Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Local Boy in the Photograph

And all the friends lay down the flowers
Sit on the banks and drink for hours
Talk of the way they saw him last
Local boy in the photograph

He's gone away

Kelly Jones - Stereophonics

The song, 'Local Boy in the Photograph', originated from a newspaper article about a boy from Flint in North Wales, who committed suicide by jumping in front of a train.

I like the Stereophonics.

The photograph above the lyrics was first aired publicly by David Healy. A quite brilliant insight into Study 329 was shared by Healy to an audience (Video below). The photograph, a simple cunning plan by GlaxoSmithKlime management to keep employees away from the truth, more importantly, to detract them from believing a series of Panorama programmes aired by the BBC, presented (and investigated) by pint-sized ankle-biter, Shelley Jofre.

I like David Healy.

I like Shelley Jofre.

I dislike GlaxoSmithKline.

Healy's presentation, The Famous Grouse review of the history of Study 329, is jaw-dropping. I normally skip presentations by Healy because I assume it's an old one, and I have seen all of his previous ones on YouTube. I think David Healy pretty much knows that he would be preaching to the choir if I attended his presentations.

The Famous Grouse review of the history of Study 329 is different in as much that Healy offers information almost as a teaser, that tease delivered with a glint in the eye, an all knowing eye that has, along with other astute academics, revisited Study 329 and have gained access to the raw data that was never seen by ghostwriter, Sally K. Laden and the Study 329 authors who were, and to an extent still are, the bees knees when it comes to matters of pediatric depression. All were paid handsomely by GSK to lend their names to the 329 review, each and everyone of them have been approached and asked to support a retraction of the review, all have declined.

I dislike the authors and ghostwriters of 329.

Healy's talk set my pulse racing, a maze of pharmaceutical and academical greed hiding suicidal behaviour in children and adolescents just so a drug (Paxil) could be aimed at children. There are many instigators behind this whole debacle - Alistair Benbow (the former GSK Head of Psychiatry who once tried to sue me) also makes it onto Healy's slideshow presentation - it leaves you in no doubt that Benbow erred when interviewed by BBC journalist Shelley Jofre - question is, was Benbow lying, as some would suggest, or was he fed the wrong information from the hierarchy at GSK?  Did Benbow play the part of Pinocchio in front of millions of TV viewers or was he merely your average dummy, complete with fist up his backside, speaking on information given to him?

329 is a stain on GSK and, as Healy presents it, raised red flags for Shelley Jofre when she read it. Something didn't quite sit right with her and much of the plaudits should be sent in her direction because without Jofre's gut instinct we would all be sitting here today wondering why so many depressed kids were killing themselves. I truly believe Jofre's tenacity has kept that figure down.

And what of the boy in the photograph?

You may throw your coffee mug at your screen when learning through Healy's presentation how GSK used a photograph of a youngster to play down the risk of suicide in teenagers to their employees. The photograph, just one in a series of four, all appear in the presentation and it, to me at least, highlights the fact that Jofre got to them and she got to them big time.

The video lasts for about an hour. This, ladies and gentlemen is reality TV.

Restoring Study 329 website here.

Bob Fiddaman.

Hat tip - The Truthman.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Duchesnay Correct Violation: No Apology

Canadian pharmaceutical company, Duchesnay, who market and manufacture the controversial morning sickness pill Diclegis, have corrected a violation, earlier flagged by the American drug administration (FDA).

In a bizarre twist, to the uneducated eye, it looks as if socialite, Kim Kardashian, is making the changes. Let's compare the two posts by Kardashian (none of which mention that she has been paid by Duchesnay to endorse it's morning sickness pill.)

Kardashian's original advert for Diclegis

The FDA, after reviewing the one-sided ad, told Kardashian to remove it and also wrote a warning letter to Duchesnay. The FDA letter warned Duchesnay that they were violating certain rules as they didn't include the risks surrounding Diclegis.

Here's how the ad looks today...

The 2nd (corrective ad) features more text than the original. I think only a person from the planet Zog would believe that it was written by Kardashian.

Duchesnay have confirmed, more or less, that they have corrected their original mistake by proxy, via their Twitter account.

They have also issued a press release via their website here.

To date, no apology has been made by either Kardashian or Duchesnay for violating FDA rules and for potentially duping millions of future consumers of Diclegis.

