Monday, March 30, 2015

Almost a Quarter of 'Suicide' Pilots on Psych Drugs





Well, wouldn't you know it.

CNBC are running with the headline, 'Germanwings crash prompts overhaul, calls for more mental health checks.' - only thing is, the article does not state who is actually 'calling.' Is it the airlines, is it worried passengers or is it those that work in the field of mental health?

On Thursday The Boston Globe ran a very thought-provoking article regarding the 24 US Aircraft-assisted suicides between 1993-2012.

The data collected showed toxicology reports for 21 of the 24 pilots. They were unable to obtain toxicology reports for 3 of the 24 pilots.

So, we have 21 pilots to work from.

Out of those 21 pilots, 5 were on psychiatric medication, or at least had psychiatric medication in their bloodstream at the time of the Aircraft-assisted suicide.

Case #8 - Pilot (41) - Diazepam, Nordiazepam (anti-anxiety)

Case  #9 - Pilot (40) - Alcohol, Cocaine, Diazepam & Nordiazepam (anti-anxiety), Temazepam (insomnia), Oxazepam (anti-anxiety/depression)

Case #14 - Pilot (54) - Venlafaxine, Desmethylvenalfaxine (depression)

Case #18 - Pilot (44) - Fluoxetine & Citalopram (depression), Diphenhydramine (allergic reactions/motion sickness), Alcohol

Case #22 - Pilot (25) - Alcohol, Citalopram (depression), Clonazepam (anti-anxiety)


It would be churlish of me to suggest that the drugs made them do it so, just like the Boston Globe data, I will show you the other mitigating circumstances.


Case  #8 - Marriage proposal declined

Case  #9 - Criminal history; suspect of arson

Case #14 - Under therapy for severe depression

Case #18 - History of depression w/ hospitalizations; shortly before the event, he was in hospital for attempted suicide

Case #22 - Distraught over breakup with girlfriend; alcohol and medication consumption prior to accident


Cases 14 and 18, it appears, show that the two pilots were diagnosed with depression and treated with medication. The other three cases don't seem so cut and dry.

Case 8 had a marriage proposal decline yet was found to have Diazepam and Nordiazepam (anti-anxiety) in his system. Was he being treated or did he just manage to get his hands on these tablets? If he was being treated then I cannot see anything in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) that states that dealing with a marriage proposal decline is a mental illness.

Case 9 had a criminal history and was suspected of arson, yet in his blood system we find Diazepam & Nordiazepam (anti-anxiety), Temazepam (insomnia), Oxazepam (anti-anxiety/depression). Again, nothing in the DSM about using medication on someone with a criminal history.

Case 22 was distraught over breakup with girlfriend. In his system they found Citalopram (depression), Clonazepam (anti-anxiety). Since when does splitting up with a partner deem someone as being mentally ill?

So, a staggering 23.8% of pilots who took part in Aircraft-assisted suicides between 1993-2012 were on psychiatric medication/or had taken psychiatric medication prior to the suicide.

Now, we have more "calls" for mental health checks which will no doubt mean more pilots on psychiatric medication.



Now, let's take a look at the three pilots that they wasn't able to pull toxicology results from.

Case #11 - Restraining order; escorted away from home

Case #16 - Ongoing treatment for depression

Case #24 - Difficulties in personal life; joked about suicide


I think we can be, at the least, 90% certain that case 16 was on some form of antidepressant medication. If this was the case then it pushes the total figure of Aircraft-assisted suicides that were medicated up to 27.2% (6 out of 22 pilots)

If case 24 had difficulties in his personal life and was being treated, just as case numbers 8, 9 and 22 were, then the figure rises again to 30.4%

However, we cannot speculate.

The fact still remains. 23.8% of pilots who took part in Aircraft-assisted suicides between 1993-2012 were on psychiatric medication/or had taken psychiatric medication prior to the suicide.

Now let's breakdown the list of drugs.

