Open Trial Set For Two GSK Private Investigators In China Bribes Probe


China sets trial date for GSK-tied investigators, says it will be ‘open’

Peter Humphrey

It’s official: China has set the date for the trial of two private investigators tied to GlaxoSmithKline’s operations there. The pair will head to court in just over a week on charges of illegally purchasing personal information about Chinese nationals, a Chinese court said. And according to state news agency Xinhua, all are welcome to attend.

U.K. national Peter Humphrey and Yu Yingzeng, Humphrey’s wife and a U.S. citizen, will stand trial on Aug. 8, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court announced Monday, according to The Wall Street Journal. Contrary to previous reports, Xinhua now says it will be open to the public. The pair has been in the custody of Chinese authorities since last August.

Since then, information has slowly emerged concerning the couple’s relationship to Glaxo, which came under fire last summer for allegedly funneling $489 million in bribes to Chinese doctors and other healthcare professionals. Earlier this month, reports surfaced that the pharma giant had hired Humphrey’s firm, ChinaWhys, to investigate a former employee accused of making a sex tape of top China exec Mark Reilly without his knowledge–and circulating it via email to other Glaxo higher-ups, including CEO Andrew Witty.

Now, Chinese prosecutors say Humphrey and Yingzeng “illegally trafficked a huge amount of personal information on Chinese citizens to seek profits,” state news agency Xinhua reported earlier this month. Among the information: home registrations, background on family members and call logs, some of which they allegedly purchased illegally. And they’re accused of tailing people and secretly photographing them, too.

But the trial itself has stirred up its own controversy, with Reuters recently reporting that China had barred all outsiders–including the couple’s teenage son–from attending. Officials from both the U.S. and the U.K. have since stepped in to demand more transparency, with a U.S. embassy spokesman recently citing a 1982 agreement under which consular officials should be granted access.

– get more from the WSJ (sub. req.)
– read the Xinhua story

Special Report: Top 10 drugmakers in emerging marketsGSK

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GSK’s Witty fights back amid bribery scandal and profit warning

And just like his predecessor, J.P. Garnier ,  Sir Andrew Witty will say what he’s told to say, evade difficult questions about ethical breeches, defective drugs, bribery, corruption and gross immorality and  get paid millions every year to do it… then in a few years he’ll sail off into the sunset with a well stocked golden parachute, a hefty bank balance, and job offers from far and wide…. and when he’s gone another one will take his place…

July 27, 2014 8:09 pm

GSK’s Witty fights back amid bribery scandal and profit warning


For most of his six years as chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, Andrew Witty has been the golden boy of British business.

Young, dynamic and plain-speaking, the Yorkshireman became a fixture in any ranking of most admired UK chief executives. A knighthood sealed his status in 2012.

Yet a difficult past year has taken some of the sheen off his reputation and, as he approaches his 50th birthday next month, Sir Andrew finds himself under pressure.

First came the Chinese bribery scandal that has imperilled GSK’s position in a crucial growth market and undercut Sir Andrew’s image as a champion of ethical reforms in the drugs industry. Then, last week, he issued a profits warning that exposed weakness in the company’s core respiratory medicines business.

Perils of intervention

File photo dated 17/5/2009 of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London. MPs are under fresh pressure to let the Commons sleaze watchdog investigate their private lives, it was disclosed today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 6, 2012. The Standards and Privileges Committee has renewed its call for rules to cover all behaviour that "significantly damages the reputation of parliament". See PA story POLITICS MPs. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Sir Andrew Witty warns the UK government against putting up barriers to foreign investment in the wake of Pfizer’s failed £69.4bn bid for AstraZeneca

See below

Sir Andrew refuses to discuss the China case in detail other than to declare his determination to stamp out any corruption. But he says it has helped him drive home to employees the need for greater transparency. “It gives me the ammunition to say we are in the public eye and our behaviour counts. It’s not just about generating prescriptions; it’s how you do it.”


Why So Kind GlaxoSmithKline?


Why So Kind GlaxoSmithKline?

at 4:01 pm July 3, 2014

RTE R1′s Morning Ireland today reported on pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline’s links with Sligo Institute of Technology and its plans to expand its Stiefel plant in Co Sligo (above).

GlaxoSmithKline, in its previous incarnation Burroughs Wellcome, was the company which carried out vaccine trials on children in care homes throughout Ireland in 1930, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1961, 1965, 1971 and 1973.

Its 2009 decision to close the Stiefel Laboratory was reversed in 2012 following the return of records relating to the trials by the Child Abuse Commission.

In 2010 the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children requested these records from Glaxo Smith Kline, which indicated that although prepared to hold the records for the foreseeable future, it would not hand them over without a court order.

The government has yet to state whether or not the proposed inquiry into mother and baby homes will include vaccine trials carried out in these homes.

