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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.
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.
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.
Literary Agents and/or Publishers can contact me via email.
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.
"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.
Related King & Spalding stories:
Ryan, Glaxo's Non-Viable Fetus - Part I
Ryan, Glaxo's Non-Viable Fetus - Part II - The Twists
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.
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.
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