August 1

2004: Big Pharma’s Shameful Secrets

2004: Traci Johnson, a 19-year-old student volunteer commits suicide in Eli Lilly’s laboratory
Traci Johnson, a healthy 19-year-old Bible student who was a volunteer in Eli Lilly’s antidepressant trial of Cymbalta committed suicide at Eli Lilly’s laboratory. Ms. Johnson was found hanging from a shower rod in the laboratories of pharmaceuticals giant company. FDA and NIMH officials were quick to announce that the death could not be linked to a new anti-depressant drug she was prescribed as a test subject.  The company called it an “isolated tragedy;” it quickly paid off the family to prevent a lawsuit; and went on to promote the drug as “safe and effective.”

Even Traci Johnson’s very public suicide is completely absent from the official record disclosed to academics and the public. That’s because officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consider the death of a human subject of a clinical trial to be “commercially protected” information. According to an investigation by the UK Independent on Sunday, this and at least four other suicides by volunteers have been hidden by the US regulators, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The FDA admits, even a young woman’s death counts as a commercial secret in the world of pharmaceuticals.

2004: AstraZeneca and Minnesota Psychiatrists – Corrupt Research Practices in the CAFE Trial
The CAFÉ trial was ostensibly designed to test the efficacy / safety of Astra Zeneca’s antipsychotic, Seroquel. The company’s corrupt practices are well documented in courts of law and the Department of Justice. AstraZeneca reached civil and criminal settlements in an effort to conceal additional evidence of wrongdoing.  The University of Minnesota was one of the sites that AstraZeneca commissioned for CAFÉ trial. Dr. Charles Schulz, the chairman of psychiatry encouraged psychiatrists to recruit psychotic patients in the hospital emergency room—at least one documented patient was involuntarily committed by a court when he was enrolled in the trial. How could floridly psychotic patients have been competent to give informed consent for research?

Days before his recruitment, Dan Markingson had been committed by a court.  His enrollment as a research subject was coerced: his psychiatrist, and principal researcher of the CAFÉ trial, Dr. Stephen Olson, offered him an unethical choice: his involuntary commitment would be lifted if he agreed to be a human subject in the CAFÉ trial. Dan’s mother’s desperate, repeated pleas to withdraw Dan from the trial were ignored even as his condition during the trial worsened precipitously. Drs. Schulz and Olson—had a significant financial interest in the trial—refused to withdraw him. We believe their inaction constitutes the legal definition of “depraved indifference.” Dan stabbed himself to death in the bathtub with a box cutter almost decapitating himself.  Read more on this site; latest developments here

A petition asks Minnesota’s governor to initiate an independent investigation of the psychiatric research being conducted at the University.

Big Pharma’s Shameful Secret
A Bloomberg News Expose documented corruption at every level of current drug research. The investigative report shatters the illusion that clinical trials testing prescription drugs are conducted in accordance with medical ethics standards or federal regulations. The people involved in this enterprise are shown to be unscrupulous—their single goal is to increase profits. The integrity of science is shown to be undermined; and the lives of the overwhelmingly poor and disadvantaged human test subjects are put at risk. Read more here:


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