I’m medicating you because I love you…

Sympathy & Pills: I'm medicating you because I love you

One of the hardest things for people, who suffer from illnesses/disabilities, is getting good information and support. The health care system doesn’t seem to provide it, and so many of us join community support groups where we can share our experiences and support each other. (I go to Epilepsy Toronto and know many who use Fluoroquinolone support groups. The FQ groups are certainly not supported by any Pharmas, but my epilepsy group gets funds from UCB, the people who sell us Keppra and Vimpat.)

The pharmaceutical industry is very aware of this, and lends their financial muscle to support all kinds of community support groups — particularly if group members are potential “customers” for their meds. And this can create a Conflict of Interest, and subvert the group’s mission to serve its members.

This appears to be what has happened to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. My friend Julie Wood, a suicide survivor, decided to attend a local support group this month, only to find that they were promoting medications as the only way to reduce suicide risk, and trying very hard to ignore the well-documented links between suicide risk and psychiatric meds.

What I find particularly bad about this practice, is that pharmaceutical industry is preying on the weak and sick, offering them hope (a pill?) wrapped in sympathy and support, when in fact they don’t seem to care about whether the medication works or not, or whether it actually helps the patient…

Read Julie’s full story on RxISK.org (Data Based Medicine):

Comment from leonie fennell - December 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

There was an article last month in the ‘Irish Times’ entitled Epilepsy group warns on new drugs.

The article stated that Brainwave (the Irish Epilepsy Association) urged Government members to exclude epilepsy from the Health (Pricing Supply of Medical Goods Bill) 2012 which is due to be enacted this year.

The Bill allows for the substitution of patent drugs with their generic equivalent as part of efforts to bring down the State’s €1.8 billion drugs bill. Brainwave has said substituting patent drugs for generic drugs could have “catastrophic consequences” for many of the 37,000 people in Ireland who have epilepsy. Consultant neurologist Prof Norman Delanty agreed with Brainwave and said this could possibly result in injury, prolonged seizures, risk of death and loss of driving privileges.

Could this be scaremongering?

First of all, Brainwave’s website is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from UCB; a pharmaceutical company which produce epilepsy medication.

Secondly, among Prof Delanty’s listed ‘conflicts of interests’ are the following: “He is or has been a member of UCB Pharma Advisory Board (UK), has received speaker’s honoraria from UCB and has received unrestricted educational and research grant support from UCB.”
Surely this changes things and puts a different prospective on the scaremongering tactics coming from Brainwave and Prof Delanty?


Comment from billiam james - December 11, 2012 at 7:36 am

Yes Leonie, it certainly appears like Brainwave, the Irish Epilepsy Association, is working as an advocate for UCB rather than for the patients themselves. If you look at their site http://www.epilepsy.ie/, their primary message on their homepage is stop “Generic Substitution & antiepileptic drugs”. If their primary objective was to protect the patients, rather than UCB, they would probably be advocating for higher standards got generic medications so that the generics were just as good as the brand name ones.