Whooping Cough Vaccine – Doesn’t Work – GSK Says “We Never Bothered to Check”


Most pharmaceutical drugs are tested in clinical trials over very short duration (often just a few weeks), so how effective are they long-term?

Originally posted on ________________Child Health Safety_________________:

STOP PRESS 21/5/12:

See update: Major Whooping Cough Epidemics – Vaccine Not Working



According to a recently published paper not only does whooping cough vaccine “wear off” within as little as three years of administration [assuming it ever "wore on" in the first place] but [according to Reuters] the original manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline never bothered to check whether it worked.  And 81 percent of recent whooping cough cases in California were in children fully vaccinated and teenagers and adults are now put at risk when they would have had lifelong immunity contracting the disease naturally:

Witt MA, Katz PH, Witt MJ, Unexpectedly Limited Durability of Immunity Following Acellular Pertussis Vaccination in Pre-Adolescents in a North American Outbreak.

Whooping cough vaccine fades in pre-teens: study – By Kerry Grens Thompson/Reuters NEW YORK | Tue Apr 3, 2012 2:13pm EDT

The Reuters report states:

A spokesperson for GSK…

View original 1,521 more words

GSK Corruption Allegations Spreads To Syria

Exclusive – Allegations of GSK corruption spread to Syria

LONDON Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:51pm BST

The GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London June 18, 2013.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC
16:06:23 BST

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) faces new allegations of corruption, this time in Syria, where the drugmaker and its distributor have been accused of paying bribes to secure business, according to a whistleblower’s email reviewed by Reuters.

Britain’s biggest drugmaker said on Thursday it was investigating the latest claims dating back to 2010, which were laid out in the email received by the company on July 18.

The allegations relate to its former consumer healthcare operations in Syria, which were closed down in 2012 due to the worsening civil war in the country.

“We have zero tolerance for any kind of unethical behaviour. We will thoroughly investigate all the claims made in this email,” GSK said in a statement.

GSK has been rocked by corruption allegations since last July, when Chinese authorities accused it of funnelling up to 3 billion yuan (285 million pounds) to doctors and officials to encourage them to use its medicines. The former British boss of the drugmaker’s Chinabusiness was accused in May of being behind those bribes.

Since then, smaller-scale bribery claims have surfaced in other countries and GSK is now investigating possible staff misconduct in Poland, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

Syria is the sixth country to be added to the list. The allegations there centre on the company’s consumer business, including its popular painkiller Panadol and oral care products.

Although rules governing the promotion of non-prescription products are not as strict as for prescription medicines, the email from a person familiar with GSK’s Syrian operations said alleged bribes in the form of cash, speakers’ fees, trips and free samples were in breach of corruption laws.

The detailed 5,000-word document, addressed to Chief Executive Andrew Witty and Judy Lewent, chair of GSK’s audit committee, said incentives were paid to doctors, dentists, pharmacists and government officials to win tenders and to obtain improper business advantages.

“GSK has been engaging in multiple corrupt and illegal practices in Syria and its internal controls for its Syrian operation are virtually non-existent,” the email said.

In addition, the email said GSK had engaged in apparent Syrian export control violations, including an alleged smuggling scheme to ship the drug component pseudoephedrine toIran from Syria via Iraq. Pseudoephedrine is regulated as a precursor for making methamphetamine.

GSK said it would investigate this matter along with the bribery claims.

“We welcome people speaking up if they have concerns about alleged misconduct,” the company said.

“On 18 July 2014, we received an email making claims regarding GSK’s former consumer operations and related distributors in Syria. Our compliance and legal departments were immediately notified and, as is our standard procedure, we immediately responded to the sender to confirm receipt and ask for more information.”

The whistleblower’s email said GSK used its own employees and Syrian distributor Maatouk Group to make illicit payments.

An official at Damascus-based Maatouk had no comment when contacted by telephone and said the company’s top executives were not immediately available.


The email listed a range of alleged improper activities, including payments of $1,500 each to two doctors to promote Panadol. The document also highlighted bribes paid to pharmacists and payments for medics to visit a Mediterranean holiday resort.

Further cash payments were related to the promotion of GSK cold and flu products, as well as its premium toothpaste brand Sensodyne.

Bribery charges around the world have tarnished the reputation of Witty and hit the company’s sales in China, at a time when it is also struggling with sluggish sales growth in the all-important U.S. market.

The allegations also leave it open to legal action – and potentially hefty fines – in Western countries where it is based or has a stock market listing.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office launched a formal criminal investigation into GSK’s overseas activities in May and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating it for possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

In the email sent to GSK concerning Syria, the author said that the information would be passed on to the DOJ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A recently introduced SEC programme provides cash incentives for whistleblowers to report corporate malpractice, including breaches of the FCPA.

GSK has overhauled its marketing policies in the wake of concerns about possible past misconduct. It aims to become the first company in the industry to stop paying outside doctors to promote its products.


Psychiatric Failure In Ireland : Brothers Shane and Brandon Skeffington – “Another Murder Suicide In Ireland?”

Another Murder Suicide In Ireland?

This is a very tragic case where it seems that an older brother, Shane Skeffington, (20) stabbed his younger brother, Brandon, (9) to death. Apparently this was completely out of character and there were no previous signs that he would commit such a violent act particularly towards his brother. Shane, then went on to kill himself. According to reports he was under psychiatric care and (like most young people) had dabbled in drugs such as cocaine and cannabis, but what I would be more worried about was the so called psychiatric ‘care’ he received. It’s often the psychiatric drug treatments which are the compounding factor in these cases. This website’ antidepaware ‘ has correlated thousands of similar cases of psychiatric drug related deaths.


