK's suicide expert aligning himself with someone who, allegedly, has a history of online abuse and making false claims. There was me thinking Appleby's job was to keep the suicide figures down. I wonder if he knows that targets of bullying and cyberbullying are at a greater risk than others of both self-harm and suicidal behaviours?

If Appleby wants to discredit me and others in the prescribed harm community he should do so with some facts. Maybe he could release the figures for suicides by iatrogenic deaths and also show evidence that akathisia cannot lead to a person ending their suffering via death by 'suicide'. Going down the route of retweeting a disgraced former UKIP secretary who makes claims that those harmed by prescribed medicines are "a dangerous cult" is both morally and ethically wrong, moreover, in my opinion, I believe it's an abhorrent attempt to stifle voices.

Being stalked or cyberbullied is an unpleasant experience. As I mentioned earlier, I should know, as I was the victim of an online-abuser some years ago. This only ended when the abuser eventually gave up after a four-year campaign of harassment, targeting me and the parents of the dead children I wrote about. The abuser died recently but his 'handy-work' still remains on blogs and forums, albeit under pseudonyms, such was the cowardice of the man.

Appleby should remove the offending tweet and apologise to those involved and also apologise to his 19,000+ followers for getting it inordinately wrong. Either that or he should resign from his position. He should also explain to the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, of which he is the chair, why he chose to align himself with Jasna Badzak. The President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wendy Burn, who, seemingly, supports Appleby's allegiance with Badzak, should also apologise and/or resign from her position.

Appleby's and Burn's support of Badzak's "dangerous cult" quote came days after International Akathisia Awareness Day was announced

Make of that what you will.

Bob Fiddaman

Friday, September 20, 2019


Within the last five hours, the following press release has been picked up by media outlets.
This is just a small sample of some of those outlets.

International Akathisia Awareness Day Spotlights Critical Adverse Drug Effects

Accurate Info Improves Patient Safety
The World Health Organization states adverse drug effects and inaccurate or delayed diagnosis are common causes of patient harm affecting millions of people every year.”
— Wendy Dolin
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES, September 20, 2019 / -- International Akathisia Awareness Day Spotlights Critical Adverse Drug Effects
International Akathisia Awareness Day, September 20th, is an opportunity for all stakeholders in healthcare to work together to save lives by increasing knowledge of a potentially fatal adverse drug effect. Akathisia is a disorder, induced by more than 100 different types of medications, which can cause a person to experience such intense inner restlessness that the sufferer is driven to violence and/or suicide.
“September is suicide prevention month and while akathisia-induced deaths are not prompted by depression, if we are unequivocally committed to saving lives, we must increase the public’s knowledge of akathisia,” said Wendy Dolin, Founder of the Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin (MISSD).
The Akathisia Matters campaign sponsored by MISSD offers many educational resources freely available to all. They include: Two public health videos highlighting several signs and symptoms of akathisia; an accredited, 1-hour online course open to anyone at any time; educational brochures; and a podcast series called “Akathisia Stories” available on iTunes, Studio C, Spotify, and the MISSD YouTube channel.
“The World Health Organization states adverse drug effects and inaccurate or delayed diagnosis are common causes of patient harm affecting millions of people every year,” said Dolin. “Unfortunately, akathisia is an adverse drug effect that is often misdiagnosed and/or improperly treated. Akathisia is everybody’s business given that nobody is immune to akathisia.”
Preventing adverse medical events and promoting patient safety requires a team effort. Healthcare consumers, prescribers, caregivers and charitable organizations can work together to better ensure patient safety by: Discussing the risks and benefits of proposed medications and obtaining informed consent; identifying a “medication buddy” to help monitor for any unusual changes in behaviors whenever stopping, starting or changing dose or type of certain medications; carefully reading the medication leaflet that accompanies prescriptions and reviewing the info with the attending pharmacist; and requesting that mental health and suicide prevention organizations publicize akathisia and related governmental drug warnings.
MISSD brings akathisia education and prevention info to all corners of the world and presents to a variety of stakeholders. “This year MISSD has been welcomed by US veterans’ groups, the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ International Congress in London, university medical and healthcare programs, social workers’ organizations, community groups and places of worship,” said Dolin. “MISSD is a unique, independent nonprofit: We take no money from pharma and our presentations are always free.”
To learn more about akathisia and inquire about MISSD presentations, please see If you or a loved one has an akathisia experience to share, please see the guest blog guidelines posted on the MISSD website.

The Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin, (MISSD), is a unique 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the memory of Stewart and other victims of akathisia by raising awareness and educating the public about the dangers of akathisia. MISSD aims to ensure that people suffering from akathisia's symptoms are accurately diagnosed so that needless deaths are prevented. MISSD is not anti-drug; we are for truth in disclosure, honesty in reporting and legitimate drug trials.
For more information about MISSD, please visit and follow us on Twitter: @MISSDFoundation and #AkathisiaMatters.
Wendy Dolin
+1 847-910-2346
email us here

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

PHE Review Dilutes SSRI Problem

Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone who worked hard to get this review to the table. The list is extensive, you all know who you are.

