Do You Think GSK Give A F*CK About Your Health And Well Being?…

X RAY Dye Scandal So Big That They Buried It..

Derek Morrison tells of how the toxic X-ray dye affected him, and prompted his pursuit for justice


DEREK Morrison lost control of his bladder, his bowel and became impotent after he was injected with the dye Myodil during an X-ray on his injured back in May 1977.

“The myelin sheath around the nerves had melted and fused and I never thought I’d move again,” says the former laboratory technician and salesman.

The radiologist who performed the myelogram on Derek left 21mm of the dye in his back and X-rays show some of it travelled to his brain.

He lost his job and sensation in his legs and nearly died before doctors performed 15 hours of microsurgery to save his life.

“They told me I was hypersensitive to the myelogram. I accepted it. At the end of the day you believe your doctors,” he said.

While he gradually recovered the ability to move relapses over the years saw Derek hospitalised numerous times to have weights put on his muscles and nerves to control the pain.

He was in a wheelchair on and off for four years before he was taught to walk again at a rehabilitation centre using secondary muscles in his legs.

His doctors prescribed methadone for 27 years to control the pain and at times it was so bad he was suicidal.

READ MORE: How medicine watchdog failed us over spinal X-ray dye

Derek Morrisson has a disease called Arachnoiditis. Picture: Mark Scott

It wasn’t until 1992 that Derek fully understood what had happened to him.

His UK based mother Iris had also been injured after a myelogram and chanced upon an article about a court case on “spider’s disease” caused by myelograms.

The article in the Daily Mirror in 1992 was about how UK patients suffering arachnoiditis after an x-ray were suing drug company GlaxoSmithKline.

It was a Eureka moment for the pair.

Derek’s mother became paralysed by the dye left in her body and died on the operating table when doctors tried to ease her condition.

It was then Derek began a 25 year fight for justice for arachnoiditis victims collecting thousands of pages of official documents relating to the dye and its use worldwide.

Derek Morrisson possesses this document from the Australian Department of Health, confirming Pantopaque dye was used. Picture: Supplied

These documents are now contained in bulging folders that line his living room and the search this year finally unearthed documents that show the TGB failed Australian patients.

In 2001 Derek began legal action against his radiologist, the hospital and the drug company but in the end the lawyers only went after the radiologist and Derek lost his case.

They told him he would not win a case against the drug company. “They talked me out of it even though 140 other Australians received an out of court settlement against the drug company.”

When Derek lost his case legal aid services across the country refused to take on any more cases.

“The government knew what they’d done and they shut it down knowing there were hundreds and thousands of cases coming behind me. They shut it down,” he said.

Derek Morrison, who has helped expose the problem has spent the last 10 years doing more research and has documents that implicate the failure of our medicine watchdog in the scandal. Picture: Gary Ramage

“There were millions of injections it would have cost billions to fix it, it was so big they just buried it,” he said.

Despite his work in amassing thousands of pages of documents that showed researchers, doctors and government regulators knew of the dangers of the dye for decades only three pieces of paper were ever used in his court case.

Derek tried and failed to stage a protest at the Sydney Olympics against the company Kodak which made the dye, Kodak was sponsoring the Olympics.

Derek blames the pain and disability he suffered as a result of the dye for the break up of his marriage and estrangement from his children.

“This dye was used in 107 countries. I believe 186,000 people were injected with Pantopaque in Australia, more when you take into account Myodil,” he says.

“The important thing is the TGB was not at the gate at the time protecting us,” he says.

“If the TGB had done their job hundreds of thousands of my fellow Australians like myself would not have been abused in this way,” Mr Morrison said.

“My life would have been very different if it did,” he says.

What Derek wants most is for the truth to be told.

“I want recognition this did happen, that the TGB truly failed us, ninety per cent of the sufferers don’t even know the link or what caused their problems,” he says.


Adhesive Arachnoiditis

Australians crippled and in chronic pain from dye used in toxic X-rays


Hundreds of thousands of Australians are crippled by pain, and some are paralysed and wheelchair-bound because the nation’s medicines watchdog failed to check the safety of a dye used in spine X-rays for 42 years.

Explosive new documents reveal for the first time how the government body charged with protecting the public approved the X-ray dye Pantopaque without ever obtaining the studies that showed it was toxic to animals and humans.

“There is no evidence that any animal or clinical studies were specifically requested, submitted or evaluated as part of the approval process,” the Regulatory Services Group at the Department of Health admitted in a letter to dye victim Derek Morrison in February.

The dye called iophendylate sold under the brand name Pantopaque and Myodil contains benzene, hydrochloric and sulphuric acids and is toxic enough to eat polystyrene cups and linoleum tiles.