Diazepam (2)
Nordiazepam (2)
Temazepam
Oxazepam
Venlafaxine
Desmethylvenalfaxine
Fluoxetine
Citalopram (2)
Clonazepam



Diazepam 

Side Effect Reports – By Outcome

Completed suicide (1,885 reported)

--

Nordiazepam 

Nordiazepam is the primary metabolite of diazepam

Completed suicide (1,885 reported) (diazepam)

--

Temazepam

Completed suicide (543 reported)

--

Oxazepam

Completed suicide (87 reported)

--

Venlafaxine

Completed suicide (1,818 reported)

--

Desmethylvenalfaxine

Completed suicide (147 reported)

--

Fluoxetine

Completed suicide (1,560 reported)

--

Citalopram 

Completed suicide (2,191 reported)

--

Clonazepam 

Completed suicide (1,924 reported)



I don't know about you but I'd much rather know if a pilot was on antidepressant-type medication given the above results, wouldn't you?

Now, here's the rub folks.

On April 5, 2010, the FAA announced that pilots who take one of four SSRi antidepressant medications – Fluoxetine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft), Citalopram (Celexa), or Escitalopram (Lexapro) – will be allowed to fly if they have been satisfactorily treated on the medication for at least 12 months.

Two from that list, namely Fluoxetine and Citalopram, were found in the toxicology reports of pilots #18 and #22.

It begs the question, why did the FAA, in 2010, announce that pilots would be allowed to fly on 4 SSRi type medications, two of which have since been found in pilots who have used an aircraft as a choice of suicide?

Will be interesting if German authorities release details of the prescription medications they found in the apartment of Andreas Lubitz, although I suspect the media will focus on his state of mind rather that what prescription medication may have contributed to his state of mind.

It ain't rocket science folks but the mainstream media are still missing the bigger picture, as are the FAA and other aviation authorities.



Bob Fiddaman.



**Completed suicide figures obtained from RxISK drug database.



BACK STORIES

Co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz Germanwings

Andreas Lubitz - The Drugs Don't Work.

SSRIs Render Unfriendly Skies.

Documents obtained from the FAA under the Freedom of Information Act.












Sunday, March 29, 2015

Andreas Lubitz - The Drugs Don't Work.






Following on from my previous post, Co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz Germanwings, where I suggested that the media should have been asking questions about the role psychiatric drugs may have played, its now being reported that medications (to treat mental illness) were found in the apartment where Lubitz lived by German authorities. The Australian writes...

"Large quantities of prescription medicines used for treating mental illness were found in his flat."

What's striking here is the plural, 'medicines.' If the press are correct in reporting that there were a number of psychiatric medicines then this story can go one of two ways.

First off, the press can focus on his medical condition, something they have already been reporting on. Most media outlets are suggesting that Lubitz was suffering from “severe overload syndrome.” Other newspapers are running with the term, "psychosomatic illness."

It's also being reported that Lubitz may have had vision problems but tried to hide this, and his psychosomatic illness from his employer.

So, a psychosomatic illness is defined as concerning or involving both mind and body. According to HealhGrades, a website aimed at professionals, psychosomatic illnesses can be classified in three general types.

They write...

"The first type includes people who have both a mental (psychiatric) illness and a medical illness, and these illnesses complicate the symptoms and management of each other. The second type includes people who have a psychiatric problem that is a direct result of a medical illness or its treatment, such as having depression due to cancer and its treatment.
"The third type of psychosomatic illness is somatoform disorders. Somatoform disorders are psychiatric disorders that are displayed through physical problems. In other words, the physical symptoms people experience are related to psychological factors rather than a medical cause."

Crystal clear, huh?

Now, if the media are reporting that this man had a psychosamtic illness and it appears he was being treated with prescription medications then one has to ask why?

Medscape, another website aimed at healthcare professionals, write...

"Based on studies of somatization disorder, medication approaches rarely are successful for this condition. Physicians should search for evidence of psychiatric comorbidity, such as depression or an anxiety disorder. If present, medication interventions specific to the diagnosis can be attempted. Successful treatment of a major depression or an anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder, also may produce significant reduction in somatization disorder."

I find the above quite laughable. On one hand medication for a diagnosed psychosamtic illness rarely works and, it appears, that healthcare professionals should search for evidence that points to another disorder. Once they find this other 'disorder' they can then, if they wish, medicate. Isn't this a bit like searching for something and just not accepting that what you are searching for isn't there?

A paper, published last year in PubMed, suggests that "there exists no systematic review or meta-analysis on the efficacy and tolerability of these medications." (1)

Furthermore, the authors found that "Adverse effects produced by medication can have amplifying effects on symptom perceptions, particularly in people focusing on somatic symptoms without medical causes."

Am I painting the picture for you here?

