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David Healy papers
Biomed 433  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • General note
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Related Material

  • Title: David Healy papers
    Collection number: Biomed 433
    Contributing Institution: Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences

    History and Special Collections Division for the Sciences
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 13.2 linear ft. (35 document boxes and 1 record carton box)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1978-2000
    Date (inclusive): 1950-2001
    Abstract: The David Healy Papers collection consists of a draft of David Healy’s monograph and all associated interview transcripts/supplementary materials from his published oral history of psychopharmacology ( The Psychopharmacologists, Vols. I-III). It also contains research and testimony from multiple legal cases on pharmaceutical product liability concerning the treatment of depression, including specific arguments about the pharmaceutical industry’s knowledge of the relationships between Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and suicide. The collection’s legal materials include raw data from fluoxetine’s clinical trials, which occurred while the product was seeking FDA approval, before it was launched in the U.S. in 1988. These data show the co-prescription of benzodiazepines during Randomized Control Trials to counteract the activating properties of fluoxetine. Pertinent legal cases include the Jefferson Circuit court case, Fentress v. Shea Communications and Eli Lilly (the first SSRI case to go to trial rather than be settled outside of court), as well as the following U.S. District Court cases: Susan Forsyth et al. v. Eli Lilly, Miller et al. v. Pfizer Incorporated, Motus v. Pfizer Incorporated, and Tobin v. SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (now GlaxoSmithKline). All of these legal cases were synthesized and published in David Healy’s 2004 book entitled Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression.
    Language of Materials: Materials are primarily in English, with one set of interviews from The Psychopharmacologists conducted in French and one other interview conducted with the aid of a German translator. Some additional materials are found in Dutch, German, and French.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. All materials are stored off site and require advance notice for use. Please contact History and Special Collections for the Sciences, UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, 310.825.6940, to arrange for use.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights in the physical objects belong to the UCLA Biomedical Library. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish if the Biomedical Library does not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], David Healy papers (Manuscript collection 433). Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7148403 

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Collection was donated by Dr. David Healy, July 2011.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Kathryn Hale, M.A., in 2013 in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Jillian Cuellar.

    General note

    This collection forms part of the UCLA/ACNP History of Neuropsychopharmacology Archives.