Back stories regarding Diclegis and the whole Kardashian debacle are below.

Bob Fiddaman

Kim Kardashian on the Pharma Payroll

When Pharma Use the Defence of the FDA

Diclectin and the Redacted Adverse Events

Is It Just Kim Kardashian on the Duchesnay Payroll?

Duchesnay's Payments to Bendectin "Expert"

The Duchesnay and FDA Runaround

MHRA: Double Standards

I first became aware of the British drug regulator, the MHRA, adding a copyright notice to Freedom of Information request responses some time ago.

They first did this to me in 2007. I had sent them a series of questions regarding the suicide link in GlaxoSmithKline's antidepressant Seroxat (known as Paxil in the US)

The copyright notice reads...

The information supplied in response to your request is the copyright of MHRA and/or a third party or parties, and has been supplied for your personal use only. You may not sell, resell or otherwise use any information provided without prior agreement from the copyright holder. 

I, as you would expect, took umbrage to this and let my feelings known via this blog (here)

Again, this time in 2014, the MHRA, once again saw fit to include a copyright notice to another response to a Freedom of Information request I had sent them. This was in response to an FOI request I had sent them regarding SSRi adverse reactions of aggression including harmful behavior to others (including injury) Back story here.

Earlier this week I was contacted by Cheryl Buchanan who has, in the past, wrote a guest post for this blog. (here) Cheryl had requested an answer from the MHRA (under the terms of the FOIA) regarding SSRi use in pregnancy. It's important to note that Cheryl has been at loggerheads with the MHRA and citalopram manufacturers, Lundbeck, for some considerable time now.

The MHRA sent Cheryl a response and included a copyright notice. Cheryl wrote back the following to them.

Dear MHRA,
Thank you for responding to my request, I have some further questions which I will sent to you shortly but at the moment I am perplexed as to why you have put a copyright on the response you sent me?  I feel it is within pubic interest to have the data within the response available to anyone who would like to see it. Is every paragraph copyrighted or am I allowed to share any of the information which relates to myself and my own report?

The response from the MHRA was...

Copyright information is included in responses from the agency where data is presented to the requestor. Data given in these types responses has the potential to be taken out of context, and the agency would wish anyone who has requested information from us to include the context when sharing information.
The agency is happy for you to share information released under the Freedom Of Information Act, indeed from the agencies perspective the response is already deemed as being “in the public domain”. The copyright notice is included as the information should be able to be traced back to the MHRA as the source, and as mentioned previously, the context can be included.

So now I'm confused?

You see, when a pharmaceutical company apply for a licence for one of their drugs they are supposed to submit supporting evidence. They do this by cherry-picking the best results from clinical trials. The poor results (ie; those showing that efficacy has not been proven) are never sent to the MHRA.

Here's my take on the MHRA copyright notice.

Would it be fair to say that when pharmaceutical companies submit clinical trial results to the MHRA in support of drug licensing that they include the failed clinical trials...so the actual benefit of a drug isn't "taken out of context"?

Just a thought.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Bob Fiddaman.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Study 329: The Final Chapter

"Truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long." 
William Shakespeare - Merchant of Venice (1596)

Let's make no bones about it. Study 329 is, and always has been, a ghostwritten publication based on deception and intended to result in financial gain.

The putrid stench of deception has been obliterated, redesigned and is now a sweet smelling single rose, a small token gesture of truth for all those harmed by GlaxoSmithKline's fraudulent 329 study, of which there are many (children and adolescents)

Study 329 is, without doubt, the most infamous of all antidepressant studies. It reeks of deceit, of greed, of dishonesty, of financial kickbacks and has left a slimy trail of death and destruction in its wake.

I have, for my part, written and published many articles on this blog regarding 329. Three of which, Sally K. Laden, The Paxil Ghostwriter Part I, and Sally K. Laden, The Paxil Ghostwriter Part II - Emotional Lability, ending the trilogy in this series with, Sally K. Laden, The Paxil Ghostwriter Part III - Summation. being amongst the most popular.

329 highlights how one company saw a niche in the child depression market and, without due care and consideration, made unfavourable clinical trial results into favourable results.

329 is the spin of all spins, the retraction of which from The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), has been called for many times.

