Wednesday, March 30, 2016
As this blog approaches its 10 year anniversary (April 6) I thought it would be fitting to give something back to those that have helped me along my journey. Over the coming weeks I'll be publishing a series of Q&A's from people that have been a part of my journey.
Today, I start with Sheila Matthews-Gallo, (pictured above) co-founder of Ablechild, an organization that works against the labeling and medicating of children.
I first met Sheila in Los Angeles in 2011. We had lunch together, put the world to rights and, in general, just chit-chatted the afternoon away. Later that year I worked with her on a project in which we intended to expose the foster care system in Connecticut, where Sheila and her family reside. The results of that project, Billion Dollar Drug Company Law Firm Restructures Connecticut Welfare System, can be viewed here.
I've got a lot of time for people like Sheila. As an individual she has a heart of gold and a passion to match. Her organisation, Ablechild, is the result of that passion.
Ablechild has been instrumental in trying to get the medical notes of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza released into the public domain ~ despite meeting many brick walls Ablechild continues on its mission for these records to be released.
Sheila isn't afraid to tackle tough issues, she has, in the past, stood up to congress in the US, delivering quite exceptional testimony. See her passionate plea made at The Victim Privacy & The Public's Right-To-Know Task Force privacy panel meeting here.
The world needs more people like Sheila Matthews-Gallo, she's a warrior!
Over the coming weeks I'll be reaching out to other individuals and organisations who have been a major part of my ten years of blogging.
Here's the Q&A's
Full name: Sheila Matthews-Gallo
Location: Westport, Connecticut
Q: Can you tell me why you created Ablechild?
A: To ensure that every parent has the right to informed consent regarding psychiatric products and services. To fully understand that there is no medical test to confirm that a child has a mental disorder, called ADHD. To ensure that parents are provided alternatives to behavioral concerns most of all educational solutions in speech and language. Behavior is tied directly to how one communicates.
Q: Sheila, your website "Ablechild" seems to have become a flagship in seeking the truth with regard to the Sandy Hook massacre, You've built yourself a reputation as being forceful and determined. Can you tell me a bit about that?
A: I met hundreds of mothers along my journey with AbleChild. One of the very first mothers I met was from Sandy Hook, Newtown. I encountered this mother during a visit to the Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut in a line to testify to support a bill that would prohibit the state and schools from force drugging a child against their families wishes. Her child was, at the time, in state custody and her child was being given psychiatric drugs against her wishes.
We stayed in touch over the years, but it would be the massacre in Sandy Hook, Newtown, CT that would united us and drive me to find out if Adam Lanza was receiving psychiatric drug products prior to the killings.
The day of the Sandy Hook massacre, I received a call from this mother who lived less than a mile away from the school in the center of Sandy Hook. I was asked to come and visit the area and find out if Adam Lanza was another coerced psychiatric drug user. As far as being forceful or determined, I can only tell you there is too much at risk not to find out if the psychiatric treatment was a contributing factor and to hold those who provided the treatment accountable. Afterall, our liberty is at stake. The psychiatric industry is pushing mandatory government mental health. Is this what we want?
I have to say, upfront, I knew of the corruption within the state regarding psychiatric drugs and coercion of parents. I was a strong advocate against the state of Connecticut when it came to psychiatric coercion. I had personal experience trying to receive help from the state when I was faced with school psychiatric coercion and no help arrived. I was also working on anti-psychiatric coercion on a national level with two other school massacres, Red Lake, MN and Virginia Tech. AbleChild submitted testimony in the aftermath of both those mass shootings when the psychiatric industry was pushing for mandatory mental health screening using these growing mass killings as the catalyse when if fact we have no idea if their products and services are actually contributing factors to the mass killings.
Q: What has Ablechild done in as far as trying to get Adam Lanza’s medical notes?
A. We went before the Freedom of Information Commission, Ablechild vs. Chief Medical Examiner. We attended every public hearing and voiced our requested, wrote op-eds that appeared locally and nationally. We testified and met with lawmakers for over 3 years, we are still without the records.
Q: On average, how much time do you spend with work that relates to Ablechild?
A. Wow, I never really calculated it all up. At least 2 hours daily, but some days with capitol visits, writing, calls, working with families, and summer internships it could produce a full schedule. It’s a part of me now.
Q: Given that the content of the Sandy Hook massacre is pretty dark, what do you do to switch off at night?
A. Well tonight, lol, I am doing this Q&A. No, I enjoy my family life, my home, friends, movies, traveling, paddle boarding. I just got my boating license. I love the water.
Q: Have you ever considered writing a book about your journey?
A. Yes, but I am too busy living it. I want to see how it ends.
Q: What do you say to people who believe that antidepressants are safe and effective?
A. Do your homework, seek alternatives.
Q: Back in 2011 I had the pleasure of working with you and together we researched and wrote an article that linked a non-profit children’s advocacy group, with assets over $15 million  with nationally-renowned mass tort and class action defense law firms, to the Connecticut DCF. What was the general feedback you received about that article?
A. Amazing. I think it really spelled out the psychiatric industry hold on the foster care system and the front groups claiming to be “child savers.” I think it stemmed the called I received from Diane Sawyer’s team to do the one year long investigation into the drugging of foster care system on a national level. AbleChild contributed to that investigation.
Q: You are quite a humble person in real life - for the benefit of this Q&A can you tell me about the awards both you and Ablechild have won?
A. I have received two human rights awards an individual award and group award from the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights and I also received an Award from the Law Firm of Jonathan Emord that was unbelievable, in honor of George Washington, The Freedom of Informed Choice Award. (See here)
Q: For you, what is the most frustrating part about running Ablechild?
