In Memoriam

Each year there are new cases in the media of deaths which they have linked to prescription medications. Our In Memoriam page is dedicated to their memory – in lasting memory of those who have lost their lives in connection with the medications featured on Each and every death is a profound tragedy and we pay our heartfelt respects to the families who’ve been left behind. Through memories of loved ones we draw the strength to go on.

The following are cases of deaths linked with medication side effects which have been brought to our attention by community members of or the families of those who’ve left us.

Adam Long, 1984 – 2006. After taking Roaccutane for just four months, Adam suffered a severe adverse reaction and began to experience serious mental health problems. He was referred to a consultant psychiatrist for treatment, who diagnosed Adam with schizophrenia and noted that Adam had become depressed after taking Accutane. Adam’s psychiatrist told the inquest that he believed Adam’s use of the drug was relevant. He died after being hit by a train in Atherton, England. Adam’s mobile phone was found at the scene with a message on the screen which read: “I love my mum and dad”.

Alex Voidey, 1990 – 2007. On Monday 2nd July 2007 Alex’s body was discovered by a person out walking their dog. Alex had set off from the family home in the early hours of the morning with a backpack, rope, a pair of gloves, and a kitchen knife. He was just 17 years old, a high-school student from Nice, France. Alex’s family were left distraught following his sudden suicide, noting that he’d undergone no detectable personality changes and no signs of depression. Alex left a final text message to his parents in which he described a range of physical symptoms, and his family believe that the effects of Accutane led to his suicide.

Angela Lee, 1980 – 2008.  Angela’s family described her as a fun-loving sports fan who bravely fought the challenges she faced. Angela stepped in front of a train in East London after leaving a suicide note explaining that she was suffering from ongoing side effects from the strong anti-acne medication she’d been prescribed.  Her family said that the unwanted symptoms did not resolve despite quitting the drug. Angela was 28 years old.

Andy Hull, 1996 – 2012. Andy was a happy, well-adjusted high-school pupil who excelled at baseball and was being scouted by the major league teams. He’d been taking “generic Accutane” for a mere four months when he began to exhibit out-of-character behavior, which led Andy’s mother to become concerned. He began exhibiting memory problems, forgetting where he was whilst driving around his local area. In December 2012 he returned home from school early and committed suicide in his bedroom in the family home, in Phoenix, Arizona. Andy’s dermatologist referred his case to the FDA, reporting that his suicide was a direct result of the generic Accutane.

Bart Stupak Jr., 1993 – 2000.  For six months prior to his suicide Bart was prescribed a powerful anti-acne medication. A popular colllege football player and son of then US Senator Bart Stupark, Bart Jr’s family described him as a happy young man who had a bright future ahead.   He died through a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the family home, in Menominee, Michigan.  Bart’s family believe believe that the prescribed medication caused his suicide. He was just 17 years old.

Charles Bishop, 1997 – 2002. Charles Bishop is remembered by his family as a “happy, well-balanced, forward-thinking child who had a great deal to live for”. A 15 year old high school student residing in Florida, he was prescribed a powerful anti-acne medication in April of 2001, before his life tragically came to an end in January of 2002. He began acting out of character and died after piloting a light aircraft into an office block. Charles’ family believe that Accutane was the cause of his change in behavior which led to his untimely death, noting that he was not depressed, had good grades and plans for his future.

Clay Jackson, 1983 – 2000. Clay died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, in the family home, Idalou, Texas. He was a well-liked and popular young man, with a keen interest in baseball, and who’d been receiving enquiries from colleges about his post-high school plans. Clay’s suicide led them to contact then-Congressman Bart Stupak’s office, regarding the links between Accutane and suicide. Clay’s father, Stoney Jackson, was later invited to give evidence to a House Reform Committee in the Capitol Building, Washington D.C. He noted that he was never warned about the possible links to suicide when his son was prescribed the medication.

Clément Thiebaud, ? – 2008. Clément was a French member of an online support group for people with Accutane-related health problems. On the 20th of November 2008 she posted a suicide note, explaining that she was going to end her life due to the unresolved side-effects she was experiencing. Clément said that she was suffering from depression and her life had become “a living hell” due to the persistent effects of the medication on her health. She vehemently urged others to stay away from the drug but suggested that those who’d been affected by it should remain hopeful.