So, the media can focus on the psychosomatic illness that Lubitz allegedly had or, like me, they can start asking questions. Namely, why was Lubitz prescribed medications for his 'illness' when;

a, medication approaches rarely are successful for this condition.
b, there exists no systematic review or meta-analysis on the efficacy and tolerability of these medications
c, Adverse effects produced by medication can have amplifying effects on symptom perceptions, particularly in people focusing on somatic symptoms.

The German authorities have a duty to name the drugs this man was taking. The world press have a duty to ask the questions regarding the treatment of this illness.

Why was Lubitz on medication when published papers in high profile medical journals suggest that drug treatment doesn't really help?

I am kind of skeptical about the whole diagnosis. It's basically a psychiatric disorder diagnosed when no other psychiatric disorder can be found. It's a bit like your psychiatrist on a fishing trip. He throws his net into the water and catches just three fish. He then makes the net bigger and, voila, he lands more fish!

Judging by the media reports Lubitz was a troubled man. It would appear that his dream of flying and one day making Captain had been dashed. This could be because he had visionary problems or maybe because he had this ongoing psychosomatic illness.

I'm betting that the media will focus on his background and the illness and will not entertain the fact that the drugs he was prescribed may have contributed to his heinous act.

The jury's out folks.

Bob Fiddaman.




(1) Pharmacological interventions for somatoform disorders in adults.
Kleinstäuber M1, Witthöft M, Steffanowski A, van Marwijk H, Hiller W, Lambert MJ.







Thursday, March 26, 2015

Co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz Germanwings





I, like many, watched the various press conferences this morning.

I, like many, was shocked to learn that 28 year-old co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, deliberately flew the aircraft into a mountain.

So, most obvious questions coming from the media frenzy.

"Do you know the religion of the co-pilot?"

"Do you think it was a terrorist attack?"

"What was the mental state of the co-pilot?"


All valid questions that provided negative answers.

So, the most obvious question, to me at least, would have been this...

"Do we know if the co-pilot was on any form of medication?"

Gasp! Oh no, not one of those anti- psych meds nutters asking questions?

Not one single newspaper or TV/Radio journalist posed this question at any of these press conferences. Why is that?

Now, I'm not going to go down some sort of conspiratorial road and suggest that they are not allowed to raise such questions. To be quite frank, reporters will always try to ask the questions that gets them the scoop.

I believe that reporters did not ask this one simple question because they just don't believe that a person taking medication can lose his mind. In any event, even if Andreas Lubitz was on medication it would be pretty hard to prove that his actions were induced by the pharmaceutical product.

In the main, the media tend to shy away from reporting about the medication, opting instead to report on the "illness."

We've seen it time and time again. Joe blogs was depressed and under the care of a psychiatrist, that's why he killed himself.

John Doe had recently split from his girlfriend, that's why he walked into a school and shot his classmates and teacher dead.

Rarely do they report that the "perp" was taking medication. Even if they do, it's pretty vague.

"Joe Blogs was believed to be on antidepressants." or "John Doe, it is reported, had recently started taking medication."

The brand names are, perversely, excluded from the media reports. Wouldn't you like to know the name of a product that made someone crazy?

Now, I'm not suggesting that Andreas Lubitz was on any form of medication but I, for one, would love to know whether or not he was, if only to then ask all the airlines what the protocol was for pilots taking psych meds.

Back in 2010 I received confirmation from the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] that the antidepressant paroxetine, better known by its brand name of Seroxat [UK and Paxil [US] did not make the "Safe list" of medications to take whilst operating an aircraft. However, the FAA, who at the time were looking at lifting their ban on pilots flying whilst taking medication, had suggested that other SSRi's, namely  Fluoxetine [Prozac], Sertraline [Zoloft], Citalopram [Celexa], or Escitalopram [Lexapro] were safe to take whilst operating an aircraft.

Really?

Investigative journalist Evelyn Pringle and I corresponded and she wrote a quite brilliant article regarding psychiatric medication and pilots entitled, SSRIs Render Unfriendly Skies.

All the documents I received from the FAA can be viewed online here. They were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Personally, I think the media have come to accept that SSRi's can induce suicide. Homicide though? They just can't swallow that particular pill.