Previously: Medical Trials And Children Of Lesser Gods


Medical Trials And Children Of Lesser Gods

at 1:18 pm June 26, 2014



[From top: Professor Patrick Meenan and Professor Irene Hillery; Michael Martin, Brendan Howlin, Brian Cowen and Mary Harney; Logo of GlaxoSmithKline which took over Burroughs Wellcome in 2000]

A timeline of the known medical trials conducted on children in Mother and baby homes in Ireland, the response of successive health ministers and the contemporaneous expansion in Ireland of the medical companies involved in those trials.

Grab a tay..

1930-5: Burroughs-Wellcome trials (“the 1930-35 trials”) of the APT (Alum-Precipitated Toxoid) vaccine for diphtheria carried out on 2000 children in residential institutions. Stage 1 of the trials took place in 1930 and include 405 children in residential institutions in Cork City, most likely the St Joseph’s Industrial School for Boys, run by the Presentation Brothers, and St Finbarr’s Industrial School for Girls, run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Children taking part in Stage 1 suffer severe adverse reactions. Stage 2 of the trials takes place in 1934 and includes 320 children from residential institutions. Again adverse reactions are recorded. Stage 3 takes place in 1934 and involved 250 children from an unidentified institution for boys and Stage 4 takes place in 1935 and involves 360 children from St Vincent’s Industrial School, Goldenbridge, St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra, and St Saviours’s Dominican Orphanage, Lower Dominic Street.

1961: Burroughs-Wellcome trial of the effectiveness of the polio vaccine when added to the three-in-one (whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus) vaccine carried out on 58 children in residential institutions only one of which (Bessborough, Co Cork) is identified. 28 of these children receive the proposed quadruple vaccine, with 30 getting the separate three-in-one and polio vaccines. The study concludes that there is a lower polio antibody response in those given the quadruple vaccine, and that it may, therefore, be less effective. Sixteen of 25 infants from one home develop vomiting, diarrhoea and fever after their second immunisation. Their symptoms last a few days before complete recovery. Some 36 infants from both groups are subsequently identified as having an inadequate polio antibody response, and receive booster doses. There is no further follow-up of the children involved.

1965: Trial of a ‘five-in-one’ vaccine carried out on Philip Delaney at Bessborough Mother and Baby Home, Cork.

1971: Burroughs-Wellcome trial (“the 1971 trial”) of intra-nasally injected rubella vaccine carried out by Burroughs Wellcome on 69 children in unidentified residential institutions. 11 children with no rubella antibodies and one with receive the intra-nasal vaccine, while six others without antibodies are used to monitor whether the vaccine virus was transmitted. There is no follow-up.

1973: Burroughs-Wellcome trial (“the 1973 trial”) of a modified three-in-one (diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus) vaccine is carried out on 53 children (including mentally and physically handicapped children) in residential institutions in Dublin (St Patrick’s Home, Madonna House, the Cottage Home, the Bird’s Nest and Bohernabreena), all of whom receive the modified vaccine. The trial also includes 65 children living at home, 61 of whom receive the original vaccine. Some of the residential institutions mistakenly believe that their residents are getting the original vaccine.

1977-1984: Following concerns as to the safety of the three-in-one vaccine generally, then Health Minister Michael Woods sets up an Expert Medical Group (“the Expert Medical Group”) to deal with applications by persons alleging to have been brain damaged by the three-in-one vaccine. There are 93 applicants, 16 of which were offered ex gratis payments with 77 applications being declined. It is not known whether or not any of the applicants included children who had formed part of the 1973 trial or indeed whether or not the Expert Medical Group considered the 1973 trial at all.

1979: Construction of new £1.25 million Wellcome Ireland Limited factory in Tallaght commences.

1981: The Irish Times reports that since 1975 the Wellcome Foundation has donated £240,000 to Irish veterinary research.

1992 :Supreme Court decision in Best v Wellcome, a case successfully brought by Kenneth Best for brain damage caused by a batch of the original three-in-one vaccine. Chief Justice Liam Hamilton found Burroughs-Wellcome to have been negligent and awarded Best £2.75 million.

1993: The then Minister for Health Brendan Howlin, through his private secretary, writes to a former resident of one of the homes used in the 1973 trial, stating that the Department of Health had inquired and was satisfied there was no added risk whatsoever to the children who received the vaccines. It iremains unclear whether or not Mr Howlin was referring to the inquiry carried out by the Expert Medical Group, which as stated focused on the three-in-one vaccine generally, or a separate inquiry.

1995: Burroughs-Wellcome merges with Glaxo to form Glaxo-Wellcome. At the time of the merger Burroughs-Wellcome employs 30 people at its Irish distribution centre in Tallaght. Glaxo employs 100 people at its manufacturing facility in Rathfarnham. It also carries out packing, distribution and some research activities at its Dublin plant. Glaxo’s Irish operation records an annual profit of just under £2 million.

1997 :As a result of an investigation by the Irish Independent, the involvement of children in residential institutions in the 1973 trial is made public for the first time.

