Once upon a time we were innocent, just as you were before you started to read these E-news bulletins. We believed that drug companies were there for the good of the human race, and anyone who complained about side effects was just a malingerer or, worse, a troublemaker. We were all young once.
Then one day as we were making a skipping rope from a chain of daisies a young doctor visited us at our WDDTY offices. He had been quite a high-flier, and had headed up a range of medical trials. But he was constantly being told by the trial sponsor, whose drug was being researched, to bury findings that were unacceptable, or even lose them altogether.
He became so disillusioned that he packed in the research work and set up a holistic health centre in the East End of London, and we stopped making daisy chains.
And, like most everything else, it has always been thus. It’s just that once in a very rare while somebody catches on to it.
That current somebody is New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer who has filed a lawsuit against the UK’s largest pharmaceutical, GlaxoSmithKline. He is claiming that the drug giant concealed details from four research trials that indicated its antidepressant Paxil (Seroxat in the UK) could cause suicidal tendencies among children and teenagers taking the drug.
The suit has been expected for a while, as regular E-news readers may know. It’s the tip of a scandal that has seen doctors prescribing ‘off-label’ and giving antidepressants to children as young as two years of age.
Quite how a two-year-old can be so depressed that he needs a powerful mood-altering drug seems beyond belief. But for depression, see ADHD.