This post is dedicated to three warriors who were active within the prescribed harm community, they all recently died by prescription drug-induced suicide.

Thank you for fighting the cause:

Jo Dennison
Kata Balint
Shelley Johnson 

This post is in two parts. Part one is about the recent PHE review regarding the evidence for dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines in the UK. Part two is about the current suicide 'expert' in the UK, Prof. Louis Appleby, and the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Wendy Burn. Both parts are intertwined, one is about dependency, the other is about self-harm fatalities. I'll also be calling upon the current suicide prevention minister, Nadine Dorries, to carefully consider the serious issues raised here.

Report of the review of the evidence for dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and Public Health England (PHE) released a public health evidence review of available data and published evidence on the problems of dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines.


PHE review expert reference group members included Yasir Abbasi, Navjot Ahluwalia and Louis Appleby.

Abbasi has received honorarium for advisory board meetings or travel and accommodation for conferences from Indivior Pharma, Martindale Pharma, Bite Medical Pharma and Mundi Pharma.

Indivior market and manufacture Opioid addiction treatment drugs. Martindale, now known as Ethypharm, manufacture a whole host of drugs, including, but not limited to, painkillers. A Google search of Bite Medical Pharma shows no such company, but Bite Medical Consulting do exist. It appears as though they are a communications company. Safe to say that this means they ghostwrite. Some of their clients include Abbot and Lilly, both drug companies who market and manufacture brand and/or generic antidepressants. Mudi manufacture and market addiction medicines.

Ahluwalia carries out expert witness work and is the Executive Medical Director and Consultant Psychiatrist for Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

Appleby is a Professor of Psychiatry who leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England and directs the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. More about Appleby later.

The Review

The review covered many aspects of prescription drugs, in particular, the withdrawal and dependency problems people face when trying to come off them. There was, however, a mixed message for the SSRI family of drugs.
Benzodiazepines, z-drugs, opioid pain medicines and gabapentinoids are associated with a risk of dependence and withdrawal.
Antidepressants are associated with withdrawal
PHE found that dependency exists on benzos, z-drugs, opioids and gabapentinoids but not antidepressants (SSRIs).

The 152-page review includes a definition of dependence. PHE writes:
Dependence ~ An adaptation to repeated exposure to some drugs and medicines usually characterised by tolerance and withdrawal, though tolerance may not occur with some. Dependence is an inevitable (and often acceptable) consequence of long-term use of some medicines and is distinguished here from addiction.
I'm confused?

Are SSRIs addictive or do people become dependent upon them, or is it neither?

On withdrawal, PHE defines it as: Physiological reactions when a drug or medicine that has been taken repeatedly is removed.

I'm still confused.

Confusion aside, it's nice to see they recognised the daily stigma patients, former patients and drug safety advocates face on a daily basis whenever they publicly share their adverse experiences withdrawing from SSRIs.

The recommendations made by PHE are as follows:

1 ~ Increasing the availability and use of data on the prescribing of medicines that can cause dependence or withdrawal to support greater transparency and accountability and help ensure practice is consistent and in line with guidance.

2 ~ Enhancing clinical guidance and the likelihood it will be followed.

3 ~ Improving information for patients and carers on prescribed medicines and other treatments, and increasing informed choice and shared decision-making between clinicians and patients.

4 ~ Improving the support available from the healthcare system for patients experiencing dependence on, or withdrawal from, prescribed medicines.

5 ~ Further research on the prevention and treatment of dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines.

(1) You don't have the data, the drug companies have it. You will never be allowed to see any of the raw data.

(2) You cannot guide if you don't have the data

(3) Where will this information come from?

(4) Improving? This would imply that support is already in place and just needs tweaking. It isn't. It never has been!

(5) Research is meaningless without the raw data

For what it's worth, recommendations are meaningless words. I've written about this terminology before, it gives people false hope and allows those in charge to continue as they were, so to speak. It's not a law, it's not a rule, it's not punishable if prescribers fail to adhere. Call me cynical, but I dare say meaningless recommendations also serve to help systems stall buy some more time to avoid real action.

Back in 2010, a jury at the inquest of Canadian teen, Sara Carlin, returned a list of 17 recommendations. Sara died a violent, akathisia-induced death after ingesting an SSRI known as Paxil in Canada, better known as Seroxat in the UK. These iatrogenic deaths from drug-induced delirium and self harm are typically labeled suicides by coroners. So it is possible Prof. Appleby and organizations purported to reduce suicides could recognize the loss of Sara today. But it is improbable that will happen given Sara's death doesn't help them promote more drugs ("treatments").

Today, nine years after Sara's death, guess how many of those 17 recommendations have been implemented?




