Category: Psychiatric Drugs

Inside the 11.9 Million Dollar Seroxat/Paxil Induced Suicide Case..


$11.9 Million Paxil Suicide Verdict: The Inside Story

No one expected a very large award, let alone $11.9 million, in this suicide malpractice case involving the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine). The jury verdict on September 15, 2016 was gratifying and encouraging (Family of Pennsylvania jail suicide victim awarded $11.9M$11.8M Federal Medical Malpractice Verdict For Prison Inmate’s Suicide). It demonstrates that the judicial system and the public are becoming increasingly aware of the hazards of psychiatric drugs, including their capacity to make people behave in ways that are harmful to themselves and others, and contrary to their past behavior and character.

Great success seemed unlikely in this case. To begin with, suicide malpractice suits are very difficult to win. Juries understandably want to hold people responsible for their behavior when they kill themselves. I was going to testify that a single dose of Prozac 30 mg was the main cause of his suicide, a conclusion that other experts would vigorously challenge.

In addition, the case was in an area of the country where juries are conservative about giving monetary awards to plaintiffs. It was in the U.S. District Court for middle Pennsylvania in the city of Scranton.

Juries also tend to look askance at claims made on behalf of people in jail.  Mr. Mumun  Barbaros, the deceased victim, was in his fourth day of incarceration, awaiting release on bail. The judge did not allow the jury to know the nature of his alleged crime or the charges against him, and I was not permitted to comment on them. If allowed, I would have testified that Paxil-induced disinhibition drove him to vandalize the property of a man in a competing business.

Some people are also less sympathetic to naturalized citizens with strong ties to their countries of origin. Mr. Barbaros was a Bulgarian who became a citizen, but his wife and children spent only part of the year with him and he sent back large amounts of his earnings from his tavern to his extended family back home.

Finally, the case had scientific complexities that the jury had to understand.

The defendants were the independent healthcare provider to the jail, PrimeCare, and several of its personnel or contractors assigned to the jail. Mr. Barbaros had been taking Paxil for anxiety for many years, along with the sedating antidepressant trazodone to help him sleep.

At the time of his arrest, Mr. Barbaros reported that he needed his medication.  Due to a series of errors upon the part of the healthcare personnel, his request for medication went unfilled for four days.  By the second and third day, Mr. Barbaros develop headaches and hypertension, and his chronic stomach problem worsened, but no one attributed these symptoms to withdrawal. However, his intake evaluation and contacts with healthcare providers documented an absence of suicidal thoughts and revealed no great distress.

When the staff finally confirmed Mr. Barbaros’ medications, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) from the jail phoned the psychiatrist on call and asked him to prescribe the Paxil 30 mg and trazodone 100 mg. The LPN did not offer the doctor any information about Mr. Barbaros, such as his age, the reason he was taking the medications, how long he had been taking them, and how long he had been without them in jail. The psychiatrist, in turn, did not ask the nurse any questions, but simply authorized the drugs.

I testified that the psychiatrist’s actions were worse than practicing medicine negligently—he was not practicing medicine at all. He was more like a vending machine. I further testified that this was callous disregard, especially since he admitted to knowing that the drug had dangers associated with it, including suicide, and yet asked no information about the patient, did not come in to see him, and ordered no special supervision.

Following his first morning dose of the Paxil, Mr. Barbaros was seen for a routine evaluation by a staff psychologist in the mid-afternoon. At this point, Mr. Barbaros was drastically changed. He was no longer a man who conversed easily and showed no signs of significant stress, anxiety or depression. According to the psychologist’s deposition, Mr. Barbaros now looked extremely anxious and like a “cornered rat,” spoke very little, made poor eye contact, and looked hunched over and withdrawn. In the psychologist’s scantily written report, his only diagnosis was “rule out depression,” an entirely new diagnosis for Mr. Barbaros.

I attributed these drastic changes in Mr. Barbaros’ condition to the impact of the large dose of Paxil. The psychologist had not checked to see what medications Mr. Barbaros was taking. He did not check the medical record and therefore did not know that his current severely anxious and withdrawn state was entirely new for him during his incarceration.  He did not ask his patient if he was suicidal.

