What was Milošević taking?

The drug in question would seem to be rifampicin.


Yakima_Gulag said...

Hi Dr. Gordy, this looks like just the drug for Mr. Milosevic! NOT!

* Alcohol abuse (or history of) or
* Liver disease—There may be an increased chance of side effects affecting the liver in patients with a history of alcohol abuse or liver disease

Seriously, no competant physician would have let him have this, he did drink heavily and how much do you want to bet he had liver disease?
Thanks for finding the drug!

Eric Gordy said...

I should just point out, I'm not the kind of doctor who helps anybody.

Yakima_Gulag said...

Xaxax! you hep people just not medically! Having been trained to research drug properties and interactions in my two classes on pharmacy, I have to comment that you did pick a worthwhile reliable source, we were supposed to pick three for each report! Good job! seriously!

Keith Brown said...

I find Mr. Ures suggestion, quoted in the BBC piece Eric has marked, persuasive: that Mr. Milosevic may have been self-medicating to offset the blood pressure medication that, as I recall, earlier in the trial he was refusing to take, to try and get himself out to Moscow.
It would be of a piece (though closer to home) with the calculated brinkmanship and risk-taking that characterized much of his career: including, of course, the fact that it could be blamed on some mysterious external actor trying to poison him.
That said, if one takes the cui bono? realist approach, one can come up with all sorts of ideas about whose interests are served by this. Not, though, according to Sylvia Poggoli on NPR yesterday, Serbia.

Another opinion piece that came into my email in response, from Paul Roberts on antiwar.com.

Eric, in a post on this, you also indicate that we know who killed Djindjic and why. Could you repost that story?

Eric Gordy said...

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the toxicologist's comments. On the one hand, what he suggests is plausible, but on the other hand, it is definitely not the result of his investigation. It is possible that we will never know how the drug got into his body.

For the Djindjic killing: the indictment was reprinted in Vreme on 23 October 2003, here is the text:


That court also has yet to reach a verdict, but no factual elements of the indictment have been seriously challenged.

Anonymous said...

Eno ga ode u Rusiju! mirko

Yakima_Gulag said...

Owen, in a comment on my blog asked a very good question: Does anyone know if Milosevic could have been concealing a history of tuberculosis?
A lot of times when you see film of him he does seem to have a cough, of course part of it is he was a smoker, but is it possible? I think there is still some stigma attached to tuberculosis in the Balkans but it was once endemic.
I thought Owen asked a good question, and if anyone knows I'd like to know.

Steve Albert said...

There is an interesting story about how Milosevic got the drugs in today's London Times.

'Lax prison security' allowed Milosevic to smuggle in drugs


Here is how it begins:

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC had regular access to unprescribed drugs that were smuggled into his cell under a lax prison regime, sources at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague said yesterday.

Timothy McFadden, the prison governor responsible for Milosevic, who died of a heart attack in prison on Saturday, is reported to have complained in December and January that he could no longer monitor drugs taken by the former leader. His warnings went unheeded.

The indicted war criminal had the key to his own office, which had a fax machine, a computer and a telephone, and access to a private “comfort room” for visits by his wife. He was allowed to receive guests, including his legal representatives, who were frisked and sent through airport-style metal detectors, but they were not body-searched.

A source close to the tribunal said: “He was not in prison — he was in touch with the world. It is very difficult to avoid this when someone has not been sentenced, is on trial and has to have access to lawyers. You can’t stop that.”

I think that the last paragraph sounds like an excuse for the failings of ICTY security. After all, there is no reason why, if guests went through a metal detector, they could not have been body searched. In the post 9/11 world such searches take place in airports. Surely it made sense to use them with Milosevic's visitors. This is especially true if the prison authorities suspected that drugs were being smuggled in to him.

The rest ,however, rings true.


Eric Gordy said...

Steve, this definitely adds something to the story! I am interested in finding out whether rifampicin is sold over the counter in Serbia.

Steve Albert said...


It might also be interesting to know if rifampicin could be easily obtained on the black market In Serbia.

The Times story does,however, offer the most logical explaination of how Milosevic came to be taking this drug. It makes a lot more sense than the nationalist claim that somehow MIlosevic was done in.

I just read this:

Several people tossed flowers at the hearse as a few elderly women wailed loudly, a traditional way of mourning in Serbia.

"You came home, my son, Slobo!" cried one, Milica Kojic, 74. "They killed him in that dungeon."

From: Milosevic's Serb Supporters Plan Funeral


The description of the detention center at the Hague as a dungeon is quite comic. However, it underlines an important point.If one can fault the authorities at the Hague with anything, it surely is not being too harsh. If anything ,their failure to get to the bottom of the reports that drugs were being smuggled to Milosevic and do something about them shows a much too laid back approach.

If it turns out that smuggling did occur and had something to do with Milosevic's death, the primary responsibility for this situation would lie with Milosevic. The major error of the ICTY in handling the situation of Milosevic's health,as in their handling of his use of the Tribunal as a political platform lay in their inability to understand who they were dealing with.


Anonymous said...

I dont know from personal experience but I have read in the Serbian press that the drug is available without presecription in Serbia.

I must admit I'm disapointed by the various stories doing the rounds. Cant they just leave it alone.

Your division, Eric, concerning people with axes to grind seeing what they want to see rings true.

I dont want to see a conspiracy (even if Im interested in all the available information) so I wont :)

It appears myself, Tomanovic and Del Ponte 'want to believe'. Who said the truth wasnt fluid?