New York, NY -- The New York Times yesterday announced that regulators from the British Committee on Safety of Medicines have issued a warning on the use of Paxil among children, drawing a clear correlation between GlaxoSmithKline's most popular drug and exacerbated levels of suicidal depression.
The news is an endorsement of charges made by Richard Degrandpre, author of the book RITALIN NATION and contributor to Disinformation's recent anthology, ABUSE YOUR ILLUSIONS (May 2003).
Degrandpre's essay, "The Lilly Suicides", delivers a damning collection of research, evidence, and case histories that inspire doubt of antidepressant manufacturers GSK, Pfizer, and Eli Lilly's claims of efficacy for drugs known collectively as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. In ABUSE YOUR ILLUSIONS, Degrandpre argues these drug manufacturers possessed studies showing SSRIs elicited little more beneficial effect than sugar pills and often supplant patients’ feelings of depression with waves of self-destructive anxiety and violent impulse.
Among Degrandpre's most critical assertions, collected from doctors’ psychiatric records, court histories, and internal memos at Eli Lilly and GSK:
* The rate of suicide for patients treated with Prozac is 5.6 times higher than that for patients treated with a non-SSRI medication, imipramine;
* The use of SSRIs is not proven to address brain chemistry imbalances suspected of leading to depression. Eli Lilly’s original market focus for the drug Prozac had been patients of high blood pressure;
* Among a range of withdrawal symptoms, as many as 85 percent of members of a healthy volunteer study of Paxil reported agitation, bizarre dreams, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction;
* In lawsuits filed against the drug company, Eli Lilly has secretly settled with plaintiffs, offering massive awards in exchange for opposing counsels’ silence on damaging evidence—circumventing process to secure favorable verdicts and maintain clean public appearances.
Beyond eliciting unwanted physical and withdrawal symptoms, Degrandpre argues that SSRI’s most dangerous side effects are the feelings of rage and violence suffered by its users, often resulting in the suicides of patients and murders of patients’ family. As reported in the Times, a Wyoming jury in 2001 awarded $6.4 million dollars to the family of a Paxil patient who had shot to death his wife, daughter, and granddaughter. In May 2001, an Australian Supreme Court judge acquitted a 74 year-old man who had strangled his wife and attempted suicide two days after starting Zoloft. "The Lilly Suicides" chronicles dozens of similar cases, many of whom experienced violent urges only days after starting the drug, many of whom felt these urges subside within days after quitting the drug.
The British regulators’ warning exposes only a piece of the danger and deception behind pharmaceutical companies’ empires. Degrandpre demonstrates how Eli Lilly, GSK, and Pfizer sold consumers a tenuous correlation between serotonin levels and depression, hid evidence of terrible side effects rather than modify their drugs or pull them from the market, and silenced detracting researchers with money and publicity campaigning. Degrandpre claims drug manufacturers ignored signs that their medicines may be making people more ill while users of Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft continued their regimens. To the depression sufferers who may be exacerbating their conditions to dangerous extents and children inspired to suicide by SSRI’s unwanted effects, GSK offers a misleading allure: "Millions suffer from chronic anxiety. Millions could be helped by Paxil."
Richard Degrandpre, a visiting professor at St. Michael's College in Vermont, is the author of RITALIN NATION and DIGITOPIA. For more information on Richard Degrandpre or The Disinformation Company, please contact Ralph Bernardo at 212-691-1605 (tel), 212-473-8096 (fax) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The Lilly Suicides" is part of The Disinformation Company’s ABUSE YOUR ILLUSIONS: THE DISINFORMATION GUIDE TO MEDIA MIRAGES AND ESTABLISHMENT LIES. Russ Kick, Editor. Published by The Disinformation Company. Oversized softcover (8.5" x 11") * 352pp * US$24.95 * ISBN 0-9713942-4-5 Release date: May 15, 2003. Distributed to the Trade in the US & Canada by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution; in the UK & Europe by Turnaround Publisher Services.