Now, a group of tenacious researchers have shone a very bright light on what 329 should have revealed. Their findings will be published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) next month.

Meantime, the Study 329 website has been launched and offers some interesting facts about the fraud behind GlaxoSmithKline's darkest hour.

The Restoring Study 329: Efficacy and harms of paroxetine and imipramine in the treatment of adolescent major depression: restoration of a randomised controlled trial, should shock all who care about integrity in drug safety.

Bob Fiddaman.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Paxil Kid From Pictou County

I thought I'd heard the last of the Paxil horror stories. I thought doctors and psychiatrists would have got the message by now that Paxil is not safe, is not suitable for children and adolescents but...

A story hit me hard today, a realization that this abhorrent antidepressant is still destroying lives.

Shawna (not her real name but being used to protect the identity of her and her son) is a mother who has took it upon herself to fight for her 20 year-old son.

The story bears all the hallmarks of psychiatric abuse but, hey, how can you prove that when so many people believe that psychiatrists actually know what they are doing? In truth, they don't, in truth they use people as guinea pigs to see if they can tolerate drug a, b,c or d.

Shawna’s son was extremely shy and had just come out of a relationship. Shortly after he, according to a Canadian news website, "spiralled into a deep, dark depression that saw him in his unlit room, unable to sleep, eat or perform even day-to-day tasks."

His mother did what she thought best and took him to a hospital where he was prescribed Paxil... yup, just like that.

This from the article...

He was prescribed the anti-depressant Paxil which she was told would help alleviate his depression, but instead it made things worse.
Shawna said the side effects of the drug were probably more devastating than his symptoms of depression. He started to threaten to kill him himself, sending her “goodbye texts” and wandering off without any contact for hours and hours.
“It was just crazy thinking,” she said. “You couldn’t get him to do anything. She said the final straw was when he spent 32 hours straight on the rocks at a local beach, contemplating whether he wanted to take his own life.

Shawna's son was then admitted to hospital where, she says, he received no care and was just left sitting in a room  for three days with no visit from any psychiatrist. On the fifth day, however, he was seen by a psychiatrist.

**Insert drum roll here**

The psychiatrist told both Shawna and her son that he needed to be kept on the drug Paxil because it takes 30 days to work properly, despite the side effects.

Where does it say that on the Paxil labeling? Why didn't the psychiatrist associate Shawna's sons actions as an adverse reaction to the Paxil he was taking? If a patient is threatening to kill himself shortly after being put on Paxil why on earth didn't the treating psychiatrist acknowledge that this may have been down to the treatment?

So, Shawna's son continued to take the Paxil.

Here's the article again...

For the next month, she said, things were going from bad to worse.  He was in and out of Aberdeen’s mental health unit as well as Kentville and Antigonish’s units for short three-day stays. After being released from the units each time, she would have to call the police to help search for him because the suicidal thoughts kept coming and the wandering continued.

Mental Health and the Police

Here's where the story takes a rather absurd twist.

Shawna was told by a police officer that the only way her son could receive proper treatment would be if he was arrested. She was told by the officer that her son, once arrested, would then be "in the system" and "sent to Dartmouth for a 30-day mental health assessment."

A few months later her son was arrested for assault. Just as the police officer had told her, Shawna's son was given the treatment he needed - care. He is now on house arrest, under her care, and without the help of any psychiatric counseling.

The family doctor is slowing weaning him off the Paxil.


It's glaringly obvious to anyone reading this account that a 20 year-old kid was given a drug that gave him an adverse event, a dangerous adverse event. His treating psychiatrist should have intervened and guided his patient off the drug - instead, he chose to ignore the obvious signs of Paxil induced mania and told the kid to continue taking the medication. That's abuse by anyone's standards.

As for the mental health system in Nova Scotia, well, what can you say?

It takes an officer of the law to tell a patient's mother to, basically, get her son arrested, so he can receive appropriate treatment.

Talk about a comedy of errors!

Bob Fiddaman.

SourceMom desperate to get help for son

Fortitude Law Take on Seroxat Cases in UK

The Seroxat group action has been running for almost 10 years now. GSK have, for whatever reason, refused to make any kind of settlement to the 107 claimants who have alleged that they suffered severe withdrawal at the hands of Seroxat and, more importantly, were not warned about this dependency problem.

