Andrew Witty ; “Good Things Happen When You Do Good Things”…

(Note: this is my 200th post on this blog.. not bad for an arm-chair activist!)

Great sound bite Mr Witty Sir… Or is it just Sir Witty?.. I think I’ll just call you Andrew.. or how about Andy?.. I’ll leave out the Sir thanks…

Personally, I don’t buy into the perpetuation of an unfair class system through titles, all a little bit too Colonial and ‘old dead empire ideology’ for me to be honest.. Just not into it.. but anyway..

I find it utterly amazing how GSK attempts to clean up its image with soundbites and PR stunts, while at the same time they leave victims of Seroxat (in their home country of England) with no help, support or aid in dealing with some of the most frightening drug side effects ever unleashed from a (legal) drug…

” Good Things Happen When You Do Good Things” ..

Well, How about you address the problem of Seroxat..
It’s not going to go away Andrew..
Not anytime soon..
Certainly not in my lifetime, or the lifetime of others whom have made it their mission to bring awarness to the Seroxat scandal until their last breath .. Yes, we are that pissed off!… really we are..

I mean it’s only just and right isn’t it? We as Seroxat victims doing the “good thing” by warning others about this sinister and defective drug .. Do you think that’s the right thing? or are you just flippant about soundbites? ..

You see, this is about Justice, Not some lofty Ideal or PR soundbite, actual real natural justice..
What GSK did with the lies to consumers about Seroxat was a very very bad thing..
Until it is atoned..
We’ll continue on..

Abandoning the defensive posture which enshrouds much discussion of business, Witty, without either notes or a podium, stood up to set out a bold and ambitious vision for the future of business that was “in step with society” and where “good things will happen when you do good things”.

As if to anticipate the audience’s scepticism, Witty emphasised that the substance of business must change not just the rhetoric. For GSK, that meant action on animal testing, AIDS vaccines and aggressive efforts to reduce the price of drugs and pool patents. And for GSK’s 110,000 employees it means that the support and engagement of employees becomes part of core business practice and a responsible business strategy – from match-funding schemes and volunteering opportunities to rising young executives spending time in Nairobi’s slums.


Seroxat Users Group Statement

Seroxat Litigation Notice

The Lawyer 9th January 2012, published inaccurate information concerning the currently ‘stayed’ Seroxat litigation which is filed in the High Court of Justice, London. In response to information having been disclosed to The Lawyer, a number of enquiries have been received concerning the status of the litigation.
In October, 2010 the solicitors then in charge of the case, considered there was insufficient evidence to proceed and advised the litigants to discontinue their claims. Approximately two thirds of the litigants followed this advice.
In the meantime, the experts in the case together with other specialists knowledgeable of the medical problems associated with Seroxat disagreed with the view of the legal team.
On 14th December 2010, evidence from representatives of the litigants, were heard at a specially convened Legal Services Commission funding review. The outcome of this meeting was an increase in the likely prospects of success for the litigation, above that estimated by the solicitors who had led the Group Action. The Legal Services Commission then confirmed it would consider the opinions of the experts before its final determination of the funding certificate bearing in mind, the Group Action now comprised a smaller number of litigants.
The Legal Services Commission is currently considering the favourable opinion of new Counsel and statements from the experts delivered by a newly instructed legal team; its response is awaited.
The Seroxat Users’ Group will keep litigants updated by this website or enquiries may be made by email to:
Dated 20.01.12

“Chemical imbalance is… last-century thinking”

So out goes the ‘chemical imbalance theory…

When I was 17 years old, I got so depressed that what felt like an enormous black hole appeared in my chest. Everywhere I went, the black hole went, too.

So to address the black-hole issue, my parents took me to a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She did an evaluation and then told me this story:

“The problem with you,” she explained, “is that you have a chemical imbalance. It’s biological, just like diabetes, but it’s in your brain. This chemical in your brain called serotonin is too, too low. There’s not enough of it, and that’s what’s causing the chemical imbalance. We need to give you medication to correct that.”

Then she handed my mother a prescription for Prozac.

That was the late ’80s, but this story of a chemical imbalance brought on by low serotonin has remained very popular.