Medical experts who gave evidence to a 2013 parliamentary inquiry have compared the case with the harm caused by tobacco giants and asbestos company James Hardie.

The phones went into meltdown when News Corporation in 2002 revealed the terrible impact of the dyes on Australians.

RELATED: The man who blew the whistle on the X-ray dye scandal

Derek Morrisson was injected with a dye for a medical X-ray that resulted in him contracting a disease called Arachnoiditis. Picture: Mark Scott

Medical tests in the 1940s on 15 dogs at Rochester University in the US showed the dye killed one dog, paralysed another and left most of the animals with inflammation of their nerve roots.

Ernie Hughes, one of several importers of the dye, says he never knew the dye was toxic and says it was approved by the FDA in the United States.

“If I’d known I wouldn’t have sold it and I would have demanded that Myodil be taken off the market too,” he said.

There is no suggestion that Mr Hughes knew or should have known about the dye’s risks, or that he was involved in any wrongdoing.

Pantopaque was mysteriously approved by the FDA on the February 22, 1944 after previously being refused a license weeks earlier due to it being ‘too toxic’ for human use.

In 1969 an application for a licence to sell a half strength version of the dye was withdrawn after a dog study found connective tissue lesions in half the animals, three dogs died, and another became partially paralysed. Rabbit studies show it produced malformed babies with bulging eyes and malformed heads. The full strength version remained on the market.

Ernie Hughes, who used to import the X-ray dye Pantopaque. Picture: Gary Ramage

The Health Department never checked these studies before approving the dye for use here.

Now the victims of the dye are demanding the department and the pharmaceutical companies that marketed the dye publicly admit it harmed thousands of patients.

They want their health and support costs covered, funding for research into the best way to alleviate their pain and fund a charity to support sufferers.

Their calls were backed by a parliamentary inquiry into the dye in 2013 which called on pharmaceutical company GSK to set up a charity for the victims, it has refused to do so.

“GSK considers it has acted responsibly at all times in regard to the supply of Myodil including appropriate testing and monitoring, updates to product information, fair engagement in all legal proceedings and participation in the roundtable process,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

“Taking all these points into consideration, GSK came to the view that it would not be appropriate to establish a charitable foundation,” she said.

Mr Morrison believes there has been a massive cover up by doctors, companies and governments who are ‘just waiting for us to die’.

“They couldn’t fix it, it was so big so they buried it,” he says.

A dye that was injected into people’s spines to get a better picture on an X-ray has left many patients in great pain and many disabled as it ate away their spine. Picture: Gary Ramage

Other victims have told News Corp they are furious that the medical records they need to take legal action over the dye “went missing”.

A spokesman for the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Sussan Ley, said they X-ray dyes were considered to be the best method available to diagnose serious conditions of the spine. at the time.

“We are all concerned for those who have the painful and debilitating side effects from the two medicines (Myodil and Pantopaque) which were used in patients from the 1960s until the 1970s,” he said.

“The concerns of patients who received these medications was the subject of a House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health Roundtable on Adhesive Arachnoiditis on 21 September 2012, he said.

“The committee report recommended that the sponsor of the medication, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), should consider establishing a charitable foundation to assist sufferers of adhesive Arachnoiditis.

Jenny Carter from NSW is still suffering from being injected with the X-ray dye.

“I understand that GSK has compensated some patients, however, access to further assistance for other sufferers should be taken up with GSK.

“If there is any new evidence on this issue it should be brought forward and assessed,” he said..

Actress Jean Howell who co-starred with James Bond star Roger Moore in the television series The Saint was a famous victim of the dye.

Associate Professor Mal McLeod from the ANU’s Research School of Chemistry says the dye iophendylate was marketed under many names including the brands Myodil and Pantopaque in Australia “it’s the same compound,” he says.

In Australia the dye was injected into patient’s spines before X-rays called myelograms for 42 years, it was withdrawn from the market in 1987 and replaced by a new water based dye.

Radiologists knew iophendylate could cause arachnoiditis but say at the time it was the only way to get a decent X-ray image.

They admit they never warned their patients the painful condition called arachnoiditis was a potential side-effect.

Experts told a parliamentary inquiry the condition causes inflammation and fusion of the nerves and membranes of the spinal cord pain and delivers burning pain “like bolts of electricity”.

Victims also suffer loss of muscle function, paraplegia, incontinence, unpleasant sensations such as ants walking on the skin or having hot water poured on one’s legs. Many patients are wheelchair-bound.

Alan Wood from Queensland has also been left with side effects after his encounter with the dye.

In 2000 around 140 Australian victims of the dye received compensation from drug company GlaxoSmithKline which marketed the Myodil brand of the dye.

However, many victims are unaware the dye is the cause of their health problems and those who do have been unable to get compensation cases through the courts.