In 2010 the group action came to a grinding halt. A legal battle, behind the scenes, was unfolding and claimants, of which I am one, had their public funding withdrawn. This is quite common in UK action against pharmaceutical companies.

Sufficed to say, the group action was put on hold (stayed) whilst the legal wrangles were ironed out.

Good news is, we now have new representation.

Fortitude Law, a law firm based in London, are now representing the UK claimants and are set to return to the High Court to confront GlaxoSmithKline and show them evidence that Seroxat caused these withdrawal reactions to the claimants. I assume it will be the same evidence that US courts were shown back in 2002 when 3,000 or so claimants alleged that Seroxat caused them dependency. Glaxo resolved that case yet refuse to do the same in the UK.

The Fortitude Law website has now gone live and they have a contact form on there for people wishing to ask questions about the current group action.

Fortitude Law can be found here.

Bob Fiddaman.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Duchesnay and FDA Runaround

As some of you may know, I became intrigued by the whole Kim Kardashian promotion of Diclegis on her Instagram account a number of weeks ago. My interest peaked when Diclegis manufacturer, Duchesnay employee, Danny Martel, wrote me on Twitter, basically telling me to "educate myself." (Back story)

If you're up to speed on the whole Kardashian promotion you'll know that recently the FDA became involved. They told Kardashian to remove the advertisement and wrote to Duchesnay to inform them that they had violated certain rules in as much that they cannot advertise the benefits of a product without listing the risks of the said drug. The letter, addressed to Eric Gervais, Executive Vice President Duchesnay, Inc. can be viewed here.

Bravo to the FDA for monitoring social networks.

Here's where is gets a tad worrying.

The FDA gave Duchesnay until August 21 to respond to the warning letter, they wrote...

OPDP requests that Duchesnay immediately cease misbranding DICLEGIS and/or cease introducing the misbranded drug into interstate commerce. Please submit a written response to this letter on or before August 21, 2015, stating whether you intend to comply with this request, listing all promotional materials (with the 2253 submission date) for DICLEGIS that contain presentations such as those described above, and explaining your plan for discontinuing use of such materials, or, in the alternative, for ceasing distribution of DICLEGIS. 

Well, we are three days over the deadline and still I see nothing on either the FDA or Duchesnay websites that suggest that a response has been made - so, I wrote to the FDA, who told me that they  "are  not able to comment on an ongoing compliance action, as this information may be privileged confidential information. I’d recommend asking the company if they would be open to sharing information with you."

So, I wrote to Duchesnay and asked them the following...

I am writing to ask if Duchesnay are prepared to share their letter of response they wrote to the FDA regarding the Diclegis promotion (Kim Kardashian) warning letter.
I have wrote directly to the FDA who, in turn, suggested I write directly to you.

Duchesnay's response is bizarre, to say the least...

We will share information once it is publicly available. We do not have that information at this time. 

Share the information when it's publicly available?

Um, I'm not nitpicking but shouldn't it be Duchesnay making this information public? I mean, what, or who are they waiting for?

The last paragraph of the warning letter sent to Duchesnay reads...

Failure to correct the violations discussed above may result in FDA regulatory action, including seizure or injunction, without further notice. 
I think it's fair to say that this is a matter of public interest. Something which I pointed out to the FDA who then went on to tell me...

You could submit a Freedom of Information Act request. FDA Office of Media Affairs does not process FOIA requests. 

Seems a kinda half-arsed way to get an answer to a pretty simple question.

Bob Fiddaman.

Back Stories

Kim Kardashian on the Pharma Payroll

When Pharma Use the Defence of the FDA

Diclectin and the Redacted Adverse Events

Is It Just Kim Kardashian on the Duchesnay Payroll?

Duchesnay's Payments to Bendectin "Expert"

US Attorney General Eric Holder and the Revolving Door

Covington - DOJ - Covington

I'm not really into American politics, not really into British politics either, I'd sooner read knitting patterns as politics, in general, bores me rigid.

That's not to say that every now and again something pops up that is of interest. None more so than the recent news surrounding US Attorney General, Eric Holder.