In response, the Department of Health states that all affected persons who had requested information had been provided with a full copy of their files by the Expert Medical Group in 1977-84. However most if not all of the institutionalised children part of to the 1973 trial – even if aware of having been subjected to the vaccine – would have been too young to have made an application to the Group during this period.

1998 Minister for Health Brian Cowen refers the issue of vaccine trials on children in residential institutions to the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jim Kiely, for the purpose of compiling a Report on the 1961, 1971 and 1973 trials (“the Vaccine Trials Report”).

2000 In January, Glaxo-Wellcome merges with Smith Kline Beecham to form GlaxoSmithKline. Newspaper reports of the merger, which is described as unlikely to result in job losses in Ireland, state that Smith Kline Beecham has two manufacturing plants in Ireland, one at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork and the other at Dungarvan, Co Waterford, employing more than 660 people, as well as a Dublin-based marketing and sales operation employing 130 people. Glaxo is described as employing 110 people in Ireland – packaging, sales and distribution and in drug testing. It is also stated that Glaxo has recently approached IDA Ireland for exploratory talks about establishing a manufacturing plant from which to serve the European market, although no definite proposal has yet been put forward.

In November the Vaccine Trials Report is furnished to the Oireachtas. Little or no documentary evidence of the trials is available from Glaxo-Wellcome, the Department of Health or any of the residential institutions identified by the consultant who conducted the trials, Dr Irene Hillery.

Addressing the Dail, Micheal Martin, Minister for Health, expresses concern about the lack of consent given by or on behalf of the children involved in the trials, stating that it is important “to move heaven and earth to find out… the State must fight fiercely for all of that child’s rights, including bodily integrity. The State does not have the right to view children in care as lesser citizens.

Mr Martin goes on to reassure the Dail that the trials appear to have had no medically negative consequences for any of the children. In fact, lack of documentation had made it impossible for Dr Kiely to reach a conclusion on this point, he did however reference in the Report possible negative consequences for the children concerned.

The Government subsequently extends the terms of reference of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (“the Child Abuse Commission”), to include the 1961, 1971 and 1973 trials, despite objections that the jurisdiction of the Commission, as set out in the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act 2000, did not permit such a referral.

2001 GlaxoSmithKline announces that it will cut 104 jobs out of a total of 381 at its Dungarvan plant following a decision to transfer the manufacture of Sensodyne toothpaste to its Maidenhead operation in England, describing the move as part of a worldwide review of the group following the merger between Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham. IDA Ireland and the Tanaiste, Mary Harney, are called on to create alternative employment in Dungarvan.

2003 With public hearings relating to the 1961 trial due to commence in June, the Child Abuse Commission issues a direction for the attendance of Professor Patrick Meenan, former head of the Department of Microbiology and Applied Medicine at UCD, who had been involved in the 1961 trial.

In June, Mr Justice Smyth grants an application by the Commission for an enforcement order against Professor Meenan, stating that he was “a significant and important person” at the time and it was neither unfair nor unreasonable of the Commission to have described him as a central witness. Mr Justice Smyth notes that the Commission had invited Professor Meenan’s solicitors to apply publicly to exclude him on health and other grounds from giving evidence.

In July, it is announced that GlaxoSmithKline will invest E7 million in a new research and development laboratory at its operations in Carrigaline, Co Cork, that will create 10 graduate level jobs. The Tanaiste, Mary Harney, welcomes the announcement as further proof of the Republic’s emergence as a leading player in pharmaceuticals

In August, the Supreme Court allows Professor Meenan’s appeal, holding that requiring him to make a a public application to be excused is unreasonable and fails to show sufficient sensitivity to the very great effort participation in the public forum sought might represent to a man in his 87th year. The Court also expresses the view that the vaccine trials were not ‘abuse’ within the meaning of this term as used in the 2000 Act, raising questions as to the jurisdiction of the Child Abuse Commission to consider this issue.

In September, Judge Mary Laffoy resigns as Chair of the Child Abuse Commission, accusing the Government of delaying and obstructing the inquiry.

2004: In Hillery v Minister for Education, Mr Justice O’Caoimh holds that the Commission has no jurisdiction to consider the question of vaccine trials, for the same reason as the Supreme Court in Meenan, namely that the vaccine trials are not ‘abuse’ within the meaning of the 2000 Act. However he states that there may be issues relating to the trials which could be the subject of an appropriate form of inquiry carried out by other machinery.

Meanwhile, the Interim Report of the Child Abuse Commission, published prior to the judgment in Hillery, references the receipt of documentation from Wellcome evidencing vaccine trials additional to the 1961-1971 and 1973 trials.

2005: Minister for Health, Mary Harney, announces that there is to be no further examination of vaccine trials, saying that this is not possible following the Meenan and Hillery decisions. However this assertion by Ms Harney conflicts with the dicta of Mr Justice O’Caoimh in Hillery above.

