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Drug safety

Saturday May 10, 2003
The Guardian

Mind is critical of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency for failing in its duty fully to investigate the extent to which people experience side effects from Seroxat, including suicides that bereaved relatives believe are directly linked to the drug (GPs accused, May 9). For eight years Mind has campaigned for consumer reporting of side effects to psychiatric drugs. The MHRA is extending the yellow card scheme to the public through NHS Direct, but this is still too little too late. Whenever Mind campaigns on the safety of drugs, and the right for patients to be given full and unbiased information on the potential side effects, we are criticised by some groups who say we are scare-mongering. Why should we, and programme makers like Panorama, be silenced, when there is a real issue of public safety at the heart of our concerns? Millions of pounds are spent advertising psychiatric drugs, but who has the money to balance these messages? Panorama has given us, and the many people who have experienced horrific side effects or lost a loved one, the opportunity to get this issue the attention it deserves. We understand that many people say they find Seroxat beneficial, so we are not calling for an all-out ban. We are calling on the MHRA to stop doctors prescribing it to new patients until they undertake a full and independent review that includes the experiences of people taking it.
Richard Brook
Chief Executive, Mind

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Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003