Now News Corp has learned when it had a chance to check the safety of the dye in the 1970s the Therapeutic Goods Branch (TGB) of the Department of Health failed to get the studies that should have raised alarm.

The Myodil brand of the dye was first used on humans in the 1940s well before Australia had a government body that checked the safety of medicines and medical products.

However in 1966 after the thalidomide scandal the Australian Government introduced the Therapeutic Goods Bill to regulate the sale of medicines and other therapeutic goods.

This meant that in 1972 when Myodil became contaminated and a Melbourne doctor began importing a US brand of the same dye called Pantopaque it was regarded as a new product and was covered by the new medicine regulations.

A letter from the Department of Health Therapeutic Substances Branch to Epworth Hospital in June 1972 explains:

“Pantopaque is regarded as a new therapeutic substance and has not been approved for general marketing in Australia.”

Glenda Nelson of Victoria says her life took a turn for the worse after she was injected with the dye.

The hospital was granted approval to use it in emergency cases only and as long as guidelines for experimental use were followed and chemistry and quality control data were provided.

In 1973 Nicholas Pharmaceuticals applied to the TGB for a licence to import Pantopaque into Australia.

Over the next two years various arms of the company were repeatedly asked by the TGB to supply studies on the safety and toxicology of the dye.

In February 1975 Cook Industries took over supplying the dye in Australia various Health department documents show.

The company was unable to obtain the studies from the US company Lafayette Pharmacal that marketed the dye.

Ernie Hughes the former managing director of Amyl Chemical Industries, the Australian branch of Nicholas that imported the dye and also former managing director of Cook Industries says he never knew about the studies in dogs that showed the dye was toxic.

“We only dealt with the commercial company selling Pantopaque, it had FDA approval,” he said.

There is no suggestion that Mr Hughes knew or should have known about the dye’s risks, or that he was involved in any wrongdoing.

He says medical practices at the time were very different to today and many radiographers as well as patients were injured by chemicals and X-ray dyes.

Gaye Hilder from South Australia also suffers from chronic pain every day.

“Who do you go to for compensation? … you can go back in history … here were an entirely different set of things done years ago,” he says.

Despite the fact the TGB did not get the safety and toxicity studies it allowed the various companies to import over 13,500 ampoules of the dye for use in hospitals and X-ray laboratories while the marketing permit was being considered.

And in June 1975 it inexplicably gave up asking for animal studies on the dyes, crossing the word “animal studies” off its request for information from the company.

The department should have been alert to adverse events because in 1969 the US FDA demanded the US supplier of the drug include warnings on the label that adverse reactions included “severe arachnoiditis producing headache, fever, meningitis, pain in the back and extremities and elevation of the white blood count”.

In 1977 our health department was asked by the US FDA to supply details of adverse reactions after it emerged the US company had never filed adverse reaction reports as required by law.

A departmental file note in 1971 shows the TGB had received “a number” of adverse reaction reports but was “not investigating these in the laboratory at this stage as an individual approach to each of these is not possible because our background in the testing of these drugs is rather limited”.

Later, in 1978 our National Biological Standards Laboratory had complaints from 8 doctors about Pantopaque.

And in June that year a Heidelberg Hospital patient died after being administered with the x-ray dye and the adverse drug reaction report says “maybe drug casualty possible”.

A copy of a document from Derek Morrisson from the Australian Department of Health, confirming the use of the X-ray due Pantopaque. Picture: Supplied

Despite this the dye was finally approved for marketing in 1979 without the TGB ever obtaining the animal and human studies it asked for to prove it was safe for use in humans.

“Pantopaque was assessed for safe use in humans as part of the assessment for its marketing approval, but as mentioned to Mr Morrison this did not include specific clinical studies or animal studies,” the department told News Corp.

“The sponsor did provide a list of over 100 publications on the use of the dye as part of the evaluation. There was also knowledge of the use of the dye over many years,” the Department said.

Flinders University Emeritus Professor Michael Sage. A radiologist, says he can’t believe the TGB approved Pantopaque for use in 1979 because he was warning them at that time it caused arachnoiditis.

“It was madness to approve it in the 1970s” he says.

“I struggled to get water based dyes approved in the 1970s because I was aware of arachnoditis,” he said.

“At the same time as they were approving Pantopaque we were asking them to approved a new water based dye because of arachnoiditis,” he said.

“They should never have approved Pantopaque in the 1970s, if they approved Pantopaque in the 1970s it was without taking on board people’s concerns about arachnoiditis,’ he said.

Radiologists used the oil based dyes Myodil and Pantopaque until the 1970s because there was no alternative way to get an image of the spine, he said.

“(They) used it because there was nothing better,” he said.