2006 It is announced that GlaxoSmithKline will part fund a EUR 13.7 million project at University College Cork on research into gastro-intestinal diseases. The project, which will create 50 jobs, is also tunded by IDA Ireland. Speaking at the launch in UCC, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin describes the project as a major breakthrough in the promotion of drug discovery research.

Discussions commence between the Child Abuse Commission and the Department of Health regarding return of the documentation obtained by the Commission in the course of its inquiry into the vaccine trials.

2008: It is announced that GlaxoSmithKline is to create 50 new jobs with an €30m investment in the expansion of its existing over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.

2009: In November, it is announced that GlaxoSmithKline will close Stiefel Laboratories in Sligo, purchased by it in July, with the loss of 250 jobs.

2010 The Irish Independent reports that Mari Steed, a former resident of the Bessborough Mother and Baby home, is to take an action against Wellcome in the U.S. courts and against the Sacred Heart Order in the Irish courts.

Further newspaper reports reference a number of additional victims, and additional vaccine trials, including John Barrett who alleges that unidentified tests were carried out on him at the Lota Industrial School, and Philip Delaney, the documented subject of a ‘five-in-one’ vaccine while in the care of Bessborough mother and baby home in 1965, above. GlaxoSmithKline neither confirms nor denies Mr Delaney’s assertion, and the Department of Health deny all knowledge of the ‘five-in-one’ trial.

Meanwhile, documentation relating to the investigation into vaccine trials referred to by Brendan Howlin in 1993 cannot be found. It is unclear whether or not this documentation relates to the 1977-1984 Working Group or some other investigation.

Following a formal request by Fine Gael health spokesman James, Reilly, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children writes to the Department of Health, GlaxoSmithKline and other pharmaceutical firms asking them to hand over all files on vaccine trials carried out on children in residential institutions “as a matter of urgency” stating they may call for a formal investigation after a detailed examination of the files.

2011 GlaxoSmithKline confirms that it “continues to hold records relating to the Irish vaccine trials conducted by The Wellcome Foundation Limited and intends to do so for the foreseeable future” but refuses to hand these records over without a judicial order.

The Department of Health states that all departmental records (except presumably those relating to the missing inquiry referenced by Brendan Howlin) are retained “in line with normal procedure”. It writes to the Child Abuse Commission stating that the Commission cannot hand over documentation to the Oireachtas committee or to participants since legally “it is not possible for that material to be used for any other purpose” other than … Commission investigations and that they should return all documentation to the source that originally provided it”. The Commission states that it is currently engaged in cataloging the documentation and has not commenced returning it.

The HSE confirms that while it is to receive 15,000 adoption files from Bessborough, it “has been advised that immunisation records will continue to be the responsibility of the order”. The Sisters of the Sacred Heart at Bessborough say that their files are held in secure storage and they have “no intention” of destroying them.

In July, GlaxoSmithKline announces that 150 workers at its Dungarvan plant are to be made redundant.

2012 In August, the Child Abuse Commission announces that it has commenced the return of material supplied to the Vaccine Trials division to its original sources.

In October, GlaxoSmithKline reverses its decision to shut Stiefel Laboratories in Sligo, saving 120 jobs.

2014 In June, reports of a mass baby grave and evidence of high infant mortality at a mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway, reawaken public concern regarding treatment of children in care, bringing the vaccine trial issue once again to the forefront..

Dr Kevin McCoy, a former member of the Chlld Abuse Commission, and former Chief Inspector of the Inspectorate of Social Services in Northern Ireland, states that to his knowledge and belief Child Abuse Commission documentation relating to the vaccine trials has been retained and is to be housed in the National Archives for 75 years before limited access to it is allowed.

In the same month, Michael Dwyer  of Cork University\s School of History, uncovers references in British Medical Journals to the 1930-35 diphtheria vaccine trials cited at the start of this timeline. GlaxoSmithKline’s response is as follows:- ‘The activities that have been described to us date back over 70 years and, if true, are clearly very distressing. ‘We would need further details to investigate what actually took place, but the practices outlined certainly don’t reflect how modern clinical trials are carried out. We conduct our trials to the same high scientific and ethical standards, no matter where in the world they are run.’

Previously: Human Lab Rats

Human Lab Rats

at 4:30 pm June 10, 2014

medical trials

[Professors Meehan and Hillary, above and the report by the Chief Medical Officer]

Below is a link to a November 2000 report by the then Chief Medical Officer [Dr Jim Kiely] regarding trials conducted on children in mother and child homes.

This is the report the Irish Times reported yesterday that the Department of Health is having difficulty tracking down.

It concerns the state allowing Wellcome to carry out medical trials in care homes in the early 1960s up to 1973.

The trials were overseen by Professor Patrick Meehan and Professor Irene Hillary both attached to the Medical Microbiology Department at University College Dublin.

The report runs to a brisk, readable if ghoulish 45 pages and we highly recommend it should you have the time and an interest in these matters.