A. The lack of financial resources and time I have to give.
Q: Where do you see Ablechild in 10 years time?
A. Here for parents and children, for all of us.
Q: Finally Sheila, some personal questions...
1. What book are you currently reading?
A. Im-be-ciles, The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck, by Adam Cohen
2. What was the last CD you listened to (in full)?
A very new artist, from New Hampshire, Brook Hubbard. Snow in the Sunshine is my favorite on his CD. I listen to it over and over again.
3. What is the best movie you have seen this year?
A. Risen. The story of the roman soldier and the hunt for Jesus’ body.
4. What country would you most like to visit?
5. If you had the choice of being either a defence or prosecution lawyer, which would you choose and why?
A. Shouldn’t a really good lawyer be able to do both? I would want to be a really good lawyer. But, to answer your question, I think a prosecution lawyer, they have to make the case. I think that might be a more secure position rather than defending a position. But, mostly the state prosecutes and the public defends, I probably am more of a defender. Clearly from my answer, I can’t decide. I wish I went to law school.
Ablechild Official Website
Ablechild Facebook Page
Sunday, March 27, 2016
(of a thing) make a quick short movement up and down.
Hmm, I'm not really clued up on the whole vaccine issues but I know a few folk that are - we kind of strive for one thing - the truth.
Hollywood legend Robert De Niro raised eyebrows when he announced that the screening of Vaxxed (a documovie about the MMR vaccine) should be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival because it would generate much needed discussion. 24 hours later, De Niro back-tracked and, bizarrely, announced that " "We do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for." This coming after he had spoken with the "scientific community", whoever they are?
Vaxxed is a movie by Andrew Wakefield and, according to its website, features evidence that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been covering up information regarding an association with the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and its link to autism.
The blurb on the official Vaxxed website (which includes a trailer) states...
In 2013, biologist Dr. Brian Hooker received a call from a Senior Scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who led the agency’s 2004 study on the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and its link to autism. The scientist, Dr. William Thompson, confessed that the CDC had omitted crucial data in their final report that revealed a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism.
Over several months, Dr. Hooker records the phone calls made to him by Dr. Thompson who provides the confidential data destroyed by his colleagues at the CDC. Dr. Hooker enlists the help of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the British gastroenterologist falsely accused of starting the anti-vax movement when he first reported in 1998 that the MMR vaccine may cause autism. In his ongoing effort to advocate for children’s health, Wakefield directs this documentary examining the evidence behind an appalling cover-up committed by the government agency charged with protecting the health of American citizens. Interviews with pharmaceutical insiders, doctors, politicians, and parents of vaccine-injured children reveal an alarming deception that has contributed to the skyrocketing increase of autism and potentially the most catastrophic epidemic of our lifetime.
Hmm, it does seem rather strange that De Niro, who has a son with autism, would drastically change his mind - to be honest this is possibly the best thing that could happen to all those involved with the movie.
Back in the eighties if a record in the UK was banned from the airways then chances are it would go straight to number one.
So, why are the "scientific community" up in arms about this movie?
Well, according to the mainstream media Wakefield is a charlatan and the whistleblower evidence featured in the movie, has been twisted and manipulated purely for sensationalism.
The movie has certainly generated discussion, even though it will not now be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival.
De Niro, after speaking with the "scientific community", announced...
"We do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for."
He's wrong. Pulling the movie has generated much more discussion than he or anyone could have ever wished for and now many people will be itching to see it.
Here's a trailer.
PS - Are you looking at me?
PS - Are you looking at me?
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Hyperacusis is a condition that arises from a problem in the way the brain’s central auditory processing center perceives noise. Common causes include, but are not limited to, ear damage from toxins or medication.
During my time on GlaxoSmithKline's Seroxat I noticed I could not tolerate sounds that I used to be able to tolerate. Sudden loud noises not only startled me but they made me feel agitated. This problem continued through the whole withdrawal process of Seroxat and still exists today. I wouldn't say that my condition is hyperacusis as many of those who suffer from that particular ailment have difficulty with every day noises, such as; running tap water, riding in a car, walking on leaves, dishwasher, fan on the refrigerator, shuffling papers.
I would, however, suggest, that Seroxat, known as Paxil in the US and Canada and Aropax in Australia, does something to the central auditory processing center as many people have experienced an intolerance to sudden loud noises during their time on Seroxat, withdrawing from Seroxat and years after taking it.
For me, it's sudden loud noises - an example would be a busy restaurant or coffee shop, the clinking of crockery or the clogged filter from the coffee machine being banged. Babies crying on public transport is also troublesome for me. Ironically, I love music so people may say why can you tolerate the likes of AC/DC yet cringe at the sound of breaking glass or random banging? Well, the answer is simple, music has a beat, a rhythm, I kind of know what is in store.
In my book, The evidence, however, is clear, the Seroxat scandal, I describe an incident with my three children and nephew. It relates to the noise issue associated with Seroxat and is something that I found extremely difficult to write about. Basically, my three children and nephew were being boisterous, as kids are, whilst playing on a games console - I told them to keep the noise down - they didn't. I flew into a rage, swore at them and told them to get out. Directly after this incident I went walking through a country park - my intention was to seek confrontation.
Maybe I have a mild form of hyperacusis, one that will, seemingly, stay with me for the rest of my life - a condition I never had before taking GlaxoSmithKline's antidepressant.
With this in mind I reached out to some forums on Facebook where Seroxat patients discuss the problems they face, and have faced, whilst taking Seroxat.
I asked the following...
