Just when you thought it was safe to go back to school...
I thought I'd seen every trick in the book to get kids hooked on medication. From pharmaceutical reps professing to doctors that "of course these drugs are safe for kids to take" or wining and dining a particular dr to get him/her to prescribe more drugs to kids (even though the particular drug was not recommended for child use.
So, with those avenues pretty much exhausted after large fines laid down by the Department of Justice, the pharmaceutical companies had to come up with a way of getting their products into the mouths of teenagers.
Step forward InstyMeds, a vending machine that dispenses prescription medications directly to patients at the point-of-care.
And where is this apparent 'point of care'?
Arizona State University's Health Services Building, a homestead full of teenagers.
Here's what Allan Markus, director of ASU Health Services had to say, "Serving the health-care needs of our students is still our highest priority; we believe the measures we have taken will help our students with their prescription needs,"
InstyMeds is missing a couple of important letters me thinks. Perhaps InsanityMeds would be more appropriate.
Forget those pack-lunches with an orange drink full of vitamin C - go for the psychiatric medication instead.
I suspect the science lab will be getting huge gas bills with those bunsen burners working overtime - Breaking Bad anyone?
Yet another classic example of the Pharmafia at work folks!
I’m cold, I’m lonely,
I’m scared of shell fire.
Digging a trench
KABOOM! Goes the choir.
Closer and closer
To the fallout dust.
To gain a few inches
In a war that’s unjust.
There’s a whistle overhead…
Bob Fiddaman (2001)
Actor and comedian Robin Williams died by suicide according to a coroners findings.
An autopsy report revealed no alcohol or illegal drugs.
What the autopsy did reveal however is that Williams had concentrations of antidepressants in his system. The media are reporting that "therapeutic concentrations" of prescription medications were found, including two antidepressants.
I had to do a double take. Coroners often use this terminology.
Let's look at the word 'therapeutic'
- producing good effects on your body or mind (Merriam-Webster Dictionary
- a drug that is used to relieve or prevent depression in a person (Merriam-Webster Dictionary
And now Williams is dead.
Anyone else see the hypocrisy here?
If antidepressants are prescribed to relieve or prevent depression and they are, as we are told, effective, then why would someone taking them wish to end their own life?
If antidepressants are supposed to produce good effects on your body or mind then, same question, why would someone taking them wish to end their own life?
Now, the flipside.
For years many people from all walks of life have suggested that antidepressants induce suicide, even the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and market these drugs have conceded to this fact.
Why then did the coroner return a verdict of suicide for Robin Williams?
Could Williams have killed himself for other reasons than depression?
Why didn't the coroner delve deeper into the antidepressant suicide link?
Why did he not return a verdict that Williams death was induced, or could have been induced by the antidepressants he was taking?
Suicide, maybe so but maybe there was a third party involved here?
The mainstream media are, in the main, running with the headlines that Williams killed himself and no drugs were found in his system. As yet I have not seen one headline in any of the mainstream outlets that have used the headline 'Antidepressants found in Robin Williams system'.
Once again, it's left to bloggers who, no doubt will be labelled 'conspiracy theorists' by prescribing psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies alike.
RIP Robin. You entertained millions, your voice was heard globally. Sadly, your voice has been suppressed in your death by a coroner who had a duty to give you a voice.
Back in 2013 I wrote
about the FDA's approval of an apparent 'new' drug to treat hot flashes during menopause.
The perfectly pink packaged Brisdelle is now being shown on US TV screens, a marketing strategy aimed, of course, at women.
The 60 second ad avoids telling the viewer that what is actually being advertised is a chemical compound called paroxetine, better known to millions of US citizens as Paxil, an antidepressant with a less than savoury history.
Brisdelle is 7.5mg of Paxil with a new brand name, by adding Paxil to the combination the patient will actually be overdosing.
Another antidepressant, Wellbutrin, is also marketed for different uses, once again under a different brand name - Zyban. For those that don't know Zyban is a smoking cessation drug cum antidepressant - exactly the same as Brisdelle is a drug to treat hot flashes cum antidepressant.