“I don’t know of any story that has supplanted it,” says Alan Frazer, a researcher who studies how antidepressant medications work. He is also chairman of the pharmacology department at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

“It definitely continues to live — absolutely,” agrees his colleague Pedro Delgado, the chair of the psychiatry department at UT. “If you go to your community doctor, you’re likely to hear some version of that.”

But for many scientists who research depression, this explanation is no longer satisfying.

“Chemical imbalance is sort of last-century thinking. It’s much more complicated than that,” says Dr. Joseph Coyle, a professor of neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. “It’s really an outmoded way of thinking.”

Coyle, who is also the editor of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, says that though serotonin plays a role in depression, low serotonin is likely not the cause of depression. Scientific thinking has clearly shifted, he says.

Still, the story of serotonin remains. Why does it continue to have such a powerful grip on the popular imagination?

The Link

According to Frazer, to understand how the story of low serotonin came to dominate our understanding of what causes depression, you need to go back to the late ’50s, to a psychiatric hospital in Switzerland.

That’s where psychiatrist Roland Kuhn gave a newly developed drug to 10 patients who had been paralyzed by depression for years. Over the course of three weeks, he watched a near-miracle occur.

“There was this lightening of their mood,” Frazer says. “They became more energized, more interested in things around them.”

This was the birth of the very first antidepressants, called tricyclics. And with that birth came a question: How could these drugs possibly be working? Researchers had some ideas, but it really wasn’t until the mid ’60s, when the cause of Parkinson’s disease was discovered, that a real narrative began to take shape.

It turned out that Parkinson’s — a brain disorder — was caused by a deficiency of a chemical in the brain called dopamine. This discovery influenced the way scientists thought about depression.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the Parkinson’s story had a strong impact on the way that people were thinking about depression,” Frazer says. “It became easy to speculate that depression was due to a deficiency.”

The question, of course, was what was deficient? Which chemical was too low? For decades researchers argued this question, but no one candidate took the lead. And then came Prozac.

Prozac’s Pull

Almost as soon as it was introduced in 1987, the antidepressant Prozac, which selectively targets the chemical serotonin, became a blockbuster. “Prozac just blew everything else out of the water,” Frazer says.

This had less to do with the efficacy of Prozac (it is not better at treating depression than tricyclics, the earlier generation of antidepressants) than with the fact that the drug had relatively few side effects.

“It was very free of side effects,” says Pedro Delgado. “And so it began to be used very widely, and there was a lot of enthusiasm for it.”

That understates the case. In a very short time, Prozac became wildly popular, and again, Prozac worked on just one chemical in the brain: serotonin.

And really, it is because of the popularity of Prozac that the low-serotonin story took hold, even though, Frazer argues, the scientific research has not borne that out.

“I don’t think there’s any convincing body of data that anybody has ever found that depression is associated to a significant extent with a loss of serotonin,” he says.

Delgado also makes this argument. In the 1990s, he carried out a study that showed that if you take a normal person and deplete them of serotonin, they will not become depressed. He says he feels this demonstrates that low serotonin doesn’t cause depression.

Coyle is less absolute in his dismissal of the evidence on serotonin. His take is that while low serotonin probably doesn’t cause depression, some abnormality in the serotonin system clearly plays a role. But most researchers have moved on, he says, and are looking at more fundamental issues like identifying the genes that might put people at risk for developing depression.

“What’s being looked at are processes that are much more fundamental than just serotonin levels,” he says. “We need to move beyond serotonin, and I think the field is.”

Serotonin Sticking Around

So why are so many people still talking about low serotonin causing depression?

Frazer says it’s probably because it has had, and continues to have, important cultural uses. For one, he says, by initially framing the problem as a deficiency — something that needed to be returned to normal — patients felt more comfortable taking a drug.

“If there was this biological reason for them being depressed, some deficiency that the drug was correcting,” Frazer says, then taking a drug was OK. “They had a chemical imbalance and the drug was correcting that imbalance.” In fact, he says, the story enables many people to come out of the closet about being depressed, which he views as a good thing.

