Member of UK Parliament Accuses Drugs Giant of ‘Voodoo Medicine’ – Scotsman

Member of UK Parliament Accuses Drugs Giant of ‘Voodoo Medicine’ – Scotsman

Wed, 25 Feb 2004

Paul Flynn, Member of UK Parliament raised the antidepressant drug scandal in Parliament, focusing on the British drug manufacturer giant, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). “The Seroxat [Paxil] scandal is one of gigantic proportions that affects millions of people.”

“Where there should have been scientific objectivity, there has been voodoo medicine. Patients who sought care had their trust abused. Seroxat has turned mild stress into suicidal despair and a passing anxiety, in many cases, became a lifelong addiction – leading to self harm, suicide and even to murder.”

Flynn pointed out that “There has been over-prescribing and mis-prescribing of this anti-depressant on a scale that is equalled only by the over-prescription of tranquillisers 40 years ago.” In fact, GSK is not the only company guilty of such over-prescribing of antidepressants–Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and others have all been promoting ever expanded use of these mind-altering drugs whose life-threatening side effects, the companies have concealed for years.

Flynn notes: “Two years ago, GlaxoSmithKline wrote me a letter that contains very little that is truthful apart from the date. We know that its spokesmen made preposterous claims on “Panorama”, and the letter states: “The safety and efficacy profiles of Seroxat has been confirmed through clinical trials involving thousands of individuals and the experience of tens of millions of patients over the 10 years the medicine has been available.”

Indeed, the company’s October 1998 internal confidential memo reveals the falseness of that claim:
http://www.ahrp.org/risks/SSRI0204/GSKpaxil/pg1.html

Flynn noted the scope of the deception: “I believe that need for the drug is based on a great myth: the idea that we can go through our entire life in a state of continuous euphoria and that if we suffer a moment of discomfort, pain, boredom, grief or anxiety we should be classified as ill and in need of medicine. If any of our loved ones feel similar unhappiness, we are supposed to feel guilty unless we provide them with a pill. If we are sadder today than we were yesterday, there must be something wrong with us. Humankind has progressed through many millennia without using antidepressants, yet the myth has been perpetrated and we are conditioned to believe it.”

Dr. David Healy, the foremost antidepressant drug expert who has personally examined the company’s raw data, stated in an open letter to the FDA, dated February 19, 2004: “There is probably no area of medicine in which the academic literature is so at odds with raw data.”

Among the villains in this mass deception is the FDA whose silent complicity and failure to protect the public health, and failure to ensure that the medical community and the public are provided with accurate, scientific information about evidence of the drugs safety and effectiveness has endangered the lives of thousands.

Flynn notes that precise figures about how many prescriptions are issued and how many people are on antidepressants are hard to come by: “We know that there are three million children on antidepressants in Canada and that there are 10 million children on antidepressants in the United States.”

First among the heroes named by Flynn, who brought this scandal to public light, is Dr. David Healy–whose truth telling in public about the suicidal effects of Prozac, cost him a position at the University of Toronto.

The other heroes named, include BBC-Panorama, “which produced two splendid accounts about the effects of the drug,” Sarah Boseley of the Guardian, the charity MIND, one of the few charities that takes no money from the pharmaceutical industry – a significant point in this case – and The Citizen, a local Gloucester newspaper.

Full text of Paul Flynn’s remarks are at:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmhansrd/cm040223/debtext/40223-31.htm#40223-31_head0