Has anyone ever suffered with an intolerance to sudden loud noises when withdrawing from Paxil/Seroxat/Aropax and has this intolerance continued after you successfully tapered from Paxil?
Unsurprisingly, I got a good response.
Here's some of the replies that are followed by GlaxoSmithKline's 2014 product monograph for Seroxat. A product monograph is what your doctor gets to see but you don't. Here's some comments first...
I'm still on Paxil and trying to slowly taper, but I can tell you though when I have been in withdrawal all the noises seem to be intensified and I jump out of my skin when anything bangs. I have children so it's very difficult , their sudden tantrums can send me in a spin. I think I'm more on edge with noise and other things since tapering. I'm not off them yet and it's going to take a long time till I'm finished. ~ Giovanna Lee - Sydney, Australia
I became intolerant but it wasn't only loud sudden noise. For me, even the sound of the toilet flushing sounds like an aeroplane, it gets on my nerves so bad and makes me really angry. I actually had my brother by the throat because he kept running the hot water and the sound of the boiler firing up sent me into a rage. Loud music is really bad as well the neighbours playing music or cars passing makes me wants to throttle them. I have bad insomnia but even when I do sleep the slightest noise wakes me up and really upsets me. I was on Seroxat for 15 yrs and looking back noises irritated me whilst on it but became much worse when I started to wean. I have been off it for 10 months and still hate noise but I don't actually so violently towards it now. ~ Anne Marie McMillan, 47, Scotland
If someone knocks on my car window, I've been known to hit myself in the face when they're out of sight, the same if someone makes me jump. My mum is deaf in one ear so she talks rather loud, sometimes I have to go into the toilet to dig my nails into my palms as a distraction then calm down. It can also be chatter in a supermarket, packaging being handled, gates opening etc. I know we all get distracted by noises, but the rage I feel really worries me. ~ Jane Teece, 52, East Sussex
I didn't notice that I was sensitive to loud noises at first, it is especially sudden loud noises that make me anxious and jittery, when I was on Seroxat it was hard to wake me up and I would sleep through the alarm clock. Off it now for 2 years 4 months and it has caused so many arguments with husband & family members, when sudden noises happen they make me anxious and verbally aggressive and I go into the fight or flight mode, it's as if I'm on high alert and everything is amplified and I'm on edge, it is only recently that my husband has stopped using the alarm due to the issues I was having with it. ~ Julie Anson-Boynton, 46, West Midlands
What I can remember is that when I tapered down from 20mg to 10mg too fast loud noises made my whole body shake. I did not know that this was due to withdrawal, thank God I know a lot more now. ~ Miranda Springer, 43, Holland
Sudden noises during withdrawal but as withdrawal didn't work with me after three attempts, the anxiety of sudden noises (not necessarily loud) have been left with me i.e. thunder, a tap on the shoulder, someone saying my name unexpectedly, car/bike backfire, balloons, fireworks .. the list goes on. ~ Anon, UK
I am in the middle of a pretty significant wave right now and the noise thing is really bothering me. I keep turning the tv down and startle to any noise ie; Kids dropping a fork. ~ Jodie Chinn
Now to Glaxo's product monograph which I spoke about at the head of the patient comments. Glaxo are careful not to let us know if the side effects happened during withdrawal. They also cover themselves by claiming, "It is important to emphasize that although the experiences reported did occur during treatment with PAXIL®, they were not necessarily caused by it."
Events Observed During the Clinical Development of Paroxetine.
- Ear pain
- Otitis media (a group of inflammatory diseases of the middle ear)
- Tinnitus (the perception of noise or ringing in the ears)
- Hyperacusis (a collapsed tolerance to usual environmental sound)
- Otitis externa (inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal)
I bet your doctor never told you about these adverse events related to Seroxat, huh?
Why would he/she? The product monograph for Seroxat is 57 pages long, we surely don't expect doctors to read all of it, do we? In any event, Glaxo make it crystal clear, "It is important to emphasize that although the experiences reported did occur during treatment with PAXIL®, they were not necessarily caused by it."
Furthermore, those limp-wristed medicine regulators, the MHRA have had 36 yellow card reports regarding paroxetine and hyperacusis - see page 11/67
David Healy's RXisk website database shows 163 reported events for hyperacusis, which has a Proportional reporting ratio (PRR) of 15.6% (Link)
So, folks, the next time you jump out of your skin because your child is playing noisily or someone drops a plate on the floor or bangs a coffee filter against a metal container to unclog it, just remember that Glaxo are aware of these problems but claim that they were not necessarily caused by their product.
The Glaxo mission statement has never changed, it's still, "At GSK our mission is to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer."
GlaxoSmithKline, doncha just love them!
GlaxoSmithKline, doncha just love them!
Special thanks to those who took time to email me with their stories. Apologies to those who never made this blog post.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Uchenna Uwechia, GSK Consumer Nigeria Plc's Legal Director and Company Secretary
Yesterday, for a period of two hours this blog, which is monitored by IP software, showed the following...
It would appear that at 16.47 and 16.48 GlaxoSmithKline in London were reading my findings. Good, they have a right to read anything I post publicly just as everyone else. What I find strange, however, is half an hour or so later the US Department of Justice (DOJ) are also reading the same post.
Now, one could be cynical here and suggest that Glaxo have close ties to the DOJ (See Eric Holder Returns as Hero to Law Firm That Lobbies for Big Banks) and someone emailed them or, as it has been suggested to me, Glaxo could have, after reading my investigation back in February, contacted the DOJ themselves to "offer their own findings" into what I uncovered.
Glaxo tend to approach the authorities when in-house secrets have been rumbled. It makes them look as if they never knew and also shows them in a good light in coming forward.