Sara's death was a kick in the butt for me personally. It made me rethink why I became an advocate/activist. People are dying as a result of taking SSRIs and whilst withdrawal/dependency/addiction (delete where necessary) are important topics, I feel iatrogenic deaths also need to be immediately addressed.

The SSRI withdrawal issue will never be resolved as long as there is no alternative drug in the pipeline waiting to be promoted. In the meantime, the public will continue to be informed of recommendations that are little more than token gestures. These gestures may serve to keep some advocates quiet and give med organizations and rampant prescribers a break from public scrutiny and accountability. As I tweeted early this morning, barbiturates were viewed as having no problems until benzos arrived on the scene. Benzos were viewed as having no problems until SSRIs arrived on the scene. SSRI risks will be played down until a different class of drug arrives on the scene to take a lucrative centre stage.

Don't worry, folks, that may happen sooner than you think. A new way of administering depression treatment is already on the market. Spravato (esketamine) is used as a nasal spray to treat treatment-resistant depression (TRD)

TRD is basically a term used when all else fails or when the drugs a person is currently taking stop working. Janssen, the drug manufacturer, provided the FDA with modest evidence it worked and then only in limited trials. It presented no information about the safety of Spravato for long-term use beyond 60 weeks. Now get this, three patients who received the drug died by suicide during the clinical trials, compared with none in the placebo group. But hey, this never stopped the FDA from granting it a licence.

Come back to this blog of mine in 10 years and you'll probably see me writing, "I told you so."

Eventually, and if they have their way, drugs like esketamine will flood the market. Then, and only then, will prescribers speak out en masse about the terrible dependency SSRIs cause.

The Apple That Burns

Earlier I mentioned the three PHE review expert reference group members. The third, Louis Appleby, leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England. He is failing on a grand scale.

A few weeks ago Appleby chastised a member of the prescribed harm community on Twitter. Appleby was soon joined by the Royal College of Psychiatrists leader, Wendy Burn in the condemnation of the website host of antidepaware. The website promotes awareness of the dangers of antidepressants and includes links to reports of inquests held in England and Wales since 2003. The antidepaware author lost a son to SSRI-induced suicide in 2009 and since the creation of the website, in 2014, has tried to make the public aware of the dangers that are, in the main, dismissed by prescribers.

Appleby and Burn were wrong to target a fellow-advocate, particularly given antidepaware has done more than what they have to reduce the ever-increasing rate of suicide in the UK. Many other advocates threw their support behind antidepaware. Appleby, the man who apparently takes all forms of suicide seriously, responded by blocking them. He even blocked parents whose children have died as a result of SSRI-induced suicide.

With this in mind, I threw out a question to both Appleby and Burn on Twitter, a straightforward question that neither has answered despite being asked by me in nine repeated tweets. I have also sent both an email, and both have failed to respond. Here's the question they refuse to answer, or even acknowledge: "Can SSRIs induce death by self-harm?"

One has to ask why Appleby and Burn are refusing to answer a simple, relevant question. Burn in the past has claimed how important informed consent is but when push comes to shove she cannot provide me, or the public for that matter, with an answer regarding whether SSRIs can induce death by self-harm. Instead, Burn's Twitter timeline has been full of Lithium promotion, cat photos, and Play-Doh images.

Both Appleby and Burn need to resign. Appleby's treatment of those who inquire about SSRI-induced deaths has been abhorrent to watch from the sidelines. Burn's failure in recognising the SSRI withdrawal problem also needs to be condemned, as does both of their silence stances surrounding informed consent.

Shortly, I'll be writing to the current suicide prevention minister, Nadine Dorries, to voice my concerns regarding Appleby and Burn. I've written to ministers before and they've been pretty useless in their responses. I don't expect Dorries will intervene but I have an ethical obligation to try.

Suicide Prevention Day is about prevention. By refusing to speak with safety advocates and the bereaved just because their children, wives, husbands, brothers or sisters died iatrogenic deaths does nothing to reduce suicides and increase awareness of adverse drug effects that precipitate these violent, avoidable deaths.

If you want to prevent something from happening, you cover all bases and not just the ones that suit your blinkered views. Shame on Burn and shame on Appleby for keeping me, and others, in the dark regarding informed consent. Informed consent is a basic human right. Without accurate info, there can be no real medical freedom of choice.

On a final note, I want to also condemn Wendy Burn's college in general. On the day when suicide prevention was the paramount message they tweeted the following:

Those online resources they refer to include medications that are associated with suicidal thoughts and suicidal completion. Shame on them.

If you think all of the above is just the rantings of a conspiratorial mad man then read how Wendy Burn and her colleagues treated a fellow psychiatrist when he brought to their attention the dangers of Seroxat, a drug, that after many years he is still trying to withdraw from.

"You’d think that my colleagues would be generally sympathetic. However, I have been marginalised, ignored and vilified as a troublemaker — and a leading member of the RCPsych even wrote to my employer questioning my sanity." ~ Peter Gordon, Psychiatrist

Full story here

Bob Fiddaman

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