Holder was part of the legal team for the Department of Justice (DOJ) - the same team that fined GlaxoSmithKline a staggering $3 billion for promoting its best-selling antidepressants (Paxil and Wellbutrin) for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about its top diabetes drug, Avandia.

Bizarrely, Holder had previously worked for the law firm, Covington, who specialize in representing (defending) pharmaceutical companies in litigation.

It was quite a turnaround. One minute Holder is defending pharmaceutical companies, the next, he's prosecuting them.

Strange then that, after just 6 years with the DOJ, he should return to Covington as a partner.

So, what input, if any at all, did Holder have regarding the negotiations of the $3 billion settlement figure, and, more importantly, could the original figure, said to be a lot more than $3 billion, have been whittled down by Holder? Furthermore, who was exactly behind the Wellbutrin promotion, was it, as some sources suggest, the current CEO of Glaxo, Andrew Witty, who, at the time of the illegal promotion, was Vice President General Manager of Marketing for Glaxo?

I'm just throwing the question out there because this revolving door between Covington and the DOJ seems, to me at least, to be bordering on being incestuous.

News of Holder's double u-turn came via Melayna Lokosky who has wrote a quite brilliant blog post where she raises many questions regarding Holder's latest "unethical move."

Her blog can be read, in full, here.

Lokosky also tweets about it via her Twitter account, here.

One to keep an eye on.

Bob Fiddaman.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

MHRA Missing Key Seroxat/Paxil Withdrawal Information

You may remember that back in July I wrote about the Yugoslavia paroxetine (Seroxat UK, Paxil US) trial (here and here)

In 1988 GSK, then SmithKline Beecham (SKB) sponsored clinical trials in Yugoslavia. The purpose of the trials was to show how Paxil (known as Seroxat in the UK) could, when stopped, cause a relapse in depression. SKB never took into account that those relapsing (after stopping Paxil) could have been suffering withdrawal symptoms.

With the results they wanted, SKB then provided the FDA with apparent evidence that showed patients staying on Paxil continued to enjoy a normal, "depression free" life, but that those abandoning the drug would suffer relapse back into a depressive state.

Seeing as Glaxo are a British pharmaceutical company I decided to write to the British drug regulator (MHRA) to request, under the freedom of information act, information relating to Glaxo's trials in Yugoslavia.

My email to them read...

Dear Sir/Madam, 

Pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, I request access to and copies of a a clinical trial in Yugoslavia that commenced in 1988.

The trial was, as far as I am aware, sponsored by SmithKline Beecham (SKB) and was known as the "Yugoslavia trial" or "relapse trial."

I am specifically requesting the protocol for this particular clinical trial and whether or not that protocol included information and/or guidance on Paxil withdrawal.

I look forward to your reply within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Thank you for your assistance.


Bob Fiddaman

The MHRA have now answered this request.

Are you holding your breath folks?

The current Chief Executive of the MHRA is Dr. Ian Hudson. Before joining the MHRA, Hudson was the World Safety Officer for GlaxoSmithKline (then SKB)

Later this year GlaxoSmithKline will be defending allegations in the UK regarding Seroxat withdrawal. One of Glaxo's experts to be called will be Dr. Rashmi Shah. Shah was employed by the MHRA between 1987 and 2004. Positions held were Senior Medical Officer, Senior Clinical Assessor and Senior Medical Assessor.

You can draw your own conclusions.

Bob Fiddaman.

Monday, August 17, 2015

MHRA Blind to the Facts Over Lariam

Earlier today the BBC reported on the concerns surrounding an anti-malaria drug.

Lariam (mefloquine) is said to be causing concern regarding its side-effects, of which suicidal thinking and completed suicide are listed.

Worryingly, Lariam is handed out to soldiers who train or are in combat in countries where malaria is rife.

Surely, a pill taken to prevent malaria can't be that bad?

Think again.

I accessed the MHRA's Drug Analysis Prints (DAP's) earlier today - the results for Lariam were startling. Question is, why have the British drug regulator overlooked the glaringly obvious?

In all, there have been 19 reported fatalities regarding Lariam. Okay, not a great deal but when you look into the DAP's you will find that 9 of these 19 deaths have been death by suicide.

One thing the MHRA have always played down with antidepressant related suicide is that it could be the "illness" that caused the suicide and not the product. Fair enough, I guess but in the case of Lariam, the patients subjected to this particular drug do so because they wish to prevent something and not suppress or cure something.