In my direct examination, I testified that restarting the patient on his regular dose of Paxil 30 mg, despite a hiatus of at least four days without the medication, was a direct cause of the suicide later on the same day. Restarting him on Paxil 30 mg, when most of the drug was out of his system, caused akathisia (agitation with hyperactivity) and suicide. I also found that the doctor and the psychologist were negligent in several other ways, including their failure to evaluate the patient and to order careful monitoring.

I further explained that Paxil (paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. All antidepressants can cause suicidal and homicidal behavior, especially those like the SSRIs that routinely cause stimulation or activation, including akathisia, agitation, insomnia, disinhibition, emotional lability, hypomania and mania, and a general worsening of the patient’s condition. Of all the antidepressants, Paxil was the only one to show a statistically significant association with suicide in depressed adults in the short and deeply flawed clinical trials used for FDA approval of the drug.

To back me up, I brought a number of documents, including a 2006 letter from the manufacturer to all healthcare providers admitting to the association between Paxil and suicide in depressed adult patients, and further warning that this risk might apply to patients with other diagnoses. I also brought a copy of the 2006 Full Prescribing Information for Paxil that carried the same warning about suicide in adults, before the drug company got the FDA to delete it in later editions. I had written about the subject of medication-induced suicide in my book, Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime.

One of the more dramatic moments in my testimony came on the first series of questions during cross-examination. When I began reviewing the case, I was asked to focus on Mr. Barbaros’ medical record going back approximately six years to the time when his primary care doctor had started him on Paxil 10 mg, apparently without difficulty, and then raised it gradually to 20 mg and then 30 mg. To be thorough, I examined all the remaining extensive medical records and came upon something remarkable buried within them that had previously escaped attention.

The day after his first dose of Paxil 10 mg, Mr. Barbaros became so anxious that he thought he was having a heart attack and sought immediate help at a local medical clinic separate from his primary care physician who prescribed the Paxil. That clinic referred him to a cardiologist on an emergency basis who evaluated him and found no physical disorder. These doctors treated Mr. Barbaros’ anxiety with prescriptions for a benzodiazepine tranquilizer.

Mr. Barbaros had experienced a very severe anxiety reaction to his first dose of Paxil, but it apparently never entered his mind that Paxil was causing it. From the medical record, it looks like he never told the emergency clinic or the cardiologist he had recently started taking Paxil and he never told his primary care doctor, when he returned for follow up later on, that he had been so anxious that he went to a cardiologist and received sedative tranquilizers. It is very common for individuals to fail to realize that their acute psychiatric emergencies are being caused by their psychiatric medication.  I call this phenomenon “medication spellbinding” or intoxication anosognosia.

As a medical expert in a product liability case against GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Paxil, I had discovered from the company’s secret files that Paxil frequently caused severe psychiatric adverse reactions during the first few doses. I had published an article about this in the hope of alerting people to the risk. This earlier work of mine enhanced the credibility of my discussion.

So… when I was asked at the beginning of cross-examination to explain why Mr. Barbaros would have such a bad reaction to being restarted on Paxil since he never had a bad reaction to being started many years earlier, I had an unexpected answer. I could reply and document from the medical records that, in fact, he had a drastic psychiatric reaction to the original 10 mg dose but no one recognized that it was related to the Paxil. The defense attorney was so flummoxed by my revelation that he never even asked to see the relevant medical records. The cross-examination then went on for an unexpectedly long time, requiring me to come back a second day. The defense probably was hoping that the jury would forget the revelation I had disclosed in the first few minutes.

The jury not only found that PrimeCare and several of its practitioners and staff had been negligent, they further concluded that the company and most of the individual defendants acted with deliberate indifference to Mr. Barbaros’ medical needs.

Despite a vigorous challenge by the defendants’ attorneys, the judge qualified me as an expert in psychiatry, psychopharmacology and the specific drug Paxil. In the trial, other experts testified for the plaintiffs concerning the nursing care and administrative policies of the healthcare provider, as well as the violent method of Mr. Barbaros’ death by gagging himself.

The jury award included $2.8 million for negligence, $1.06 million for federal deliberate indifference and $8 million for punitive damages. The case is Ponzini et al. v. Monroe County et al., case number 3:11-cv-00413, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The attorney for the plaintiff was Brian Chacker of Philadelphia. He worked extraordinarily hard and with great diligence on the case.