Some Questions Which The Media Need To Probe:

Were meds involved? What kind of psychiatric ‘treatment’ did Shane Skeffington receive? and for how long? did he express suicidal or violent thoughts under this ‘care’ and to whom? Was he prescribed SSRI’s? (or an anti-psychotic or other drug) If so, why was he not monitored for emerging aggression, akathisia (an extreme nervous system condition which drives people psychotic), or suicidal/homicidal ideation (all known SSRI side effects which are even included now in warning leaflets).

Regardless of whether he received drugs from a psychiatrist or not, it is clear to me that psychiatry has failed this young man and his younger brother. If psychiatry was successful then why do so many of its patients either never get better or get worse and go on to kill themselves or others? Psychiatry is a wealthy institution but they always complain of a lack of funding- but what we need to ask is why are consultant psychiatrists paid astronomical salaries? Surely some of that money could be used to provide funding for intensive psycho-therapeutic interventions such as in emergency cases like this one? Why are these obviously very vulnerable, disturbed and frightened young people just drugged and thrown back out on the street without proper care and proper warnings? why does psychiatry get away with lying to the public about the dangers of medication?

Something is wrong here, terribly wrong. I don’t care what anyone says- psychiatric consultant and high level psychiatrists salaries are obscene- particularly when you consider their absolutely dismal track record. Nobody gets cured! And once people enter the psychiatric system they either get worse or they die- what does that tell you? We need complete transparency, which doctors and psychiatrists in Ireland are in the pocket of drug companies? Which ones receive honoria and payment for research etc,  and how is this pharmaceutical/psychiatric alliance funded in Universities and hospitals?


Parents’ frantic attempts to save stab boy Brandon

THE parents of a little boy who was murdered by his older brother before he took his own life desperately tried to save the nine-year-old child.

Brandon Skeffington (9) was still alive when his mother and father returned home and found him bleeding heavily on the stairs at their home near Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.

And the Herald can today reveal that a 15-year-old sister of the two brothers who died was also in the house when the horrific stabbing occurred.

It is believed she did not witness the fatal knife attack on Sunday evening.

Shane Skeffington (20) had been receiving psychiatric treatment in a mental hospital just days before the tragedy happened.

He was last night described as a “ticking time-bomb” and was implicated in at least two drug-fuelled assaults before he stabbed his innocent brother Brandon to death.

The killer used a large kitchen knife from the house to stab Brandon once in the chest before their parents arrived home just before 8pm.

Little Brandon was desperately clinging to life when he was discovered by his shocked parents Carmel and Shane senior at the top of the stairs in their home.

But the horror got even worse, when Mr Skeffington discovered the body of their eldest son in a shed at the back of their property moments later. They immediately contacted emergency services.

Senior sources say that there was no premeditation in relation to the attack and that Shane was “very fond” of his younger brother.

“In fact, all the available information is that Shane thought the world of Brandon and there were no significant issues there,” said a source.


Sligo Tragedy

22 Jul

Shane and Brandon

The recent tragedy unfolding in Sligo (Sunday July 20th 2014) is currently a huge media story in Ireland. Two parents, Shane senior and Carmel Skeffington, came home from a shopping trip to find two of their sons dead. Shane (20) who was babysitting, had stabbed his brother Brandon (9) twice, before hanging himself in the garden shed. Brandon died from his wounds a short time after his parents came home and found him. The community are devastated, no-one saw this coming. Little Brandon idolised his older brother and newspaper reports say they had a great relationship. The media frenzy is palpable, from laying the blame at a couple of minor drug offences, to the ease of access to kitchen knives.

I suppose I should be prepared for my own son’s story to be linked whenever a murder/suicide occurs. Today’s Irish Daily Mail referred to my son, also Shane, and the ‘rise in kitchen-knife killings’. My new found friends, whose children have tragically killed themselves, and sometimes others, might have an opinion on whether to lock up the bathroom presses (medication), kitchen cupboards (knives) garden sheds (hoses, ropes and shears) or maybe someone should confiscate grandma’s knitting needles and sewing scissors? Maybe, just maybe, the newspapers need to focus on another similarity?

The tragedy unfolding in Sligo has revealed that Shane (the older brother) was recently released from Sligo General Hospital where he was receiving psychiatric ‘care’. We know what psychiatric ‘care’ usually consists of: pills, pills and more pills – mind altering drugs which double the risk of suicide and violence. The investigation should start with what drug this young man was prescribed; was it cipramil, the same as my son? Most likely it was an SSRI antidepressant (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), the family of drug which can cause suicide, violence, worsening depression, mania etc, etc.

Was this young man suffering from akathisia, a severe reaction which occurs with SSRIs, where a person cannot sit still and feels the urgent need to escape from their own body? A full investigation would examine the effects of the ‘care’ this young man received- it certainly didn’t work. Someone needs to answer for these two deaths, blaming it on a 20 year old boy ‘who loved his brother and all his family’ is not good enough!

Brian from AntiDepAware has compiled a list of over 2000 suicides and homicides where antidepressant were involved. The evidence is there if you look for it.

This tragedy has all the hallmarks of being SSRI-induced. The signs to look out for are (1) out of character (2) recently been to the doctor or psychiatrist and (3) totally out of the blue. Dr David Healy did a comprenhensive  report for my son’s inquest. He testified to the dangers of these drugs and that he believed the drug Citalopram (aka Cipramil or Celexa) caused my son to behave so uncharacteristically. The inquest jury rejected a suicide verdict on account of Dr Healy’s testimony. His report is here.