Let's dig a little deeper.

Lariam was created by the military in the 1970's and manufactured by pharmaceutical company, Hoffman-La Roche.

Lariam Tablets contain the active ingredient mefloquine. They are used to treat malaria and to help prevent you from catching malaria.

Drug Analysis Print for Lariam (MHRA)

  • Total number of reactions 6713 
  • Total number of ADR reports: 2282 
  • Total number of fatal ADR reports: 19

Let's focus on the adverse reactions associated with 'psychiatric disorders.'

There here have been...

  • 18 reports of Abnormal behaviour.
  • 24 reports of Affect lability (rapid shifts in outward emotional expressions; often associated with organic brain syndromes such as intoxication.)
  • 61 reports of Agitation
  • 304 reports of Anxiety
  • 38 reports of Aggression
  • 82 reports of Paranoia
  • 11 reports of Personality change 
  • 67 reports of Confusional state 
  • 61 reports of Disorientation
  • 19 reports of Delusion
  • 341 reports of Depression
  • 10 reports of Depersonalisation
  • 14 reports of Dissociation
  • 28 reports of Irritability
  • 59 reports of Mood swings 
  • 15 reports of  Mental disorder
  • 11 reports of Mania
  • 162 reports of Panic attack
  • 119 reports of Abnormal dreams
  • 146 reports of Nightmares
  • 113 reports of Hallucinations
  • 19 reports of Acute psychosis* 
  • 76 reports of Psychotic disorder
  • 9 reports of Completed suicide
  • 33 reports of Suicidal ideation 
  • 12 reports of Thinking abnormal 
* Bizarrely, there has been one reported death of "acute psychosis" - This seems to have been omitted from the "completed suicide" catagory - unless, of course, the person died naturally?

So, a whole heap of psychiatric disorders are being reported to the British drug regulator. They, as usual, log these reports and make them public to geeks like me.

What is worrying here is that Lariam is the standard drug used for British soldiers training or fighting wars in countries that has a presence of malaria.

So, just to spell it out for the limpless drug regulator.

A drug causing or apparently causing all of the above is given to men and women who, as part of their training and/or duty of combat, are given guns and live ammunition.

All of the above reports were spontaneous reports sent through the Yellow Card System, a system that the MHRA are proud of. How many, if any at all, have the MHRA investigated?

A question I put to them under the Freedom of Information Act.

Dear Sirs,

According to the MHRA's DAP for the drug MEFLOQUINE there have been 19 reported fatalities associated.

Whilst I understand that this does not mean the drug caused the fatalities I would, however like to draw your attention to the number of people that have died by suicide whilst taking MEFLOQUINE

Your own figures suggest that, out of the 19 reported fatalities, 9 have been by completed suicide. This is significantly high for a drug used to treat malaria.

Under the terms of the freedom of information act, I would like to know how many of these 9 reports the MHRA have investigated and what were the outcomes of these investigations.

Furthermore, there have been 33 reports of suicide ideation, and 4 suicide attempts. The Psychiatric disorders reported for this particular drug are quite staggering. Again, Under the terms of the freedom of information act, I would like to know how many reports of Psychiatric disorders have been followed up by the MHRA.


Bob Fiddaman


I am quite flabbergasted at these figures.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the MHRA at work. They collect adverse reports (Yellow Cards) and file them. Aren't they supposed to protect the public from unsafe drugs?

How is a system that reports adverse reactions protecting the public? What are the MHRA doing regarding investigating the 9 suicides (possibly 10)?

It seems absurd that a drug given to healthy patients (soldiers) is still on the market when reports of it are possibly the cause of all of the above psychiatric disorders.

The MHRA have 20 working days to reply to my FOI request.

I will, of course, publish any reply they give to me. It's a matter of public interest.


Bob Fiddaman.

Glaxo Collaboration With CISNC - A Cause For Concern?

I'm often sent tips by followers and friends of my blog. This one was of particular interest to me, sent to me by a fellow Facebooker, who shall be known as "Susan."

It seems GlaxoSmithKline have teamed up with Communities In Schools of North Carolina (CISNC)

The reason? Well, it's kinda difficult to read between the lines because, as usual, any funding aimed in the direction of children's well-being is vague where pharmaceutical companies are concerned.

