Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rob Robinson - Paxil activist recommend books

I'm following Fiddaman steps. In this post he has homaged Rob Robinson, who has created SSRIcitizen .org, by putting online again some of his writings that he has saved. I've saved three pages in 2005 and I think that this page on books are of great help.

Recommended Reading

"Let Them Eat Prozac" by David Healy, M.D. "Prozac Backlash" by Joseph Glenmullen, M.D. "Talking Back To Prozac" by Peter R. Breggin, M.D. "Medicines Out Of Control" by Charles Medawar and Anita Hardon. "The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It" by Marcia Angell. "On the Take: How Big Business Is Corrupting American Medicine" by Dr. Jerome Kassirer, M.D. "Prescription for Disaster" by Thomas J. Moore. "Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine" by Dr. John Abramson, M.D. "The Anti-Depressant Fact Book" by Dr. Peter R. Breggin, M.D. "Blind Reason" by Patricia Griffon

You owe it to yourself and your health to take some time and fully explore the associated web links.

Let Them Eat Prozac
by David Healy, M.D.


Dr. David Healy is Reader in Psychological Medicine at the University of Wales College of Medicine and Visiting Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is author of more than 120 peer reviewed articles and more than a dozen books, including The Antidepressant Era (Harvard) and The Creation of Psychopharmacology (Harvard). He is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on SSRIs.
Note: The following book review is by Arthur Schafer, director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba. His study of pharmaceutical research ethics is forthcoming in The Journal of Medical Ethics.

"Before Prozac, few people risked getting depression. Now, it seems, we are all at risk. Better pay close attention, then, to David Healy's wonderfully perspicuous account of how a treatment can manufacture disease.
Of course, depression has always been with us, and Healy presents some moving stories of how this disease can blight the lives of those affected. The great boom in depressive illness, however, dates back only to the discovery and marketing of Prozac.
Prior to the 1990s, comparatively few people were thought to suffer from depression: perhaps one person in 10,000. With the discovery of the Prozac family of drugs there came, not coincidentally, an explosive increase in diagnoses of depressive illness. Current estimates claim that one in 10 of the population is clinically depressed. A thousand-fold increase. In barely a decade, depression has gone from being a rare disorder to being classed as one of the greatest afflictions of humankind — requiring that millions of comparatively healthy people be treated with powerful medication. An old cliché jumps irresistibly to mind: To the man with a hammer in his hand, everything looks like a nail.
As one of the first researchers to investigate the serotonin reuptake mechanisms in depressed people, Healy was in the vanguard of the SSRI revolution that gave the world Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Celexa. He has been a consultant for many of the leading players — Eli Lilly, Pharmacia and Upjohn — and has spoken at international symposia for Pfizer, SmithKline Beecham and AstraZeneca. Harvard University Press has published two of his dozen books. Little wonder, then, that the University of Toronto faculty of medicine was initially thrilled to recruit Healy to its department of psychiatry.
In the world of psychopharmacology, Healy is an insider's insider. This inside track makes his account of the sordid underbelly of the drug industry both more believable and more disquieting. He really does know where the bodies are buried, literally as well as figuratively, and readers will find their confidence in the integrity of drug research badly shaken.
Although Healy was an early advocate of Prozac, his clinical research persuaded him that the Prozac drug group could trigger suicide and violence in some patients. Later, when he gained access to internal company communications, he discovered that the companies themselves knew of the problem.
Healy concludes that SSRIs might benefit some people in the short term, but he finds little reason to think that they help things to turn out better in the long run. Most worryingly, he presents persuasive evidence that the SSRIs make a significant number of people suicidal and a larger number addicted.
There is no nice way of putting this: The drug companies have subordinated patient safety on the altar of blockbuster profits. Aggressive marketing has persuaded the medical profession to prescribe SSRI drugs to people who are simply struggling with mundane anxieties. Unwilling to risk the death of a goose that lays such golden eggs, the companies refuse to sponsor the kind of large-scale scientific research that would map out the true frequency and seriousness of side effects. Absent such research, doctors and patients are unable to make properly informed choices.
There may be only 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are at least 150 ways to design drug experiments so that they are skewed in favor of the sponsoring company's products. From my own research on the ethics of clinical trials, I thought I knew all the tricks of the trade. I was mistaken. Healy has taught me some new ones.
Want to eliminate evidence of dangerous side effects from your new anti-depressant? First, ensure that company scientists design the experiment and tabulate the data before it is turned over to the university scientist whose name will grace the eventual publication. Better yet, when volunteers enrolled in the experiment become agitated (and potentially suicidal or violent), code them as "failing to respond to treatment." Amazingly, by this simple sleight of hand, the alarming side effects disappear. What isn't recorded doesn't exist. The respected scientist whose name goes on the ghost-written publication -- a widespread practice, as Healy shows -- seldom sees the raw data and is happy to collect a generous fee from the company along with the status that comes with having "his" research published in a prestigious journal.
Leading drug industry figures play an unsavory role in this story, but it cannot be said that either the medical profession or government regulators emerge with armour shining. Those charged with protecting the public from unjustifiable harms seem not yet to have taken on board the central lesson of the 1962 thalidomide tragedy: All drugs are inherently risky. Only honest and well-designed research can tell us which drugs offer which patients the likelihood of more benefit than harm.
Because universities and hospitals float on a sea of drug company money, few seem keen to raise critical questions about unethical research practices. Moreover, when researchers demonstrate moral courage by going public with evidence of harmful side effects, they may find themselves sued by the company (Toronto doctor Nancy Olivieri for example, was threatened with legal action by a pharmaceutical company after she told her patients of the potential dangers of a drug she was testing on them. Others risk termination).
Let Them Eat Prozac tells a compelling story, with strong resemblances to a detective novel. The drama of Healy's personal odyssey, from pro-industry scientist to embattled critic, illuminates the dark side of the bargain between modern science and Big Pharma. The book is edifying and frightening. But never depressing."