Daniel Baumann, 1984 – 1999. Shortly after commencing Accutane therapy Daniel began to experience a range of physical symptoms including dry lips, itching, joint and muscle pain, headaches, nausea and insomnia. He began to have mood swings and on the first day of his sophomore year at high school, he began crying in the car – his mother asked him what was wrong, Daniel wasn’t able to offer an explanation, he just said he “felt weird”. He began to experience problems concentrating whilst in school. His mother received no warning about the severe mental side effects which can result from Accutane and on December 11th, 1999, Daniel committed suicide.

Daniel M. Stewart, 1976 – 2014. Daniel suffered from a range of debilitating side-effects after taking finasteride. A Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of North Texas-Denton, he had previously served in the US Air Force from 1994 to 1998. He died at his home in Denver, Texas, on Saturday 12th of April 2014.

Danilo Terrida, 1991 – 2011. Eleven days after commencing a prescribed course of antidepressants, 20 year old Danilo Terrida committed suicide. Danilo’s case sparked a national debate about in Denmark about the side-effects of antidepressants, which resulted in changes to the country’s legislation. Danilo’s family said they were pleased the rules on prescribing antidepressants had been changed but, as his mother commented, “it doesn’t change the fact we have lost our son.”

David Bebby, 1980 – 1998.  A sixth form pupil in Gwent, UK, David was 18 years old when he died after jumping from a multi-storey car park.  He had been taking a prescribed course of isotretinoin.  David’s case was described in a 2002 Sunday Times article discussing the links between the drug and serious adverse reactions.

David Chow, 1976-2014. David was an acclaimed professional photographer, as well as a dedicated advocate for the post-Accutane patient community and the families of those whose suicides have been attributed to the drug. During the 2000s, he acted as chairman of the RoAccutane Action Group in the UK and administrated an online forum dedicated to Accutane side effect sufferers. In December of 2014, David locked himself in a room at his parents house and stabbed himself to death after complaining of severe neck and face pain. His physician stated that he has “no doubt” that Roaccutane was responsible for David’s 21-year long battle with severe depression and agonizing physical symptoms. He was prescribed Roaccutane as a treatment for mild acne.

David Roberts, 1984 – 2005. After just two months of taking a prescribed course of Accutane, David was found hanged near his home in Liverpool, England. He’d been issued the medication for a case of only mild acne. David’s father described him as a care-free and and happy young man, with lots of friends and an active social and family life. Noting that the change in David’s behaviour was extremely sudden, his family directly link Accutane to the cause of their son’s suicide.

Hugo Wilkinson, 1981 – 2000. Hugo was a 19 year old New Zealand man from Remuera, a much-loved son who enjoyed playing rugby. Hugo had been taking Accutane for about three months when he began to experience a rapidly deteriorating mental state. His parents noted that soon after starting the drug, he became paranoid and introverted – “[Hugo became] haunted,” said Mrs Wilkinson, Hugo’s mother. “He walked around the house like a ghost.” Hugo’s mental state concerned his parents and when he didn’t return home from a University rugby fixture one evening, they became extremely concerned and immediately set out searching for him. Tragically Hugo was found dead by his father, John Wilkinson, on an area of land where the family had spent leisure time, and where Hugo had liked to walk the family dog.

Jack Bowlby, 1997 – 2013. A talented horseman and showjumper, Jack was just 16 years old when he was found hanged in his dorm room at a prestigious British school. Soon after his dose of Accutane was increased, he complained that he was experiencing` “very dark thoughts”. In the days leading up to his death Jack’s brother, Thomas, noted that he had been acting highly out of character. Concerns were raised about the sudden change in his personality by his family, including by a close family friend, Lady Anne Vesty. Mr Bowlby, Jack’s father, commented: “This drug has catastrophic consequences in a certain percentage of people who take it.”

James Silcock, 1986 – 2012. James was plagued by physical and mental health problems for over a decade after originally taking a course of Roaccutane during the summer of 2002, as a healthy, football-loving 16 year old. He’d been prescribed the drug at a hospital in Cantebury, England. In a 20 page suicide note James expressed his regret for taking the medication and the long-term side effects it had on his body. In it, he wrote “I haven’t been the same person since. I live every day in misery, helplessness, despair and regret.” James’ parents were described as heartbroken over their son’s unnecessary and tragic death.

Jason Moody, 1989 – 2006. Jason was described by his family as a handsome, popular, outgoing and intelligent high-school student who had a a great deal to live for. He loved reading, hiking, running, video games, and had been made a member of the Eagle Scouts after demonstrating his leadership and outdoor skills. Less than two months after commencing a course of isotretinoin therapy for moderate acne, Jason was found dead in the family home, after shooting himself with a shotgun. He was just 17 years old. Jason is survived by his family who cared deeply for him and loved him.

