Thursday, April 03, 2008

Has GlaxoSmithKline bitten off more than it can chew? - bloggers weigh in over intimidation

Bob Fiddaman has now posted the intimidatory letter he received from GlaxoSmithKline over a video in which he discussed aspects of GSK's science. The comparisons Fiddaman drew elsewhere (not in the video) between a GSK employee and a) Hitler b) faeces are inappropriate. Fiddaman agrees and has apologized over that aspect. One is left wondering who has caused the greater offence, who owes the apology, and to whom that apology is owed. The scientific questions are overwhelming, and the intimidation of a questioning patient cannot be allowed to divert attention from the lack of any real answering.

Dr Alastair Benbow of GSK does have some serious answering to do. He has to explain in detail why public comments he made were truthful (or otherwise). If not truthful, he has to explain whether he lied, was duped by his employer, or whether he failed to examine the facts before making public statements. He has to respond in detail both as a scientist and as a medical doctor. And he has to respond in public. It is inappropriate for a public scientific figure to claim harassment when asked to justify crucial (and potentially lethal) public scientific statements that he made.

More and more decent people out there are linking in to this story. That’s a great show of solidarity against completely inappropriate action by a corporate bully that hasn't even begun to address the scientific questions it has been asked. Here is a primer to some of those questions. There are many others.

Bloggers discussing the intimidation of a patient, Bob Fiddaman, by GlaxoSmithKline
Please let me know if anybody has any more links and we’ll add them in.

I encourage you to spread the links to those blogs discussing this threat to Fiddaman. To make life a little easier, here’s some cut and paste code which I’ll also keep updated. Stick it in your blog post and the list will appear (just drag through and select all the text in the box from the start to the end of the scrollbox, right click and copy to the clipboard, and then post into your blog post after your own comments).

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soulful sepulcher said...

Great show of solidarity with the list of links; I've created a part 2 post that includes a photo I took of an appropriately named bottle of ale! along with the video.cheers! USA-soulful sepulcher,-patient advocate health blog

Radagast said...


You missed:

Missisyphus's Weblog - Bob Fiddaman's Video

and I make that a baker's dozen, including yours, mine and Bob's.

soulful sepulcher said...

I've also StumbleUpon'd my post that has the video and blogger support in the title.

This video will never be able to be removed from the internet; GSK is wasting their time, patients are a force they seem to have never noticed....oh yes, that's the problem!

Anonymous said...

Great work Aubrey. I hope all consumers whose lives have been ripped by drug lies will take notes on how to do this.

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even tacitly take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.—Mario Savio

Anonymous said...

Thoughts About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder (manic-depressive illness), if a disorder at all, has been defined as a major affective mood disorder in which one alternates between the mental states of deep and brutal depression and inflated elation- with the depressive episodes occurring more frequently. The disorder affects one’s cognition, emotions, perceptions, and behavior- along with psychosomatic presentations (such as pain with depressive episodes, for example). It is thought to be due to a physiological dysfunctional brain in one affected with bipolar disorder, yet the etiology remains entirely unknown. It is also believed that bipolar disorder presents itself when the affected one is between the ages of 15 and 25 years old. The disorder was entered in the psychiatrists’ bible, the DSM, in 1980. Also, bipolar disorder is thought to be correlated with creativity and accelerated growth of neurons if one is affected by it.
Research has determined that as many as 15 to over 30 percent of bipolar disorder patients commit suicide if they are untreated. Also, as many as half of those affected with bipolar disorder also have at times severe substance abuse issues along with this disorder as well. Bipolar patients are also often experiencing anxiety issues that vary, and are treated often as such. The disorder varies as far as severity goes- with some bipolar disorder patients being more affected than others. In fact, there are at least 6 classifications of bipolar disorder, according to the DSM. Bipolar patients are thought to be symptomatic half of their lives- with depressive episodes occurring more frequently than manic ones. When symptomatic, bipolar patients are thought to be rather disabled, according to some. As many as half of those suspected as having a bipolar disorder are thought to have at least one parent with some sort of mood disorder, which suggests a genetic predisposition to the disorder.
The diagnosis has become more frequent recently. In one decade, the assigned diagnosis of bipolar disorder rose from being about 25 per 100 thousand people to being 1000 per 100,000 people. Most diagnosed with bipolar disorder are not diagnosed based on solid, comprehensive, or psychiatric review that is often absent of valid or standard diagnostic methods. Some believe as many as 5 percent of the human population may be affected by bipolar disorder- which includes as many as 12 million people in the United States. A subjective questionnaire called the Mental Status Examination is often utilized when diagnosing one suspected has having bipolar disorder. Many believe the diagnosis has increased recently due to the progressive treatment options now available. It is an argument of increased awareness versus over-diagnosis.
Yet the diagnosis is vague, as children and adolescents are often absent in research with bipolar disorder. Many younger than 18 years of age are prescribed atypical anti-psychotics as first line treatment, which is largely not recommended as treatment options. In fact, close to half a million of those younger than 18 years of age are prescribed the atypical anti-psychotic Risperdal alone, it has been determined. The class of medications overall is thought to be prescribed to about 10 percent of those non-adults thought to have bipolar disorder.
While not recommended, one half of all those assessed as being bipolar are prescribed antidepressants, such as SSRIs, as first line treatment. It has been suggested that this class of drugs has decreased the risk of suicide attempts compared with other classes of antidepressants for close to 20 years. Yet tricyclic antidepressants have been determined to be efficacious in over half of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder- with a greater amount of research behind this class of drugs. Yet, entirely recognized treatments for bipolar disorder long term are lithium or lamictal- along with an anti-convulsant. Sugar intake is thought to vex the symptoms of one with a bipolar disorder as well.
Atypical anti-psychotics have been prescribed for bipolar disorder, which change some aspects of the brain, physiologically, as does the disease itself. In fact, one may argue the brain becomes more efficient due to both the disorder and the treatment with the atypical anti-psychotics. Yet many recommend the utilization of this class of drugs with bipolar disorder only if psychosis is present as well. As many as 15 percent of bipolar disorder patients diagnosed as such are prescribed an atypical presently. This class of medications may be particularly beneficial for those women who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder who are pregnant, however.
Lithium, which is essentially a very light metal with low density in which the salts are obtained for medicinal treatment, and an anti-convulsant are believed to be standard bipolar treatment, pharmacologically, studies have shown. This is due to Dr. John Cade and his examination with lithium and its benefits with those who have psychotic excitement close to 60 years ago. Lithium is believed to be both neuro-protective as well as having an anti-suicidal affect in those believed to be bipolar- and is viewed as a mainstay as far as treatment for bipolar goes with many who treat the disorder. Lithium is thought to regulate the calcium molecule in the brain, so this and valporate are historically the medicinal treatment options preferred for those with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar is difficult to detect, and is often diagnosed as major depression with many affected by this disorder. There is no objective criteria protocol available to utilize when assessing any patient believed to be suffering from any mental disorder. So such mental disorders that are diagnosed are ambiguous, yet that does not conclude that such disorders do not exist, such as the case with bipolar disorder.
Yet perhaps a health care provider should be very thorough and knowledgeable when assessing a patient believed to have a mental condition such as bipolar disorder,

Dan Abshear