I do believe that the success of this case reflects greater awareness within the public and the judicial system concerning the dangers of psychiatric drugs.

Psychiatrists Now Trying To Back Track On Their Promotion Of The (Fraudulent) Chemical Imbalance Theory


RW

“..In December 2003, O’Mahony’s husband died from suicide, following a bout of mild depression. After her husband was prescribed the SSRI, Seroxat, O’Mahony claims that his symptoms became progressively worse, culminating in his suicide 13 days later.

“I am not saying that Seroxat caused my husband’s suicide, but I do think that it had a significant role to play in the deterioration of his condition, which eventually ended in his death,” says O’Mahony.

“Which is why I am calling for access to full and impartial information about the potential risks and adverse effects of prescription medication…”

(Irish Times 2005)

“It was a letter from a member of the public, Nuria O’Mahony, which in part prompted last week’s report from an Oireachtas health subcommittee on adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in pharmaceuticals.
Convinced that her husband had taken his own life because of side effects from antidepressants, she wanted answers. “….

…” On the broader issues raised in the report, he (Dr John Hillery) says the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and practitioners is “a constant issue for debate within the profession”.

“The first thing I find reassuring is that everywhere I go, doctors are aware of this as an issue . . . people are aware of it and are questioning how to deal with it,” he says. “Secondly, the regulatory body has set out certain guidance and is continually reviewing that.”

(Irish Times 2007)

Dr-John-Hillery  

  • Note: Dr John Hillery, is a psychiatrist and a high ranking member of Fianna Fail (the hated government party which brought Ireland into an economic collapse and subsequent economic depression, IMF Bail out, and crippling austerity cuts). Ironic? ..indeed, and definitely creepy- considering there have been hundreds of suicides because of the economic crisis in Ireland also.
  • Hillery ran as a candidate for Fianna Fail in an election and he is also the son of a former president of Ireland. I’m sure he was probably cushioned from most of the harsh affects of Ireland’s national economic depression and societal collapse (there’s good money in politics and psychiatry you know!).

“…Some call themselves anti-psychiatry, some are part of the critical psychiatry movement, or promote the theory of “post psychiatry”. Others just know there has to be a better way…”

(Jennifer Haugh Irish Examiner Sept 2015)

“…Less than a third of people with common mental health problems get any treatment at all – a situation the nation would not tolerate if they had cancer, according to the incoming president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.”..

(2014)

“...Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: ‘That antidepressants are helpful in depression, together with psychological treatments, is established. How they do this is not.

‘Most researchers have long since moved on from the old serotonin model…”

(2015)

“…With the advent of the chemical imbalance theory, the companies were no longer just providing soothing tonics, they were now providing medications to treat diseases, as exemplified by an early SSRI advertisement stating: “When serotonin is in short supply, you may suffer from depression.” The wording here is all-important. The advertisement takes a correlation between serotonin shortage and psychological stress-and even this is highly questionable and unverifiable in any individual case-and makes a leap of faith to the conclusion that depression is caused by a serotonin imbalance, not that psychological stress impacts the serotonin system. And the marketing did not stop with depression; eventually we were told that whatever our problems might be, whether anxiety, excessive shyness, depression, or the inability to pay attention, the underlying cause was a faulty transmitter level which could be rectified with a pill…”

Up until recently (or at least the past 5 years or so) many psychiatrists, doctors, patient groups, and pharmaceutical companies continually promoted the mantra that mental illnesses (depression in particular) were caused by a mere chemical imbalances in people’s brains. The public (patients, doctors, carers, parents etc) all swallowed this mantra, hook line, and sinker- for decades. Many millions of people, world-wide for the past 30 years at least, have been medicated with anti-depressants solely based on this theory alone. I remember my doctor telling me in 1998, that I had a chemical imbalance and that I would need to take Seroxat (Paxil) for life in order to treat this ‘imbalance’ (luckily I got off it- wasn’t easy but I haven’t taken a pill for depression since so effectively my doctor was wrong).

This fraudulent theory has permeated mental health discourse, and many people were duped into taking medications which they did not need- and many have also been damaged from the meds too.

Who is responsible for this fraud?