The dye ceased being marketed in Australia from 1987 but many thousands of patients who suffered its adverse effects have never been compensated and many may be unaware the dye caused their symptoms.

Disabled solicitor who ‘faces the rest of his life in a wheelchair after being poisoned by doctors as a child’ is suing drugs giant Glaxo for millions of pounds in damages

  • Disabled Keith Lewin, 59, had suffered with back pain since his childhood 
  • Solicitor says Glaxo chemical injected into his back at 15 has led to life of pain
  • In 2013 surgeon found oily myodil still inside his spine, the High Court heard
  • Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline says that Mr Lewin has left it far too late to sue
Keith Lewin, 59, had suffered with back pain since his childhood, and claims an agent injected into his spine as a child means he will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair

Keith Lewin, 59, had suffered with back pain since his childhood, and claims an agent injected into his spine as a child means he will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair

A disabled solicitor who faces the rest of his life in a wheelchair because he was inadvertently poisoned by doctors as a child is suing drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline for millions in damages, the High Court heard.

Keith Lewin, 59, suffered with back pain since his childhood but his health issues spiralled out of control in middle age and led to a devastating diagnosis in 2012.

He was told he had adhesive arachnoiditis, a rare spinal condition which causes debilitating pain and which has left Mr Lewin tetraplegic and confined to a wheelchair.

Mr Lewin, of Farington Moss, near Preston, claims that the blame lies in a procedure he underwent as a 15-year-old boy at Merseyside’s Whiston Hospital.

There, medics injected a ‘contrast agent’ called myodil into his spine so that it could be better viewed on an x-ray.

But the procedure did not reveal the source of Mr Lewin’s pain and instead led to his disability decades later, his legal team claims.

When he underwent an operation in 2013, a surgeon found the yellow oily myodil still inside his spine, the High Court heard.

Suing myodil’s maker and supplier GlaxoSmithKline for compensation, Mr Lewin claims it should have been withdrawn for use in diagnostic procedures years before it finally was in 1988.

‘He has suffered devastating injury,’ his barrister Simeon Maskrey QC told Mr Justice Goss.

‘And its attributability is clear to him and the surgeon who discovered myodil in his spine.’

Counter-claim: Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline says that Mr Lewin has left it far too late to sue over something which happened so long ago


Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline says that Mr Lewin has left it far too late to sue over something which happened so long ago

Myodil was used as a contrast medium in imaging of the back from the 1940s, allowing medics to better identify problems around the spine.

Mr Lewin’s lawyers claim it had not been sufficiently tested and, even if it could be used, Glaxo should have warned that it must only be in the most extreme cases.

A ‘better’ warning should also have been given about the need to remove the ‘unstable and toxic’ myodil immediately after x-rays, his lawyers claim.

The drugs giant denies all of the allegations and is trying to have Mr Lewin’s case thrown out.

Glaxo barrister, Jonathan Waite QC, argues that Mr Lewin has left it far too late to sue over something which happened so long ago.

He should have suspected by 1977 that he was suffering from the condition and took action to begin a claim before 1983, he said.

Mr Maskrey told the court that the first symptoms of adhesive arachnoiditis which Mr Lewin had were in 2007 when he felt a sudden excruciating pain while out walking.

But pointing to entries in the 20-year-old Mr Lewin’s diaries back in 1977, Mr Waite said the possibility of arachnoiditis was on his mind even then.

The young man, who was still being investigated for the cause of his back pain, had written of having ‘some symptoms’ of a condition which he spelled ‘racnoiditas’, said the barrister.

That must have come from either his orthopaedic surgeon or GP and should have been the moment when he began to investigate whether he could make a claim.

That he instead left it until he had a diagnosis three decades later meant his claim was ‘time-barred’ by the Limitation Act and should automatically fail.

‘Glaxo’s case is that the information about arachnoiditis imparted to him in 1977 was what should have prompted him, as a reasonable person, to be curious enough to start investigating what the cause of this might have been,’ said Mr Waite.

But Mr Maskrey said Mr Lewin had been told of a variety of possible causes of his pain in the mid and late 1970s, of which arachnoiditis was only one.

The pain he had suffered in those days was totally different from that which led to the discovery in 2012 that he had the condition, he continued.

Mr Maskrey said the earliest time in which Mr Lewin could have begun investigating a potential claim was 2007, but that he only had ‘actual knowledge’ of potential for damages in 2012.

That meant he was in time when he launched his claim and it should continue – unless Glaxo, with its ‘vast financial reserves’, decides to settle, he said.

Mr Lewin’s arachnoiditis, which causes inflammation of the membranes which surround the spinal cord, has left him severely disabled.