Still, there’s no question that the story also has downsides. Describing the problem exclusively in biological terms has convinced many people to take antidepressants when other therapies — like talk therapy — can work just as well.

One critic I talked to said the serotonin story distracted researchers from looking for other causes of depression. But Delgado agrees with Frazer and says the story has some benefits. He points out that years of research have demonstrated that uncertainty itself can be harmful to people — which is why, he says, clear, simple explanations are so very important.

“When you feel that you understand it, a lot of the stress levels dramatically are reduced,” he says. “So stress, hormones and a lot of biological factors change.”

Unfortunately, the real story is complicated and, in a way, not all that reassuring. Researchers don’t really know what causes depression. They’re making progress, but they don’t know. That’s the real story.

It’s not exactly a blockbuster.

Five Years of Blogging…

January 2012.

I started this blog in January 2007. That’s five solid years of blogging about Seroxat (Paxil) and its manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline.

5 years..

197 Posts…

But still no justice for Seroxat Victims…

I have a feeling things are all going to change, one way or another…


Keep Tuned…

UPDATE : Check Out Bob Fiddaman’s Blog “Seroxat Sufferers” for the current status of Seroxat Litigation in the UK.

MHRA say that ” Seroxat was an Ethical Lapse” ..

I would think that the corporate manslaughter of men, women and children because of hidden drug company data about the dangers of a defective drug like Seroxat should rightly be deemed much more that a mere ‘Ethical Lapse’. I think ‘human rights abuse’ , ‘ grave immorality’ and ‘disturbing behavior of a corrupted industry’ would be far more accurate and descriptive statements in regards to the Seroxat Horror Show.

Lapses in ethics can only occur when there are ethical standards already in place.

‘Ethical Lapse’ … Ridiculous.

More from the Daily Mail UK

Sadly, this is not the first time the agency has been criticised for acting slowly and ineffectually.
In September 2010, for instance, the diabetes drug Avandia was finally banned in Britain after the European Medicines Agency ruled there was a serious risk it could lead to heart attacks or stroke.
Evidence against Avandia had been building since 2007.
And, while denying it had failed to reveal the risks when they showed up, in July 2010 the drug’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline, reportedly paid out £304 million in damages to settle about 10,000 patient lawsuits in the U.S.
However, in the same month an advisory body to the MHRA warned it that the ‘risks (of Avandia) outweigh its benefits, that it no longer has a place on the UK market’ and called for prompt action.
The MHRA did not reveal this warning to the public; it simply passed its information on to European authorities.
A few years earlier, media pressure was required to force the MHRA to act over another prescribed-drug danger. Again, it was a GlaxoSmithKline medicine — the antidepressant Seroxat.
Specialists had been warning for years of the raised risk of suicide in children. But the MHRA, relying on evidence from the manufacturer, issued assurances that there was no suicide link.

Then, in 2003, following two BBC Panorama programmes, the drug watchdog mounted its own investigation and discovered the manufacturer had hidden information about the suicide link.
After this, the MHRA said it wanted to require drug makers to share more information about clinical trials — but admitted that, without stronger legislation in place, there was no chance of prosecuting the company for what it called an ‘ethical lapse’.

The watchdog was not only asleep, it was toothless.

‘Glaxo Builds Bonny Babies!’ Unless you’re Argentinian, of course..

Most mainstream news sources picking this sinister story up now, including Sky News UK..,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1276&bih=687&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ncl=dZz2Vok_pwXR8AMDchMXs8Wuoo0CM&ei=RAUFT4si0YKFB6O-pcsB&sa=X&oi=news_result&ct=more-results&resnum=1&ved=0CC8QqgIwAA‘glaxo-builds-bonny-babies’-unless-you’re-argentinian-course-04012012

‘Glaxo Builds Bonny Babies!’ Unless you’re Argentinian, of course

Submitted by Anonymous on Jan 4 2012 21:19
tags: Argentina health and medicine Zoe Baillie anthropology

The Buenos Aires Herald today announced that GlaxoSmithKline, the global pharmaceutical giant, has been fined 400,000 Argentinian pesos after the deaths of 14 babies during clinical trials in Argentina. That’s about £59,500, from a company worth around £73.8 billion, the 5th largest company on FTSE. Originally posted here

Two doctors were also fined 300,000 ARS each, for their involvement in the trials which were carried out between 2007 – 2008. GSK were trialling a vaccine against pneumococcal bacteria, and recruited around 150,000 babies under the age of one for the trial.