The devastation left behind in Sligo is mind-numbing; 2 boys suffering a violent death, parents left in devasted bewilderment, in a world which will never be the same again. I believe with all my heart that the mental health care Shane Skeffington received is to blame for these two deaths! I also believe that these deaths were preventable. Kathleen Lynch, the minister with responsibility for mental health, was informed (by 3 experts) of the dangers of these drugs; she did nothing. Enda Kenny and James Reilly were also made aware; they did nothing!


Is Peter Humphrey The Scapegoat For GSK’s Corruption in China?



On Monday, Humphrey was shown apologising on state-run China Central Television, saying he and his wife “deeply regret” breaking any laws. He added he would not have worked with the drug manufacturer had the company informed him about the full details of the e-mails it received from whistle-blowers.


GSK : Living Up To Their Reputation As The Most Corrupt Company In The World

July 16, 2014 10:00 pm

GSK admits to 2001 China bribery scandal

GlaxoSmithKline faces further scrutiny from US prosecutors after it emerged that staff were caught bribing Chinese officials more than a decade ago.

The revelation comes as US and UK authorities investigate allegations that GSK employees bribed doctors and officials more recently to boost drug sales in China.


On this story

The Financial Times has learnt that GSK also found problems with its China vaccine business in 2001 that led to the firing of about 30 employees.

The US Department of Justice, which is investigating the current allegations, will take a close look at the earlier scandal, said a former senior DoJ official who asked to remain anonymous. If it found a pattern of such behaviour, the justice department was likely to take a tougher stance towards the company, legal experts said.

GSK has been under scrutiny in China since authorities last year accused it of paying up to $500m in bribes. The DoJ is looking at the case as part of a broader probe into drugmakers under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Two people familiar with the 2001 scandal said GSK found that staff were bribing Chinese officials and taking kickbacks. The company acknowledged the matter for the first time to the Financial Times, but said it had dealt with the issue rigorously.

Timothy Blakely, a partner at the US law firm Morrison & Foerster, said US prosecutors would have to examine the 2001 case under justice department guidelines to see whether there was a pattern of behaviour.

“It is something that a prosecutor would have to take into account,” said Mr Blakely.

GSK asked PwC to investigate the case when the corruption suspicions emerged. “These matters occurred over 12 years ago. We believe appropriate investigation and action was taken at the time,” it said.

One member of the PwC team in 2001 was Peter Humphrey. Now an independent investigator, he is being held in China on charges of illegally buying private information in connection with GSK’s current scandal.

The rapid move to hire PwC in 2001 contrasts with the response to the current scandal. After a whistleblower made allegations against the company last year, GSK first relied on an internal probe with external legal and auditor support. That inquiry found no evidence of systemic corruption, although some staff were dismissed for expenses irregularities.

GSK has since hired Ropes & Gray, a US law firm, to conduct an external inquiry. In May, Chinese police said they had evidence of “massive and systemic bribery”.

“We have zero tolerance for unethical behaviour,” GSK said. “We investigate any allegations put to us and take action where necessary.”

The earlier scandal came the year after GSK was formed via a merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKlineBeecham. In late 2001, Paul Carter, GSK’s new China head, asked PwC to investigate after suspicions of corruption emerged, including the fact that two staff had been detained in China without him being told.

PwC confirmed the suspicions, and Mr Carter fired the Chinese head of vaccine sales in China. Mr Carter left GSK in 2005 long before the current problems emerged. He declined to comment.

Chris Baron, the general manager for the vaccines unit in 2001, denied knowledge of the bribery at the time. He was suspended and, soon after, left the company.

Mr Baron said PwC concluded he had “no personal involvement or knowledge” related to the bribery. But he said “there was some debate as to whether I may have been insufficiently diligent to spot the matter earlier”.

At the time of the 2001 incident, Sir Andrew Witty, GSK chief executive, was the company’s head of Asia-Pacific, but his responsibilities excluded China. GSK said Sir Andrew “was not involved in and was not aware of” the case at the time.

Sir Andrew has tried to cast GSK as a leader in ethical reforms since it was hit with a record $3bn DoJ fine for marketing abuses in 2012. But his clean-up effort, including measures to cut the link between sales volume and pay for marketing personnel, has been overshadowed by the latest scandal in China.


Spotlight On Sir Simon Wessely (President Of The Royal College Of Psychiatrists)


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b047zk6q (scroll to 39 mins: 15 secs)

Sir Simon Charles Wessely is a British psychiatrist. He is Professor of Psychological Medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and Head of its department of psychological medicine, Vice Dean for Academic Psychiatry, Teaching and Training at the Institute of Psychiatry, as well as Director of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research. He is also honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital, as well as Civilian Consultant Advisor in Psychiatry to the British Army. He was knighted in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to military healthcare and to psychological medicine. In 2014 he was elected president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

(Quite impressive ‘credentials’ you’d have to agree?)

