Last month the Q & A between myself and Carmine Pariante broke down. For those who don’t know, Pariante is a professor of biological psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London, and consultant perinatal psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. He apparently has no sway in whatever the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) say or do yet always seems to speak on their behalf.
Pariante was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 today after the subject of brain pellet withdrawal once again made the news in the New York Times. He was introduced as someone “from the Royal College” and proceeded to carefully and selectively bang the drum regarding the safety of brain pellets, so much so that even RCP were tweeting his quotes from the show (Fig1). Quite why Pariante is the College spokesperson is anyone’s guess.
Check out the use of the word ‘most’.
What irks me more than anything with the above tweet is that features a certain unproven claim in that brain pellets save lives. There will be many who claim that they do, I for one, find this ludicrous given that nobody can prove this. Sure, we get those people who claim, I would have killed myself if it wasn’t for Prozac, Paxil etc but they cannot be 100% certain that they would have gone on to complete suicide, even if previously they had experienced suicidal thoughts.
This “life-saving” claim really has no substance and shouldn’t be allowed, or at the very least should be preceded by, “they can induce suicide in people.” One thing I’ve noticed about high profile shrinks such as Pariante is that they never ever talk about brain pellets inducing suicide, at least not on radio or TV shows, and certainly not in the mainstream media.
During my Q&A with Pariante last month he had this to say to me about brain pellet-induced deaths:
“I accept that it is possible that some patients might have died as a consequence of taking antidepressants, and my heart goes to them and to their families. But these, as tragic and sad as they are, are very rare events.”
No mention of this in today’s BBC show though.
Pariante was invited to speak today after the show had previously aired Daily Mail columnist, Sarah Vine, who spoke about her own troubles trying to withdraw from brain pellets. Adding their voices were Prof John Read and Patient safety advocate James Moore. Everything they said was pretty much undone with Pariante’s ‘life-saving claim’.
I’m getting sick to the back teeth of this outlandish claim and it beggars belief why nobody ever presses these key opinion leaders for evidence.
If, as both Pariante and Vine suggested, brain pellets save lives don’t you think this would be a huge marketing advantage for the drug companies? I’ve read through every single leaflet in brain pellet boxes (SSRIs) not once do the drug companies claim that their product can save your life, so why does Pariante et al claim otherwise? If drug companies had evidence that their product was, in fact, a miracle pill, don’t you think they would have used this as a major selling point?
What does Pariante know that we don’t?
The radio show was, for me at least, disappointing. Why is nobody asking these shrinks how they can prescribe brain pellets when they have never seen the full safety data of the said brain pellets? Has journalism become so poor that the newer breed of writers have not grasped how to ask for supporting evidence when someone makes outlandish claims, or have they not grasped how to get to the root of a problem with decent questions?
If prescribers, such as Pariante do not have the full safety data then they know very little about withdrawal. They have no withdrawal data from drug companies either unless they care to trawl through countless pages of files released in drug company litigation. The evidence is there, they’re just too lazy or pig-shit ignorant to read it.
Brain pellets do not save lives, to suggest that they do is a real kick in the teeth for those who have lost loved ones to brain pellet-induced suicide. It’s a carefully crafted piece of PR spin, it’s a trump card that they hold because (they claim) they have seen many patients saved by SSRIs.
Quite strange then, that these same shrinks have, for nearly 40 years not witnessed ‘anyone in their clinical practice’ suffering from severe brain pellet withdrawal. They see what they want to see, or what they are paid to see.
That not so nice acronym, N.I.C.E, was mentioned in the BBC show. They claim they are working on developing new guidelines for prescribers – they, just like every man and his dog, have never seen the full safety data that the drug companies hold, they, just like every man and his dog, are assuming that the evidence supports brain pellet use because they have published papers to prove this. What they don’t tell you is the published papers are ghostwritten by the drug companies who pay key opinion leaders to add their names to these shoddy publications.
Here’s a thought to ponder on. Why do you think drug companies don’t say “THESE DRUGS WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE” on the insert in the box that accompanies brain pellets? Would it be something to do with making fraudulent claims?
Have you ever heard of anyone suing drug companies because the brain pellets didn’t save their loved one’s life? Of course not, because drug companies don’t make this absurd claim.
Meantime, these brain pellets are responsible for endless misery, be it through the mourning of a loss of a loved one or watching a loved one’s personality change as he/she tries to cope with the horrendous withdrawal effects these toxic chemicals cause.
I’m reminded of a quote from the late, great, Christopher Hitchens:
“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”
Pariante has, in the past, received funding from brain pellet manufacturers, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Lundbeck and Pfizer (source)