GSK were charged with experimenting on humans and falsifying parental consent for babies to be involved with the trial. Witnesses claimed doctors involved with the clinical trial bullied illiterate parents into signing to 28-page consent forms, and leading parents to believe their child would not receive any other vaccines if permission to take part in the clinical trial was refused.

Witnesses also state that many people who wanted to leave the programme were not allowed to, and that doctors did not respond to calls by concerned parents and carers when their children displayed adverse reactions to the vaccines.

GSK have denied any wrongdoing, and claimed that none of the babies’ deaths were related to the trial. They say that all the babies that died had been given a placebo, and are going to appeal against the fines. They also deny bribing participants, but have not commented on the tactics described by witnesses in the court case.

Clinical trials of drugs mostly destined for sale in the developed world are increasingly “offshored” to developing countries, with Latin American and other “second world” countries a firm favourite due to their combination of lax regulations and health infrastructure sufficient for conducting trials. GSK would have found it relatively easy to recruit participants for this trial in Argentina (as well as Panama and Colombia, the other sites for this trial) compared with say the USA or UK, and labour and other overheads would also come at a reduced cost. GSK can use bullying tactics to get access to the bodies of babies from poor families in the third world, when such an approach just wouldn’t fly in the UK or USA.

Medical Anthropologist Adriana Petryna has written extensively on this topic, and a free PDF of her 2007 article ‘Clinical Trials Offshored: Private Sector Science and Public Health’ is available here, and her book ‘When Experiments Travel: Clinical Trials and the Global Search for Human Subjects‘ also deals with this subject in depth. Petryna does well to highlight the irony of clinical trials being conducted among populations far too poor to afford the drugs that are developed as a result of them. This shows GSK’s claim that “Only 12 [babies in the clinical trial] have died throughout the country, which is a very low figure if we compare it with the deaths produced by respiratory illnesses caused by the pneumococcal bacteria” to be a somewhat moot point: as respiratory diseases are predominantly linked to poverty in Latin America, its not likely that GSK will be giving away the fruits of their labour to the children most in need of it for free.

Of course I’m not arguing against the development of vaccines and the use of clinical trials altogether, but the GSK case once again highlights how Big Pharma can cut costs, cut corners, and carry out their research in developing countries without fear of reprisal and with big profits in mind. After all, a fine of £58,000 for a company worth £73.8 billion is barely a drop in the ocean.

GlaxoSmithKline Fined £60,000 for Killing 14 Babies in Sinister Argentinian Drug Trial

“By my reckoning that’s just over £4,000 per child.” – Bob Fiddaman (Award winning writer and patient activist)

Indeed Bob, pretty cheap human guinea pigs for the Glaxo Labs I think…
Amazing how they get away with it…
Oh.. I forgot, they operate above and beyond the law… that’s why…

From Pharmalot

And Bob Fiddaman

Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Glaxo Fined £60,000 For Killing 14 Babies

Throw a cat in a bin and get massive media coverage and public outrage. Kill 14 babies and our British press don’t even give it a small column. We’ve lost our morals folks. Glaxo are a British company and their wrong-doings should be reported by the British press. With James Murdoch on the board at GSK and with Andrew Witty cupping the balls of the UK government with the threat of moving his business elsewhere, it’s left, once again, to bloggers to report on this abhorrent misuse of human life.

What price a human life?

Well Judge Marcelo Aguinsky has fined GlaxoSmithKline 400,000 Argentinian Pesos [about £60,000] for its part in the 2007/08 vaccine trials conducted in Argentina where 14 children died. The charges, writes the Herald, included experimenting with human beings, falsifying parental authorizations so babies could participate in vaccine-trials conducted by the laboratory from 2007 to 2008.

The Buenos Aires Herald reports:

The charges included experimenting with human beings, falsifying parental authorizations so babies could participate in vaccine-trials conducted by the laboratory from 2007 to 2008.