In other news, Florida Teen Kills Brother, 6, Self After Food Dispute,

"Authorities in Florida are investigating what motivated a 13-year-old boy to apparently fatally shoot his 6-year-old brother, wound his 16-year-old brother, and then turn the gun on himself Wednesday."

No doubt, the anti-psych drugs brigade will have something to say about this. No doubt they will once again be labelled conspiracy theorists.

You know, just because we report on the things that the media won't touch does not make us conspiracy theorists.

Back to retirement.

Bob Fiddaman.









Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book Update - No Other Man







I've uploaded the first 13 chapters of No Other Man online.

I'm quite happy with the first 13 but may go back at some stage to re-edit.

I'm up to 56,000 words and, hopefully, by September, will have reached my intended target of 80,000.

The one page prologue kind of sets the tone. I'll write a synopsis of the book once I've finished it.

Here's the first 13 chapters.




Bob Fiddaman


Literary Agents and/or Publishers can contact me via email.



Email Me







Monday, March 16, 2015

King & Spalding US Attorneys in Ignition Switch Scandal





I said privately to many friends that it would take a lot to get me writing again on this blog. Anything that Glaxo do now or in the future won't shock or surprise me. They've done it all so nothing shocks me anymore about their behaviour.

For those that don't know, Glaxo have, in the main, been defended by US Attorney's King & Spalding. Paxil birth defect litigation, Paxil suicide litigation and Paxil withdrawal cases. In the legal circles one only has to mention King & Spalding and the Glaxo association is immediately made.

So, what can a bunch of US attorneys do to bring this old Brummie out of retirement. Well, judging by the media coverage, not a lot. In fact, since this story broke on the subscription based Law360, none, not one, of the major news outlets have reported on it. Don't you find that strange?

Oh, I almost forgot. Here's the background.

General Motors (GM) defended a lawsuit brought against them by the parents of 29 year-old Brooke Melton who was killed whilst driving her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. Her parents had hired an engineering expert who found that it was an ignition switch flaw on the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt that Melton was driving. The lawsuit was settled and General Motors went on to recall 2.6 million vehicles.

The Melton's settled with GM in September 2013. GM recalled 2.6 million vehicles in 2014.

At first glance one would assume that GM were acting in good faith. Not so, apparently.

After settling with the Melton's, GM admitted that they knew about the flaw some 10 years prior to the recall. Hmm, now that's not playing ball, is it?

This startling revelation saw the Melton's file suit again in May 2014. They argued that GM should rescind their previous settlement ($5 million) because it mislead the Melton's about the total number of defects. GM had previously not acknowledged that Brooke Melton’s fatal crash was caused by the ignition switch defect.

Once again, GM settled with the Melton's for an undisclosed fee. They will retain the $5 million but will also receive a payout from the GM injury compensation fund.

So, where do King & Spalding come into it?

Well, earlier today the subscription based legal website, Law360, broke the news that not only did GM know about the flaw but attorneys representing them knew too.

Law360 writes...

"General Motors Co.'s emails with King & Spalding LLP and other outside counsel show the automaker engaged in a "massive cover-up" to hide its deadly ignition switch defect, the plaintiffs' attorney who unearthed the defect and documents said Monday."

The emails in question will now be used in federal MDL cases against GM. It is unknown whether or not these emails will ever be made public.

The article on Law360 can be accessed here.


You can follow King & Spalding on Twitter by clicking on the links below.

@kslaw
@kslawCorpGov

Related King & Spalding stories:

Ryan, Glaxo's Non-Viable Fetus - Part I

Ryan, Glaxo's Non-Viable Fetus - Part II - The Twists


Bob Fiddaman.




Monday, March 02, 2015

Update - No Other Man - Bob Fiddaman





Most will know that I have taken time out from all things Pharmafia to concentrate on writing a fictional novel. The whole writing/creating process has been therapeutic and I have now reached 40,000 words. It's nowhere near finished, most publishers these days are looking for a minimum of 80,000 words before they'd even consider reading a manuscript.

The story is not something that people would normally associate with Bob Fiddaman, the activist - this has been a challenge as I move away from GSK, death and birth defects.

I have created two strong characters so far (Don Williamson and Karen Crawford), the others I will build on over the coming months.

Don Williamson, a 50 year-old paralegal from the UK - he's recently been dumped by his girlfriend, Katy Johansson, 35, who lives in Östermalm, a large wealthy district in central Stockholm.