Jason Spiller, 1989 – 2006. 16 year old Jason died after hanging himself from a raft in a barn in Devon, England, in April 2005. He had recently begun taking a course of anti-acne medication, Accutane. Prior to taking the medication his GP indicated that he was not clinically depressed. Toxicology tests indicated that Jason had taken around 14 pills in the time between commencing his course of the medication and his death.

Jesse Jones, 1987 – 2011.  Jesse had been prescribed Roaccutane and began experiencing severe side effects which did not resolve despite ceasing the drug.  Described as a creative, popular and much-loved young man, he was due to start a job within the television industry. Prior to this he gained a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Literature from King’s College, London. After his death, a note referring to his health problems was found on his computer by police. Jesse’s body was found on an area of shoreline in his home town of Swanage, Dorset.  He was 24 years old.

John Pfaff, 1973 – 2013. John was a family man and CEO of a technology company, based in San Francisco. In 2008 he was prescribed Propecia, a medication prescribed for hairloss and prostate disorders. Whilst taking the medication he began experiencing drastic side effects. His wife, Kelly, began to notice extreme and unusual changes in his behavior, considered highly out of character for John. He died after being hit by a train at a local station. John was 40 years old. His wife and family believe the effects of Propecia led to his suicide. John is survived by wife and two children.

Jon Medland, 1982 – 2004.  Jon’s family and friends described him as a bubbly and outgoing young man who loved Manchester United football club. He was six months away from qualifying as a doctor, having almost completed his medical degree at the University of Manchester, UK.  At the age of 22 Jon was prescribed isotretinoin and had been taking it for three and a half weeks when his behaviour suddenly changed. He was found hanged in his student accommodation after friends raised the alarm. He had been issued the medication for a mild case of acne.

Liam Grant, 1978 – 1997. Described as a popular and academically gifted young man, Liam was in the second year of an engineering degree at University College Dublin, Ireland. He was prescribed a course of powerful acne medication to address a case of mild acne affecting his shoulders and neck. In the days leading up to his death Liam had been acting out of character and had become increasingly withdrawn from his friends and family. He was found hanged in the foothills of the Dublin mountains.  Liam was just 19 years old.

Justin Zimmer, 1990 – 2006. Justin was a young man with everything to look forward to in life. As a high school student in Menasha, Wisconsin, he excelled in wrestling and was active in the baseball team, which he was highly passionate about. Justin was a straight-A student who became sophomore class president. He respected all whom he met and was looking forward to starting a career in the military after leaving school. Justin’s suicide came very suddenly whilst he was on isotretinoin, which he’d been taking for about a month. His mother commented: “Your life changes so quickly in a matter of an hour. You go to the grocery store and come back and you don’t have five people at home anymore. You have four.”

Melissa Martin-Hughes, 1992 – 2010. A grammar school pupil who had a bright future ahead of her, Melissa had been taking a prescribed course of Roaccutane under the direction of a doctor. She experienced mental health problems and tried to take her own life along an area of shoreline in 2009. Failings were identified through the lack of care and treatment she then received, later resulting in an inquiry.  Melissa’s body was found in Pittville Park in Gloucestershire, England, in April of 2010.

Randall Santmann, 1986 – 2008. Randall committed suicide after developing severe sexual side effects from taking Propecia. He was 22 years old. After attempting numerous forms of treatment for the unwanted effects, he found no change in his condition. In a series of moving internet posts on a support group website, Randall stated that he felt as though his life had become a “meaningless ghostly hell” due to the effects of the medication. Randall’s parents were left distraught by the loss of their son, commenting that “he hated all the things that the drug had done to him. He hoped his family and friends would understand why he didn’t want to live anymore.” He is survived by his family, who reside in New Jersey.

Simon Charles Woods, 1976 – 2009. Following Simon’s his death, his twin brother, Tim Woods, reached out to an online support forum for people affected by isotretinoin. He explained that his brother had experienced worsening depression after ingesting the drug. The depression recurred in the ten years leading up to his death, leading to an episode of self-harm several months before Simon was found hanged. Isotretinoin was highlighted in the coroner’s narrative verdict on Simon’s death, and his brother directly linked Simon’s use of the drug to his death.

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