In a recent radio discussion (see above) from the BBC, psychiatrist Simon Wessely complains that anti-depressants are under-prescribed. James Davies (senior lecturer in Psychology) author of ‘cracked’ (why psychiatry is doing more harm than good) disagrees. He points out that most people would favor talking therapy – not pills, that unfortunately the waiting lists often don’t facilitate this option and it is mostly pills that are prescribed for a myriad of different difficulties that people are struggling with. Davies thinks this situation doesn’t help the majority who seek mental health treatment, because he believes mental health problems stem mainly from psycho-social situations (poverty, unemployment etc)…

Despite a very strong argument from Davies, and also the alarming fact that 53 million prescriptions for anti-depressants are written every year in the UK alone- astoundingly- psychiatrist Simon Wessely still remains adamant that depression is under-diagnosed.

In this radio discussion-

James Davies says:

“We need greater transparency and accountability with respect to the financial ties between the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatry”

…”The research does suggest that doctors who receive these payments from industry are more likely to be biased in their clinical activities and  beliefs”..

Simon Wessely responds:

‘I’m your worst nightmare here James, because..

I’ve never worked for Pharma’

Why does Simon Wessely say that he has never worked for pharma when according to this 2004 article from medscape (detailing a study of SSRI’s from JAMA and an editorial from Wessely)

“Dr. Wessely has received funding from Pierre Fabry Pharmaceuticals and from Eli Lilly and Co. to attend academic meetings and for speaking engagements.”

Why did Simon Wessely -on BBC radio- say that he has never worked for pharma when he has received funding from Fabry pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly for academic meetings and speaking engagements? How much ‘funding’ did he receive? And how many ‘meetings’ , ‘speaking engagements’ and so on has he attended over the years? Has the influence of industry skewed Wessely’s views somewhat? Why did he not disclose this?


The SSRI study itself (from 2004) was funded by GlaxoSmithKline :

“This study was funded by the Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program, which in turn received funding from GlaxoSmithKline for consultation by the authors regarding the principles of study design for a possible company study on antidepressants and suicidal behavior.”

Simon Wessely, commenting on the results of the Glaxo-funded study on comparing

“Risk of Suicidal Behavior Similar With Amitriptyline, Fluoxetine, and Paroxetine”

..goes on to say…

“But the hypothesis being tested is that over and above the known association of antidepressant prescribing and suicidal behavior (in which the confounder is the presence of depressive disorder), there is also a specific link in which one class of antidepressants, the SSRIs, increases that risk further.   The results do not offer much support for the hypothesis,”


Dr. Wessely writes.   “There was no evidence for the alleged withdrawal phenomenon, which is another of the concerns that have been raised about the SSRIs.   Stopping medication did not lead to an increased risk, as postulated by some….”


Granted, the study was reported 10 years ago and in that time a lot has changed. We certainly know nowadays that anti-depressants can cause suicide and that Seroxat in particular has an extremely debilitating withdrawal syndrome- but what I would like to know is, does Simon Wessely still think that there is no evidence for the ‘alleged’ withdrawal phenomenon with SSRI’s? Have his opinions changed in light of the last ten years (and more) of evidence? Does he think that paroxetine (Seroxat) is a safe SSRI? How many links does he have to industry? and most importantly- why did he not disclose his links to Pharma (Eil Lilly and Pierre Fabry Pharmaceuticals) in the recent debate  on anti-depressants with James Davies on BBC radio?

Why did he say that he has never worked for pharma?

Personally, I think patients with mental (emotional) health difficulties have a right to know which psychiatrists are linked to industry and which ones aren’t because at the end of the day without patients (service users) people like Sir Simon Wessely wouldn’t have careers (and very lucrative ones they are too).

Considering, Wessely is (apparently) closely connected to Ben Goldace and the Sense About Science agenda (of which I and others have wrote about recently) I won’t hold my breath for any kind of useful response- but discussions, comments and observations are, of course, always welcome…



Untitled-2_a_408906cFor further reading on Simon Wessely Check Out This Article:


Psychiatry Still Doesn’t Get It

by Phil on June 21, 2013


On 3-4 June, the Institute of Psychiatry in London hosted an international conference to mark the publication of DSM-5.  On June 10, Sir Simon Wessely, a department head at the Institute, published a paper called DSM-5 at the IoP.  The paper is a summary of the conference proceedings, and also, in many respects, a defense of DSM-5.  The article touches on many issues that are central to the current anti-psychiatry debate, and for this reason, I thought it might be helpful to take a close look at the piece.


Sir Simon expresses surprise that DSM-5 has been so controversial.  He discusses this matter from various perspectives, but in my view he misses the essential point.

He writes:  “The DSM is nothing more than a list of psychiatric disorders, accompanied by descriptions of disorders and explicit criteria for their diagnosis.”

It might be argued that this statement is true in the literal sense of the term, but it ignores the fact that the DSM is also (and perhaps more importantly) the primary source of legitimacy for the unproven assumption that all serious human problems are in fact illnesses, and are best “treated” by medical methods.

The contention that the DSM is nothing more than a list of psychiatric disorders is a bit like saying that Malleus Maleficarum (1487) is nothing more than a list of signs by which witches can be identified, and ignoring the fact that it was also the authoritative confirmation that witches really did exist and really did cause a great deal of mischief.  For almost three centuries, Malleus Maleficarum served as the justification for murdering eccentric and otherwise unpopular women.  In the same way, today DSM is used throughout America and other countries to justify and legitimize the drugging (sometimes forcibly) of millions of people, frequently with horrendous side effects.

But Sir Simon doesn’t seem to be aware of any of that.

Nor is this aspect of the DSM’s identity an accident.  In 1952, when the first DSM was published, I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that psychiatry was a laughing stock among medical specialties.  As the latter increasingly aligned themselves conceptually and practically with science, psychiatry wallowed in the decidedly unscientific notions of psychoanalytic theory and the brutal unvalidated “treatments” of the asylums.

