Suzanne Johnson — (1991 FDA Hearings)

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Department Of Health And Human Services Public Health Service Food And Drug Administration

FDA Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Hearings

Friday, September 20, 1991

DR. CASEY : Thank you. Suzanne Johnson, please?

JOHNSON: My name is Suzanne Johnson I come before you today, my judge and and jury, pleading not only for my life but literally thousands of others. As I stand before your firing squad, I must cry to be heard. I don’t deserve this. Nobody does.

Only God has the power to pick who lives and who dies. Who do you think you are? God?

My Prozac nightmare is beyond description. There is no known vocabulary to describe what has happened. Prozac has altered the entire course of my life. I’ll never, ever be the same. Prozac has destroyed every hope of me having any kind of normalcy in my life. Gone are my carefree days, never, ever to return.

I was told that Prozac had no side effects, except for possible weight loss. No withdrawals and no addictive potential. I literally quote my physician, “Suzanne, sometimes patients lose 5 percent of their body weight, but then we can never be too rich or too thin, can we?”

Looking back, the emotional side effects began immediately. My wild spending started within a week of my starting on Prozac. I began lending sums of money to people when I didn’t have the money to spare. I went on credit card binges that will takes years to pay off. I even purchased an opera length black gamma mink coat.

Also, here come the mood elevations and irresponsible behavior. I had become impervious to any type of normal thinking. I was totally out of control. My friends were aghast at my deteriorating mental state, but were afraid to say anything to me about it because of my agitated state of mind.  In my own thoughts I had become superior, almost godlike. All semblances of religious faith were torn to shambles, literally nonexistent. Now my love of God was masked, total masked by darkness by Eli Lilly’s devil Prozac.

During this time it is a miracle I did not harm myself or others. I had become a menace to society, and the FDA is allowing this to happen. I want to know why. On September 3, 1991, the United European Parliament recommended to the member countries where Prozac is authorized to look into Eli Lilly’s killer drug and recommend discontinuation of Prozac in its present form. This totals 23 — 23 — western European countries. What happened to America, the beautiful land of the free? 

Do they care more about their people than you do about yours? We’ve become so money-oriented that money, the money, the money, let’s have the money.  I don’t understand.

The FDA is calling for retraction of various food products, citing false and misleading advertising. What about false and misleading advertising concerning Prozac? Look at this brochure. It’s a school teacher. She can’t sleep, so she’s going to take Prozac so she can function properly. You open your mouth, you pop a pill, and the world becomes rose-colored again. I  wouldn’t want anybody on Prozac to teach my children. I don’t think you would, either.

Allen Gellsberg from your office sent around a fax on July 2, 1991, and stated that since Prozac was introduced in 1988 more adverse side effects have been reported than any other drug. I wish you would stop this atrocity now. How many more people are going to be killed and maimed before you do something? You have the power to change things. You have the power to listen to what we say and investigate what we say. We need help.

My nightmare continues. Each step I take today is a borrowed step from God. Last November I was hospitalized with an hematocrit of 9000, a hemoglobin of 2500, and a white count of 1100. I am here today at great personal risk.  During my ingestation of Prozac my bone marrow was being eaten up. I was so high on Prozac that I noticed no physical symptoms.

Please take Prozac off the market. Imagine my dismay when I was alerted to the fact that bone marrow donors are being accepted that are on Prozac therapy.  When someone undergoes a transplant, the young mother, the father, the child, and the cause of death is listed as complications of bone marrow transplant, when in fact it could have been cause by marrow that – DR.

CASEY: One minute, please.

MS. JOHNSON: This madness has got to stop. You are holding, you guys are holding a loaded gun in my hands at my temple. You’re playing Russian roulette with my life. Maybe the next time the chamber won’t  be empty. Without a medical miracle, it’s too late for me now. Withdraw Prozac from the market before it harms anybody else, before other blood is on your hands, because my blood is already on your hands.

DR. CASEY: Thank you.