Suppression of Research Results In Great Britain

Benzodiazepines, so called “anti-anxiety medications”, cause brain damage. An article in The Independent, Drugs linked to brain damage 30 years ago, tells of the suppression in Great Britain of research into the damage done by these psychiatric drugs.

Secret documents reveal that government-funded experts were warned nearly 30 years ago that tranquillisers that were later prescribed to millions of people could cause brain damage.

Anxiety versus brain damage, anxiety versus brain damage…if you were to ask me, I’d think that this kind of evidence was the kind of information people should have had at hand, readily available, and at their disposal, increase of anxiety or no increase of anxiety.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) agreed in 1982 that there should be large-scale studies to examine the long-term impact of benzodiazepines after research by a leading psychiatrist showed brain shrinkage in some patients similar to the effects of long-term alcohol abuse.

No such further research was carried out. (I guess this means we don’t have any research finding that long term benzodiazepine use doesn’t lessen brain mass.) You couldn’t sell drugs as effectively if word of this got around, and quite possibly any later research would do what research is expected to do, and only confirm the earlier research findings.

MPs and lawyers described the documents as a scandal, and predicted they could lead the way to a class action costing millions. There are an estimated 1.5 million “involuntary addicts” in the UK, and scores display symptoms consistent with brain damage.

Saying that “scores display symptoms consistent with brain damage” when you’ve got “an estimated 1.5 million “involuntary addicts” in the UK” is certainly understating the case. I imagine these “scores” of people affected, if investigated thoroughly, would actually turn into a matter of “thousands”.

Jim Dobbin, the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction, said: “Many victims have lasting physical, cognitive and psychological problems even after they have withdrawn. We are seeking legal advice because we believe these documents are the bombshell they have been waiting for. The MRC must justify why there was no proper follow-up to Professor [Malcolm] Lader’s research, no safety committee, no study, nothing to further explore the results. We are talking about a huge scandal here.”

When it comes to the facts surrounding other drugs used in the treatment of psychiatric conditions, I suspect there must be a number of unexploded bombshells of this sort left lying around.