He suffers from debilitating pain and is confined to a motorised wheelchair both inside and outside his home.

He has had to make extensive adaptations to his home and his partner provides care. The condition is permanent and the prognosis is said to be ‘poor’, the court heard.

In 1995, Glaxo settled – without any admission of liability in relation to myodil – 426 claims which were due to go to court.

The judge reserved his decision on Glaxo’s bid to have Mr Lewin’s claim thrown out until a later date.


GSK’s Myodil Dye Paralyzes Man And His Daughter Appeals To Other Sufferers

I just wanted to highlight a a recent comment from one of my readers.
It’s in response to my recent post about GSK’s Myodil Dye destroying people’s lives..
Like Seroxat, the Myodil controversy is ongoing…
Many thousands of people have been harmed, maimed, and killed by both of these GSK products…
But these are things that CEO Andrew Witty never addresses because he would like to airbrush them out of his imaginary GSK mythology…
How would you respond to this lady Sir Witty?
How would you respond about Myodil or Seroxat destroying lives?
Do you give a damn?
How would you feel if this was your father?
60,000 Australians alone – were affected by Myodil..
So how many were maimed worldwide is anyone’s guess..
And then add Seroxat and all the other GSK poisons to that number and how many people’s lives destroyed do you get? and these are individual lives- what about the damage to their families and friends who have to pick up the pieces?
GSK have likely destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives..

Kerri griffin

“…My father became paralysed from the waist down a few years later after having myodil injected into him… Sadly he past away over 20 years ago now at the young age of 49… A year before he past away he was in contact with a solicitor (lawyer) that was ready to sue Glaxo over his disability unfortunately he didn’t get his day due to him passing and my mother not pursuing it… I’d advise anyone go get some legal advice because my father had a good case… P.s. I’m from the U.K…”


THEY are the forgotten Australians – 60,000 victims of a devastating medical practice that has left them crippled with pain, paralysed and incontinent.

This week they enjoyed a rare ray of light when Federal Parliament said they deserved the help and support of the drug company linked to their suffering.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which for 42 years marketed a dye used in an X-ray procedure connected to their pain, has been told to set up a charitable foundation to help.

However, while the pharmaceutical giant told News Limited it was “considering” the parliamentary report’s recommendations, it has so far not yet committed to providing any assistance.

I guess if you look at GSK’s website they talk about openness and transparency, but I felt they hadn’t taken responsibility for this and assisted the people who were affected,” he said.

“Where you take no responsibility it smacks of the tobacco industry’s approach to smoking and cancer,” he told News Limited.

The parliamentary roundtable said it had no power to order GSK to pay the victims’ compensation – that was a matter for the courts.

In 2000 GSK faced a class action from 140 Australian victims of the dye, the case was settled out of court and the payouts were confidential .

In 1995, 3,600 UK victims sued GSK but only 426 received an average payout of 16,000 British pounds in an out of court settlement.

In a statement this week GSK said it “had the utmost sympathy for the people who have been, and are, afflicted by arachnoiditis” and believed it had “acted responsibly at all times in relation to the supply of myodil”.

GSK Still Haunted By Their Horrific Spinal Dye Product – Myodil…

“….Angry victims have been seeking answers and compensation for years and a Parliamentary roundtable that was established in late 2012 recommended drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline should establish a charitable foundation for sufferers.

The roundtable concluded that Myodil and Pantopaque were used in myelography from the 1950s to the 1980s in Australia, the US and UK.

It found that it was widely accepted that the drug caused adhesive arachnoiditis in some patients.

GlaxoSmithKline told the Parliamentary round table that court action brought against the company in Australia in 1999 was dealt with by way of confidential settlements, without the drug company making any admissions of guilt.

GSK said Myodil was not withdrawn from the market in Australia but discontinued in 1987 when newer diagnostic radiographic techniques became available…”

Canberra Times 2014

After being prescribed GSK’s horrific Seroxat drug, and subsequently setting up this blog in 2007 I researched a lot about GSK. Aside from Seroxat, GSK have been involved in many other incidences, debacles and scandals with various products and drugs over the past few decades.

Myodil has to be one GSK’s most harrowing and despicable scandals against patients’ human rights, well being and health.

Myodil was an x-ray dye injected into people’s backs, and over time it caused their spines to literally degenerate.

This Glaxo dye (and the crippling effects it caused) induced immense pain for these individuals; lifelong crippling pain.

I can only imagine the kind of agonizing nerve pain that these people suffered from this horrible product.

It must be excruciating.

The New Zealand Parliament recently tabled a petition in February 2016 that the House of Representatives undertake a comprehensive review of the use of the contrast agent myodil (pantopaque) used in myelography, and the link to the development of adhesive arachnoiditis in New Zealand.  (see here)

I hope that GSK can be held accountable for the Myodil scandal..