Prozac Backlash
by Joseph Glenmullen, M.D.


Joseph Glenmullen, M.D. is a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is on the staff of Harvard University Health Services and is in private practice in Harvard Square. A strong patient advocate, Dr. Glenmullen testified at the FDA hearing that resulted in the recent warning that antidepressants make patients, including children and adolescents, suicidal. The warning covers all ten of the currently popular antidepressants: Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor, Celexa, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Luvox, Remeron, and Serzone.
The following book review appeared in The Boston Globe on June 8, 2000

"In a front-page article on June 8, 2000 by Mitchell Zuckoff entitled 'Prozac data was kept from trial, suit says,' the Globe reported: 'In a federal lawsuit filed yesterday in Hawaii, the family of William Forsyth says that Lilly 'committed a fraud on the court' by failing to tell the family's lawyers about a patent that claims a new version of the drug eliminates side effects of the existing Prozac, including violent suicidal thoughts.On March 3, 1992, 11 days after he began taking Prozac, Forsyth fatally stabbed his wife multiple times with a serrated kitchen knife and then impaled himself on the blade.Of some 200 lawsuits filed against Lilly asserting that the use of Prozac led to suicide or violence, the Forsyth case was only the second to yield a verdict. Lilly settled many of the others, and the only other one to reach a jury, in 1994, was widely reported to have been a victory for the company. In fact, it was settled in a secret agreement between Lilly and the plaintiffs.'
Prozac Backlash reports in detail on the secret settlement in this 1994 test case against Prozac and Lilly, which went to trial. Lilly won what appeared to be a jury verdict in the trial, which the pharmaceutical company widely publicized. But a later Attorney General's investigation revealed that Lilly had secretly settled the case during the trial although the victims and pharmaceutical company continued as apparent adversaries in front of the judge and jury. After the investigation, in 1997 Lilly quietly agreed to the final judgement in the trial being changed from a jury verdict in Lilly's favor to 'dismissed as settled.'
The Globe quoted Dr. Glenmullen on the patent for the new Prozac: 'To me the new patent can be compared to the tobacco papers. It's a pharmaceutical company document that acknowledges this dangerous side effect which has been downplayed by Eli Lilly and other pharmaceutical companies for a decade.'"