Karen Crawford, 40, is a famous American Model living in the UK. She hides a secret from her past, a secret that is very much part of the plot that centres around a poem penned by Don Williamson, some 13 years ago, in 2001.

Angie Jakobs, 41, a famous American TV psychic who is Karen Crawford's best friend. Angie lives in Sun Valley, Idaho, just two miles away from Karen Crawford's second home, a $6 million 1,000 acre ranch.

Lex Brampton, 43, lives in Pocatello, Idaho. For the past 17 years or so Brampton has kept an unhealthy interest in Karen Crawford. He was sent to a juvenile correctional facility at the age of 16, then, at 18, he saw out his sentence in a Lubbock correctional facility.



In 2001, after his wife told him she was having an affair and was moving out to live with Dan Pallet, Don Williamson turned to the stars in the night sky for comfort. Whilst looking at the stars a poem came to him. The poem contained a hidden code, only Don Williamson never knew it. The code would be broken on New Year's Eve 2014. It's a code that newly elected Pope John III has taken an avid interest in, only he does not know the whereabouts or content of the poem, only its existence.

Don and Karen are guided on their journey by angels, who in turn, are given daily instructions by Archangel Gabriel. Don and Karen's journey has been planned from their birth and it all comes to fruition as 2014 changes to 2015.

The plot (beginning, middle and end) was written over 6 nights, roughly 20,000 words. Since then I have revisited the manuscript and created a further 20,000 words. I hope to increase it over the coming months.

It's a story that has many twists and turns and one that is primarily about love, light and truth. The message, I guess, is to treat others as you wish to be treated and also to be aware of the signs around us that angels are leaving us.

The book is called 'No Other Man' and I hope to have it completed around September.


Bob Fiddaman.









Sunday, February 22, 2015

Shane 22nd February




Today marks the birthday of Shane Clancy. He would have been 28

Shane is yet another victim who fell foul of antidepressants. Sadly, another young man also became entangled in the adverse side effects caused by the citalopram (known as Celexa in US) Shane was taking.

Here's a podcast I did with Shane's mom, Leonie, back in 2011. Interview starts at the 5 minute 30 second mark.




Bob Fiddaman.



Friday, February 20, 2015

Matthew - 21 February 2009




**I'm posting this Friday 20 Feb because of more internet traffic - this is a story that needs to reach far and wide.**

There will always be those of us who just don't fully comprehend the grief. A small part of me feels your pain but a bigger part of me, call it my spiritual side, feels gratefully enriched for being allowed into Matthew's life. Thank you Amery and Christiane for allowing that to happen.

God speed little man.

Bob Fiddaman.



Monday, January 19, 2015

Saying Goodbye





I created this blog way back in April 2006. Initially I had a gripe with the British drug regulator, the MHRA.

I was concerned because I had suffered at the hands of GlaxoSmithKline's Seroxat, known as Paxil in the US.

Over the last nine years or so I've had an online stalker who, along with his internet acquaintance, stalked me and impersonated me online, at times targeting the parents of the victims that I had wrote about.

I've been threatened with legal action by one of GlaxoSmithKline's former employees (he was employed by them at the time)

I've met with the British drug regulator on numerous occasions, those meetings turned out to be as useful as a chocolate teapot.

I've met some wonderful people on my journey, even had intimate relationships with two of those I met, one of which, I regret.

In the main, I've covered many stories about children/teenagers who have succumbed to antidepressant use. I hope I have brought their parents some peace and satisfaction with my efforts. I hope I have drawn awareness to the dangers of these mind-numbing drugs that have, for many, caused nothing but heartache.

I've been fighting almost alone for nearly nine years with the blog work, dealing with other's grief, emptiness, and sadness. It's come to a point where it has just consumed me and, to be honest, I have to change things in my life after suffering a recent loss of my own.

It's hard to put my finger on any one story I've covered on this blog. Sara Carlin springs to mind. Through her death I met two wonderful friends in Neil and Rhonda - I hope to meet them again one day.

I was immensely proud to be presented two human rights awards from the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), one being presented to me in the US and one here in the UK. The CCHR introduced me to some wonderful people, many of whom still keep in touch with me via social media websites.

I was also very proud when this old blog of mine went over one million visits, a quick look now shows the counter at 1,189,171. Not bad for a Brummie who was expelled from school and told, "You will never make anything of yourself Fiddaman."

