It’s one of the biggest big pharma scandals to date. Researchers recently found that a major drug company deliberately falsified data about its blockbuster antidepressant. According to a recent investigation, the drug worked no better than placebo and caused “significant harm.” Worst of all, the patients were young adolescents.
I’ll tell you all about that disturbing new analysis in a moment. But first, let’s back up…
Fifteen years ago, as a consulting forensic pathologist, I began to observe the connection between antidepressant drugs and suicide. Of course, antidepressants are supposed to prevent suicide, the only outcome from which a depressed patient can NEVER recover. I wrote about these connections in my book with Mike Jawer, Your Emotional Type.
A few years ago, I also began to notice that nearly all mass shooters took antidepressants, and/or other psychiatric drugs, at the times they used guns to commit mass murders. So we should add homicide to the list of risks associated with these drugs. (I’ll tell you more about this connection in tomorrow’s Daily Dispatch.) Then, about two years ago, scientists in Germany reported these drugs disturb mental function and cause neurochemical imbalances.
And the story just continues to get worse…
Big pharma falsifies data about Paxil’s effect on children
It turns out these drugs did not accidently grow in popularity among the unsuspecting public. Rather, big pharma apparently concocted a deliberate campaign to falsify data and commit fraud to get these drugs foisted on the public, even on innocent children.
To be more specific, Smith Kline Beecham (now Glaxo Smith Kline) falsified data in clinical trials for their SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drug called Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat). Then in 2001, they began marketing Paroxetine to young people under the age of 18 years, following publication of a study conducted by the company itself that claimed children and adolescents “well tolerated” the drug.
I can tell you many adults didn’t do well with the drug, as I started consulting on cases of suicide caused by these drugs by 2002. So clearly, this study on children should have raised some flags at the FDA.
Paxil causes “significant” harms in children
Well, it took some years, but independent researchers eventually reexamined the data from this infamous 2001 trial. And they published their findings in 2015 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), one of the leading medical publications in the world.
The new analysis concluded Paxil worked no better than placebo, as I often report. So no surprise there.
But the drug also caused “clinically significant increases in harms, including suicidal ideation and behavior and other serious adverse events” in the group of children taking Paxil. Specifically, it caused suicidal thoughts in 12 of 93 children. And that comes out to an unlucky 13 percent of depressed children.
The new BMJ analysis clearly shows that Smith Kline Beecham ignored data about the increased risk of suicide seen in their original study. Amazingly, a paid “science writer” prepared the original big pharma report. Not the actual scientists.
It turns out one of the “real” scientists involved in the study was just too busy. He was being investigated by U.S. authorities for his inappropriate ties to big pharma at the time.
But the horse was already out of the barn.
And this wasn’t the only scandalous practice. Smith Kline Beecham also spent a lot of money paying doctors to attend promotional events for Paxil in the guise of “continuing education.” And they bribed the doctors with spa sessions and hunting trips.
The hunting trips are particularly ironic, since the mainstream crony capitalist government-industrial-medical complex likes to blame violence on “guns” while the science shows these drugs are responsible for the growing epidemic of violence, suicides, and homicides.
The editor of the BMJ wrote that big pharma often overstates the benefits and understates the risks of its drugs. Indeed, that is the real public health and safety epidemic today.
Furthermore, in my view, it is completely unethical to pay self-styled “science writers” to fabricate reports for publication in medical journals. It is the ethical, moral, and scientific responsibility of the so-called medical research experts to write these reports.
But the crime doesn’t just lie at big pharma’s feet.
The entire mainstream government-industrial-medical complex shares the blame
Medical schools typically don’t require their students learn how to string two coherent sentences together. And besides, the typical idiot savant who pursues a highly technological sub-specialty isn’t always known as a brilliant conversationalist. Still, researchers should be able to write-up their own “research.”
So, it doesn’t surprise me to read a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. They reviewed 185 published reports and found that big pharma employees wrote one-third of them.
Plus, the reports written by big pharma mouthpieces were more than 20 times less likely to include negative findings about a drug, compared to reports prepared by independent researchers not directly paid by big pharma.
Plus, 80 percent of all the other studies still had some sort of affiliation with big pharma, either through direct funding or the mandatory disclosure of conflicts of interests, due to author ties, such as research funding, speaking fees, and other benefits from the drug industry.
When we look specifically at clinical trials of psychiatric drugs, the numbers are even worse. Seventy eight percent of industry-sponsored studies showed positive results compared to only 48 percent among independently funded research. In this polluted and corrupted environment, the chance of a drug really working is less than 50:50.
The whole system is rigged. And although I do my best to warn you, most patients don’t know any better.
Tragically, the psychiatrists who allowed themselves to be bribed by big pharma play a role in poisoning millions of our population, including children. They now have blood on their hands.
Antidepressant drugs kill tens of thousands of people each and every year. Yet licensed, practicing physicians still knowingly prescribe these drugs, knowing there are effective non-drug therapies. Shame on them…
“Restoring Study 329: efficacy and harms of paroxetine and imipramine in treatment of major depression in adolescence,” BMJ (www.bmj.com ) 9/16/2016