So, what exactly did I uncover?
In short, I learned that Glaxo's current legal counsel, who runs all things legal at their Nigerian headquarters, has recently been implicated in a fake promotional scam concerning two of Glaxo's products. That news was reported heavily in the Nigerian media.
Uchenna Uwechia, along with others from GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria, were due to be arraigned later this month. As yet, no such arraignment has taken place, at least it hasn't been reported on.
I wrote to Glaxo Nigeria and asked if they had any plans in suspending Uwechia pending their own investigation, they told me that the charges are unsustainable and that "we are taking appropriate legal steps to address the issue."
At the same time they also thanked me for bringing it to their attention which suggests to me, at least, that they either didn't know that the story had broke in the Nigerian media or they were merely pretending that this was the first they had heard about the fake lotto accusations?
This, for me at least, was just the tip of the iceberg.
I researched Uchenna Uwechia and learned that before joining Glaxo Nigeria in 2006, he was employed by the now defunct Gulf Bank of Nigeria.
During his time at Glaxo Nigeria, where he is still currently employed, he was fingered in an investigation into the Gulf Bank of Nigeria and he, along with other named parties, was arraigned on an amended 21-count charge bordering on fraud and financial malpractices during his tenure at the bank.
The arraignment took place in 2014 when it was alleged that Uwechia, during his employment at the bank (2001 – April 2006) was accused of aiding Prince Adekunle Adeyeba Johnson, the Director of the bank, in converting the landed property to personal use.
The outcome of the 2014 trial has mysteriously disappeared from the Internet.
To add further conspiracy-type theories into the mix, the Judge who was presiding over the 2014 trial, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, has recently been embroiled in his own controversy for allegedly accepting bribes from Rickey Tarfa, Principal Counsel and Head of Nigerian based law firm, Rickey Tarfa & Co.
It's unknown if Justice Mohammed Yunusa was ever bribed by lawyers representing Uchenna Uwechia back in 2014 but it does seem rather bizarre that the 2014 case against the Gulf Bank of Nigeria employees seems to have mysteriously disappeared.
Furthermore, I find yesterday's blog activity rather dubious too.
When I published my findings back in February, I also sent them to the DOJ who never responded, unlike the British Serious Fraud Office who wrote back to me, thanked me and told me that my findings had been passed on to the department currently investigating GlaxoSmithKline for crimes committed overseas.
It leaves me wondering if the DOJ will do the same.
I don't know about you but if I was a major shareholder in GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria PLC I'd be asking some serious questions about the safety of my investment.
To read my findings, click here.
I don't know about you but if I was a major shareholder in GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria PLC I'd be asking some serious questions about the safety of my investment.
To read my findings, click here.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
So, Andrew Witty has announced he will be leaving the sinking ship (GlaxoSmithKline) in 2017, this after being in charge of the criminally prosecuted company for 8 years and having spent a total of 31 years at GSK.
Sales and profits have flagged, lawsuits have been lost and, in many instances, settled. Bribery and corruption has been noted and plants have been shut down due to uncleanliness.
That's quite a legacy to leave behind considering Witty was knighted in 2012 for "for services to the economy and the UK pharmaceutical industry."
Services to the UK economy?
Wait a minute here...
Who was it now that were fined £37.6 million for paying money to generic drug companies to prevent the potential entry of generic alternatives to its own antidepressant, Seroxat? A move which potentially deprived the NHS from "significant price falls". (see Glaxo fined £37.6m for 'illegal behaviour' over Seroxat deals)
Not on my watch
Okay, the £37.6 million fine was imposed on Glaxo for their nefarious activities before Witty became top dog But who was it that, after being handed down the fine, denied any wrong doing? Um, GlaxoSmithKline (2016). Obviously any statement made by Glaxo relating to legal matters would have had to go through their CEO first.
It's ironic that GSK delayed others selling generic brands of Seroxat during this period - by paying those to delay their version GSK went on to pocket £90 million in 2001, that's just one year folks, it's unknown what Seroxat went on to make Glaxo from then til 2004.
Millions of UK patients were prescribed Seroxat during this period, many of whom became addicted, many of whom thought about suicide, many of whom who actually went on to complete suicide. And lets not forget those pregnant mothers who either gave birth to children with birth defects or those forced to abort their pregnancies due to birth defects caused by Seroxat.
Witty is aware of the problems Seroxat has caused UK consumers but he has declined to meet with patients to discuss this matter. (see GSK's Andrew Witty in Patient Aftercare Snub) In fact, during his 8 year spell as CEO for Glaxo, Witty has made no public apology for any of the crimes where they have been found guilty. Maybe he feels he doesn't need to as the majority of crimes stem from when his predecessor, JP Garnier, was in charge. Any crimes committed during Witty's 8 year reign are either "robustly denied" or kept 'in-house' before whistleblowers come along and blow the lid - we, the public, still get no apology from the company.
Witty apparently knew nothing about the fraud being committed in China and even when he did he made no apologies for the behaviour of senior executives (see Andrew Witty... I know narrrrrrrrthing).
Let's take a close look at Witty's remarks regarding the Chinese fraud. This from The Guardian:
Witty said GSK's head office in London had no knowledge of the alleged fraudulent activity until the Chinese police raided its offices in Shanghai earlier this month. "As far as headquarters, we had no sense of this issue."
This is despite GSK declaring last month that a four-month internal investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption in China found "no evidence of corruption or bribery in our China business".
Witty said the previous allegations raised by a whistleblower were "quite different" to the new charges. "They are two completely different sets of issues: we fully investigated the first and of course this has now surfaced in the last couple of weeks," he said.