Since 2007, 15,000 children under the age of one from Mendoza, San Juan and Santiago del Estero have been included in the research protocol, a statement of what the study is trying to achieve. Babies were recruited from poor families that attended to public hospitals.

A total of 7 babies died in Santiago del Estero; 5 in Mendoza; and 2 in San Juan.

By my reckoning that’s just over £4,000 per child.

“GSK Argentina set a protocol at the hospital, and recruited several doctors working there,” Pediatrician Ana Marchese told Continental AM radio in an interview. Adding that:

“These doctors took advantage of many illiterate parents whom take their children for treatment by pressuring and forcing them into signing these 28-page consent forms and getting them involved in the trials.”

“Laboratories can’t experiment in Europe or the United States, so they come to do it in third-world countries.”

GlaxoSmithKline Argentina are appealing the decision. Medical Director Rosana Felice said in a statement, “None of the deaths are related to the vaccines”, and added, “Likewise, Glaxo doesn’t pay any kind of bribes in order to lead any clinical studies here in Argentina or at any other location around the globe.”

Phew! Thank goodness for that, for one minute I thought they had actually been rumbled.

The GlaxoSmithKline corporate motto is, “We have a challenging and inspiring mission to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.”

Based on the findings in the above enquiry I’d suggest that GlaxoSmithKline look up the words ‘Inspiring’, ‘Improve’ and ‘Quality’.

Full shameful story in the Buenos Aires Herald

Heads up: Pharmalot

Back story: Is GlaxoSmithKline Behaving Badly in Argentina?

On January 1st Glaxo CEO Andrew Witty was knighted.

Nice to see our monarchy getting its priorities in order.

Pneumonia Vaccine Approved as Deaths Mount During Trial
The vaccine trial is ongoing in Argentina. Parents agreed under threats of losing their children and without informed consent. GSK says it’s not the vaccine—but where’s the proof?

by Heidi Stevenson

6 March 2011

As deaths were mounting from GlaxoSmithKline’s ongoing vaccine study in Argentina, the European Union’s Medicine Agency, EMEA, approved it for mass use on infants. The pneumonia vaccine, Synflorix, is expensive and recognized as ineffective for those most in need. With no real explanation, GSK has announced that they won’t market it in the US.

In 2008, the Daily Mail reported that the deaths of at least 14 children could have been caused by GSK’s Synflorix vaccine.(1) Naturally, GSK denied that the vaccine was the cause, but to this date, we have nothing better than their claim. Their history, including the recent settlement to pay $750 million for knowingly distributing adulterated Paxil,(2) and the EU’s suspension of Avandia’s license for causing heart attacks,(3) which it was supposed to prevent, in diabetes patients.

Glaxo Boss Andrew Witty Knighted By The Queen Of England…

Sir and Dame are titles of excellence, bestowed upon the elite within the tradition of the British Royal class system.

Andrew Witty (CEO of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline) has just been knighted, it beggars belief as to why?

One would think, that the title of ‘knighthood’ would evoke characteristics such as honesty, courage, ethical, fair, moral, virtuous, honorable etc.

GSK embodies none of these characteristics. And I doubt very much if the Queen knows Andrew Witty well enough to figure those traits in him as an individual.

Andrew Witty is a man who presides over a company (GSK) which is amongst one of the most corrupt in the world. The legacies of dangerous drugs such as Avandia and Seroxat have left hundreds of thousands of people damaged, some have died, others will never recover, and in the UK, nothing has been done to bring Glaxo to book about these crimes. Not only does GSK have a history of dodgy drugs, but its past is also riddled with news stories of tax evasion, fraud, illegal drug testing on orphans and cover ups about birth defects and side effects (to name but a few).

But, GSK is also a British company and therefore it brings British profits to British shores.

In England, it seems, anyone can become a Knight, as long as they serve the interests of the English Political and Economic establishment. Never mind if you work for a company that makes defective and dangerous drugs. All it takes is a revenue stream. Doesn’t matter where it comes from or the amount of suffering it causes.

It seems the elitist driven political economics of the British colonial mind set is alive and well indeed.