A few months ago, a research paper released by the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Academy (JAACAP) concluded that Paxil was “generally well-tolerated and effective for major depression in adolescents.” While the paper since has been proven wrong by more recent research, the JAACAP was bombarded with requests for a retraction. The retraction has finally been printed, thanks to the efforts of one crusading politician.
Back in February, I wrote a blog post where it was noted that “as early as last June, the journal had been mentioned in as many as 200 other articles attempting to argue that Paxil remains an effective treatment for youngsters under 18 to treat depression.” At the time, it was noted that academics Jon Jureidini, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Adelaide, and Leemon McHenry, lecturer in philosophy at California State University, had asked the journal to retract the article and the journal has finally conceded. The men’s opinions behind the retraction request at the time were best summed up when they said, “The JACAAP was the most important instrument through which the results of Study 329 were misrepresented to physicians.”
The study gained prominence two years ago; however, its contents came under suspicion after UK investigations by regulators and the former New York Attorney General, as well as pending lawsuits, charged that GlaxoSmithKline hid the risks that were associated with Paxil.
One of the 22 co-authors of the report was Stan Kutcher, a doctor that is now running for the parliament in Canada. It was The Coast newspaper (Nova Scotia and Halifax) that first mentioned the politician’s involvement in the retraction. The article quoted Alison Bass, former writer at The Boston Globe (and author of “Side Effects,” which is about this entire ordeal) as saying, “They essentially distorted the outcome measures, and essentially lied. They also omitted information about adolescents who became suicidal on Paxil and withdrew from the study. And they miscoded those teenagers — they said they were non-compliant, when in fact they had been withdrawn from the study because they became suicidal.”
That quote by Bass apparently is what caused the apology to run in the paper. The full story has since been removed from The Coast’s website.