A couple of days ago I drew attention to some comments on the Guardian article about GSK’s promise of increased transparency in its business model. I am certainly not the only one who is cynical about GSK and its company Chief Executive, Andrew Witty. GSK have operated like a criminal cartel, people have died because of their illegal and unethical corporate behavior. It would be foolish to believe anything coming from their direction, now or in the future.
From the ‘Seroxat Sufferers’ Blog, Bob Fiddaman Writes :
15 Good Reasons Not to Trust Andrew Witty and GSK
GSK Head, Andrew Witty and his recent announcement about transparency could possibly be believed if one were inclined to be gullable. See here, Glaxo’s Murky Transparency Claim
He blamed the recent $3 billion guilty plea for off-label promotion of GSK drugs that not only harmed but killed people on an era. See here, GlaxoSmithKline: The Andrew Witty “Era”
Do we, as consumers, really think Andrew Witty is being sincere with his latest offering? He, as recent as last year, refused to meet with Janice Simmons, founder of the Seroxat User Group, to discuss the 15,000 emails she has amassed from patients who are struggling to withdraw from his company’s antidepressant, Seroxat. See here, **Exclusive – GSK’s Andrew Witty in Patient Aftercare Snub
Witty’s backroom staff and predecessor’s have also made promises and outrageous statements in the past.
Glaxo, and indeed other pharmaceutical companies, are always telling doctor’s and patients about the benefit vs risk of taking their antidepressant medications.Like Witty, I’m coming up with my own benefit vs risk ratio. Can he, or indeed his company, GSK, be trusted to deliver the goods this time around?History would suggest otherwise.
And from the ‘Seroxat Secrets’ Blog:
Trust GSK? – you must be mad.
“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 [11 Oct] 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.
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
Said Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust – “In its commitment towards more openness and collaboration, GSK is setting an example of how the pharmaceutical industry must adapt to help drive forward medical advances. Real breakthroughs do not come out of nowhere, but are borne of scientists sharing their knowledge and learning from each other. GSK’s moves are bold and innovative, a very positive sign of its commitment to tackle some of the greatest health challenges facing the world today.”
But hold on a minute – Dr Ben Goldacre’s not sure about GSK :
“But we should judge drug companies by their actions, not by their promises, especially when similar promises have been made in the past, and then broken.
In 1998 GlaxoWellcome promised to set up a clinical trials register, amidst outcry over withheld trial results. But when the company merged with SKB to create GSK, in 2002, this register was unceremonially deleted from the internet. This tragic story is described in an excellent open access article on this history of attempts to get access to hidden data, by Iain Chalmers.
Then, in 2003, GSK were caught withholding clinical trial data showing that their drug seroxat increases the risk of suicide in young people. As part of the settlement on fraud charges, in the US in 2004, GSK were forced to promise to post all trial results on a public website. But in 2012 GSK paid a new $3bn fine for criminal and civil fraud: this included charges over withholding data on the diabetes drug Avandia, as late as 2007, well after this earlier promise of transparency was made”.
That’s a pretty poor record, I’m sure you’ll agree.
As far as GSK is concerned, talk is cheap and promises are routinely broken with no compunction whatsoever.