Today see's the birthday of Shane Clancy, a victim of a pharmaceutical drug, a loss felt by many of his close family and friends, a reason why the industry, including its doctor's and psychiatrists should take a good look at themselves and their professions, in particular the drugs they prescribe and the reasons why they prescribe them.
Shane would have been 25 today, Lundbeck's Cipramil [Celexa] put a premature end to his young life. His mother, Leonie, has a poignant post on her blog today.
Leonie and Tony, Shane's parents, have become good friends since we met with one another last year. A planned visit to Ireland is on the cards where the three of us will celebrate their son's life rather than the loss of it.
Earlier this month I met up with yet another parent, Maria Bradshaw, who tragically lost her son, this time to Prozac. Toran Henry was full of life, that life slowly started to disappear when he was prescribed Prozac, ultimately Toran ended up hanging himself with a garden hose in the family garage.
Maria and I spent a lot of time together a few weeks ago, I got to see what makes her tick, I learned a lot and, once again, felt the pain as much as any parent can who has never lost a child to suicide.
Meeting with Maria again came at a time when a new study about Prozac had surfaced and was doing the rounds on the Internet. The study claims that Prozac does not cause suicidal thinking in children and adolescents. It's lead author was everybody's pharma favorite Robert Gibbons, whose curriculum vitae shows an impressive list of ties to the pharmaceutical industry. He's an apparent 'expert statistician' and often gives evidence as an 'expert' for pharmaceutical companies involved in litigation.
I've wrote about Gibbons before, his stance on drugging children and blaming the FDA for slamming black box warnings on SSRi's is, like his recent published study, misguided.
Gibbons, never to miss an opportunity of a decent pay day, is also an 'expert' witness in the current UK Seroxat litigation where for Seroxat users have claimed it caused them severe withdrawal problems. Glaxo, as always are denying this, despite settling over 3,000 withdrawal cases in the US.
Bob Whitaker has a great post about Gibbons recent study on his website, Mad In America. Bob shows just how deeply flawed the study is. On the death of Toran Henry, he writes:
"...imagine if the suicide data from the TADS study had been properly published. Seventeen of the 18 suicide attempts in the study had been in youth on Prozac. Wouldnt that have served as a warning signal to psychiatrists in New Zealand? Wouldnt it have served as a warning signal to Maria Bradshaw? Wouldnt it have served as a warning signal to her son, when he became agitated and aggressive?
"And so we can ask: Would Toran be alive today if not for this scandal?"
One has to ask how Gibbons gets away with such a inaccurate study, after all he is supposed to be an expert statistician. Or is it just a case of a Goebbelism - "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."
Hearing of the study, Maria Bradshaw sent this to the following recipients:
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: TAD Study
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2012 02:19:50 +1300
On 5 March 2008, my 17 year old son Toran was prescribed fluoxetine. When I expressed concerns about the risks of suicidality associated with Fluoxetine he referred to the TAD study advising that this study showed the safest treatment for adolescent depression combined Fluoxetine and CBT. He did not advise, nor could he have known, that 82% of suicidal events in the TAD Study occured in subjects on active treatment, because the TADs team hid this data and falsely reported the rate of attempted suicide attempts in the placebo group. You will be aware that an analysis of the failure to accurately report the excess suicidality in the group on active treatment with Fluoxetine has recently been conducted by Robert Whitaker.
Fifteen days after my son commenced Fluoxetine he hanged himself. He had no diagnosis of any mental disorder.
I believe the failure of the TADs team to accurately report the rate of suicidal events which occurred during the study, made a significant contribution to the violent suicide of my only child.
I am writing to request you provide to me, and to other parents whose children have completed suicide on Fluoxetine, an explanation for the inaccurate reporting of suicidality in the TAD Study.
I look forward to your timely response.
I'll be in a state of shock if Maria gets a response, the fact that she has lost her only child will matter not a jot to the recipients of her email. Failing any lack of response or bog-standard reply Maria has assured me that she will be telephoning each of them individually.
Medicine regulators around the world continue to bury their heads in the sand about the suicide threat in children taking these family of drugs. To send out warnings "not recommending the use in children and adolescents" is merely !**@!-footing around a humungous problem in the hope that people like Maria Bradshaw and Leonie Fennell will be satisfied that they are doing their best to warn of the dangers. People like these are the real regulators.
And what do those professional regulators think of Gibbons and his flawed findings? Well, as usual they are keeping schtum. The death of a child isn't their problem you see, they buck-passed that onto the prescribers of these pills without a care in the world for the devastating consequences and heartache that parents are left with as a result of SSRi induced suicide.
I'm by no means an expert on Robert Gibbons, I've only ever briefly wrote about him on this blog once or twice. There are far more experts on Gibbons than I, a good place to start would be to read Evie Pringle's Suicide Prevention Drug Pushing Racket Part II.
I'll be meeting up with Maria again soon in Canada where a branch of Casper will be opening pretty soon. For those that don't know, Casper was co-founded by by Maria and part of its mission statement is, "The group believes that the knowledge and experience of families bereaved by suicide is as valid and important in understanding and preventing suicide as clinical trial data and epidemiological studies."
Bob Whitaker was right to ask if Toran Henry would still be alive today if it were not for this dubious study, the same can be asked if Shane Clancy would still be alive today had he had not taken the SSRi Cipramil [Celexa in US] or Sara Carlin and Sharise Gatchell had they not taken Seroxat [Paxil in US]
Four teenagers, who have left a heart-aching void in those they have left behind. But hey, what does Gibbons et al care?
Happy Birthday Shane, I hope you are at peace with Toran, Sara and Sharise.
JUST A COINCIDENCE, EH GIBBONS?
ORDER THE PAPERBACK 'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman US and CANADA HERE OR UK HERE
AUSTRALIAN ORDERS HERE