I had always dreamed of seeing my name on the front cover of a book - I achieved that too with my book, 'The evidence, however, is clear: The Seroxat scandal'.

During the past nine years I've seen new blogs appear... and then disappear. It's a tough game this blogging lark, kinda takes it out of you when you are the one that people turn to because they are addicted to antidepressants or they have lost a child to antidepressants or even given birth to a child with deformities due to antidepressants. It can be a very dark, lonely place when you take on stories such as these. They sit with you forever.

I'm pretty much running on an empty tank these days and am just bamboozled by the unkind acts and hardheartedness of some people.

To be honest, I'm exhausted by it all. I never ever thought that one of my foes would turn out to be the very same person who I tried to help by highlighting their plight on this blog, on numerous occasions. That toxicity for you folks!

I'm done with opening my email each day and seeing attachments hundreds of pages long and being asked, "have you seen this?"

I'm done with staying up until the early hours of the morning helping people find justice only to have them ignore me when my efforts found them the justice they craved (money)

I'm done with reading about GlaxoSmithKline making settlements to mothers who have had the misfortune of giving birth to children with serious defects. Done with it all.

During the last three weeks I've been to hell and back, I've still got a long way to go, I'm still struggling to come to terms with the whole 'gone in the blink of an eye'.

Deal with it I will, but I cannot continue being consumed by other people's lives, it's zapping my energy and causing bad vibes. I just need to get in sync with myself and start a new journey, one that doesn't involve the loss of loved ones. Losing someone you love is quite possibly the worst feeling in the world.

I started work on a new novel yesterday, it's been therapeutic. I don't know when it will be finished, don't even know how it will end but it's fiction and I can go pretty much anywhere I want with it.

It's called "No Other Man"

One day I hope to see it published.

For now, I'm saying goodbye.

I'll leave the last words for Sara...





Bob Fiddaman




Friday, January 16, 2015

Save the Children Respond Re GSK





Following on from my previous post 'Save the Children and GSK'

In my previous post I wrote about how I had wrote Save the Children and asked them the following regarding their partnership with GlaxoSmithKline.

As I am sure you are aware GSK recently pleaded guilty and were fined over $3 billion in the US for promoting drugs to children off-label. One of these drugs, Paxil, which goes by the brand name of Seroxat here in the UK, causes suicidal thinking in children. At the time of the off-label promotion GSK knew of this particular side effect but failed to inform medicine regulators and healthcare professionals. A result of which has saw children and teenagers go on to complete suicide.
My question to Save the Children is one of ethics.
Knowing that GSK promoted a drug that could harm children (and they (GSK) knew of the potential risk but failed to warn), do you (Save the Children) believe that a partnership with GSK is morally correct?
If you believe it is, please state your reasons.



Here is their response.

It's the first time I have ever seen an organisation, outside of the pharmaceutical industry, use the words 'benefit' and 'risk'.

I'm speechless.

We are aware of the reports on the historic issues relating to Paxil. As an organisation we take our role to protect children very seriously and assess all our partnerships and collaborations very much within this context. Save the Children works to ensure that decisions around who we partner with are made with the best interests of children at the core – and this means deciding whether the impact on children we can have through our programming and advocacy funded by a donor or partner outweighs any potential risks.
We consider carefully the risks associated with partnering with pharmaceutical companies and in the case of GSK our belief is that the risks are outweighed by the benefits of this partnership, in helping us achieve our ambitions for children. The focus of the GSK-Save the Children partnership is to help save a million children’s lives in the developing world.


Make of that what you will.

Save The Children can be emailed here.

Bob Fiddaman.




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Save the Children and GSK





This is another of those posts that has taken a while to construct. My personal life took a kick in the gonads recently and I've been mulling over where I go from here. Do I continue down the path that I've been walking since the conception of this blog or do I change and write that fictional novel I've been meaning to write for some years now?**

Do I continue to answer emails from people who want my help or do I just give it all up and ignore them all? There's times when I feel deflated, none more so than this period in my life. It's a period where you truly find out who your close friends are and whether or not you are made of steel, as many think to seem bloggers who go up against the likes of GSK, are. Truth is, I'm just like you, I'm human. I feel pain and every single human emotion that others feel. There's some people who go through life seeking revenge, these people just cannot operate without feeling revenge, they spoil the life of others and see it as Karma, when in actual fact it serves only to make them feel better because their current lives are blighted by an inability to move on and let go of the past. Ironically, both individuals have suffered loss so know what it feels like, their goal, it appears, was to inflict that pain upon someone else by colluding together to throw a spanner in the works of something that was quite beautiful.