A press release from Education North Carolina (EDNC) shows us that GlaxoSmithKline and CISNC have "joined together to announce tools and training to ensure that students in the state’s lowest performing schools have access to high quality wraparound services to propel success in school and beyond."

Tools and training?

The press release goes on to say that...

Yesterday at CISNC’s “2015 Impact Training: Mission Possible” event in Cary, GSK announced a $360,000 grant to enable Communities In Schools of North Carolina to put high quality, research-based interventions in schools to increase attendance, improve behavior, enhance coursework, and engage more parents and families.
Should we be concerned about this or should we be applauding Glaxo?

Exactly what are research-based interventions that will improve behavior? Sadly, the press release doesn't elaborate.

I did some digging.

Glaxo, who have a HQ in Research Triangle Park, N.C, seem to be caring a lot about their community in North Carolina. On the surface, this looks good for GSK.

In 2013, GlaxoSmithKline and Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) announced the initiation of a new approach to analyzing health information that allowed healthcare providers and payers, with the touch of a button, to analyze patients' medication challenges in real time to determine "effective ways to overcome barriers to delivering quality care."

In a 2013 press release, Glaxo announced...

The service utilizes "prescriptive analytics" to analyze the data and determine suggested interventions that are most likely to facilitate better patient engagement and ultimately, improved patient outcomes.

They added...

... the goal of the project is to assist these healthcare professionals in determining – and responding to medication-related problems that often lead patients to use their medicine incorrectly, or to not adhere to the treatment regimen prescribed by their doctor. 

So, I'll ask again, exactly what are research-based interventions that will improve behavior?

A quick glance of CISNC's page shows that Lisa Benna of GlaxoSmithKline is a board member. Benna is Human resources vice president at Glaxo.Previously she worked for Wyeth in a range of roles in both organization development and HR roles in R&D, Manufacturing and Commercial.

Eric Hall (Pictured above), who is the president and CEO of the Communities In Schools of North Carolina, was previously National Director of Educational Services where, according to his LinkedIn page, he managed and supported a network of over 50 non-traditional schools for students at-risk of dropout across nine states. In his role, he worked to establish value-added models of teacher evaluation, implement common core standards, develop teacher and school leader professional development pathways, and also worked closely with state and local policy-makers to ensure effective practices for serving at-risk students.

I understand that there are problem students, what I can't quite grasp here is why CISNC would team up with a pharmaceutical company who has a pretty poor record when it comes to the safety of children. Is it just purely about the $360,000 grant GSK have given them?

Will they be influenced by GSK's kind offering, will those children with behavoral problems, who, after being offered one-to-one adult supervision, be then sent down the mental health road and prescribed GlaxoSmithKline drugs such as Wellbutrin, Paxil, Lamictal, all medicines used to treat mood disorders?

Maybe I'm clutching at straws here. Maybe GlaxoSmithKline have turned a corner and are trying to make amends for their previous abhorrent treatment of children with Paxil. Maybe it's just a huge PR exercise or maybe Glaxo have ulterior motives?

Whatever way you slice it, GlaxoSmithKline have pleaded guilty for promoting medicines to kids, medicines that were unsafe for kids. Why would any organisation connected with children wish to have GSK on board?

It's a head scratcher for me.

I Tweeted the following to CISNC - they never replied.

So, I fired off an email to Jill Cox, who is the Communities In Schools of North Carolina contact. I basically want to know what these research-based interventions are and whether or not they involve the use of psychiatric medication.
Dear Jill, 
I read with great interest that CISNC have recently joined forces with GlaxoSmithKline and announced tools and training to ensure that students in lowest performing schools have access to high quality wraparound services to propel success in school and beyond.
The press release, I read, also states that "Yesterday at CISNC’s “2015 Impact Training: Mission Possible” event in Cary, GSK announced a $360,000 grant to enable Communities In Schools of North Carolina to put high quality, research-based interventions in schools to increase attendance, improve behavior, enhance coursework, and engage more parents and families."
Exactly what are research-based interventions that will improve behavior?
I'd be grateful if you could let me know the answer to this at your earliest convenience.
Bob Fiddaman

I will, as usual, keep you updated if Jill responds.

