Last week I attended an appointment at the new GP surgery with our (new) GP for my annual review of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was more like the doctor had a consultation with the computer. He looked at the blood results, the prescriptions and notes. He measured my weight and blood pressure but he didn’t ask me anything about the condition I was there for. How are the joints doing? How long have I been in remission? He probably knows as do I that we might never see each other again. He is not ‘my’ GP. He works at the GP surgery where I am registered. I suppose he did what he could in the 10 minutes he was given. The achievement of the day was that I got the prescription of medications.
Last week I met a young man who has recently lost a parent to suicide. He went to his GP asking for help and was instantly offered antidepressant medication. He was dismayed as he knew that is not what he needed. He needed someone to talk to. “People in the UK are consuming more than four times as many antidepressants as they did two decades ago. Despite this, we still do not fully understand the effects of these drugs” says an expert from UCL.
The UK has the seventh highest prescribing rate for antidepressants in the Western world, with about four million Britons taking them each year — twice as many as a decade ago.
According to the analysis conducted by Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, the clinical study reports on which decisions about market authorization of these medicines are based often underestimate the extent of drug related harms.”
Four deaths were misreported by one unnamed pharmaceutical company which claimed they had occurred after the trials had stopped. One patient strangled himself after taking venlafaxine but because he survived for five days, he was excluded from the results because it was claimed he was no longer on the trial while he was dying in hospital.
More than half of the suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts had been misrecorded as emotional instability or worsening of depression. In summary trial reports from the drugs giant Eli Lilly, suicidal attempts were missing in 90 per cent of cases. It appears that big pharmaceutical companies reap profits while carelessly tossing aside all human costs and ominously covering them up.