San Francisco Chronicle
September 13, 2009
As newly approved drugs harm and even kill children, more parents are fighting back.
The most dramatic moment for the 70 doctors and 200 spectators attending June FDA hearings about approving new psychiatric drugs for children came when two bereaved mothers approached the open mike.
Liza Ortiz of Austin, Texas, told the advisory panel her 13-year-old son died of Seroquel toxicity in an ICU days after being put on the antipsychotic. “His hands twisted in ways I never thought possible,” she said.
Next was Mary Kitchens of Bandera, Texas, who described Seroquel’s lasting effects on her 13-year-old son Evan after being given the antipsychotic without her knowledge or permission by a residential treatment center.
But for Kitchens the most dramatic moment came after the hearings when she approached Dr. Robert Temple, the FDA’s director of the Office of Drug Evaluation, who had officiated on the panel.
“Can I show you the stamp on these Seroquel samples that proves my son was given an unapproved drug in 2003?” she asked him, displaying the original drug packaging, which she also showed at open mike. “The panel is considering whether these drugs should be approved for children – and I can show you they’ve been marketed to kids for years!”
“I’m sorry, ma’am – I can’t talk to you,” replied Temple, making a quick getaway.