In fact, GSK China seemed more concerned about finding the whistleblower rather than investigating the claims of the whistleblower. They hired ChinaWhys, a company run by husband and wife, Peter Humphrey and Yu Yingzeng. Humphrey and Yingzeng were later incarcerated in a Chinese prison for matters unrelated to the GSK investigation while the ring leader of the Glaxo fraud, Mark Reilly, was handed down a suspended sentence; ie no jail time.
So, take a look at Witty's statements again. It appears, to me at least, that even when crimes are committed under his captaincy Witty can still brush them off because he "didn't know about them."
Prior to Chinagate we had a record $3 billion dollar fine handed down to GSK from the Department of Justice who had been investigating Glaxo's sales and promotional practices between January 1997 and 2004 related to nine products (Advair, Flovent, Imitrex, Lamictal, Lotronex, Paxil, Valtrex, Wellbutrin, and Zofran).
Again, this was before Witty took charge, again Witty made no form of apologies to those harmed by the above GSK products. In fact the statement issued by GSK in July 2012 sees them try to cover themselves in garlands with statements such as, "We cooperated with the Department of Justice in these investigations." and also, "The company reached this settlement with the government to avoid the delay, expense, inconvenience and uncertainty of protracted litigation of the government’s claims and to put behind us these long-standing investigations of what was, for the most part, very old conduct."
The Department of Justice, however, were more clear with their statements. As you can see (above) Glaxo claim to have reached this settlement with the government to avoid the delay, expense, inconvenience and uncertainty of protracted litigation.
Here's the other side of the coin.
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Global health care giant GlaxoSmithKline LLC (GSK) agreed to plead guilty and to pay $3 billion to resolve its criminal and civil liability arising from the company’s unlawful promotion of certain prescription drugs, its failure to report certain safety data, and its civil liability for alleged false price reporting practices.
Nowhere in Glaxo's statement do we read that they agreed to plead guilty when in actual fact they...
- agreed to plead guilty to misbranding Paxil in that its labeling was false and misleading regarding the use of Paxil for patients under 18.
- agreed to plead guilty to misbranding Wellbutrin in that its labeling did not bear adequate directions for these off-label uses.
- agreed to plead guilty to failing to report data to the FDA and has agreed to pay a criminal fine in the amount of $242,612,800 for its unlawful conduct concerning Avandia.
- agreed to plead guilty for its Off-Label Promotion and Kickbacks
No apology was ever made despite Paxil causing suicidal thoughts and completion, despite Avandia being responsible for a number of deaths, one of which was due to go to trial but, on the eve of the trial Glaxo made a settlement citing, "the company settled to avoid the risks and costs of litigation."
Stuck record anyone?
A further 13,000 cases of wrongful death by Avandia were "resolved" by GSK.
You know if GSK wanted to avoid the risks and costs of litigation then why aren't they doing the same with the UK Seroxat (Paxil) litigation, a case that is approaching 10 years since it was first filed. They may argue that they have no case to answer but they settled the same claims with over 3,500 claimants in America, once again it was resolved to "avoid the risks and costs of litigation."
Perhaps I'm being unfair to Witty. He was basically given the task of polishing a turd when he took over from Garnier in 2008 - in fact no matter how hard he tried to clean up the mess left by Garnier he was, it appears, making his own mess - it's been akin to filling up a bucket with excrement, that bucket having a hole in it.
Thanks for the laughs along the way, the company statements, the denial, the settlements. Thanks for showing us all how to ignore the public is the way that GSK operate.
Thanks too for giving me almost 10 years of fodder for this old blog of mine, for trying to sue me because I made a couple of points about one of your spokespersons (or was your reason for suing me because I am part of the UK litigation?)
Thanks must also be mentioned for the way in which Witty's company has brought me close to many of the victims (those who have lost loved ones due to Paxil induced suicide and Paxil induced birth defects, not to mention the hundreds of people I have met and corresponded with regarding Seroxat addiction.
A super-dooper fat pay cheque will no doubt be coming his way. Amazing isn't it. Take over a company left in the doggie doo by a Frenchman who resembles Monty Burns from the Simpsons ~ continue running the company in the same manner; ie commit various crimes yet deny any wrong-doing. Retire at the end of it all and live a life of luxury bereft of any remorse for causing so much heartache for the victims his company has left behind to pick up the pieces after losing loved ones to company drugs.
Question on everyone's lips now is, 'Who gets to polish the turd once Witty leaves'?
Let's hope, whoever it is, has the decency to meet patients face-to-face opposed to hiding behind fat cat attorneys. Let's hope too that any successor to Witty will have the gumption to apologise to victims of GSK's pharmaceutical products, regardless of whether or not the deaths occurred on someone else's watch.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
**Update April 7
The movie is now available to watch - see trailer at the foot of this review.
I was fortunate enough to be sent an advanced copy of Kevin P. Miller's groundbreaking new movie, Letters from Generation Rx, earlier this week. I pretty much knew that it would sadden me. I pretty much knew that it would, at the same time, make me angry. I wasn't wrong.
Award Winning Film-Maker, Kevin P. Miller
Kevin P. Miller has created something quite beautiful with his latest offering, beautiful yet tragic.
From the opening reel we are shown a woman driving her car with her children in the back passenger seats - the scenery is stunning, the whole cinematic event being a reconstruction, one in which the stunning scenery pales into insignificance when we realise that this is no opening scene about the beautiful countryside or, indeed, about a mother taking her children out for a ride to educate them about their surroundings.