The whole experience has left me feeling somewhat broken, so both individuals should take a bow at this point - Job done. Ironically they both share the same letter in their first names. They know who they are - I just hope now that they feel a sense of satisfaction and are able to move on with their lives, just as I am trying to do... I digress.

Corresponding with Save the Children has been difficult but it's kept me focused on what needs to be done (in this instance anyhow). Both they and GSK have been working together since 2005 on a number of public health projects, including GSK’s initiative to reinvest 20% of the profits it makes in least-developed-countries back into community programmes to strengthen healthcare infrastructure, primarily through the training of community health workers. Their current partnership, to help save the lives of one million children, builds on this existing partnership and will help them achieve their ambitions for children.

You can see my dilemma here. On one hand I applaud the efforts of Save the Children for taking measures to help children, on the other I feel that partnering with GSK is morally wrong.

In an email to Save the Children I asked if it were GSK who approached them or if it was they who approached GSK.

Here's the reply...

Save the Children and GSK have actually been working together since 2005, which began with a community health and well-being programme called ‘PHASE’ – Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Education. Save the Children approached GSK to explore their potential support for our health programmes . Our global partnership with GSK was further developed and formalised in 2012, when the CEO of Save the Children was invited to speak as part of a GSK leadership conference. The discussions that took place at this event initiated the process to explore a more ambitious partnership between both organisations.

With this admission, I wrote back to Save the Children with the following...


As I am sure you are aware GSK recently pleaded guilty and were fined over $3 billion in the US for promoting drugs to children off-label. One of these drugs, Paxil, which goes by the brand name of Seroxat here in the UK, causes suicidal thinking in children. At the time of the off-label promotion GSK knew of this particular side effect but failed to inform medicine regulators and healthcare professionals. A result of which has saw children and teenagers go on to complete suicide.
My question to Save the Children is one of ethics.
Knowing that GSK promoted a drug that could harm children (and they (GSK) knew of the potential risk but failed to warn), do you (Save the Children) believe that a partnership with GSK is morally correct?
If you believe it is, please state your reasons.


I thought by asking them a direct question would, at the very least, tap in to their conscience, assuming they had one.

Stay tuned for their response.


Footnote


To me, at least, it's about giving children a voice. This vulnerable population, at times, need someone to speak up on their behalf. I'm not, or have I ever, professed to be a martyr. When I see the likes of GSK teaming up with an organisation who have children's best interests at heart it makes my blood boil for two reasons.

1. GSK have an abhorrent history regarding Paxil and children.

2. Save the Children would have already done their homework yet chose the unmoral path.

The picture that accompanies this article reads, "Don't Believe Everything You Think" ~ a valuable parable when trying to make the correct choices in life. I'm at the stage of letting go of believing everything I think, to go down that path is destructive. Save the Children, on the other hand, have evidence that their partners, GSK, were up to no good... yet they still wish to remain partners.

I'll never quite understand relationships.

**For what it's worth, I'm going to continue writing, albeit with my foot off the gas for a while. I need to make changes in my life ~ writing a fictional novel is just the start of that change.

Bob Fiddaman.





Saturday, January 10, 2015

Key Expert To Give Evidence Against Zoloft (Birth Defects)




A group action seems to be in full flight against in the United States whereby hundreds of mothers are claiming that Zoloft (sold and marketed by Pfizer) caused birth defects in their children.

Initially U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania barred the testimony of the group's previous expert,Dr. Anick Bérard, citing several problems with her research.

Plaintiffs sought a new expert and Pfizer objected, claiming that plaintiffs had plenty of time to put in place a reliable expert and bringing a new one forward was merely down to Bérard's testimony being dismissed.

Judge Cynthia Rufe ruled in favour of the plaintiffs and they can now move ahead in their case against Pfizer where they allege that Zoloft (Sertraline) caused a number of heart defects in their children.

Pfizer remains confident that there is no reliable scientific evidence demonstrating that Zoloft causes the injuries alleged by the plaintiffs.

Full story here (subscription only)

Bob Fiddaman