According to The Independent, a national newspaper in Great Britain, the Medical Research Council (MRC) agreed in 1982 that there should be large-scale studies conducted to examine the effects of long-term benzodiazepine usage after a leading psychiatrist showed brain shrinkage in some patients similar to the effects of long-term alcohol usage. What the MRC appears to have done, instead of conducting the studies, is to mark the relevant documents “closed until 2014.”
Considering that millions of British and American citizens are prescribed these drugs, why would the MRC have chosen to sit on the documents? An article in Psychology Today offers this possible answer. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Agency (MHPA), which regulates the safety of medicines in Britain, is funded entirely by the drug companies it is meant to oversee. A 2005 parliamentary report details this in paragraph 98 of its Fourth Report to the House of Commons.
Will “Big Pharma” be made to pay for its profits-before-people stance? Jim Dobbin, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction, is quoted as telling The Independent, “Many victims have lasting physical, cognitive and psychological problems even after they have withdrawn.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 Lader’s research, no safety committee, no study, nothing to further explore the results. We are talking about a huge scandal here.”
Catherine Hopkins, legal director of Action Against Medical Accidents, adds, “The failure to carry out research into the effect of benzodiazepines has exposed huge numbers of people to the risk of brain damage. This research urgently needs to be carried out, and if the results confirm the suspicions of the 1981 expert group, it could lead to one of the biggest group actions for damages against the Government and the MRC ever seen in the courts.”
Here is a link to the suppressed documents.
Here is Christopher Lane’s follow-up to his article in Psychology Today.
A postscript to anyone who is freaked out by words like “brain damage” and “permanent” …
I consider myself to be suffering temporary central nervous system damage. Given my history of long-term, high-dose usage and this being my second time around the block (the first time resulted in protracted withdrawal which caused me to give up hope and reinstate), I think it’s possible that I may not see 100% healing. However, based on the stories of the many who’ve done this and recovered (including other “hopeless cases” who endured protracted withdrawal just as I did, but didn’t reinstate), most people see 100% healing. Those who don’t, the “permanently damaged,” are still 95% healed. The damage they are left with usually takes the form of a sensitive central nervous system. Once they learn what things to avoid (certain medicines, supplements, etc.), they are for all intents and purposes 100% healed too. If this is my result, as I fully expect it will be, I will be over the moon with happiness.
We aren’t brain damaged. There isn’t anything permanent wrong with us. We will heal. Everything we’re feeling is the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome and it will pass. This isn’t just glad talk. All those “hopeless cases” I knew are better now. They’re why I had the courage to go through this a second time and the hope to hang in there, no matter how long my healing takes.
The only thing you should take from the articles is some righteous anger over actual proof of what we knew all along: Information was intentionally covered up because it would have cut into Big Pharma’s bottom line. Hopefully they’ll be made to pay big time for their profits-before-people business philosophy. Hopefully the British victims finally have some “teeth” for their lawsuit. Hopefully they’ll win and it will be big news. And hopefully that will lead to safer prescribing in the future.