Talking Back To Prozac
by Peter R. Breggin, M.D.


“Peter Breggin is Prozac’s worst enemy.”— Time

"There is unquestionably a great deal of truth in what Breggin writes. Let the pill-swallower beware." — Los Angeles Times

Peter R. Breggin, M.D. began in the full time private practice of psychiatry in 1968. Dr. Breggin has been informing the professions, media and the public about the potential dangers of drugs, electroshock, psychosurgery, involuntary treatment, and the biological theories of psychiatry for over three decades. Since 1964 Dr. Breggin has been publishing peer-reviewed articles and medical books in his subspecialty of clinical psychopharmacology. He is the author of dozens of scientific articles and more than fifteen professional books about psychiatric medication, the FDA and drug approval process, the evaluation of clinical trials, and standards of care in psychiatry and related fields.
For thirty years Dr. Breggin has served as a medical expert in many civil and criminal suits including product liability suits against the manufacturers of psychiatric drugs. His work provided the scientific basis for the original combined Prozac suits and for the more recent Ritalin class action suits. His efforts as a medical expert have resulted in the FDA changing numerous official drug labels.
Dr. Breggin's background includes Harvard College, Case Western Reserve Medical School, a teaching fellowship at Harvard Medical School, a two-year staff appointment to the National Institute of Mental Health, and a faculty appointment to the Johns Hopkins University Department of Counseling.

Medicines Out Of Control?
by Charles Medawar and Anita Hardon


Charles Medawar is layman, a specialist on medicines policy and drug safety issues with a particular interest in corporate, governmental and professional accountability. He writes, broadcasts and lectures regularly, and runs a web site (www.socialaudit.org.uk) which now attracts some 500,000 visitors a year. Anita Hardon is Professor in Anthropology of Care and Health at the University of Amsterdam. She has published widely, specializing on women’s health issues and studies of medicines’ use in Asia, Africa and Europe, and teaches international courses on promoting rational drug use. She currently chairs the Health Action International (Europe) foundation board.
The following book overview is taken from Social Audit’s web site:
"Published in March 2004, Medicines out of Control? draws on the SSRI antidepressant case history to describe a system of medicines’ control tainted by secrecy and conflicts of interest, barely accountable to the public, lacking in common sense and losing sight of the meaning of health. Subtitled Antidepressants and the Conspiracy of Goodwill, this book reveals a demonstrably chaotic system of drug evaluation, driven by the almost unquestioned assumption that health is the product of greater ‘disease awareness’ and more new drugs.
These trends reflect the growing dominance of global and market values that now threaten to turn pharmaceutical medicine into something of a polluting enterprise, deeply damaging to the atmosphere of health. Alas, this is no more obvious than global warming to the driver of your average car.
Medicines out of Control? is an attempt to promote a complete rethink about what medicines contribute to health, and the basis of decision-making about drug benefits, risks and harm."
What has emerged from all this is a story about the promotion, regulation, prescribing and use of mood-regulating drugs, mainly antidepressants like Prozac, Seroxat and Paxil. As it unfolds a drug crisis in the making, the story develops as a picture of unhealthy dependence on corporate and professional power.
The story leads to analysis: an attempt to explain to an engaged and curious layperson the basis for thinking that, for all the triumphs and gains, pharmaceutical medicine is losing sight of health and dangerously lacking in public accountability. However, the question mark in the book title is emphatic – an invitation to make up your own mind how you find medicine and what you want it to be.
This book is in no way a guide to your medical treatment; at best it can help to explain only how and why you may be treated as you are. On the basis of your experience and what you read, you might conclude either that the control of medicines is in dire need of overhaul and rethinking, or that it is an affront even to suggest that.
Either way — or perhaps something in between — this analysis is offered for peer-review and consultation, and is meant to promote comment and debate. The authors and sponsors would welcome feedback, to help prepare the next edition of this book. This first edition is intended for only limited circulation, through 2004. A revised and popular edition of this book is planned.