Now, here's something that I bet you all thought you'd never read, from me at least.

I think it's safe to say that I am probably one of Glaxo's biggest online critics but I have to take my hat off to them and, probably for the first time ever, give them praise, particularly for looking after the residents of North Carolina. Credit where credit is due, I guess.

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation offers grants to various organisations and charities across the state of NC. Since 1986 they have awarded $65 million in grants to North Carolina nonprofit organizations. I do applaud them for that. However, this should not, nae should never, detract from the fact that GlaxoSmithKline have caused a lot of harm to a lot of people with their antidepressant Paxil - there are other prescription medications manufactured by Glaxo that have also caused death and heartache, Avandia for one.

When we balance up the good that they have, it appears, done for these nonprofit organizations in North Carolina against the bad they have done with drugs such as Paxil and Avandia we still see a company that is almost Jekyll and Hyde-like. It's almost as if grants such as the above are handed out to ease the conscience of their abhorrent history. It would be far better, in my opinion, if GlaxoSmithKline were seen to hand out cash awards to those they have harmed and not make them, or their families, have to jump through legal hoops in Paxil suicide litigation, Paxil withdrawal litigation and Paxil birth defect litigation. Glaxo will only ever settle when they know they cannot win trials. It seems absurd, therefore, that they seem to paint themselves whiter than white when handing out cash awards to nonprofit organizations across North Carolina. For families affected by Paxil, be they families who have suffered a loss of a child or adult due to Paxil induced suicide or mothers who have given birth to children with heart defects due to Paxil ingestion during pregnancy or for those affected by the horrendous withdrawal problems Paxil has caused them, seeing Glaxo hand out $65 million to organizations must be a kick in the teeth.

On one hand they giveth, on the other hand their drug, Paxil, taketh away.

And that just doesn't sit right with me. It never will.

Bob Fiddaman.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Dirty Duchesnay Diclegis Promotion...Rumbled

Well, it appears the FDA do have teeth after all, well much bigger fangs than their British and Canadian counterparts the MHRA and Health Canada.

The American medicine regulator has fired off a warning letter to Duchesnay, the Canadian based pharmaceutical company, who recently hired the services of  socialite, and model. Kim Kardashian. It's unknown how much Kardashian was paid by Duchesnay to promote their morning sickness pill, Diclegis to her 47 million social media followers.

The FDA, in a letter to Duchesnay's Executive Vice President, Eric Gervais, have come down hard and highlighted a number of violations.

  • The social media post is false or misleading in that it presents efficacy claims for DICLEGIS, but fails to communicate any risk information associated with its use and it omits material facts. 
  • The social media post misbrands DICLEGIS within the meaning o the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and makes its distribution violative. 
  • These violations are concerning from a public health perspective because they suggest that DICLEGIS is safer than has been demonstrated. 
The warning letter goes on to say that The Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) expressed concerns regarding violative promotional activities for DICLEGIS as recently as November 2013.

On November 12, 2013, OPDP sent Duchesnay an Untitled Letter regarding a letter announcing the approval of DICLEGIS. The letter cited in the Untitled Letter was false or misleading because, among other concerns, it omitted all risk information and omitted material facts regarding DICLEGIS’ important limitation of use. OPDP is concerned that Duchesnay is continuing to promote DICLEGIS in a violative manner. 
The OPDP have now requested, according to the warning letter, that Duchesnay " immediately cease misbranding DICLEGIS and/or cease introducing the misbranded drug into interstate commerce." They have also requested that Duchesnay, " submit a written response to this letter on or before August 21, 2015, stating whether you intend to comply with this request, listing all promotional materials (with the 2253 submission date) for DICLEGIS that contain presentations such as those described above, and explaining your plan for discontinuing use of such materials, or, in the alternative, for ceasing distribution of DICLEGIS. "

It only seems like yesterday that Duchesnay's Market Analyst, Danny Martel. wrote me on Twitter and told me to "educate myself" regarding Duchesnay's Diclegis. This coming after my first post about the Kardashian controversy (links below)

Good to see the FDA showing their teeth and it will be interesting to see the grovelling letter of apology Duchesnay now make to the FDA.

The FDA Warning letter to Duchesnay can be downloaded here.

Bob Fiddaman

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