Open Letter to Brown University: retract article misrepresenting the efficacy & safety of paroxetine for depressed adolescents

Open Letter to Brown University: retract article misrepresenting the efficacy & safety of paroxetine for depressed adolescents

Twenty six distinguished academics signed an open letter addressed to Ruth J. Simmons, President of Brown University, requesting that she writes to the editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry in support of a request for retraction of a journal article that misrepresented the efficacy and safety of paroxetine for depressed adolescents. The letter was initiated by Jon Jureidini and Leemon McHenry (Healthy Skepticism) and signed by Healthy Skepticism members and members of the International Society of Drug Bulletins (among others). Jim Wright, Co-Managing Director of the Therapeutics Initiative, is one of the signatories.

Between 1993 and 1998, SmithKline Beecham (subsequently GlaxoSmithKline) provided $800,000 to Brown University for its participation in a multi-center, double blind, placebo controlled study of paroxetine and imipramine in adolescents with unipolar major depression. The results were published in 2001 by Keller et al in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The article was ghostwritten by agents of the manufacturer, and seriously misrepresented both the effectiveness and the safety of paroxetine in treating adolescent depression. Although the problems with this study were thoroughly exposed in legal actions, biomedical and medical literature, a published book and a BBC Panorama documentary, the Journal has refused to retract the article and Brown University has refused to release information about its internal investigation into Dr. Keller’s conflicts of interest and scientific misconduct.

The letter is posted on the Healthy Skepticism website.

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