GSK, the manufacturer of Seroxat (the drug which was pushed on me) said in their PIL in 2003- that :

“Seroxat is one of a group of medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and works by bringing the levels of serotonin back to normal.”

But…

“….by mid 2006 GSK was starting to get closer to admitting the truth in its PIL “It is not fully understood how Seroxat and other SSRIs work…”

This (fraudulent) theory was even promoted by so called ‘mental health support groups’ such as Aware  ( an Irish group- who from my experiences with them seemed merely just a front for St Patrick’s biological psychiatry agenda) and others in the UK, and elsewhere.

In the 90’s and the 2000’s you couldn’t read anything about depression anywhere, without seeing some kind of reference to the biological basis (or chemical imbalance theory) of depression, and other psychiatric disorders. The ‘chemical imbalance’ bogus lie was told everywhere.

By the mid 2000’s the fact that there was no way to test for low serotonin levels, and that there was no medical test for any psychiatric disorders, began to weave its way into the discourse about mental health (particularly online and as online discourse began to take over). It was around this time (under criticism, and attack from ex-patients and critical psychiatrists and psychologists during the mid 2000’s) that psychiatry began to back track on their promotion of the chemical imbalance theory.

They began to try and appear like they never really promoted it at all, and they now want us to believe that:

Dr John Hillery, director of communications of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, says Lynch’s charges are “at odds” with what the college believes.

I don’t believe the chemical imbalance theory is still widely believed in Ireland,” he says. “It’s not something that I would have told patients, I would have told people about the theories… and that there is a lot of evidence to show they [medications] help people. But they are not going to help everyone and should be part of a treatment package that includes talking therapies and other forms of support.”

Hillery says the college does not have an “official position” on the chemical imbalance theory.

Dr Terry Lynch has documented this chemical imbalance fraud in his ground breaking book “Depression Delusion (volume one the myth of the brain chemical imbalance), and there are countless articles and websites online which show how this fraud has been (and still is) perpetuated.

Psychiatry is now in denial mode (or even worse- ‘re-write the historical record mode’). The psychiatric profession is pretending now that it had no real part in this fraud at all, however at the same time, despite back tracking on the chemical imbalance fraud (which it has effectively instilled into psychiatric treatments, and the public mind, for the past few decades) psychiatrists are still trying to push medications as first line treatments for depression.

Hillery of the College of (Irish) Psychiatrists says the college is pushing the “bio/psycho/social model” and the recovery concept, and teaches trainee psychiatrists to look beyond the medical model. “I would hope people are being told they can recover, and can eventually get off medications… some can get off them, but others will need to remain on them.

“One of biggest frustrations we have is a lack of access to other therapies for people who can’t pay…”

It’s interesting how Dr John Hillery of The College of Irish psychiatry (and most other schools such as the royal UK one) are now claiming that they are telling people that they can recover from mental illness, and that some, at least – can get off the medications. It is also interesting to see people like Hillery say that the theory of a chemical imbalance is not widely believed in Ireland anymore. This is an outstanding reversal of belief, it’s also not true, because the chemical imbalance explanation of depression is still very much widely believed in Ireland (and indeed it is globally too). It is because of psychiatry pushing this theory relentlessly (on behalf of drug companies) that we had such widespread prescribing off the back of it. The theory is a myth, but psychiatry haven’t even begun to tell the truth about the myth.

This is also a stark difference in approach by Irish psychiatry ( or at least it appears that way) compared to 1998 when I was prescribed Seroxat. Furthermore, although psychiatry is now shying away from its responsibility in promoting the chemical imbalance theory (which it endorsed and sold to us for decades), it’s also admitting that there is a severe lack of availability of talk therapy, therefore what use is their new claim that anti-depressants are useful in conjunction with talk therapy?

If there is a severe lack of talk therapy, then people aren’t getting adequate treatment or effective treatment at all are they? and what does depression treatment entail nowadays? It entails drugs without talk therapy, it’s still just drugs, it always has been just drugs in psychiatry, and it continues to be because psychiatry believes in the drugs as first line treatments, so when they say get ‘treatment’ for depression, invariably most people will still end up on chemicals like Seroxat because that’s all psychiatry has to offer (and it intends to keep it that way despite trying to make it appear that there are ‘options’ other than meds).