From here we are taken on a journey, the driver, Kevin P. Miller, is an award-winning film-maker and he takes us carefully through a minefield of information and disinformation courtesy of global medicine regulators and pharmaceutical companies. The narration is provided throughout by Oscar winner Tilda Swinton. We, through Miller's careful navigation, are driven through the stench of the lies and deceit, along the way we meet the victims of those lies and deceit. We stop, look and listen to their stories, all sounding familiar, all with one common denominator. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
I've met a good number of the victims in this movie, I wish I hadn't. Our paths crossed because they had lost someone loved to SSRI induced suicide. I have spoken with many more of the subjects featured in Miller's two hour long documentary - hearing their stories again doesn't make it any easier for me to hold back the tears, the anger.
This is a movie that those of us who choose not to read about children, teens and adults killing themselves will, no doubt, turn a blind eye to. "I know it goes on but it's too upsetting to read", are just some of the comments I have heard about the articles that I write. Sorry folks but that just isn't good enough.
Every one of us has a duty to protect the most vulnerable, just ask the parents, partners, featured in Letters from Generation Rx why they advocate for better regulations of prescription medications. Everyone of them have, since the death of their loved ones, made remarkable strides in creating an awareness about the dangers of drugs such as Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, to name but a few.
Letters from Generation Rx shows us the human side of devastation, it also shows us the inhumane side of the pharmaceutical industry and global medicine regulators. It's jaw-dropping when we are shown by Miller how many of the regulators have vested interests at heart opposed to what they were put into place for - protecting public health.
The relationship between global medicine regulators and the pharmaceutical industry is incestuous and one that is based purely on profit margins.
Miller's movie will have you reaching for the pause button so you can compose yourself after each story is driven home, it did me anyhow.
I doubt if the findings in Letters from Generation Rx will bother the likes of pharmaceutical CEO's or any of the limp-wristed medicine regulatory authorities around the world. They have become too corrupt, too greedy - their hearts have been blackened as they all sit in their ivory towers counting the dollars whilst dismissing the death and destruction that paved way for those dollars.
The movie is harrowing, to say the least. One story is bad enough to endure but to assemble a bunch of stories and to craft them into a two-hour documentary is something that Kevin P. Miller should be applauded for.
To add further incestuous ties to pharma and the medicine regulators the movie shows how Health Canada saw fit to go after one of the victims featured... all because he came up with a healthy nutritional supplementation program after his wife died and two of his ten children later struggled to cope with the loss of their mother. TrueHope, became the target of Health Canada who tried to stop them selling and distributing EMPowerplus to the thousands of participants in the Truehope program in Canada. You'll have to watch the movie to find out the outcome.
Kevin P. Miller has, through his craftsmanship, created something that we should all be queuing to buy and then, once we've all watched and condensed it, we should all be busting a gut to make sure that we don't take this pharmafia abuse lying down anymore.
Letters from Generation Rx is essential viewing and is set for general release in the coming weeks.
Here's a teaser...
Official Website for Letters from Generation Rx (Currently being updated)
Letters from Generation Rx Official Facebook Page
Recent Interview with Kevin P. Miller
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Monday, March 14, 2016
What do Glaxo do about it?
What about the British drug regulator, the MHRA?
So, it's left to support groups created, in the main, by former sufferers of Seroxat withdrawal. One such support group is Paxil Paroxetine, Seroxat..The truth in getting off safely, a Facebook group where over 1,000 sufferers of Seroxat withdrawal write about their daily plight, a plight which both GlaxoSmithKline and the MHRA ignore. How caring they both are!
The group was created by two former Seroxat users, one of whom is still on Seroxat, he is still, after 14 years, trying to withdraw. The other, a former nurse, slow tapered for 56 months (almost 5 years) to get off just 20 mg of Glaxo's powerful antidepressant.
GlaxoSmithKline will have no doubt seen the comments, they will have, no doubt, cringed at some of the tales on there but, as is the norm, they will have also ignored them and classed them merely as "anecdotal evidence". Same can be said for the MHRA.
In the meantime, it's patients helping patients because the manufacturer and those responsible for regulating the product that comes from the manufacturer are too busy burying their heads in the sand over the whole Seroxat addiction issue. Hardly surprising, given that the current CEO of the British drug regulator is the former World Safety Officer for GSK. I mean, if they acknowledge a problem now then questions will be asked why they missed the problem years ago, right?
Here's a selection of reader comments from the Facebook support group, each one being accompanied by support and advice. Something neither GlaxoSmithKline nor the MHRA offer.
Coming off of this drug is absolutely horrendous. Any change in dosage and it's like I fall into the fiery depths of withdrawal. I have a husband who is trying his best to be supportive, and 4 beautiful boys that can't understand why mommy is so sick, and so angry. I'm trying my best to get through this, and praying God doesn't make me suffer long. This is absolutely miserable.
After dropping too much too fast in December/January --9mg down to 7mg then down to 5 mg , and withdrawal hitting hard last week-I up-dosed to my last stable dose last Friday (went back to 9 mg). By later Saturday and Sunday I was feeling quite better. Then Monday came and I was terrible again and still am. Nausea, vomiting, racing inside, ruminating thoughts, can't regulate body temp, flushing with any bit of stress, extreme crying spells, agitation, etc.
I was on Seroxat for 12 years, I did some awful things to myself whilst I was on it, I came off it only because I was pregnant with my son and it would have caused serious harm to him, which I found out 3 months into my pregnancy. The withdrawal was awful I had to go onto liquid form it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I've been taking Seroxat for 17/18 years. I have been trying for years to come off it, by using the suspension liquid form. Reducing it by 1 ml has given me the shakes in the past. I managed to get down to just 1.5mls using a syringe.