Psychiatry desperately needed to get its act together and establish that it was a real medical specialty.  It is arguable that this may have been a secondary agenda in 1952, but by 1968 – the year DSM-II was published – this aspect had become more urgent.  There were two reasons for this.  Firstly, the pharmaceuticals were coming on stream, and psychiatrists needed bona fide illnesses for which to prescribe these products.  Secondly, behavior therapy was experiencing a great deal of success in the mental hospitals, especially with the more “challenging” cases, and was beginning to pose a significant challenge to psychiatric hegemony.  By unequivocally medicalizing the presenting problems, psychiatry legitimized the widespread drugging of its clients, re-established its supremacy, and at the same time marginalized and subordinated behavior therapy.

The notion that all problem behaviors and emotions are illnesses is a spurious and unproven assumption, but it is an assumption that has served psychiatry (and incidentally their pharmaceutical allies) well for over four decades.

And that is why there has been so much controversy surrounding the publication of DSM-5.  The negative press has arisen, not because there is anything strikingly new or different about DSM-5.  The criticism stems rather from the fact that it is just more of the same.  It’s the same lie being trotted out:  that depression, misbehavior, mania, disruptiveness, temper tantrums, anxiety, etc., are real illnesses – just like diabetes.  And that this lie is still being promoted despite four decades of failed research looking for the biological etiologies that would save this sorry theory.

In the meantime, the concept of mental illness is just another spurious assumption which would have been scrapped long ago but for the fact that it serves the interests of psychiatrists and their pharmaceutical allies.

The IoP conference could have addressed this – the central issue of the debate.  And Sir Simon could have written about this.  But instead, the matter was ignored.


Instead, Sir Simon wrote about the fact that the number of diagnoses has been quietly increasing, but that thankfully DSM-5 has reversed this trend.  Does he seriously imagine that fewer people will be assigned psychiatric “diagnoses” under DSM-5 than under DSM-IV?

Sir Simon also concedes that there has occurred what he calls “psychiatric mission creep” – “the medicalization of the normal, the eccentric and the odd.”  Bravo!  But it’s still not the main issue.  Medicalizing severe problems is just as spurious as medicalizing trivial problems.

Sir Simon goes on to reassure us that:  “Concerns that the DSM-5 would continue in the inexorable march of medicalization by adding grief and bereavement to the list of human emotions that now required treatment were misplaced.”  I find myself at a loss as to how he can possibly know that.  Grief and bereavement are already being widely medicalized under DSM-IV, and this trend is almost certain to expand, given the specific easing of criteria in DSM-5.

Continuing on the topic of diagnostic expansion, Sir Simon writes:

“For most psychiatrists, claims that we are embarked on emotional world domination, seeking to extend our boundaries, populations and wallets further and further sounds hollow and frankly laughable when most face the most stringent cuts to services in a lifetime.”

This quote warrants some scrutiny.  What Sir Simon is saying here is:

1.  Our critics contend that we are pursuing emotional world domination.  Ha, ha.

This is essentially an attempt to ridicule the opposition.  Addressing our concerns openly and honestly would have been more productive.

2.  The opposition say that we are seeking to extend our boundaries, populations, and wallets.

Psychiatrists have been, are, and apparently plan to continue extending their boundaries, populations, and wallets.  And, with the help of pharma dollars, have been remarkably successful in these areas.  Juxtaposing this statement with the world domination quip is a standard spin doctor trick, well-known to politicians.

3.  The contentions of our opponents are hollow and laughable, because … get this … because our budgets are being cut due to governmental finance restrictions.

The fiscal restraints or otherwise of governments have no bearing on whether or not psychiatry has been pursuing an expansionist agenda.  In fact, the psychiatry-pharma alliance has been consistently and successfully pursuing an expansionist agenda for the past 40 years, regardless of the state of the public coffers.


Sir Simon laments the fact that the media, “fired up” by DSM-5, are “dominated by a radical critique, questioning the legitimacy of psychiatry.”

Note the terms “fired up” and “radical”.  Instead of responding in a rational and considered way to our criticisms, he’s attempting to portray us as revolutionary hotheads.  And we have the audacity to question the legitimacy of psychiatry!  Imagine!

Sir Simon also laments the fact that a UK psychologist used the occasion of the DSM-5 launch to say that all psychiatric diagnosis is wrong, and – listen to this – was not “shouted down,” but was actually allowed to air her views on a radio program!  Can you imagine that?  Daring to criticize psychiatry!  And actually given air time!


One of the basic tactics in political spin is commandeer-the-criticism.  What’s involved is taking the opponent’s point, accepting it as if it were one’s own idea, but altering it just enough to work to one’s own advantage.

Here’s a nice example that comes near the end of Sir Simon’s article:

“No one can, and no one does, deny that the need to be kind, empathetic and understanding, to see all illness in its social context, to understand all illness as to how it affects the person. Far from being a “radical critique” let alone a mandate for the inevitable “paradigm shift” that our critics are calling for, that is merely a description of good psychiatry.”

The first sentence doesn’t close – but the meaning of the quote is clear:  we’re good guys; we’re kind, empathetic, and understanding.  We see all illness in its social context and in the effect it has on the person.  This isn’t a radical critique.  This doesn’t warrant the paradigm shift that these bounders are demanding.  This is just good psychiatry.