Biological psychiatrists don’t value (or really believe in) talk therapies as solutions to mental health problems therefore they don’t lobby their respective governments for it. They try and make the public believe that they value them but it’s clear that they don’t. They try to claim there is a lack of funding too, however, if you research psychiatry you will find it’s a very lucrative and wealthy profession, so the lack of funds for talk therapies really doesn’t wash with me. Their ideology is drug based, and it always has been (the pharmaceutical industry owns psychiatry nowadays). Their promotion of the chemical imbalance theory was a fraud which damaged an entire generation of people, they just can’t avoid that fact and they cannot shirk away from the major part they played in it by attempting to pretend it never really happened. How arrogant of psychiatry to think it can erase, delete, and re-write its own history! (not content with fiddling with patients’ personal histories, it now wants to fiddle its own).

Thankfully, which I have already mentioned- Dr Terry Lynch has documented the chemical imbalance fraud in his new book, Depression Delusion, so when the psychiatrists start coming out with more nonsense about not really promoting this fraud in the first place then at least we have a published book which documents it in its entirety.

So the next time a doctor tries to push a drug on you for a chemical imbalance, get Terry’s book, read it, then make your doctor read it, push it on him/her in the same manner that he/she would push a drug on you- and for anyone else interested in these things generally (psychiatry, the pharmaceutical industry, depression etc), it’s well worth checking out- here are some reviews:

Here is a link to the first public announcement of the book http://www.recoveryourmentalhealth.com/my-next-book-depression-delusion-volume-one-the-myth-of-the-brain-chemical-imbalance-publication-date-02-sept-2015/

Here are nine endorsements of the book by prominent figures in mental health internationally:

“Terry Lynch is a courageous voice of scientific and moral truth in a field too long obscured by psychiatric and drug company propaganda. In debunking the myth of  ‘biochemical imbalances’, he provides an inestimable service to the health professions and to humanity by liberating them from a dogma that inhibits real psychological and spiritual growth.”

(Dr. Peter R. Breggin, American psychiatrist, author of Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal; Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions,  and Toxic Psychiatry; founder of the Center for Empathic Therapy, Education and Living, Ithaca, New York, USA.)

“Terry Lynch has given one of the most pervasive and harmful myths of modern times a thorough debunking. Exposing the truth that there is no scientific grounding to the idea that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance is essential if we are to develop a more constructive response to psychological distress and suffering.”

(Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, psychiatrist, Senior Lecturer at University College, London, England, in the Division of Psychiatry, honorary consultant psychiatrist,author of The Myth of the Chemical Cure).

 

“This will be a very helpful book. I spend a lot of time talking with patients and their families about the limitations of psychiatric knowledge. I try hard to be transparent about the pros and cons of psychotropic drugs. One of the great myths that many people have bought into is the ‘chemical imbalance’ theory of depression. Now I can happily point them to Terry’s book for a comprehensive account of how that myth was developed and how it is sustained. Thank you!”

(Dr. Pat Bracken, psychiatrist and Clinical Director, West Cork Mental Health Service, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland).

“In this book the courageous Irish physician Terry Lynch has taken on the fiction of ‘chemical imbalances’. With no scientific evidence for this nonsense whatsoever, the psychiatric establishment, and the drug companies who own them, have been perpetrating an enormous fraud on the public. Doctor Lynch lays bare that this theory has no factual basis at all. I urge everyone concerned about the issue to read this important book.”

(Ted Chabasinski, J.D., USA attorney, psychiatric survivor, anti-psychiatry activist).

Dr. Terry Lynch in his book Beyond Prozac showed that he wasn’t frightened to throw down the gauntlet and challenge the status quo within mainstream mental health care. In Depression Delusion, Dr. Lynch has surpassed this and thrown himself into the lion’s den with gusto! Many mental health professionals, medical doctors, drug companies, members of the public and the mass media continue to propagate the ‘chemical         imbalance’ theory of depression. Through extensive and valid research Terry takes the reader on an epic journey revealing why this myth needs to be eradicated. When this delusion is destroyed we will all need to decide how we view and deal with depression in the future. Terry continues to address these very important questions in detail. If you still hold to the belief that the world is flat, then Depression Delusion will rock your very foundations!”

(Julie Leonovs, MSc in Psychological Research Methods, mental health activist,,Gateshead, United Kingdom).