You can contact Charles Medawar by writing care of: Social Audit Ltd, P.O. Box 111, London NW1 8XG, UK., or sending him an email at: charles@socialaudit.org.uk

You can contact Anita Hardon by writing care of: Health Action International (Europe), J. van Lennepkade 334-T, 1053 NJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands, or sending her an email at: anita@haiweb.org

The Truth About The Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us And What To Do About It
Marcia Angell


On The Take: How Big Business Is
Corrupting American Medicine

By Dr. Jerome Kassirer, M.D.

Reviewed by Shannon Brownlee, a Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation.

Every author should be so lucky. While Jerome Kassirer and Marcia Angell were holed up in their offices, typing away, Congress launched an investigation into financial entanglements between industry and the National Institutes of Health. Then Pfizer was hit with nearly half a billion dollars in fines for paying doctors to hype its anti-seizure drug Neurontin for unapproved — and largely unproven — uses. Now, New York state attorney general Eliot Spitzer has accused another drug giant, GlaxoSmithKline, of burying evidence that the antidepressant Paxil can trigger suicide. It's great news for Angell's and Kassirer's book sales, bad news for the rest of us.
These stories about the unholy alliance between the pharmaceutical industry, researchers, and doctors may have seemed, to the casual observer, like nothing more than isolated blips. Sad to say — as these surprisingly bare-knuckled books by the last two editors-in-chief at the New England Journal of Medicine make clear — such accounts provide a mere glimpse of the corruption of medical science.
In the last two decades, the drug and biotech industries have gained unprecedented leverage over what doctors and patients know — and don't know— about the $200 billion worth of prescription pharmaceuticals consumed by Americans each year. Industry has gained that leverage by funding and, increasingly, controlling medical research. It has also used its deep pockets to effectively buy the loyalty of physicians in private practice and to sway the opinion of thought-leaders in academia. Grasp the full scope of industry influence over medical science and practice, and it's enough to make anybody think twice before filling a prescription.
At NEJM, Angell and Kassirer had front-row seats to industry's infiltration of medical science. Angell aims her broadsides at the misdeeds of the pharmaceutical industry, which, she writes, “has moved very far from its original high purpose of discovering and producing useful new drugs. Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, this industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the U.S. Congress, the Food and Drug Administration, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself.”
Drug company influence begins with funding most of the clinical research upon which the nation depends for accurate information about the uses and dangers of drugs. That means that the studies in scientific journals are increasingly likely to be designed, controlled, and even ghostwritten by marketing departments, Angell argues, rather than scientists.
Many researchers and doctors maintain — and no doubt believe — that science always arrives at the truth, and that their professional judgment cannot be influenced by this influx of industry money. But all evidence suggests otherwise. Studies involving thousands of published papers show unequivocally that corporate largesse skews science: When industry (rather than government) pays for a study, that study is more likely to reflect well on its products. Similarly, authors who argue favorably for a company's drug are more likely to have financial ties to the company than researchers whose opinion is either neutral or negative.
The bottom line is that the medical journals, those critical reference points for doctors, are filled with happy talk about drugs that are often either more dangerous or less efficacious than promised. Far from being an exception, GlaxoSmithKline's apparent failure to publish negative data about Paxil is now routine in an industry that treats scientific journals less as repositories of knowledge than, as Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet, puts it, “information laundering operations.”
Where Angell chronicles the drug companies' driving role in all of this, Kassirer details the complicity of increasing numbers of doctors and academics who are living high on the industry hog. Kassirer describes going to a medical meeting where the atmosphere seems less conducive to the exchange of sober scientific information and more “Hollywood set.” As he recalls, "Scores of beautiful men and women from pharmaceutical, biotechnology, device, and book companies greet the doctors wandering through the hall, where enormous, expensive, artistic creations announce the success of the companies' drugs with lights, sound... and electronic wizardry." Doctors crowd in for free notepads, pens, and T-shirts emblazoned with drug brands. Then there are the dinners at chic restaurants, and all-expenses-paid excursions to nearby attractions.
These freebies are only the most visible aspect of the culture of greed and self-deception that now permeates much of academic medicine and private practice. A quarter of academic scientists now have financial ties to industry: Companies woo them with invitations to sit on scientific advisory committees (for a salary, of course), lucrative consulting contracts, and stock options potentially worth millions of dollars. Doctors in private practice get on the gravy train by accepting bounties for enrolling patients in studies, or signing up as “consultants” in exchange for being flown to exotic locales to hear lectures about a company's drugs. All the perks add up. For one head of an academic medical department, according to an investigation by the Boston Globe, industry liaisons amounted to more than $400,000 in a single year.
None of this would matter so much if prescription drugs were just another type of consumer product, like fancy vodka or luxury cars. But drugs are not like other goods, and the corrupting influence of pharmaceutical industry money has hurt patients. Earlier this year, to take just the most recent example, the FDA cautioned doctors about prescribing certain antidepressants to children after reviewing 12 studies that found them no more effective in teens and children than a placebo and after the British government warned that one brand was three times as likely to trigger suicide. Those results undoubtedly came as a shock to the doctors around the country who have been writing 10 million antidepressant prescriptions for children and adolescents each year.
Both Kassirer and Angell offer a variety of potential fixes, ranging from creating a federally funded institute for drug studies to changing patent laws so the industry will stop padding profits by reformulating existing drugs and return to its original mission of coming up with truly innovative drugs. More difficult to remedy, however, is the loss of the scientific ethos, the idea that doing good is ample compensation. Not even science can overcome the corrupting influence of money.
This groundbreaking book sounds a clear warning about the serious health risks associated with prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications — and exposes the side effects that kill 100,000 people a year and put another million in the hospital. Consumer advocate and prizewinning investigative journalist Thomas Moore reveals the shocking truth about the dangers you face each time you swallow a pill, offering invaluable advice on becoming an informed consumer — and keeping yourself and your family safe.

Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine
By Dr. John Abramson, M.D.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly.

The Anti-Depressant Fact Book
By Dr. Peter Breggin, M.D.

Known as “the Ralph Nader of psychiatry,” Dr. Peter Breggin has been the medical expert in countless court cases involving the use or misuse of psychoactive medications. This unusual position has given him unprecedented access to private pharmaceutical research and correspondence files, information from which informs this straight-talking guide to the most prescribed and controversial category of American drugs: antidepressants. The Anti-Depressant Fact Book is up-to-the minute and easy-to-access. Hard-hitting and enlightening, every current, former, and prospective antidepressant-user will want to read this book.

Blind Reason
By Patricia Griffon

Ms. Griffin is a survivor of a severe and protracted Paxil withdrawal from. Blind Reason, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2003, grew out of her tragedy. From a review at Amazon: “Nobody prepared me for what I would find between the covers of this fantastic book. I had just finished reading King of Torts when someone suggested Blind Reason, which made Grisham's tale of pharmaceutical corruption look like a comic book. Griffon's attention to detail is astounding; her research into the Third Reich, the CIA and the pharmaceutical industry is meticulous. The plot is fast-paced and the dialogue, on a host of subjects, is brilliant, but I was left with the haunting question of how much of what Griffon wrote is fact or fiction. The lines are definitely blurred. This is a great weekend read.”


Stan said...

Dearest Ana:

Your Post are starting to get
L O N G like mine. Rewrite this post in ten words or less and I will come back later and comment on it {Laughing}.

Your Bloggery Buddy,

Ana said...

Rob good activist has left reviews on important books on Mad Medicine.

I'll shorten the letters.
Come back, please!!!!!!!