NZ Myodil

Calls for judicial inquiry after drug’s chequered past revealed

June 14 2014

Julieanne Strachan

A DRUG linked to the death of at least three people and that left thousands of other Australians with crippling injuries was illegally sent to hospitals around the country and used without appropriate approval, say newly revealed health documents.

Health Department records brought to light by a Freedom of Information request have shown the drug Pantopaque, produced by Lafayette Pharmacal, should never have been at dozens of hospitals during 1974-78.

Joern Hagemann, who suffers from adhesive arachnoiditis a result of an injection of dye into his back in 1978 at the Canberra Hospital. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

It was considered an experimental drug and was not approved for general distribution when it was sent to more than 50 hospitals and medical clinics. It was bought into Australia on a restricted permit that allowed it to go to just four doctors practising at three Melbourne hospitals and one Perth hospital from 1974-1978.

However, in spite of restrictions on its import, Pantopaque was circulated in large quantities to hospitals and medical clinics in the ACT, NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia, earning the drug importer Cook Incorporated a rebuke from the Theraputic Goods Branch in June 1978. The TGB demanded an explanation, letters of correspondence between the two organisations show.

Red flags were raised about safety at the time. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ acting medical superintendent documented the death of a patient in August 1978 who had complained of abdominal pains after being injected with Pantopaque. The patient went into convulsions for two and a half hours before being comatosed. The patient never regained consciousness but was placed in intensive care, where bronchopneumonia developed and the person died. The TGB (Therapeutic Goods Administration predecessor) also wrote to the Bureau of Drugs in the US in November 1978 to instruct “a further adverse reaction of meningitis leading to death” had been reported following the injection of Pantopaque.

The drug, an oil-based contrast medium containing iophendylate dye, was injected into patients’ cerebrospinal fluid that allowed details of the spinal cord and spinal nerves to be visualised by X-ray. It has been blamed for many cases of adhesive arachnoiditis, an inflammatory condition affecting the middle layer of the meninges which are the membranes surrounding the spinal cord.

The spinal nerves stick together, preventing sufferers from moving freely, causing pain and other symptoms. The oil-based contrast media was also produced by GlaxoSmithKline which marketed it as Myodil.

The drug was not approved for general distribution by Cook Incorporated in Australia until October, 1979, before authorities were aware of its full potential impact.

Canberra bricklayer Joern Hagemann was injected with the drug after a construction accident in 1978. Following years of crippling pain attributed to the drug, Mr Hagemann has waged a lengthy battle to obtain documents that reveal how the dye was allowed to be used on him and thousands of others. Mr Hagemann said what had been revealed by the documents warranted a Royal Commission.

“It is acknowledged (Pantopaque) has dissolved rubber, glue and plastics so why was it unquestioningly permitted entry into Australia before approval in 1979 and why did the TGA allow the distribution just so the medical profession could inject it into people’s spines where it migrated into their brain, lungs and other areas?” Mr Hagemann said.

“The importing, distributing company Cook Incorporated must still be held accountable to the nation for the destruction, the unimaginable suffering and massive social and economic costs they have incurred.”

A spokeswoman for the TGA told Fairfax Media that Pantopaque had been available in Australia from at least 1961.

“The availability of Pantopaque in Australia in the early 1960s preceded any Commonwealth involvement in medicine regulation, and its use was considered the best method available at the time to diagnose and manage serious conditions of the spine,” she said.

“Compulsory pre-market evaluation by the Commonwealth Government of the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines was introduced in Australia in 1970.

“Pantopaque was regarded as experimental between 1974-78 as it had not yet received general marketing approval.”

The spokeswoman said the Therapeutic Goods Branch told Cook Inc that its unauthorised distribution of Pantopaque around Australia “was viewed with profound concern”.

“However, given the time that the product had been available (from at least 1961) and the apparent paucity of adverse events reported, approval to continue to supply was granted.”

Angry victims have been seeking answers and compensation for years and a Parliamentary roundtable that was established in late 2012 recommended drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline should establish a charitable foundation for sufferers.

The roundtable concluded that Myodil and Pantopaque were used in myelography from the 1950s to the 1980s in Australia, the US and UK.

It found that it was widely accepted that the drug caused adhesive arachnoiditis in some patients.

GlaxoSmithKline told the Parliamentary round table that court action brought against the company in Australia in 1999 was dealt with by way of confidential settlements, without the drug company making any admissions of guilt.

GSK said Myodil was not withdrawn from the market in Australia but discontinued in 1987 when newer diagnostic radiographic techniques became available.

Cook Incorporated did not respond to requests for comment.