The contents – known to at least four health ministers – reveal not just a cover-up (with laughable collective amnesia and no paper trail at all) but a reminder that certain medical professionals enjoyed playing god as much as the next nun.

Report here

Previously: Medical Trials And The Law

Guinea Pigs


Thanks Turlough O’Riordan

00010025[Brendan Howlin in the 1990s]

Anyone seen the secret vaccination files?


“As Labour Health Minister in 1993, Brendan Howlin (above) assured victims that an inquiry had found they suffered no ill effects from the experimental medical tests.


But last night mystery surrounded the whereabouts of the files relating to the inquiry — and Mr Howlin admitted he did not remember the probe or its findings.
The Department of Health said it was searching department archives in a bid to locate the documents. “Until all the files are retrieved, the department cannot say if the results of the inquiry exist,” a spokesman said..


New documents reveal Mr Howlin’s private secretary told victims the minister was “satisfied” there was no risk to the children subjected to the trials in the 1960s and 1970s. This was based on an inquiry supposedly carried out by the Department of Health.

Files Go Missing In Child Vaccine Inquiry (Irish Independent, August 2010)

How did Brendan Howlin know there was no risk to the children subjected to drug trials?

He didn’t.

“it was not the practice to follow up vaccinated children for other than very short periods and the participants in these trials were not followed up in the longer term.”

High Court Justice Aindrias Ó Caoimh in his judgement  [Hillery Vs Minister for Education 2004] quoting directly from the  report of the Chief Medical Offcer put before Dail in 2000 .


Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

Children In Hospitals Were Used For Scientific Experiments (Newstalk)

FBI Interviews Glaxo Employees

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have been interviewing current and formerGlaxoSmithKline GSK.LN -3.16% PLC employees in connection with bribery allegations made against the drug maker in China, according to a person familiar with the matter, as fresh claims of corruption surfaced against Glaxo’s operations in Syria.

The interviews have taken place in Washington, D.C., in the past few months and are part of a Justice Department investigation into Glaxo’s activities in China, the person added.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also is investigating the company’s business in China, according to people familiar with the matter. Spokeswomen for the SEC and FBI separately declined to comment.

Chinese authorities have accused Glaxo’s former top executive in that country, U.K. national Mark Reilly, of “large-scale” bribery. Mr. Reilly couldn’t be reached for comment and hasn’t commented in the past.

Glaxo said it is cooperating with the Chinese authorities, and has informed the Justice Department and the SEC of the Chinese investigation. A spokesman for the company declined to comment on the FBI interviews and said Glaxo’s discussions with regulators were confidential.

The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office also is investigating Glaxo for possible criminal violations in its commercial practices, the company said in May.

Last week, Glaxo received an anonymous email claiming its employees in Syria bribed doctors and pharmacists over the past five years to promote products including painkiller Panadol and toothpaste Sensodyne.

The bribes took the form of cash payments, speaking fees, trips, free dinners and free samples, said the email, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The email cited names and dates.

Doctors promoting Glaxo’s cold and flu products were paid $2,500 in cash in December 2010, the email says, while $2,500 was paid to a national dental association in return for getting Glaxo’s Sensodyne logo on dentists’ prescription notepads.

Syrian health officials allegedly received bribes from Glaxo employees to fast-track registration of its Sensodyne dental products, including cash payments and a trip to a 2011 conference in Rome, the email maintains.

Glaxo employees also were involved in smuggling a narcotic product from Syria into Iran, the email alleges.

The product in question, pseudoephedrine, is a raw ingredient of Glaxo’s congestion medicine Actifed and can also be used in the production of methamphetamine. The Syria allegations was reported by Reuters on Thursday.

Glaxo’s consumer-health operations in Syria—where the bribery allegations are being made—were closed in 2012 as the country’s civil war worsened. Glaxo retains its prescription-medicine operations in Syria.

Glaxo said it would thoroughly investigate all claims made in the Syria email, and said it has asked the sender for more information. The company said it has zero tolerance for unethical behavior, adding, “We welcome people speaking up if they have concerns about alleged misconduct.”

The SEC has recently started giving whistleblowers a cut of any settlement reached as the result of allegations detailing securities-law violations—providing a financial incentive for anyone with concerns to step forward.

Under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which falls under the SEC whistleblower program, it is illegal for companies with significant U.S. operations to bribe foreign officials in exchange for business. In 2010 Glaxo disclosed it had been contacted by the Justice Department and the SEC about its overseas operations as part of a wider FCPA investigation into pharmaceutical-industry business practices abroad, including in China. The agencies also began investigating the more recent allegations in China last year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Syria email follows allegations of bribes paid by Glaxo employees in China, Iraq,Jordan, Lebanon and Poland in the past 12 months.

The tens of thousands of dollars in bribes allegedly paid in Syria are on a much smaller scale than the allegations in China, where officials last July alleged Glaxo had funneled bribes totaling $480 million through travel agencies.