I have dropped my dose from 40 mg to 20 mg. Been a little over a week now. Been on it for 14 months now. Gained 40 lbs. never interested in anything anymore. So far since I dropped my dose, I get God-awful brain zaps and I'm very irritable. The insomnia is driving me and my family nuts.
Been 2 months on 10mg after tapering down. Waking up with a bad headache, not sure if from disturbed sleep because of the disturbing dreams.
As of last Wednesday I have finally tapered myself off Seroxat after 15 years. Feeling really awful. Contrast dizziness and headaches. Feeling faint all the time. Struggling to focus at work too. Feels like I am sea-sick, drunk and hungover all at the same time.
There are many more.
GlaxoSmithKline will be defending allegations later this year in the UK that Seroxat causes serious adverse events in a number of people who take it - they claim that there is "no merit in the claims".
They had previously, via lawyers, tried to get the litigation stopped but were denied by the presiding Judge (Back story)
Contrast the above withdrawal comments with those from 2007 that appeared via an online protest petition, here, here and here and one could suggest that there are no merits in GlaxoSmithKline's defence. Let's hope, when those previously unseen documents are aired in court, that someone might see fit to open clinics for those still suffering at the hands of Glaxo's infamous antidepressant, let's hope too that Glaxo will have to foot the bill.
Groups such as "Paxil Paroxetine, Seroxat..The truth in getting off safely" should be applauded, they are doing the work (unpaid) that both Glaxo (paid) and the MHRA (paid) should be doing.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
It's not uncommon to think that only in America lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies are filed, settled and/or won. For many years I was under the impression that it was nigh on impossible to get GlaxoSmithKline into court in the UK. Stumbling blocks, legal wrangles and funding just being some of the hurdles those of us involved in the UK group action against GSK have had to endure over the past ten years or so. Thankfully, against GSK's wishes, the group has now been granted access to trial by the presiding Judge (Back Story)
So, what about other countries? We rarely hear of pharmaceutical companies getting hauled in front of Judges outside of America (and now the UK)
Canada, for example, sits on the border of America yet, to my knowledge, no class action lawsuit has ever been brought against any pharmaceutical company where antidepressants are concerned. Maybe I'm wrong or maybe the Canadian media just don't want to report on any such action?
Step forward Australia. A country I hold dear to my heart.
Drayton Sher, a Sydney based law firm, are now working on a group action on behalf of people who, as children and adolescents, were prescribed the antidepressant drug paroxetine, known as Aropax in Australia.
It's a brave move and they should be applauded.
Aropax, which is known as Seroxat in Europe and Paxil in the US and Canada, has been the subject of many lawsuits ranging from it inducing suicide, homicide, birth defects and severe withdrawal reactions for a large number of people who have taken it.
The proposed class-action lawsuit comes on the back of recent findings that Glaxo played down the risk of Aropax use in children.
Last September a damning reanalysis of GlaxoSmithKline's infamous Study 329 went public. (Back story)
The original 329 study showed that...
"Paroxetine is generally well tolerated and effective for major depression in adolescents."However, after reanalyzing the study, it was found that the claims and subsequent support of the claims were misleading and, in actual fact, false.
Glaxo have remained tight-lipped regarding 329 for many years, on the odd occasion (slip-up) they have drawn attention to the abhorrent scale of those who could have been at risk but, as usual, those risks have either been spun or played down.
In 2003, GSK's then Head of Psychiatry, Alastair Benbow (pictured above) went on national television and claimed that, "less than a small class size would have these suicidal thoughts."
For those of you interested in Benbow's actual class size please feel to read Alastair Benbow: The Devil is in the Details - it makes interesting reading.
Drayton Sher can be contacted here.
A Facebook page has also been created where you can learn more about other lawsuits in the pipeline - here.
Monday, March 07, 2016
"You had your chance and you blew it." ~ Robert De Niro
I don't suppose for one minute that the likes of Andrew Witty (GlaxoSmithKline) would ever take advice from a 51 year-old blogger from Birmingham - to be honest I don't care if he takes it - I'm offering this for free, it's not just for Witty, it's for other pharmaceutical company CEO's who, for whatever reason, think that problems raised can easily be swept under the carpet.
I've been writing this blog for almost ten years now, the research that goes into many of the blog posts I write can be, at times, very time consuming, none more so when it comes to GlaxoSmithKline who, for one reason or another, always seem to be grabbing the headlines in the international press. If they aren't paying out settlements for fraud, they are being accused of fraud - it's a never-ending trail of cancerous cells that just can't be obliterated.
The latest in Glaxo's long history of popping in and out of court rooms is the alleged claim that Seroxat causes severe withdrawal problems - surely not?
One only has to enter the search terms 'Seroxat + withdrawal+addiction' into Google to find out how Glaxo, who monitor what is said about their products, actually do nothing when faced with a barrage of criticism from patients (nae consumers) - ie; they don't address a problem when it arises, they ignore it because they know to engage with patients can be detrimental to the business, ergo can damage sales.
That's where they are going wrong.
Glaxo have had ten years to sort out the problem British patients have been facing with their (once) best-selling antidepressant Seroxat - truth is, they have done nothing about the reported adverse reactions or rather they, just like the British drug regulator, the MHRA, shrugged their shoulders at them. What's a couple of hundred people suffering on a product compared to those who say nothing, anyway?
There's the old 'ignore them and they will go away' factor that comes into play here too. The MHRA and GlaxoSmithKline take this approach, again, this is where they go wrong.