Living with the pain of GSK’s Myodil

As Deputy Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing, I rise to respond to the chair’s statement on the report Living with the pain of adhesive arachnoiditis: report on the roundtable into adhesive arachnoiditis. I start with the following statement:

Our guiding principles are to focus on patient needs, respect people, communicate honestly and act with integrity. We are bound by a promise to keep our customers at the heart of everything we do. We do this work in partnership with Government, industry, the community and our peak industry association,

Any suffers of adhesive arachnoiditis will recognise this motherhood statement taken from the GlaxoSmithKline website. GSK is the company that released the Myodil and Pantopaque products into the medical world, which are a cause of the condition known as adhesive arachnoiditis, described in the report as a painful condition. We heard the chair say in her statement that this is a horrific condition.

The report states that the committee very much appreciates the contributions of all participants to its inquiry. The roundtable made clear to the committee how debilitating adhesive arachnoiditis can be to sufferers. The committee very much sympathises with and hopes that the recommendations of the report will help to improve the quality of life for sufferers and their families and carers. I particularly mention Mr Max Scott from my electorate of Swan, who first brought to this terrible condition to my attention. I also thank Mr Joern Hagemann and his daughter and carer, Mrs Erika Zorzit, who both came to visit me about Mr Hagemann’s condition. Their visit gave me the extra impetus to cajole, urge and convince the Standing Committee on Health and Ageing to commit to a roundtable and I thank my fellow committee members for their support in agreeing to the roundtable.

In particular I thank Steve Georganas, the previous chair, and Jill Hall, the current chair, both of whom played their part in getting this roundtable up. I thank the secretariat for their work on this difficult report as I felt there was a level of trepidation in dealing with this subject due to the long litigious history of the subject and the ongoing litigation. Thanks must also be given to the previous member for Throsby Jennie George for tackling this issue back in the early 2000s with the support of Jill Hall.

I also mention Mr Jonathan Martin from my office who spent a considerable amount of time dealing with sufferers and providing me with valuable research. His efforts should not go unnoticed by the people who read this report. During my time involved with the forgotten Australians apology more than three years ago, the comment that the Leader of the Opposition at that time, Malcolm Turnbull, made in his speech when he said, ‘We believe you,’ was, for many people, a significant moment. I think the same significance could be taken by arachnoiditis sufferers from the comments made by Professor Michael Sage, a radiologist, when he stated:

I believe that the most common cause of chronic arachnoiditis is Myodil, and most people have been suffering for 40 years. … These people have suffered, mainly because we were using a dye, Myodil, with no alternative. … there was a gradual recognition—with poor literature, I might say—that there was a problem. A needle was introduced to allow us to suck it out; the problem was that it was often impossible to suck it all out anyway. The bottom line was that, if there was some alternative, we should not have been putting it in. I was very concerned about this.

The report’s recommendation 1 goes back to the first part of my statement that was taken from the GSK website. This recommendation’s first paragraph states:

In the context of corporate social responsibility the Committee encourages GlaxoSmithKline to consider establishing a charitable foundation to assist sufferers of adhesive arachnoiditis.

This is a decision that only GSK can make. However, if we are to believe all the motherhood and community caring messages stated on their websites around the world, we can only hope that they honour these statements. If they do not act, their response to this recommendation will give us a true indication of GSK’s real community concern. In the report there is a comment that states there is an acceptable failure rate of 10 per cent for people who contract arachnoiditis from a myelography. I ask: would that be an acceptable failure rate for a motor vehicle manufacturer? The clear answer is no. My experience with manufacturing is that a one per cent failure rate is acceptable before they have a recall. I encourage people to read this report and again thank all the people who were able to finally have this debilitating condition brought to public awareness through this report. I commend this report to the House.

Remembering The Victims of Glaxo’s “Myodil”

“Strapped to a NHS x-ray table, a hypodermic needle thrust in to your central nervous system, tortured, poisoned with Myodil (Pantopaque), then left maimed in agonizing pain to slowly die?”


January 2013, important new website in association with the Myodil Action Group, “Myodil Victims: Worldwide Register” (Link)Stop Press, September 2012, Good friend Dr. Charles V. Burton M.D. F.A.C.S sent Ursula Coxhead an article, “Mengele in America: Human Experimentation and the Walter Reed Connection,” which he wrote for the Journal: Ethics in Biology; Engineering and Medicine.  (Link)July 2012, Dr. Burton becomes President Elect of the Association for Medical Ethics (Link)In Dr. Burton’s letter to Ursula Coxhead dated 8/11/2011 he states, “all Myodil Myelogram’s produced a toxic chemical meningitis to some degree, which then progressed to a secondary condition called Adhesive Arachnoiditis which is diffuse and accounts for the greatest number of cases of clinically significant Adhesive Arachnoiditis, and easily distinguishable from focal (local) Arachnoiditis caused by trauma or surgery which leaves the patient with no discernible symptoms.” A copy is on page fifteen of this blog.