So all the criticisms which we mental illness deniers direct at psychiatry are just nonsense; just so much wasted effort because … psychiatry is already there!  Psychiatry doesn’t need to change!

But notice how the word “illness” got sneaked in twice.  And that, as Sir Simon should know, is where the paradigm shift is needed:  the recognition that the problems psychiatry is “diagnosing” and drugging are not illnessesIf he has proof to the contrary, this might have been a good place to set it out.


Sir Simon’s final paragraph is a gem of irrelevance.  I must quote it in full:

“The reception afforded DSM-5 has reminded us how we sometimes look to the outside world and it is not always pretty. The charge that DSM itself is a Big Pharma fuelled exercise to open new markets for the sale of drugs is not helped when it becomes clear that some of the biggest names in psychiatry have been less than transparent in their financial dealings.  Sadly the APA only gives further ammunition to the critics when it charges an exorbitant price for an almost unreadable book of marginal relevance to the mental health challenges facing most of the world. But the public relations disaster could still be turned into a triumph if the APA joined the open access movement sweeping across the world of scientific publishing and agreed to make if not DSM-5, then at least DSM 6, free to all. But I am not holding my breath.”

He mentions the accusation that the DSM is essentially a pharmaceutical instrument to sell more drugs.  Now there’s an interesting thought that might have warranted some debate.  But no, we move on.

Then he mentions that some of the “biggest names” in psychiatry have been “less than transparent” in their financial dealings.  Some of us might have said “corrupt.”

And while we’re on the subject of corruption coupled with big names in psychiatry, let us remember the Sir Simon’s own Institute of Psychiatry honored Charles Nemeroff, MD by inviting him to speak at the opening of their new Centre for Affective Disorders on June 17.  In case you’re not familiar with Dr. Nemeroff’s history, here’s an extract from Wikipedia.

“Nemeroff’s undisclosed ties to drugmakers and under-reported incomes from them have raised questions about conflict of interest.  Following a Congressional Investigation led by Senator Charles Grassley of the Senate Finance Committee, Nemeroff was found to be in violation of federal and university regulations and resigned as chair of the psychiatry department at Emory University.  He was also forbidden by Emory to act as an investigator or co-investigator on National Institutes of Health grants for at least two years. Nemeroff has moved to Florida and become the chair of psychiatry at the University of Miami.

According to the Annals of Neurology, the court documents released as a result of one of the lawsuits against GSK in October 2008 indicated that GSK ‘and/or researchers may have suppressed or obscured suicide risk data during clinical trials’ of paroxetine. ‘Charles Nemeroff, former Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Emory University, was the first big name ‘outed’ … In early October, Nemeroff stepped down as department chair amid revelations that he had received over $960,000 from GSK in 2006, yet reported less than $35,000 to the school. Subsequent investigations revealed payments totaling more than $2.5 million from drug companies between 2000 and 2006, yet only a fraction was disclosed’.”

Any reputable profession, I suggest, would have ostracized, and probably disbarred, Dr. Nemeroff.  But not psychiatry.  In psychiatry, that kind of corruption draws honors and accolades.  Sir Simon might have written about that.

He might also have explained to us why his institute hosted a conference to mark the publication of DSM-5 if it is – as he claims – “…a book of marginal relevance…”

Then the insult to end all insults.  The APA, Sir Simon writes, has given ammunition to psychiatry’s opponents by over-charging for DSM-5. 

Does he seriously imagine that whether DSM-5 costs $10 or $200 makes a nickel’s worth of difference?  Does he imagine that if DSM-5 had been less expensive that these protests would not have happened?  Is he so out of touch with the fundamental flaws in his chosen profession that he believes that the cost of this book is even on our radar?

And – he tells us – the public relations disaster could have been turned around if the APA had distributed the book free!

And remember, dear readers, Sir Simon is an eminent psychiatrist.

Last updated by at January 20, 2014.


Peter Gordon • 19 weeks ago

Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress Barbican Centre, London, 24-27 June 2014 “Exhibition and marketing opportunities” Premium Exhibition Area £4500 Standard Exhibition Area £2500 Inserts in the delegate packs: £450 Advertisements in the Final Programme: £850 Sponsorship of the Conference app: £6,000


Lingering Doubts About Psychiatry’s Scientific Status

Philip Hickey, PhD

June 26, 2014

Professor Sir Simon Wessely is a British psychiatrist who works at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London.  He is also the new President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and in that capacity, he recently wrote his first blog, titled, appropriately enough, My First Blog (May 24, 2014).  The article is essentially a perusal of, and commentary on, the program for the RCP’s Annual Congress, about which Sir Simon expresses considerable enthusiasm.  He also engages in a little cheerleading.

” . . . We [the RCP] are the most democratic of colleges.   We welcome the views of patients and carers . . . “

This statement struck me as odd, because it’s not so long ago (December 20, 2013) that I read a post by British psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff, Psychiatry has its head in the sand: Royal College of Psychiatrists rejects discussion of crucial research on antipsychoticsIn this article, Dr. Moncrieff describes how she approached the RCP 2014 Conference planning committee, and asked that a symposium on “Re-evaluating antipsychotics – time to change practice” be included in the program.  To her surprise, this proposal was rejected on the grounds that there were too many competing suggestions.

Dr. Moncrieff’s proposal was based on two ground-breaking studies (Ho, BC, Andreasen, NC, et al; and Wunderink L, et al.), both of which, at the very least, raise serious concerns about psychiatry’s current use of neuroleptic drugs.  This certainly seems important, but in fairness to the RCP, perhaps there were topics of even greater moment, and Dr. Moncrieff’s suggestion simply couldn’t be accommodated.

