Glaxo Chief , Andrew Witty, Announces New Move Towards More Transparency…

Although on the surface it seems that GSK is attempting to move towards closer transparency in the way it does business , personally I think the following comments, left on the Guardian website, sums up just why so many people would be so unreservedly cynical, suspicious and skeptical about any PR move on the part of GSK…

Fool me once, etc etc…

“Witty accepted there could be attempts at fishing trips by anti-vaccination groups or critics of GSK drugs such as the antidepressant Seroxat, which was linked a decade ago to increased suicidal feelings in the young, amid accusations that the company had known and hidden the data years earlier.”

“That GSK had known about and hidden the data is not so much an “accusation” as the conclusion of a four-year investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority. They escaped prosecution through a legal loophole

This all sounds very positive, but isn’t the bottom line here that GSK ultimately retain the power to choose what they share and what they don’t – and given the history its hard to be optimistic about how they will choose to do that.”

“Witty accepted there could be attempts at fishing trips by anti-vaccination groups or critics of GSK drugs such as the antidepressant Seroxat, which was linked a decade ago to increased suicidal feelings in the young, amid accusations that the company had known and hidden the data years earlier.

So GSK pledges to be more transparent (again), but before it does so, tries to put down any possible ‘critics of GSK’ by comparing them to anti-vaxxers? Well done Witty. I guess the FDA, MHRA and EMA are among those critics then, as all three regulators issued warnings against Seroxat in 2003/2004 – which still stand today.

And yes, the 3 trials GSK did on Seroxat are published as summaries on their website, but a summary doesn’t tell you much of the what you actually want to know. Also, the only study on paroxetine in children they did manage to publish in a peer-reviewed journal was the main reason they lost $3 billion earlier this year: it seriously downplays any adverse effects (of the 11 children in the trial experiencing serious adverse events on Seroxat, GSK only attributed 1 of those to the drug, for reasons it doesn’t explain), it changed it’s primary outcome as the original one didn’t reach statistical significance, and the article has been ghostwritten by the medical contractor Scientific Therapeutics. The US Justice department have a nice summary of how this study, which still happens to be out there in the scientific literature (PubMed link – note the many comments by worried academics), distorted the evidence: Department of Justice GSK documents (The ‘US complaint’ under Court Documents offers a nice summary, but other all other documents are very interesting as well).”

Agreed, and it’s not just suicidal thoughts in the young. My partners life has been made incredibly difficult by his use of Seroxat, he is now addicted and trying everything he can to come off, despite horrific withdrawl symptoms. I wish more people were aware of what GSK has put vulnerable people through.

Who in their right mind would entrust their health to corporate psychopaths? Get real people!!

LOL, anyone who tries to convince me that the pharma disease industry have seen the light are off their rocker. No doubt the usual factory load of smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand PR dark arts will be at GSK’s disposal to convince us all they are all of a sudden holier than thou. Sorry, I just ain’t buying it when they have the power to skew said clinical trials to suit their own preferred outcomes, just as they bribe doctors to push their preferred treatments, pay off academics to write puff theses lauding their synthetic toxins, and so on and so on. And certainly not while they have thousands of money-grubing shareholders to appease.

‘GSK had already done much to advance transparency in clinical research, including publishing a summary of every drug trial – whether a success or not – on its website.’

This may be true – but neglects to mention that the summary write-ups for many of these studies do not allow researchers to scrutinize the methodology used, do not properly attribute studies (many of which are written by commercial ghost-writers), and in many cases are just downright misleading. Systematic reviews have shown a significant number of industry-funded summaries do not really reflect the underlying data.

‘ Even things we do all the time we’re criticised for not doing,” he said. “People say we only publish positive trials. No, we publish everything.’

GSK has been found to have withheld vital trial data detailing serious side effects of some of its products, and quite recently at that. Mr. Witty may insist this is now in the past, and it may even be true, but there is little reason to take the word of a company with such a record of dishonesty at face value.

He told the Guardian GSK had already done much to advance transparency in clinical research, including publishing a summary of every drug trial – whether a success or not – on its website.

According to Ben Goldacre’s piece published recently in this paper, this was a legal requirement forced upon the company as a result of a recent US lawsuit. If Ben’s account is accurate (and I have no reason to believe it is not), then for GSK now to be crowing about being champions of transparency is a bit rich.

Before Whitty there was Garnier at GlaxoSmithKline. Before he moved on to armaments he had an interview with Jim Naughtie on Radio 4 which he walked off when Naughtie started on Seroxat.!!

That they  falsify data in many ways including hiding negative research to have medicines passed by the regulator

They push drugs which have been approved by theregulator for purposes for which they have not been approved.

They may as well be street drug pushers from luxury offices.

What is the difference!
They bribe doctors, to push these drugs which doctors know
are not approved and they double dose the patient for extra
commission. They defraud the States in the United States
out of billions of dollars .They knowingly produced dud
drugs for 12 years while billing States for those drugs
even though they knew they did not contain any active ingredients!
Among those Avandia world best selling diabetic drug which was
killing thousands around the world every month. Also anti depressant
Paxil also known as Seroxat which causes birth defects, suicidal
ideation and suicide in users as well as addiction. For those addicted
it is very hard to break free.
The recent $3 billion fine included all of the above and more.
GlaxoSmithKline fined $3bn after bribing doctors to increase drugs sales
link to
They also know that the fines they get for engaging in these activities
may result in serious harm and death to patients. And that the fines are
a pittance compared with what they earn. And in many countries they
never get to trial…this country included! Why not if they have been proved
guilty in the US and have had to pay fines and compensation, why doesn’t
that happen here? why aren’t patients compensated and companies fined?
Any answers ,anyone?
The end result is they continue with this business model because low fines
reinforce the notion that it’s ok to engage in these business practices
at the level of fines handed out by the US Dept of Justice…
And the DOJ knows this and commentators in blogs in the New York Times
are asking when are these people going to do jail time? Indeed….

I’ve never really understood the whole “look at what they’ve given us” argument, whether it’s been used to defend big Pharma or arms dealers (they do pay some tax). It tacitly insinuates that we should somehow be grateful that the management of these firms have decided, out of the goodness of their hearts, to bestow whatever it is they make on us.

The reality is obviously quite different, and this is a deeper point than reiterating theircontinued moral transgressions. Businesses as I’m sure you’re aware exist to maximise profit, corporations especially so. All of the ‘amazing things’ that have saved ‘a lot of lives’ that GSK in particular have done have not been done out of some sort of benevolent philanthropy, they’ve been done because it was decided that doing them would bring in more money for shareholders than not doing them.

I am fully aware that some of the time these things can be beneficial to large numbers of people, and I’m certainly not trying to imply that they’ve never achieved anything useful. The fact is, these successes don’t excuse the morally repugnant behaviour they seem incapable of ridding their business of. Or prove that the profit motive is the most moral and efficient way of doing drug research, manufacture and distribution

So much dirty linen in the cupboard…strange that he didn’t want to talk about it….. 


GlaxoSmithKline opens door on data in bid to aid discovery of medicines

The British drugs company GlaxoSmithKline is to open up the detailed data from its clinical trials to the scrutiny of scientists in a bid to help the discovery of new medicines and end the suspicions of critics that it has secrets to hide.

In a speech today to the Wellcome Trust in London, the chief executive, Andrew Witty, will say openness to the public and active collaboration with scientists and firms outside GSK are essential to finding new drugs to treat the diseases plaguing the world, from novel antibiotics to cures for malaria and tuberculosis.


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