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Dr. David Healy's latest book

Dr. David Healy's new blog

Dr. David Healy's "making medicines safer" site

This website explores threats to public safety and academic freedom surrounding the SSRI group of drugs – Prozac, Zoloft (Lustral), Paxil (Seroxat/Aropax).

It makes available trial transcripts in 3 major cases involving SSRIs and suicide and homicide.

It also makes available correspondence surrounding issues to do with ghost writing, efforts to draw attention to the hazards of these drugs and the dramatic changes taking place in academia as an increasing proportion of clinical research is privatised.

This background data has been synthesized in book form in Let Them Eat Prozac published by James Lorimer for the Canadian Association of University Teachers, ISBN no 1-55028-783-4. Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 are made available here linked to their respective background materials.

On the face of it, the investigation of possible hazards posed by SSRIs does not seem to have followed the conventional dynamics of science, where anomalies in the data are supposed to spur further investigation. In this case, debate has been closed down rather than opened up. Journals that might have been thought to be independent of pharmaceutical company influence have “managed” not to publish articles and the appropriate scientific forums have “managed” not to debate the issues.

Is this evidence of undue pharmaceutical company influence?

Is it evidence of the power of the current epidemiological paradigm in medicine that effectively only values one form of evidence – that stemming from Randomised Controlled Trials?

Is it evidence of a Matthew Effect, whereby concerns stemming from centres other than Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Yale are simply much less likely to be taken seriously?

These questions go to the heart of the current debate on academic freedom and the role of commercial support for Academia. In order to move this debate forward, we would be happy to publish on this website germane material, whether from others who have lost posts within either Academia or pharmaceutical companies, or people who have had difficulties raising hazards about pharmaceutical agents, or other material.

Please forward additional material to:

James Turk
Canadian Association of University Teachers
Ottawa ON K2B 8K2

Or post to:

North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine
Hergest Unit
Bangor, North Wales, LL57 2PW
United Kingdom

Further material from Miller v Pfizer, Motus v Pfizer, Berman v Lilly, and other cases are available on request from the above address.

‘Considering the benefit and the risk, we think this preparation totally unsuitable for the treatment of depression.’ — May 25th 1984 communication to Lilly US from Lilly Bad Homburg by B v.Keitz containing a translation of an unofficially received medical comment on the Fluoxetine application to the German regulators.

‘I do not think I could explain to the BGA, a judge, to a reporter or even to my family why we would do this especially on the sensitive issue of suicide and suicidal ideation.’ — Memo from Bouchy C to L Thompson Re: Adverse Drug Event Reporting – Suicide Fluoxetine. November 13th 1990. Exhibit 117 in Forsyth vs Eli Lilly.

‘I am concerned about reports I get re UK attitude toward Prozac’s safety. Leber suggested a few minutes ago we use CSM database to compare Prozac aggression, suicidal ideation with other antidepressants in the UK. Although he is a fan of Prozac and believes a lot of this is garbage, he is clearly a political creature and will have to respond to pressures. I hope Patrick realizes that Lilly can go down the tubes if we lose Prozac and just one event in the UK can cost us that.’ — Memo from Leigh Thompson February 7th 1990. Exhibit 98 in Forsyth Vs Eli Lilly.

‘All policymakers must be vigilant to the possibility of research data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector.’ — Editorial (2000). Resisting smoke and spin. Lancet 355, 1197.

‘Essentially, we believe that it is not a good fit between you and the role as leader of an academic program in mood and anxiety disorders at the Centre. Whilst you are held in high regard as a scholar of the history of modern psychiatry, we do not feel your approach is compatible with the goals for development of the academic and clinical resource that we have. This view was solidified by your recent appearance at the Centre in the context of an academic lecture.’ — University of Toronto/ Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (Dec 2000)