Last Friday Maria Bradshaw of Casper and I went to the European Parliament Offices in Dublin to meet with Nessa Childers – ‘The MEP that stands up for honesty and Transparency’.
I should point out that I had reservations about this meeting as we had contacted Ms Childers before (regarding the adverse effects of SSRIs) and were ignored. I had e-mailed her following a speech she made in UCC Cork, where she spoke about the ethical issues dealing with lobbyists, non-dislosure of funding and transparency within interest groups. She stated that she never accepted pharma hospitality and cautioned that the latter groups may unconsciously be adopting the line of thought of their funders. Anyway, Maria had organised the meeting so she dragged me along too, albeit rather reluctantly. I should also point out that while Maria is enormously clever with statistics and mind-numbing facts and despite having an MBA, her sense of direction is shocking and thus the reason I allowed myself to be roped into accompanying her to Dublin City. It might have been more productive to have let her loose on the Irish roads; I believe Galway is beautiful this time of year!
Honesty and transparency were definitely on the agenda, but it seems the honesty and transparency which Maria and I delivered were not quite so welcome. After some initial frostiness due to some Tweets which Nessa took offence to, the meeting was going quite well. That is, until we got around to the reason we were there – Shire Pharmaceuticals, ADHD and Nessa’s participation in the round table Brussels discussion and this ghost written white paper. Michael Fitzgerald from TCD and his wife Frances were mentioned, which subsequently prompted Maria to point out his links to Shire pharmaceuticals. This may, or may not, have been a turning point in the meeting.
Nessa said that she had turned down a second invitation to host a roundtable for shire pharmaceuticals. When I pointed out that what she said in Cork was a total contradiction to putting her name to a ghost written, pharma-funded paper, she said this occured whan she was a new MEP and had no idea what was happening. She also said that it was too late to do anything about it now, but when pushed on that point said she would retract her name from it if she could. At this stage, despite Maria’s best efforts to remain her usual professional self with her inherent ladylike decorum (which I don’t possess), the meeting rapidly went downhill and Nessa stood up and said “we have to go“. That was it, no niceties, no ‘Slán agus beannacht’ for us; she refused to make eye-contact and we were back on Molesworth Street before we could say the words ‘Honesty and Transparency’. After a fit of the giggles, we looked at each other dumbfounded, trying to figure out what actually happened there. It was one of the strangest experiences I have had yet, even for me!
That should have been the end of that, but alas, the experience was to get even weirder. We set off (in the right direction considering I was driving) to our next meeting, which I may tell you about sometime, whan Maria’s mobile rang. It was Nessa’s PA, who said that Nessa thinks we should contact a different MP and that we should be careful what we say and the accusations that we are making. Since when did facts equate to accusations? Strange day; I guess that Nessa can cross us off her Christmas card list! I suppose I should be thankful that last week I wasn’t aware of this other roundtable meeting that she hosted, facilitated by Lundbeck. I wonder what the chances are of us getting another meeting?
Note to self-
(1) Look up dictionary for the words Honesty and Transparency, and
(2) Buy Maria a Sat Nav!
ADHA Expert White Paper: http://www.europeanbraincouncil.org/pdfs/ADHD%20White%20Paper_15Apr13.pdf
Maria’s Blog which caused the problem: https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/02/making-invisible-visible/
John McCarty’s views on the Cork Conference: http://corkindependent.com/20110929/news/medications-can-cause-suicide-S4715.html
John McCarty speaking on 4 year old Rebecca’s death: http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/how-do-these-people-sleep-she-was-4-and-shes-dead-by-psychiatry/