Curious as to what these topics might be, I took a look at the conference schedule, and found a few entries that might conceivably have been nudged aside for Dr. Moncrieff’s proposed symposium.  These include:

  • Developing your teaching portfolio
  • Succeeding as a new consultant
  • Leadership development for the jobbing psychiatrist – what we all need to know
  • Private practice
  • Advanced communication skills for public engagement
  • Making parity a reality
  • How to get into Academic Psychiatry

And just possibly:

  • Debate – Hamlet’s Ophelia: was it suicide?

In fairness to Prof. Wessely, he probably didn’t have much hand in the design of the program.  (He’s the incoming President.)  But he must have been aware of the College’s rejection of Dr. Moncrieff’s suggestion, and he might have expressed some regrets about this matter rather than asserting platitudinously that the RCP is the “most democratic of colleges,” that welcomes the  ” . . . views of patients and carers.”

Anyway, there’s lots more cheerleading in Prof. Wessely’s post, including:

” . . . Psychiatry, like all branches of medicine . . . “

“We do not shy away from controversy . . . “

“[Attenders] will be left in no doubt about the prevalence and public health impact of the illnesses that lie at the heart of psychiatry.”

” . . . The endless fascination of psychiatry.”

 ” . . . The state of psychiatry is good.”

” . . . The importance of psychiatry in the modern health service.”

This is the kind of thing that we’ve come to expect from organized psychiatry in recent years, and it adds little to the current debate.  But there was one statement in Dr. Wessely’s article that I would like to address in more detail:

“Any lingering doubts that psychiatry is not scientific will hopefully be dispelled, since the science of psychiatry is on constant display from the start to the finish of the conference.”

I think it would be accurate to say that the most fundamental principle in modern psychiatry is that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving are illnesses, caused by chemical imbalances or other putative neurological anomalies.  The first part of this principle has been enshrined explicitly in the DSM’s definition of a mental disorder since DSM-III, and implicitly since DSM-II.  The second part has been promoted vigorously by psychiatry for decades.  This proposition is fundamental in the sense that from it, everything that psychiatry does, and stands for, flows.

The statement is also an assumption, proof of which has never been provided.  Nor is the assumption self-evident. In fact, as those of us on this side of the issue have contended for decades, there are more parsimonious, and more helpful, ways to conceptualize these problems.  The inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity characteristic of the condition labeled ADHD, for instance, can be conceptualized simply as a failure on the child’s part to acquire certain skills and habits that are considered appropriate for his age.  Depression can be conceptualized as a normal response to loss, or to an unfulfilling, treadmill kind of life.  And so on.

In science, of course, it’s perfectly OK to start off with an assumption (scientists call them hypotheses), and to design and execute experiments/studies to test their truth or falsity.  But psychiatry has never established the truth of its core assumption.  In fact, all attempts in this area have failed!  So – instead of debunking this cherished assumption, as real scientists would have done, they have simply assumed it to be true, and have steadily promoted its acceptance through endless repetition, manipulation of the media, and vigorous condemnation of critics.

Then, to create the impression of science, they have conducted vast numbers of studies and trials, all designed to test various peripheral matters, but all ultimately depending for their validity on the core assumption.  This isn’t science.  It is nonsense, dressed up as science.

To illustrate this, let’s consider another assumption that is nonsensical:  that all criminal activity is ultimately the result of alien abduction during infancy.  Let’s suppose that I, basking in the narcissistic, error-prone grandiosity of which supporters of psychiatry sometimes accuse me, subscribe to this belief.  Let’s further suppose that, to promote and study this core assumption, I start a new scientific discipline, which for want of a better term, I’ll call E.T.ology.

So I build a website, and attract a following, and we set about conducting E.T.ology studies to support our contention.  We produce numerous papers showing that crime is most prevalent in areas where UFO sightings are most frequent.  We demonstrate, through various statistical analyses, that criminals received less than average parental supervision during infancy, rendering them more vulnerable to alien abduction. And so on.  And we publish these studies in our very own Journal of E.T.ology.  We also speculate as to what the aliens actually do to their victims to instill the seeds of future lawlessness, and in this regard our scientists use colorful pictures of criminals’ brains to demonstrate chemical imbalances, neural circuitry anomalies, and other evidence of tampering.  We develop and publish a manual for the early detection of abduction victims.  The manual lists items like:  failure to conform to age-appropriate social norms, deceitfulness, impulsivity, irritability and aggressiveness, recklessness, spitefulness, defiance, etc.

We have impressive-looking graphs and tables in our journal articles.  We use statistical terms like correlation-coefficient, standard deviation, confidence interval, risk ratios, etc., with an easy familiarity, and we dismiss the protests of dissenting voices as the bigoted railings of anti-science deniers.  We construct a sophisticated propaganda apparatus, and in our annual conferences, we have sessions on “advanced communication skills for public engagement” and related topics.  We develop close ties with politicians from all branches of government, and from all corners of the political spectrum, and we advocate relentlessly for the creation of “space-shields” to protect infants from these alien invaders, who are robbing our children of their future.

We also, and entirely coincidentally, receive considerable financial support from the manufacturers of space-shield technology.

In this analogy it’s easy to see that what we have created is not science, but a travesty.  It is a travesty because we will not subject our core assumption to serious scrutiny, and because we routinely allow our commitment to this assumption to direct and taint our discussions and our research efforts.  What we have built is a sandcastle which, however impressive it may seem, has no defense against a flowing tide, and must ultimately collapse.

