Saturday, 20 June 2015

your Bipolar Scotland piece on Nice drugs guidance - do you have links with pharmaceutical companies?

Here is an Email sent today, 20 June 2015, to Professor Danny Smith, Glasgow University, upon reading his article in Bipolar Scotland' newsletter which had just come through my letterbox.

link to Prof Smith's page


Strapline: your Bipolar Scotland Features 17 in BS mag on Nice drugs guidance - do you have links with pharmaceutical companies?

"Dear Professor Smith (Danny)

Firstly, I am assuming that congratulations are in order, regarding your professorship?  Well done on your promotion.

I am writing in response to your feature in the BS mag which I have just received through my letterbox, on NICE guidance for bipolar disorder.  Which reads like a drugs promotional piece.  With its mention of:

  • haloperidol
  • olanzapine
  • quetiapine
  • risperidone
  • lithium
  • fluoxetine
  • valproate
  • lamotrigine

Many of these drugs I have personal experience of.  Either having been coerced to swallow them myself or had family members who were put under pressure to take them, or were persuaded to keep on taking them.  I would add Clozapine to the list as one of my relatives is now on this drug, in her 40's, and walks with a stick.  It causes inner ear balance issues, weight gain and speech problems, among other side effects. 

I notice that you also mention psychoeducation and psychological therapies but the drug recommendations take up most of the space.  Which takes me to the second reason for writing.

Do you have any links with pharmaceutical companies, for example are you a consultant, receive payment for advising drug companies, take money from them for speaking on their behalf at events or promoting their products?  In the interests of transparency I hope that you will respond to my question, with openness.  I will be putting this Email in a blog post so that others can see.

As you may be aware, I support the work of Dr Peter J Gordon in his petitioning Scottish Parliament for a Sunshine Act:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/GettingInvolved/Petitions/sunshineact

As a mother of sons who have accessed psychiatric inpatient treatment and received bipolar diagnoses, while in the process also of being subject to psychiatric abuse, I am keen to know if mental health academics are free from conflicts of interest in their work.  As in, any links with big pharma could be contrary to what is in the best interests of a service user or psychiatric inpatient.  Drug-centred rather than person-centred treatment.

Additionally, you and I are related, by marriage, and have family members in common.  We have debated on occasion, in the past, about mental illness and psychiatric diagnoses.  When you were employed at Cardiff University.  I remember how we were poles apart back then.  I am not sure if we are any closer together now, in respect of biological psychiatry and the harm that is caused by psychotropic drugs, particularly in the long term prescribing of them.  Which I can testify to.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Regards, 

Chrys

Bipolar Scotland newsletter page 21

For interest, here is my post ''More Harm Than Good: Confronting the Psychiatric Medication Epidemic' Conference 18 September 2015 London':

I have registered and bought plane tickets."

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