Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Let’s review – A medical doctor is a doctor of “medicine” (just as a juris doctor is a doctor or teacher or law, and a doctor of philosophy teaches philosophy). Medical doctors are not trained in aspects of health, nutrition, lifestyle modification or elegant management of mental or spiritual aspects of life. I always chuckle when patients complain to me that their medical doctor knows nothing about nutrition. “Why should they?” I inquire, “Nutrition is not part of our training nor is it what is expected of us as medical doctors!” And when they ask me “Well, you’re a medical doctor. How did you learn all about nutrition and diets and corrective habits of health?” I tell them that when I realized in medication school that using drugs intelligently was only one small aspect of helping patients reattain health and joy, I took it upon myself, extracurricular, to study these other modes of healing, in addition to and not instead of standard medical practice.
As a medical doctor, I constantly study the nature of medicines – both prescription (i.e. man-made, patented and profitable) and naturally occurring (i.e. God- made, not-patentable and practically free for the taking). Medicines are a powerful and wonderful tool which offer tremendous benefits. However, it is not the core of my practice. Instead, I use medications only when necessary and only at the minimal dose which is fully effective. The wisdom of healing nutrition, exercise, managing thought processes and self-reliance are the core tenets of Corrective Medicine whereas the use of patented medications, while it often saves lives in the short-run, typically damages, disrupts or depletes natural biochemical processes and can delay true healing.
When I prescribe a medication, therefore, I consider with my patient, the pros and cons of various drugs and we decide together a therapeutic strategy. Many of my patients come to me for help with psychiatric problems and we typically use some medication to lessen the voices, or calm the inflammed mood, but there is one class of drugs which makes me cringe when patients present on it: the SSRI drugs.
Many many of my patients love the benefit they receive on these SSRI anti-depressant medications but more than 30% feel that these, more than any other drug class on the market today are “dehumanizing” (I am using their words, the words of patients who, once they detox and taper off these drugs, look back and say “I got lost somewhere along the way. I just disappeared gradually on that SSRI.”
So the news today is that more and more people are agreeing with my patients and their criticism of this SSRI is costing the companies that promote them more than $1 billion.
I hope that my medical colleagues will note the word of caution offered Dr. Don Carlat, psychiatrist at Tufts who wrote: “It would motivate doctors to dig into the literature even more before prescribing these drugs.”
Or maybe we can all try and bear to heart the clarion words of Hippocrates, the father of modern western medicine, when to reminded doctors to “first do no harm”. That is why I start with God-made unpatented remedies, that is why I teach and practice corrrective medicine and psychiatry, and that is why when I do prescribe patented profitable drugs, the patient and I carefully review the pros and cons of the drug so as to fully inform all parties as to the real risks and benefits. If you don’t do that or worse, if you hide negative data, it will cost you and those who trust you. $1 billion is not the true cost for all the suffering.
The company hasn’t specified in regulatory filings the number of suicide, birth-defect and addiction cases settled.
“It’s important to disclose such settlements because it raises the red flag for both doctors and patients that there might be a problem,” said Dan Carlat, a psychiatrist at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston who writes and edits a blog and a monthly Psychiatry Report. “It would motivate doctors to dig into the literature even more before prescribing these drugs.”
- About 450 suicide-related Paxil cases were settled. Only about a dozen haven’t been, the people said. The $1 billion total doesn’t include more than 600 claims that Paxil caused birth defects.
- A Philadelphia jury on Oct. 13 found the drugmaker should pay $2.5 million to the family of Lyam Kilker, a 3-year-old boy born with a heart defect after his mother took Paxil while pregnant. Based on that outcome, an analyst estimated the company may potentially face additional verdicts in birth-defect cases waiting to be tried in Pennsylvania.
- 600 More Cases
- “A liability totaling $1.5 billion is possible,” wrote Savvas Neophytou, a Panmure Gordon analyst in London, in a note to investors the day after the Kilker verdict.
- In comparison, Pfizer Inc., parent of Wyeth, the maker of diet-drug combination fen-phen, has had to set aside about $21 billion to resolve about 200,000 personal-injury claims over that medicine. Merck & Co. agreed to pay $4.85 billion to resolve more than 48,000 claims over the withdrawn painkiller.
- Harris Pogust, an attorney for Paxil plaintiffs, couldn’t confirm the total. He said the amounts are confidential.
- The suicide settlements included a suit over the death of a 14-year-old boy who had been taking Paxil for two months. The parents of Scott Cunningham, of Valparaiso, Indiana, sued after the boy hung himself in 2001. They alleged Glaxo suppressed evidence that Paxil use was linked to the risk of suicide attempts by adolescents. Glaxo denied the allegations, according to court papers.
- The family settled its suit in May, according to court filings. Family attorney Bijan Esfandiari confirmed the settlement, saying the amount was confidential.
- About 150 cases over suicides by Paxil users were settled for an average of about $2 million, and about 300 over suicide attempts settled for an average of $300,000, they said. Some of the claims were resolved before suits were filed, according to the people familiar with the matter.
- Glaxo has settled about 10 birth-defect cases, Sean Tracey, a Houston-based lawyer who represented the family of a child victim, said in court Dec. 2. The settlements averaged about $4 million, the people familiar with the cases said.
- Glaxo paid an average of about $50,000 per case to resolve about 3,200 claims linking Paxil to addiction problems, the people familiar with the cases said.
- In its 2008 annual report, company officials noted they had reached a “conditional settlement agreement” in January 2006 with Paxil users who alleged they suffered withdrawal symptoms after taking the drug. The case, filed in Los Angeles federal court, was marked closed in court records in February.