Similarly, psychiatry, despite decades of failed attempts at validation, continues to cling to its core assumption – that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving are illnesses.  This spurious assumption underlies, drives, and ultimately invalidates everything they do, and stand for. 

It is also the fundamental justification for their existence as a profession.  If the core assumption were to go away, as eventually it must, then psychiatry, as it presently operates, will cease to have any relevance or purpose, and will simply collapse.  In fact, it would have collapsed long ago, but for the massive, ongoing financial support that it receives directly and indirectly from its symbiotic, and incidentally corrupt, relationship with pharma.

So when Professor Wessely writes that  ” . . . the science of psychiatry is on constant display from the start to the finish of the conference,” he’s referring to the sandcastle.  He’s admiring the well-sculpted towers and turrets, the arched windows, and the pennants streaming in the sea breeze.  But he’s ignoring the fact that the edifice, of which he is so proud, has no foundation.  And he also, apparently, hasn’t noticed that the tide is coming in.

* * * * *

This article was first published on Philip Hickey’s website, Behaviorism and Mental Health

Philip Hickey, PhDPhilip Hickey is a retired psychologist.  He has worked in prisons (UK and US), addiction units, community mental health centers, nursing homes, and in private practice.  He and his wife, Nancy, live in Colorado, and have four grown children.

Peter Humphrey Feels Cheated By GSK


GSK’s Chinese headache

GSK building

Sir Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GSK, is a man who has said he wants to put ethics at the heart of the pharmaceutical firm’s business.

He has made much of the company’s work in Africa and bringing down that continent’s drugs bill. GSK’s research capability is widely regarded as some of the best in the world.

So, the pain of the allegations coming out of China must be particularly acute.

The contents of the emails sent by the person (or people), known as “gskwhistleblower”, to GSK alleging corruption among Chinese sales teams makes for sobering reading. What is striking is the amount of detail, with email addresses, precise drug names and internal projects all written about by someone who clearly knows the business well.

Whether what they say is right, of course, is another matter.

‘Employee dismissals’

Two emails sent in January and May last year talk of “aggressive sales tactics”, “bribery” and wrongful payments made to thousands of doctors. The emails offer to provide more information.

Following a series of questions sent by the BBC to GSK yesterday, the company responded with its fullest account yet of what it believes has – and hasn’t – happened.

“The issues relating to our China business are very difficult and complicated,” it said.

“GSK takes all whistle-blowing allegations very seriously and actively encourages whistle-blowers to come forward if they have concerns.

“Investigations into the allegations made in January 2013 about GSK’s business in China were conducted over several months with the support of external legal and audit advice.

“Start Quote

GSK has some serious questions to answer about how it treated Mr Humphrey, who is facing trial next month, possibly in secret.”

“Some fraudulent behaviour relating to expense claims was identified, and this resulted in employee dismissals and further changes to our monitoring procedures in China. However, this investigation did not find evidence to substantiate the specific allegations made in the emails.”

The key for Sir Andrew’s reputation is how he handled the allegations once they came to his attention.

Incendiary emails

GSK says it used both in-country and international investigators – freeing them from the allegation that the Chinese arm of the business (accused of systematic corruption) was simply investigating itself.

I understand that a report was completed by May or June 2013 that did find irregularities, but nowhere near the scale alleged in the email.

The fact that Peter Humphrey, the investigator hired by GSK to look at the separate issue of a covert video recording of a senior GSK China executive, Mark Reilly, having sex, found that the allegations were “credible” does not help Sir Andrew.

Mr Humphrey, who is now in detention in China, appears to have had limited access to GSK material beyond that pertinent to the tape – the existence of which was first revealed by The Sunday Times last weekend.


Which raises the question – if he was investigating the sex tape which was part of the overall allegations against GSK in China, why wasn’t he given the other incendiary emails earlier in the process?

Mr Humphrey sent a message from prison – seen by the BBC – which says that he feels “cheated”. GSK has some serious questions to answer about how it treated Mr Humphrey, who is facing trial next month, possibly in secret.

It wasn’t until the Chinese authorities announced their own investigation into allegations of corruption within GSK in July that the business made any public comment.

Asked about this lengthy delay, GSK said: “We inform the financial markets in relation to all material matters following internal and external legal advice. We are confident we have satisfied all our disclosure requirements.”

Wider issues

So far, GSK’s share price has hardly flickered since the allegations became public. Investors will be waiting to see the level of any fines the Chinese authorities might impose before voting with their wallets.

And whether anything uncovered reveals wider spread issues about GSK operates. Don’t forget, in 2012 GSK was fined $3bn in America for fraudulently promoting drugs for unapproved use and failing to report safety data to the Food and Drug Administration.

The company insists it has radically changed its processes since then – both in America and China.

And it appears that at present the board is satisfied with how GSK’s executives are handling the investigation.

China is a small part of GSK’s global operations, accounting for about 3% of its revenues.

It is well behind the other big foreign players in the rapidly growing pharmaceutical sector. Astra Zeneca and Pfizer, subject of a takeover battle earlier this year, are the leading foreign drug providers in the country.

But GSK does want to keep hold of its licence. The Chinese three tier market (research and development, manufacturing and consumer) is an increasingly valuable one.

Sir Andrew does not want to pull out. He must hope that the Chinese authorities’ findings come quickly and do not reveal anything which the company failed to uncover.