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GSK Uses Sports Icon as Newest Propaganda Tool
March 31, 2004
by Tony Zizza

Having successfully weaned a young member of my family off Paxil, and being a rabid Pittsburg Steelers fan since I stood about four feet high, you can only imagine my bag of mixed emotions upon learning Paxil maker GlaxoSmithKline and Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw have teamed up to pass dangerous lies into the hands of the American people.

In a March 9th press release, GSK tells us "American football hero takes to the road" to raise awareness about depression and his success story since taking Paxil CR. Furthermore, GSK goes on to say there has been an "overwhelming response to his personal battle with depression" prompting him to "reach out to sufferers nationwide."

GSK are masters of deception and using Terry Bradshaw as their newest propaganda tool is just more evidence of their insistence that Paxil be in every American home's medicine cabinet. No pity, just disgrace on Terry Bradshaw as well because he is unwilling to tell us how much money he is making as Paxil's stool pigeon, I mean, spokesman.

What bothers me is GSK and Terry Bradshaw spread the lie there's a social stigma attached to mental illness, and that "an estimated 25 percent of American adults will endure an anxiety disorder in their lifetime." Also, another insidious lie: 19 million adult males in America are clinically depressed.

Terry Bradshaw ought to know better. Ought to be able to read Big Pharma's play book. First, market the disease. Second, sell the drugs. But now there's factor three to consider: nail down a bubbly, light-hearted, gruff American HERO - to stick by the drug (Paxil) for the long haul, especially through all of Paxil's/GSK's past, present and upcoming interceptions of high consequence.

It was just last year that several studies done in Britian (home of GSK's headquarters) confirmed Paxil should not be given to children under eighteen years of age. Talk about muffing home field advantage! Obviously, GSK and Terry Bradshaw are oblivious to the fact much needed political reform found in the Child Medication Safety Act is being pushed to the sideline. I doubt GSK and #12 care that just last month scores of parents whose own children "died" from taking Paxil and other similar medications begged the FDA to not throw them and their children's legacy into the turf.

Interestingly enough, if you read through the sales pitches for Paxil, the costly depression awareness campaign literature, and of course Terry Bradshaw's own books, you won't find heroic stories or life lessons. You will ultimately read through an endless barrage of excuses for personal failings of responsibility. You can only push "the personal is political" envelope so far before it flies into the air like a once great spiral thrown by a once great football player - and man - Terry Bradshaw.

Terry Bradshaw and GSK should be ashamed of themselves. Too bad they're not. They are now positioning Paxil to be the drug of choice for athletes of all ages. This is disgusting, though not surprising, given the fact The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) takes out large political advertisements in the "sports" pages of our biggest newspapers. Not a day goes by when we don't hear of another hero athlete turned - mental health advocate. What a country. What a bag of mixed emotions we all must sort through.

Well, I've looked through my bag and here is what I've come up with.

Terry Bradshaw is no longer a hero, let alone a man, because he is selling Paxil for an undisclosed amount of money knowing full well millions of men idolize him, and that Paxil has brought suffering and death to both adults and children.

The new heroes are in fact parents who wean their children and loved ones off Paxil and other drugs - standing as the real mental health advocates of today.

Terry Bradshaw and GSK as mental health advocates?

Sorry, game over.

Zizza is a freelance writer based in Atlanta who writes frequently about mental health issues. Email comments to him at: tz777@yahoo.com

He serves as Vice President/Georgia of Parents for Label and Drug Free Education and as an Advisor to the Alliance to Stop Psychiatry's Influence in Religion and Education. He also works to expose abuses in Kaiser Permanente's Behavioral Health programs. Please see:

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