Glaxo said it takes all bribery allegations in any country seriously. Last year, it announced an overhaul of its marketing practices, including stopping all payments to doctors to attend conferences or speak about its drugs. Earlier this week, Glaxo cut its full-year earnings outlook after second-quarter profits were hit by weak U.S. sales of its respiratory drugs, currency headwinds and falling sales in China.

Glaxo’s shares are down almost 12% for the year to date.

Inquest At Irish Woman (Anna Byrne) Seroxat Suicide Returns Open Verdict

‘I love you’ – Anna’s last words

Gareth Naughton

THE heartbroken husband of a pregnant woman, found dead at the bottom of a hill, has spoken of their last phonecall – when they both said they loved each other.

Anna Byrne (35) from Beechdale in Dunboyne, Co Meath, and her unborn twin sons were killed in the fall at Howth summit in the early hours of March 8 this year.

The mother of two’s last known contact was at 11am the previous day when she spoke on the phone with her husband, Terry Byrne, and told him that she was going to the supermarket, an inquest has heard.

“At the end of the call, I told her to phone anytime if there was anything,” he told the court. “We told each other that we loved each other and she said ‘I’ll see ya later'”.

Mr Byrne was giving evidence at Dublin City Coroner’s Court, where an open verdict was returned at the inquest into his wife’s death.


He first became aware she was missing at 1.30pm when she failed to pick up their son from Montessori school.

Mr Byrne checked the supermarket and maternity hospitals and rang her friends.

At 3.30pm, gardai in Dunboyne were notified. Just after midnight a friend found Mrs Byrne’s car at Howth summit. Gardai found a note in the car.

A search-and-rescue operation followed but was called off at 3.30am. At 7.49am, something was spotted at the base of the cliff and rescue workers where lowered down to recover the body.

It was established that Mrs Byrne had been dead for eight to 10 hours, and a post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as multiple injuries due to a fall from a height.

Mrs Byrne had been taking the anti-depressant Seroxat for 10 years but had stopped during her pregnancy.

Master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, said that Mrs Byrne did not indicate a history of depression when she registered the pregnancy, but that this information was contained in notes relating to her previous pregnancies. Mental health team notes are not contained in obstetric team notes for confidentiality reasons, he said.

She was due to deliver by caesarean section on March 29, he said. In mid-February she was noted to be “anxious”.

Six days before her death, Mrs Byrne and her husband attended an appointment with consultant psychiatrist at the Rotunda, Dr John Sheehan. She told him that she felt “part of her life was missing” because she had no daughter.

“She said that she planned the current pregnancy hoping for a baby daughter but found out at 20 weeks she was having twins and that they were both boys. She said that she was devastated,” he said.

Her mood was low, particularly in the evening, and she described a loss of interest and not feeling “maternal”.

She told him she felt overwhelmed by the prospect of having four boys but did not express any intention to take her own life, he said.

Mrs Byrne’s GP had started her on Sertraline – an anti-depressant regularly used during pregnancy – and Dr Sheehan doubled her dosage, prescribed an anti-histamine to help her sleep and advised her to seek a referral to a counsellor in her area.

She was suffering a recurrence of depression associated with an adjustment disorder to her twin pregnancy of boys, he said. Mrs Byrne presented a low risk given that she did not indicate that she was suicidal and had made future plans, he told the court.

Speaking from the body of the court, her father John Deeney asked why she had not been admitted to hospital for observation on foot of her anxiety.

Dr Sheehan said this was only done in severe cases of mental illness and admission would be to a psychiatric hospital.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said the note was a farewell letter and “particularly heart rending” but it was not dated. He also noted the difficult terrain that Mrs Byrne would have traversed to get to the area where she fell and her lack of suicidal ideation.

He said that although he was not saying that Mrs Byrne did not take her own life, the evidence heard in court did not satisfy the legal test for a verdict of suicide.

He returned an open verdict.

Dr Farrell will also write to the board of the Rotunda Hospital reflecting Mr Byrne’s concerns about sharing of mental health notes with the obstetrics team in cases such as his wife’s.

Irish Independent

– See more at:

Whooping Cough Vaccine – Doesn’t Work – GSK Says “We Never Bothered to Check”

Most pharmaceutical drugs are tested in clinical trials over very short duration (often just a few weeks), so how effective are they long-term?

____________________Child Health Safety_________________

STOP PRESS 21/5/12:

See update: Major Whooping Cough Epidemics – Vaccine Not Working



According to a recently published paper not only does whooping cough vaccine “wear off” within as little as three years of administration [assuming it ever “wore on” in the first place] but [according to Reuters] the original manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline never bothered to check whether it worked.  And 81 percent of recent whooping cough cases in California were in children fully vaccinated and teenagers and adults are now put at risk when they would have had lifelong immunity contracting the disease naturally:

Witt MA, Katz PH, Witt MJ, Unexpectedly Limited Durability of Immunity Following Acellular Pertussis Vaccination in Pre-Adolescents in a North American Outbreak.