“It was the delusion that a chemical brain imbalance could cause the problems I experienced for over two decades that actually caused me and my family severe distress.  It was meeting and hearing Terry Lynch that helped me to find out the truth. It is the myth of the chemical brain imbalance theory that continues to give deceptive, coercive psychiatry the power to force psychotropic drugs and electroshock on vulnerable people. Terry Lynch’s new book Depression Delusion will hopefully educate many, many others so that finally this myth will be exposed and eliminated.  Everyone who wants to know the true facts will want to read this book.”

(Mary Maddock, Cork, Ireland. co-founder MindFreedom Ireland, co-author of Soul Survivor: A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry).

 

“I am a big fan of Terry’s first book Beyond Prozac, and Depression Delusion does not disappoint. A thorough, forensic examination of Western psychiatry’s  (mis)treatment of depression, and how doctors and mental health professionals are all too often misinformed about the facts concerning antidepressant treatment. When Terry describes his work with people suffering from depression, it is clear that what is required instead is compassion, empathy and gaining a real understanding about someone’s story. Terry’s insights into the reasons why we become depressed should form an integral part of all mental health training.”

(Nick Redman, Survivor/Activist, Member of Bristol Hearing Voices Network, United Kingdom).

“It is widely accepted by professionals, the media, ordinary people and psychiatric     service users themselves that mental distress is caused by a ‘chemical imbalance in the brain.’ There is no evidence that this is the case. In fact, there never has been any evidence for such a statement. Moreover, senior psychiatrists and drug companies have known they were making false claims for the 50 years or so that this myth has been circulating. How and why did this massive deception occur, and in whose interests does it operate? Terry Lynch’s remarkable detective work traces the horrifying story back to its roots in the drive for drug company profits and the complicity of a profession trying to establish its medical credentials. Meanwhile, millions of psychiatric service users have been told damaging falsehoods which have directly supported an equally unevidenced biomedical model of intervention. Psychiatrists are rapidly backpedalling—but Lynch is not about to let them off the hook. He has written a thorough and principled expose of the ‘chemical imbalance’ rhetoric and its devastating consequences. Read it for essential enlightenment about one of the most damaging myths of our time.”

(Dr. Lucy Johnstone, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Cwm Taf Health Board, South Wales, author of A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis and Users and Abusers of Psychiatry).

“In challenging the very dangerous pseudo-scientific explanations of depression, Dr. Terry Lynch brings his medical background and his scientific integrity to bear on the issue.  It was this powerful combination first seen in Beyond Prozac that attracted the interest and support of Dr. William Glasser, the creator of Reality Therapy and Choice Theory psychology, a long-time challenger of the chemical imbalance hypothesis.  The Depression Delusion is essential reading for those who experience or deal with depression, one of the most painful of human conditions”.

Brian Lennon, Dublin, Ireland, Founder of William Glasser International, psychologist, guidance counsellor.

House of Lords Speaker Addresses Harms From Psychiatric Drugs and Prescription Addictions


http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/06/house-of-lords-speaker-addresses-harms-from-psychiatric-drugs-and-prescription-addictions/

House of Lords Speaker Addresses Harms From Psychiatric Drugs and Prescription Addictions

The Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry has published the text of a speech by the Earl of Sandwich in the British House of Lords. The Earl criticizes physicians and the government for not recognizing or helping people who are suffering long-term harms from psychiatric medications or who have become unwittingly addicted to certain psychotropics by following their doctors recommendations.

“(W)hile huge resources are rightly devoted to criminality, virtually nothing is spent on prescribed drug addiction because it appears that no harm is caused to society; it is society that is causing the harm,” states the Earl. “Yet a mere handful of charities are coping with increasing numbers of desperate people who become dependent and cannot easily withdraw. Despite the — I am afraid — feeble efforts of the Department of Health and a few exceptions among primary care trusts, the devolved NHS and three successive health Ministers have virtually ignored the problem, having shown a lot of enthusiasm to begin with.”

The Earl hopes that an upcoming report from the British Medical Association on involuntary dependence on prescribed medicine will help bring about policy changes.

Earl of Sandwich speaks on prescribed drug harms in the House of Lords (Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, June 10, 2015)