For even more historical document information please visit the Myodil Action Group website. The Myodil Action Group was solely responsible for the inception of the House of Commons Myodil All Party Group and is the only group working with it and is demanding a public inquiry. If you want justice there are three things you should do. Please join the Myodil Action Group (MAG), chaired by Ursula Coxhead. If you live in the UK you should contact your MP explaining you are a sufferer of Myodil induced Adhesive Arachnoiditis and you want him or her to join the House Of Commons All Party Myodil Action Group you should also sign their e-petition to help them fight for a public inquiry, recognition, and compensation.

There is a conspiracy to hide this huge medical injury scandal. They ignored the warnings Myodil was unsafe but through willful ignorance or willful negligence they continued to use it, which means it is actually unlawful “criminal” injury, manslaughter or murder, the evidence is overwhelming. In the UK there are no statute of limitations on criminal offences.

The spinal cord is a pure environment which should not be insulted with needles and chemicals. If you went in to hospital with back ache and underwent a Myodil Myelogram it doesn’t matter if they found anything wrong with your spine or not, you came out with toxic chemical meningitis (a separate devastating injury far worse than any prior injury you may or may not have had) leading to diffuse Adhesive Arachnoiditis. These conditions are incurable and un-treatable, causing intractable pain and organ dysfunction/failure, both of these problems lead to death however they cover it up by stating death is caused by natural causes from organ failure.


Press Releases

21 Sep 2012 – Public roundtable Arachnoiditis

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) provided information to the Standing Committee on Health and Ageing’s public roundtable on Arachnoiditis through an ‘in- camera’ basis.

GSK has the utmost sympathy for the people who have been, and are, afflicted by arachnoiditis. Arachnoiditis is a complex condition that may be caused by a number of conditions such as spinal infections, surgery and trauma.

Myodil was an injectable dye used by doctors as a contrast medium for x-ray purposes in myelography and supplied by Glaxo from 1950.

Although a causal link between Myodil and arachnoiditis was not established, when the company became aware of a possible association, it included a precautionary warning in the Myodil product information sheet that there was a possible risk of arachnoiditis from the use of this medicine.

Myodil was not withdrawn from the market in Australia but discontinued in 1987 when newer diagnostic radiographic techniques became available.

All pharmaceutical products have side-effects, which doctors have to take into account by weighing them against the benefit to be gained by using the products.

In Australia, a court action around Myodil was launched against Glaxo and in 1999 Glaxo reached a settlement with claimants. The settlement was without admission of guilt. GSK is not at liberty to divulge the details of the settlement as these are confidential.

GSK believes that it acted responsibly at all times in relation to the supply of Myodil. Glaxo supplied this diagnostic product with the information available at that time to meet the needs of a very knowledgeable and specialist medical profession for many years, until it was superseded by newer products and technology.

GlaxoSmithKline is a global research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare company with a proud history in Australia dating back to 1886. Our mission is to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.


Worldwide millions of people underwent Myodil Myelogram’s, five million in America, a million in the UK etc. only Russia and Sweden wouldn’t use it because they thought it was dangerous. This medical injury is massive, the biggest ever, bigger than thalidomide.  As soon as you mention the phrase Myodil induced Adhesive Arachnoiditis, doctors become embroiled with psychological problems. If you have been lucky enough to have a scan through the NHS, they have purposely been done incorrectly so that it doesn’t show Adhesive Arachnoiditis (this happened to me). They do not want to admit they have been injuring/killing millions of people. So the medical profession have been lying through their teeth conspiring for decades to cover it up by ignoring it or telling you that you don’t have it.Extremely lucrative jobs and reputations are at stake, not to mention the massive possible compensation cost. So they are all working together protecting each other and to contain it to a minimum (aiding and abetting, which is unlawful). Nobody wants to expose Glaxo for selling a dangerous product that has been killing millions of people, once again lucrative jobs and reputations are at stake. Because this medical injury is so big in numbers and so damaging to the human body, the medical profession have had good cause to cover it up, because of this the media haven’t been able to understand just how serious it is.

This medical injury is iatrogenic which means the medical profession and Glaxo caused it, and because they caused it they don’t want to admit to it so you are blacklisted and can’t get a diagnosis or treatment, making you a sufferer of iatrogenic neglect which is cruel and shows how ruthless the medical profession is in guarding themselves over medical injury claims.

It’s not just Myodil Myelogram’s they have been injuring people with, it’s badly performed epidural’s as well.

Posted by eddy at 3:17 PM No comments:


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