Whooping cough vaccine fades in pre-teens: study – By Kerry Grens Thompson/Reuters NEW YORK | Tue Apr 3, 2012 2:13pm EDT

The Reuters report states:

A spokesperson for GSK…

View original post 1,521 more words

GSK Corruption Allegations Spreads To Syria

Exclusive – Allegations of GSK corruption spread to Syria

LONDON Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:51pm BST

The GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London June 18, 2013.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC
16:06:23 BST

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) faces new allegations of corruption, this time in Syria, where the drugmaker and its distributor have been accused of paying bribes to secure business, according to a whistleblower’s email reviewed by Reuters.

Britain’s biggest drugmaker said on Thursday it was investigating the latest claims dating back to 2010, which were laid out in the email received by the company on July 18.

The allegations relate to its former consumer healthcare operations in Syria, which were closed down in 2012 due to the worsening civil war in the country.

“We have zero tolerance for any kind of unethical behaviour. We will thoroughly investigate all the claims made in this email,” GSK said in a statement.

GSK has been rocked by corruption allegations since last July, when Chinese authorities accused it of funnelling up to 3 billion yuan (285 million pounds) to doctors and officials to encourage them to use its medicines. The former British boss of the drugmaker’s Chinabusiness was accused in May of being behind those bribes.

Since then, smaller-scale bribery claims have surfaced in other countries and GSK is now investigating possible staff misconduct in Poland, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

Syria is the sixth country to be added to the list. The allegations there centre on the company’s consumer business, including its popular painkiller Panadol and oral care products.

Although rules governing the promotion of non-prescription products are not as strict as for prescription medicines, the email from a person familiar with GSK’s Syrian operations said alleged bribes in the form of cash, speakers’ fees, trips and free samples were in breach of corruption laws.

The detailed 5,000-word document, addressed to Chief Executive Andrew Witty and Judy Lewent, chair of GSK’s audit committee, said incentives were paid to doctors, dentists, pharmacists and government officials to win tenders and to obtain improper business advantages.

“GSK has been engaging in multiple corrupt and illegal practices in Syria and its internal controls for its Syrian operation are virtually non-existent,” the email said.

In addition, the email said GSK had engaged in apparent Syrian export control violations, including an alleged smuggling scheme to ship the drug component pseudoephedrine toIran from Syria via Iraq. Pseudoephedrine is regulated as a precursor for making methamphetamine.

GSK said it would investigate this matter along with the bribery claims.

“We welcome people speaking up if they have concerns about alleged misconduct,” the company said.

“On 18 July 2014, we received an email making claims regarding GSK’s former consumer operations and related distributors in Syria. Our compliance and legal departments were immediately notified and, as is our standard procedure, we immediately responded to the sender to confirm receipt and ask for more information.”

The whistleblower’s email said GSK used its own employees and Syrian distributor Maatouk Group to make illicit payments.

An official at Damascus-based Maatouk had no comment when contacted by telephone and said the company’s top executives were not immediately available.


The email listed a range of alleged improper activities, including payments of $1,500 each to two doctors to promote Panadol. The document also highlighted bribes paid to pharmacists and payments for medics to visit a Mediterranean holiday resort.

Further cash payments were related to the promotion of GSK cold and flu products, as well as its premium toothpaste brand Sensodyne.

Bribery charges around the world have tarnished the reputation of Witty and hit the company’s sales in China, at a time when it is also struggling with sluggish sales growth in the all-important U.S. market.

The allegations also leave it open to legal action – and potentially hefty fines – in Western countries where it is based or has a stock market listing.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office launched a formal criminal investigation into GSK’s overseas activities in May and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating it for possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

In the email sent to GSK concerning Syria, the author said that the information would be passed on to the DOJ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A recently introduced SEC programme provides cash incentives for whistleblowers to report corporate malpractice, including breaches of the FCPA.

GSK has overhauled its marketing policies in the wake of concerns about possible past misconduct. It aims to become the first company in the industry to stop paying outside doctors to promote its products.


Psychiatric Failure In Ireland : Brothers Shane and Brandon Skeffington – “Another Murder Suicide In Ireland?”

Another Murder Suicide In Ireland?

This is a very tragic case where it seems that an older brother, Shane Skeffington, (20) stabbed his younger brother, Brandon, (9) to death. Apparently this was completely out of character and there were no previous signs that he would commit such a violent act particularly towards his brother. Shane, then went on to kill himself. According to reports he was under psychiatric care and (like most young people) had dabbled in drugs such as cocaine and cannabis, but what I would be more worried about was the so called psychiatric ‘care’ he received. It’s often the psychiatric drug treatments which are the compounding factor in these cases. This website’ antidepaware ‘ has correlated thousands of similar cases of psychiatric drug related deaths.