    David Healy is an internationally recognized psychiatrist, researcher, and author from Ireland. He has served as a former Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, and he is a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Data Based Medicine Americas Limited, which aims to collect direct patient reports of drug effects through their website (RxISK.org) and use them to affect regulatory policy. He has published extensively on the history of psychopharmacology and psychiatry, issues with medical ghost writing, SSRI use and suicide risk, Explanatory Models of mental illness and the historical shaping of categories for mental illness.
    David Healy was born in Raheny, Dublin on April 27, 1954. He completed his medical degree in neuroscience and studied psychiatry during a clinical research fellowship at Cambridge University. He is currently a professor of Psychiatry at Cardiff University School of Medicine, Wales, and the head of the psychiatric inpatient unit at Bangor University, North Wales. To date, Healy has published 20 books and over 150 peer-reviewed articles, as well as over 200 other pieces. Well-known works include The Psychopharmacologists (Vols. I-III, 1996-2000), The Antidepressant Era (1999), and Let Them Eat Prozac (2004). He has also generated independent data (see Healy 2000) that speaks directly to the Fentress trial and raises the need for transparency in psychopharmaceutical clinical trials. His data suggests a causal link between patients’ ingestion of sertraline (Zoloft) and increased suicidality in two of twenty healthy volunteers when compared to reboxetine (a non-SSRI antidepressant), which he attributed to emotional disinhibition and feelings of inner restlessness.
    In 1994, before David Healy was aware of the Fentress case and legal developments regarding SSRIs, he was approached by CNS Drugs to write a review article about fluoxetine and the suicide controversy. This publication led to Healy’s subsequent involvement in the Forsyth, Miller, Motus, and Tobin cases, including serving as an expert witness in the Forsyth v. Eli Lilly and Company case in 1999 and the Tobin v. SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (now GlaxoSmithKline) case in 2001. Healy was deposed in the Miller v. Pfizer Inc. case in 2004, but his testimony on general and specific causation (about whether Zoloft can cause suicide and it if caused Matthew Miller to commit suicide) was later excluded as a result of the Daubert Supreme Court hearing, which generated principles for when expert testimony reflects scientific knowledge. (The Motus case was eventually thrown out due to Zoloft’s prescription-only status.) The Tobin case returned the first verdict against a pharmaceutical company for adverse behavioral effects of a psychotropic drug (Paxil). This verdict contributed to the 2003 UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency’s decision to caution physicians that Seroxat (Paxil) was “contra-indicated” in children under 18 for the treatment of depression. It also influenced the 2004 FDA hearing on the use of SSRIs in children and the subsequent FDA requirement that a “black box” warning label be added to SSRIs.
    An important historical event to consider alongside the records in this collection is The Toronto Affair. In early 2000, Healy had been hired as a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and the Head of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program within the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, although he was waiting on his visa and had not yet made the move from Britain to Canada. In November of 2000, he was invited to the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry to speak at its seventy-fifth anniversary meeting, which was entitled “Looking Back: Looking Ahead.” The chief physician at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, David Goldbloom, reacted strongly to his talk, and soon after, the Center withdrew their offer of a position. Healy later became aware that Eli Lilly had, some time prior, donated $1.5 million dollars to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, which had hired Healy, and although there was no direct evidence that Eli Lilly attempted to terminate this appointment, broader questions were raised about possible conflicts of interest between the pharmaceutical industry and academia. Healy published two articles (Healy 2002, 2003) recounting this event and the possible conflicts of interest it raises between the pharmaceutical industry and academia. Later, he filed a legal action against the University of Toronto seeking redress for breach of contract and violation of academic freedom. This legal action was settled in April 2002. However, this experience overlapped with his involvement in the Tobin case and likely affected his writing of Let Them Eat Prozac and The Creation of Psychopharmacology. Both of these works were being written during that time period and address issues that arise when pharmaceutical companies’ funding of research programs conflicts with academic freedom.
    Resources used while creating this finding aid:

    Scope and Content

    Materials are largely textual, comprising personal and professional correspondence; publications; patient charts from Eli Lilly; official court records, including deposition transcripts, transcripts of trial testimony, and court exhibit files from multiple cases; and internal documents from Eli Lilly and Company. Other formats found in the collection include photographs of interviewees from The Psychopharmacologists, ephemera such as one or two pharmaceutical advertisements, films associated with the work of two prominent psychopharmacologists (namely, Mogens Schou and Jean Thuillier), and video recordings of case proceedings and depositions from three cases (Fentress et al. v. Shea Communications and Eli Lilly and Co., Motus v. Pfizer Inc., and Miller et al. v. Pfizer Inc.) Strengths of this collection include the corpus of patient charts (along with notes from treating staff and Eli Lilly), correspondence and draft revisions regarding The Psychopharmacologists, and unique access to personal correspondence with well-known researchers in the area, such as Frank Ayd, Thomas Ban, Arvid Carlsson, Louis Lasagna, Judith Rapoport, and Myrna Weissman.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection was received in good condition and an arrangement scheme based on topical organization had already been imposed. Overall, these 3 series were arranged chronologically based on the bulk dates with some exceptions explained in the series and subseries descriptions below.
    • 1. Fentress et al. v. Shea Communications and Eli Lilly and Company, 1970-2001
      • 1.1. Data from Prozac registration files, 1978-2000
      • 1.2. Fentress court proceedings, 1994
      • 1.3. Case evidence, 1970-1994
      • 1.4. Correspondence, 1997-2001
    • 2. Other legal cases, 1972-2001
    • 3. The Psychopharmacologists, 1950-2001

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    This collection includes three Betacam digital tapes, forty-one VHS tapes, and seven PAL/UK format VHS tapes.

    Related Material

    The following sources provide additional information on Eli Lilly:
    The following sources provide additional information on interviewees included in David Healy’s multivolume set, The Psychopharmacologists: