One of the studies, which was published by the American Academy of Psychiatry, scanned the brains of 15 Roaccutane patients and 15 others who were taking another acne drug. There were changes in the brains of the Roaccutane group that were associated with depression.
Roche, the drug's manufacturer, has already offered to pay Mr Grant all of his research costs together with a no-liability sum of lb800,000. Mr Grant has refused to settle and is instead pressing for a public hearing in court.
Despite the behind-the-scenes offer, Roche's public stance is to vigorously deny any link between Roaccutane and depression and suicide. The drug has been suspected of causing more than 100 suicides or attempted suicides over the years, and Roche has been forced by drug regulators to include a warning of possible suicidal tendencies in the drug information sheet.
Researchers at Bath University have also recently established a link to depression in a study involving mice. It's not known if similar behavioural patterns would be replicated in humans, the researchers conclude, but we think we know the answer Mr Grant might give.
(Source: The Guardian, 19 September 2006).
E-news broadcast 21 September 2006 No.294 [Subscribe]