Big Pharma’s corrupt testing of SSRI antidepressants

An American midwestern doctor, who wishes to remain anonymous, exposes how drug makers rig trials to make dangerous, ineffective drugs, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants, seem safe and effective, using tactics such as subjective metrics, deliberately harming placebo groups, hiding suicides and other reactions, brief studies, recruiting only healthy subjects and burying incriminating documents

Every now and then a highly profitable pharmaceutical will appear that everyone also knows is potentially dangerous. Remarkably, rather than this stopping the product, it will often be pushed to market and the profits it generates used to ensure any objections to its safety get ignored.

One of my aims is to review the scandalous history of some of the most dangerous drugs on the market, both to help those being harmed by them (eg. consider the story of statins and of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)) and to illustrate that the horrendous malfeasance we have observed from the US Food and Drug Administra­tion (FDA) throughout Covid-19 has been its standard operating procedure.

Merck’s Vioxx and Gardasil

For example, I recently covered the story of Merck’s Vioxx, an unsafe and unneeded painkiller that was kept on the market until outside investigators proved it was causing heart attacks and strokes (estimated to have killed 120,000 by the time of its withdrawal), something Merck was fully aware of from the start.

Vioxx resulted in a wave of lawsuits that cost Merck billions of dollars but never resulted in criminal charges against any of the executives responsible for those deaths (instead they got bonuses!).

Immediately after the Vioxx lawsuits, Merck brought the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, to market, fully aware that it had minimal value to those vaccinated (in fact it increased the risk of cancer by 44.6% in those who already had the target HPV types 16 or 18 infection – something which, like Covid-19, is never tested for before vaccination). More importantly, Gardasil had an extraordinarily high level of adverse reactions. In its trial over 50% of the girls were observed to have developed ‘new medical conditions’, 2.3% of which Merck admitted were autoimmune in nature (although the actual figure was likely much higher).

Once Gardasil hit the market, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA were deluged with a wave of injuries being reported to them. However, rather than listen to these warnings, they doubled down on their claim the vaccine was ‘safe and effective’, did everything they could to bury those injuries and ardently worked with Merck to sell the vaccine to as many people as possible.

However, as bad as those stories are, I believe what happened with the SSRI antidepressants is even worse. Since the SSRI saga provides the clearest case study I know of into the gross malfeasance of the FDA, I will review it in the hope we can better understand the agency’s behaviour with the Covid-19 vaccines and just how far it will go to protect the pharmaceutical industry. (NB: Psychiatric medications are one of the most profitable drug franchises, making approximately $40bn a year – a figure that is expected to significantly increase in the years to come.)

The harms of SSRIs

When integrative physicians are asked to name what they consider to be the five most dangerous, mass-prescribed drugs in America, SSRIs and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) almost always end up on the list, something I believe is due to their mechanism of action (and adverse event profile) having many overlaps with an illegal stimulant like cocaine.

In the first and second parts of this series I attempted to detail those harms, which included causing violent psychotic behaviour that frequently led to suicide and, less frequently, to homicide (Fig 1).

To illustrate: a peer-reviewed, Swedish study looked at information on over 850,000 patients prescribed SSRIs within a national database and compared the rates of violent crimes committed by these individuals when they were and were not taking an SSRI over a 3-year period. It found that SSRIs increased the rate of violent crimes committed by 43% in those aged 15-24 receiving the drugs.

I initially focused on psychotic SSRI violence5 because it is a common but undiscussed thread in mass shootings (and other grisly murders that shock their community). However, I believe SSRI suicides, which are far more common, are an even bigger issue.

Consider, for instance, that one study found 10% of mentally healthy volunteers on an SSRI became suicidal, while a much larger survey of SSRI users found 39% had experienced suicidal ideation while on the drugs. Additionally, as the above-mentioned, Swedish study shows, SSRIs have been repeatedly shown to significantly increase the incidence of hostile (but not yet psychotic) behaviour:

• Causing 7.7% of users each year to develop bipolar disorder (ultimately affecting between 20-40% of SSRI users). For many, bipolar disorder is a permanently debilitating disorder that significantly impacts one’s quality of life.

• Causing over half the users to no longer feel like themselves and in many cases as though they were losing their own minds.6

• Emotionally anesthetizing 60% of the users. This numbness frequently results in individuals losing the will to leave a toxic relationship or work situation (often for years if not decades), to stop emotionally reacting to things you should react (eg. someone being nasty to you or violating your boundaries) and to no longer experience the joy or vibrancy of life.

• Caused sexual dysfunction in the majority of the users (59% in this study,11 62% in this one10), which often has an extreme impact on the patient’s life (40% in this study) found the side effect intolerable). Keep in mind that sexual dysfunction is one of the quickest ways to make someone depressed.

• Increasing the risk of life-threatening, birth defects by 2-6 times (eg. taking a single SSRI increases the likelihood of the newborn having a septal defect from 0.5% to 0.9%, while taking two increases it to 2.1%).

• Causing severe withdrawal symptoms (eg. frequent electrical zaps through the brain) in 56% of those who discontinue the drugs, with most (46%) experiencing severe withdrawals. Very few people appreciate just how difficult it can be to get off an SSRI (even after only a brief course of the drugs), or that there is absolutely no support within the conventional medical field for patients wishing to get off the drugs.

This is particularly tragic because many of the SSRI suicides and murders are preceded by someone having their SSRI dose changed (eg. increased, decreased or changed to a different medication).

Note: Since I was repeatedly asked to do so, I attempted to put together my suggestions on how to withdraw from SSRIs6 and I must emphasize it is truly inexcusable just how addictive these drugs can be.

Sadly, as well as these common side effects, SSRI patients also experience a variety of debilitating side effects such as palpitations, anxiety and insomnia.

Worse still, it is fairly feasible to identify who will have a good or bad response to SSRIs (eg. from their genetics) but doctors are never taught how to do this, probably as it would reduce SSRI sales if they were only given to those who will benefit from them.

Similarly, much (but not all) of the harm that occurs from vaccines (especially in children) could be avoided if doctors were taught to recognise the initial adverse reactions children experience and pause giving those children additional vaccines.

Likewise, if the vaccines were spaced out rather than all being given together during the critical development of a child or the most dangerous ones, eg. Gardasil or Covid,4 taken off the market, the harm also would significantly decrease.

However, none of that has been done since it would be equivalent to admitting that vaccines are not ‘100% safe and effective’ and hence significantly reduce vaccine sales.

Consider, for instance, that the US Government was actually mandated by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which gave legal immunity to vaccine manufacturers, to study the safety of existing vaccines so that safer ones could be developed, but it has in fact refused to do so ever since.

Read the complete article in issue 111.

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