Quite why the FDA granted a licence to Brisdelle knowing what they know about Paxil astonishes me.
Let's watch the 60 second ad... pay attention to what the voice-over says, it follows the words, "Call your doctor if"
. Then listen to the same voice-over list the three apparent 'played down' side effects..
Tell your doctor if you are allergic to paroxetine?
Quite a spin - it probably means tell your doctor if you have taken paroxetine before and suffered its multitude of side effects, which include; suicidal ideation, completed suicide, birth defects and addiction to name but a few.
Last month Dr Evan Levine wrote a brilliant piece
regarding Brisdelle. Levine wrote the column for the Ridgefield Press and made some astute comments.
For me, it’s yet another example of Big Pharma exploiting an unwary public with the phrase “Approved by the Food and Drug Administration.” Brisdelle is the trade name of a drug that has been available for years as a cheap generic, paroxetine, also known as Paxil, now rebranded and sold in a dose that is both convenient for the manufacturer and equally inconvenient for the consumer.
At 12 weeks into treatment, those patients who took this antidepressant (Brisdelle) had, on average, 5.9 fewer hot flashes and those patients who took the placebo had 5.0 fewer hot flashes; again statistically fewer hot flashes for those who took the Brisdelle, but not even less than one fewer hot flashes a day when compared to the nothing-pill. A quick review of the data and you’ll notice that the subjects taking the placebo for three months actually had fewer hot flashes than the patients who took it for a month!
Levine continues with...
And now the most disturbing part. The FDA’s independent advisory committee voted 10-4 not to approve Brisdelle, in March of 2013, on the grounds that it did not provide sufficient benefits. Yet the FDA went ahead and approved it anyway! The FDA rarely approves a drug that has more negative than affirmative votes.
Great observation from Levine.
We can't point the finger at GlaxoSmithKline for this one folks. It's Noven Therapeutics
who market Brisdelle.
My advice to women suffering from hot flashes is simple. Stay away from Brisdelle, your reaction to it could cost you your life.
Further reading on the risks of paroxetine here
Yesterday [Monday 20 October] UK Parliament broadcast a committee meeting regarding Tamiflu, a prescription medicine used to treat the flu (influenza) in people 2 weeks of age and older.
In January this year, drawing attention to the lack of transparency over the results of clinical trials of the antiviral medicine, stockpiled for use in an influenza epidemic. The Commons Select Committee concluded that the failure of manufacturers to share the full results of clinical trials with doctors, researchers and clinicians, undermined their ability to make informed decisions about treatments and the use of medicines by the NHS.
Yesterdays meeting probed the lack of transparency further.
It's very interesting particularly as we can see Chief Executive of the MHRA, Ian Hudson, being grilled by Richard Bacon, MP. Hudson was asked just one question but seemed very reluctant to give any straight forward answers.
Basically, the UK government have claimed that it would not be feasible for the full methods and results of clinical trials to be made available to doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Ian Hudson was asked why he thought it was not feasible.
The exchange between Hudson and Richard Bacon, MP reminded me of David Brent, a fictional character played by Ricky Gervais in The Office.
Brent, when questioned about his management methods was always evasive - Hudson's response to Bacon's question is so very similar. Whereas Brent speaks of pies and charts, Hudson speaks of Freedom of Information requests and policies...without actually answering the question.
Hudson is being really evasive here, just as he was when giving evidence for GlaxoSmithKline in a video deposition back in 2000.  Hudson, was employed as GlaxoSmithKline's World Safety Officer before eventually landing his role of CEO of the agency that protects the public from unsafe prescription medication.
Time and time again he avoids the question put to him by Bacon, time and time again Bacon reiterates his question, leaving Hudson to waffle on in the style of David Brent. You can even see a man and a woman at the back of the room laugh at Hudson's avoidance to answer a simple question.
Kind of ironic that Hudson is being grilled by an MP whose surname is Bacon, doncha think? :-)
Here's the MHRA's Ian Hudson playing David Brent yesterday [Skip to 17.44.46] [LINK
Just like The Office there is no canned laughter.
Now compare with David Brent.
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