Drug company crime

Heroes Not Zombies

Does this bother you?


It obviously bothers the investors who wiped $1 billion off the share value of GSK after this story appeared.

Dr Peter Gøtzsche, the founder of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, recently described drug companies of behaviours which we would normally attribute to organised crime. He strikingly said

The main reason we take so many drugs is that drug companies don’t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs.

A post I wrote a couple of years back about GSK being fined $3 billion mentioned that between 2009 and 2012 drug companies had paid $11 billion in fines. ProPublica summaries some of the biggest fines from 2009 to 2014 here.

An analysis by Dr Syndey Wolfe at the end of 2013 showed Big Pharma had paid $30 billion in fines from 1991 to 2012. He concluded

“There is a pathological lack of corporate integrity in many…

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Diagnosed with vs suffering from dementia

“The Dementia Experts, that is, the people living with dementia, have the right to say what is offensive, and what is appropriate. At Dementia Alliance International, an advocacy and support group of, by and for people with dementia, we are gathering members, and building our resources, which will eventually include language guidelines. We are living as well as we possibly can with dementia, and want to change the negative disempowering terminology.”

Dementia Expert Chris Roberts UKThere has been a lot of noise on social media and other places about the use of the word ‘sufferer’ in the last few weeks when referring to a person with dementia. Last week, I received a reply by someone willing to change the term  to a person diagnosed with dementia, with acceptance and grace. Such a welcome change from most users of this offensive term, respectful and gracious. Interestingly, the people are the most impolite about it, and who refuse to think we actually have no right to be offended by it, when they are not, are journalists and professionals. Not all, for sure, but many. And also family carers, who my husband and I believe are the ones more likely to be suffering than those of us diagnosed with dementia.

So, does ‘I am suffering from… dementia, arthritis, cancer, MS etc sound more negative and less empowering than…

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Sarah K Reece

Today has pounded me into the floor. Damn, some days are just hard. Not enough sleep, off for a stupid fasting blood test this morning. I hate these things. I have a phobia around needles – actually just of giving blood or getting drips. Other forms of needles don’t bother me. These two I really struggle with. I’m not brilliantly well still, hot flushes, nausea, sore throat, sinus issues. This is not helping my general sense of vim. The bloods nurse couldn’t find a vein and wound up getting another nurse in, while I sweated and trembled and generally hated the universe. I ran errands, trekking from store to store in a futile attempt to buy the supplies I’ve told to buy for college on Monday. I also went to a bunch of printers trying to find somewhere to create arts prints, without success. I am at least now prepared…

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my Storify of tweets from Open Dialogue London seminar 3/4 May 2014

Here is a link to my Storify of tweets from Open Dialogue London seminar 3/4 May 2014

Second weekend seminar at the Round Chapel, Hackney, London, hosted by Nick Putman and involving Jaakko Seikkula, Mia Kurtti and Markku Sutela from the Open Dialogue project, Tornio, Finland.”


my father William Patterson

“My tweets from the London Open Dialogue UK seminar 2nd weekend.  I flew down from Edinburgh on the Saturday morning early 3 May and managed to get to Hackney by 10am for the start.  I did some sightseeing on the Saturday evening, getting a bus down to London Bridge then walked along to St Paul’s Cathedral, on Sunday morning early also.  When I took another bus from my hotel to Trafalgar Square.  

I enjoy visiting London where my father was a writer with the Daily Express in Fleet St, 1956-1969, scripting Jeff Hawke, a sci-fi comic strip which became very successful.  Sydney Jordan was the illustrator and original creator of the character.  Jordan and my dad were childhood friends in Perth, Scotland, where I and my family lived.  The Jeff Hawke stories that my father wrote were republished by Titan Books, twice, in 1986 the year he died at age 57, and in 2008: in volumes The Ambassadors and Overlord.  

Widely considered as one of the most important sci-fi comic strips ever published, “Jeff Hawke” is a benchmark in intelligent, adult-oriented storytelling! Jeff Hawke’s not your average space-hero; focused on reasoning, diplomacy and moral virtues instead of brute force, he is frequently forced to be the ambassador – rather than the saviour – of mankind!  His universe is populated with alien species that meet humankind by accident or for commerce, but hardly ever for invasion. Patterson’s subtle wit makes the strip’s plots and characters as fascinating as they are amusing, and Jordan’s highly expressive style fully captures the strangeness of the weird and wonderful aliens of Jeff’s universe!”  on Amazon UK.”

I have decided not to attend the 3rd and final Open Dialogue London seminar at the end of May.  Although there were many interesting and useful parts to the information sessions, the facilitators committed in their openness, I found the overall approach to be more clinical than I’d hoped for.  I’m looking for grassroots, peer led/run movements where survivors and people with “lived experience” are at the helm and at the centre of change.  Experts by experience leading and setting agendas.  That’s the way to do it. 

Here are some tweets from the seminar:




Is head Injury a risk factor for psychiatric disorders? AJP.April. 2014.

here’s my comment on this blog post (my last comment wasn’t published, not sure why): “I find it ironic that ECT, a shock to the brain or blow to the head under general anaesthetic, is given as a treatment for depression and yet this blog post suggests a head injury is a risk factor for depression. What a topsy turvy world of mental health we live in.”



Depression is known to be common psychiatric consequence of head injury. Relationship between head injury and psychosis is less clear.Meta analysis by Molloy et al 2011 found the onset of schizophrenia to be more frequently following head injury. heterogeneity of included studies limited the confidence in that conclusion. Sonja Orlovska et al used the Danish registers to investigate the link between head injury and mental illness .This is the largest  study  with 34 year follow-up period on this question and authors were able to control for much more confounding factors.

Authors used Danish Civil Registration System , Psychiatric Central Register   and the  National Hospital Register to examine the link between injury and outcome (schizophrenia spectrum disorders, unipolar depression, bipolar disorder, and organic mental disorders). Onset of all disorders were confirmed to be post injury. Head injury was classified to mild injury ,severe injury and skull fracture. Accident proneness…

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Late Intervention

Mental Health Cop

Sunset For many years now, we’ve heard the repeated mantra of early intervention – both in terms of treatment of mental health problems and in terms of diversion from the criminal justice system for those who come into contact with the police or the courts. We’ve heard of and seen services explicitly branded with an Early Intervention label, for example in first-episode psychosis services.

Of course, early intervention of any kind poses a particular kind of problem, whether in mental health or in youth justice and child protection where we also see this kind of discussion. If we did nothing other than sanction children who were caught shoplifting, not all of them would begin an inevitable decline into drug taking, acquisitive crime and custodial sentences. It is far from inevitable that if someone experiencing their first episode of psychosis in their late teens or early twenties does not receive an appropriate…

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UKHRB event: The Future of Human Rights – 21 May 2014

UK Human Rights Blog

Freedman-Failing-to-Protect-webI am delighted to announce that the UK Human Rights Blog in association with Hurst Publishers and Berwin Leighton Paisner are organising a fascinating panel debate, chaired by me, on Wed 21 May 2014.  The panel is stellar.

It is a free event but places are strictly limited so you have to register here if you want to secure your place.

‘The Future of Human Rights’ on the occasion of the publication of Failing to Protect: the UN and the Politicisation of Human Rights by Dr Rosa Freedman
Date:Wednesday 21 May 2014
Time:6.30pm for 7.00pm
Location:The Auditorium, Adelaide House, London Bridge, London EC4R 9HA (map)
Hurst Publishers, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP and the UK Human Rights Blog are delighted to invite you to a panel discussion on ‘The Future of Human Rights’ on the occasion of the publication of Failing to Protect: the UN and the Politicisation of…

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