Do you think I would have dedicated almost ten years of my life to researching and writing about pharmaceutical companies and medicine regulators if they had opened their doors to me and shown me how I was wrong and they were right? Of course to do so would mean they would have to summon the evidence that I was wrong - they haven't and they can't.
This isn't me being obstinate or, as the MHRA like to call me, vexatious. This is plain and simple - they refuse to engage with me and people like me because we are question-askers, we ask the right questions and we are not guided by lawyers or editors who tell us that we can't ask this or that.
It's about transparency and I've yet to see any transparency from GlaxoSmithKline or from any other pharmaceutical company come to that.
Now, all that is about to change. News early last month that the UK Seroxat litigation can proceed to trial must have come as a blow to GlaxoSmithKline because those very same questions that they have been avoiding will be asked in an open court, complete with a public gallery. Glaxo, via their lawyers, had previously asked the Judge to halt the trial, citing various reasons. The Honorable Mr Justice Foskett denied them this (Full 31 page ruling here)
Documents will be, for the first time, aired to the British public. All and sundry (including health care professionals) will be able to read about the severity of Seroxat withdrawal. Those same people will learn that, for years, Glaxo denied this even though they knew about it. (See Seroxat - Project 1059 Laden With Withdrawal Problems)
It's vindication for those who have suffered severe withdrawal effects of Seroxat, worse still for those that still are. How many of these people have had to try and tell their husbands or wives that they just don't know why they are suffering these crazy symptoms? How many of those that have suffered have endured the opinions of their health care professionals telling them, "It's the illness and not the drug"? How many have had to explain to their children why they are suffering electric zap sensations and that their brains feel like they are frying? Perhaps those who have suffered have had to explain to their kids why 'mommy and daddy' can no longer live together or why they can't have the Christmas presents they asked for because the crazy withdrawal from the medicine keeps them in bed or doubled up in the fetal position for hours on end, "That's the reason why I lost my job, son." Maybe they've had to apologise to their children for losing their temper on them (aggression being yet another side-effect of withdrawing from Seroxat) - If only Glaxo would have been truthful, huh?
GlaxoSmithKline, as I said, have had almost ten years to hold up their hands and admit that they got it wrong - they chose not too because they thought the problem would go away. Back in 2011 Witty was approached and asked if he would meet the Seroxat Users Group to discuss the very same thing they now find themselves defending in court - the Seroxat withdrawal issue - he declined (See GSK's Andrew Witty in Patient Aftercare Snub)
Truth is, bloggers tend to get the bit between their teeth because they sense a great injustice has been done - then, as they plod along, year after year, they find that this is not just an individual problem, there are more people out there suffering, not just the horrific withdrawals either - suicide, self-harming, birth defects are just three of the many reported adverse events associated with Seroxat.
In the early 2000's Glaxo settled out of court with over 3,500 American consumers who claimed Seroxat had caused serious withdrawal problems. They did so with confidentiality agreements, also known as "gagging orders". Pharmaceutical companies do this to suppress the truth, it's also what litigation is all about - it keeps those documents (previously unseen) away from the public, press and healthcare professionals.
It very much looks like those documents may just see the light of day in the UK as 105 consumers of Seroxat head to court later this year. I, for one, can't wait to finally see that I have been correct all along and that Glaxo have not only being keeping the secrets of Seroxat away from me but from others too, including my doctor and your doctor.
I'm echoing here what a fellow blogger has wrote over at Seroxat Secrets. He pretty much hits the nail on the head with, "...And all those once-secret documents and the information they hold will be available the world over for future claimants to use. I think a whole new raft of claims will be kick-started in the USA alone. I wonder what GSK’s share price will look like after all this? And how institutional investors will view a company that breaks the law and lies & cheats its way to profit?"
Of course it could go either way, not, as I suspect, on evidence provided though. Glaxo's representative lawyers, Addleshaw Goddard LLP, will have already tactically planned how they wish to defend these allegations be it by dragging out the case for as long as they can in the hope that the claimants will have their funding dry up. Sadly, for Addleshaw Goddard that is, this isn't an option. Funding is in place and, according to The Honorable Mr Justice Foskett, assurances have been given that the claimants have more funding should the need arise. A tactic of big corporations is to drag out cases for as long as possible, it's a great tactic because it means eventually the small man will have to back down. All the time the fat-cat lawyers are getting paid by those they represent, a win-win situation. It appears the latest judgment by The Honorable Mr Justice Foskett will not allow this to happen. Round One, it appears, to the claimants.
Then, of course, Addleshaw would have been going through precedents to see if they can get the case thrown out because a ruling made by Judge X in the year XXXX. That's their job, to defend the indefensible...by any means.
Glaxo defence lawyers may or may not throw a curve-ball, they may plead with the Judge that the documents presented in court are sensitive therefore should not be made public - it appears as though it's a gamble they are prepared to take which means correspondence between themselves and the MHRA will be "outed" as they say. If they are going to go down then why not drag the limp-wristed medicines regulator with them, huh?
It's been almost 10 years in the making.
Eat your heart out John Grisham.
Bring it on.
Claimants are represented by Jacqueline A. Perry QC, Niazi Fetto and Timothy Killen (instructed by Fortitude Law)
Defendants are represented by Malcolm Sheehan QC and Andrew Kinnier (instructed by Addleshaw Goddard LLP)
Saturday, March 05, 2016
Judgment has been received from the Honourable Mr. Justice Foskett to proceed with the Seroxat Withdrawal Group Litigation. Any of the group Claimants who have not received forms from Fortitude Law in the past 2 weeks should contact Fortitude Law via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on 0203 667 3775 without delay.