Some Questions Which The Media Need To Probe:

Were meds involved? What kind of psychiatric ‘treatment’ did Shane Skeffington receive? and for how long? did he express suicidal or violent thoughts under this ‘care’ and to whom? Was he prescribed SSRI’s? (or an anti-psychotic or other drug) If so, why was he not monitored for emerging aggression, akathisia (an extreme nervous system condition which drives people psychotic), or suicidal/homicidal ideation (all known SSRI side effects which are even included now in warning leaflets).

Regardless of whether he received drugs from a psychiatrist or not, it is clear to me that psychiatry has failed this young man and his younger brother. If psychiatry was successful then why do so many of its patients either never get better or get worse and go on to kill themselves or others? Psychiatry is a wealthy institution but they always complain of a lack of funding- but what we need to ask is why are consultant psychiatrists paid astronomical salaries? Surely some of that money could be used to provide funding for intensive psycho-therapeutic interventions such as in emergency cases like this one? Why are these obviously very vulnerable, disturbed and frightened young people just drugged and thrown back out on the street without proper care and proper warnings? why does psychiatry get away with lying to the public about the dangers of medication?

Something is wrong here, terribly wrong. I don’t care what anyone says- psychiatric consultant and high level psychiatrists salaries are obscene- particularly when you consider their absolutely dismal track record. Nobody gets cured! And once people enter the psychiatric system they either get worse or they die- what does that tell you? We need complete transparency, which doctors and psychiatrists in Ireland are in the pocket of drug companies? Which ones receive honoria and payment for research etc,  and how is this pharmaceutical/psychiatric alliance funded in Universities and hospitals?

Parents’ frantic attempts to save stab boy Brandon

THE parents of a little boy who was murdered by his older brother before he took his own life desperately tried to save the nine-year-old child.

Brandon Skeffington (9) was still alive when his mother and father returned home and found him bleeding heavily on the stairs at their home near Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.

And the Herald can today reveal that a 15-year-old sister of the two brothers who died was also in the house when the horrific stabbing occurred.

It is believed she did not witness the fatal knife attack on Sunday evening.

Shane Skeffington (20) had been receiving psychiatric treatment in a mental hospital just days before the tragedy happened.

He was last night described as a “ticking time-bomb” and was implicated in at least two drug-fuelled assaults before he stabbed his innocent brother Brandon to death.

The killer used a large kitchen knife from the house to stab Brandon once in the chest before their parents arrived home just before 8pm.

Little Brandon was desperately clinging to life when he was discovered by his shocked parents Carmel and Shane senior at the top of the stairs in their home.

But the horror got even worse, when Mr Skeffington discovered the body of their eldest son in a shed at the back of their property moments later. They immediately contacted emergency services.

Senior sources say that there was no premeditation in relation to the attack and that Shane was “very fond” of his younger brother.

“In fact, all the available information is that Shane thought the world of Brandon and there were no significant issues there,” said a source.

Sligo Tragedy

22 Jul

Shane and Brandon

The recent tragedy unfolding in Sligo (Sunday July 20th 2014) is currently a huge media story in Ireland. Two parents, Shane senior and Carmel Skeffington, came home from a shopping trip to find two of their sons dead. Shane (20) who was babysitting, had stabbed his brother Brandon (9) twice, before hanging himself in the garden shed. Brandon died from his wounds a short time after his parents came home and found him. The community are devastated, no-one saw this coming. Little Brandon idolised his older brother and newspaper reports say they had a great relationship. The media frenzy is palpable, from laying the blame at a couple of minor drug offences, to the ease of access to kitchen knives.

I suppose I should be prepared for my own son’s story to be linked whenever a murder/suicide occurs. Today’s Irish Daily Mail referred to my son, also Shane, and the ‘rise in kitchen-knife killings’. My new found friends, whose children have tragically killed themselves, and sometimes others, might have an opinion on whether to lock up the bathroom presses (medication), kitchen cupboards (knives) garden sheds (hoses, ropes and shears) or maybe someone should confiscate grandma’s knitting needles and sewing scissors? Maybe, just maybe, the newspapers need to focus on another similarity?

The tragedy unfolding in Sligo has revealed that Shane (the older brother) was recently released from Sligo General Hospital where he was receiving psychiatric ‘care’. We know what psychiatric ‘care’ usually consists of: pills, pills and more pills – mind altering drugs which double the risk of suicide and violence. The investigation should start with what drug this young man was prescribed; was it cipramil, the same as my son? Most likely it was an SSRI antidepressant (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), the family of drug which can cause suicide, violence, worsening depression, mania etc, etc.

Was this young man suffering from akathisia, a severe reaction which occurs with SSRIs, where a person cannot sit still and feels the urgent need to escape from their own body? A full investigation would examine the effects of the ‘care’ this young man received- it certainly didn’t work. Someone needs to answer for these two deaths, blaming it on a 20 year old boy ‘who loved his brother and all his family’ is not good enough!

Brian from AntiDepAware has compiled a list of over 2000 suicides and homicides where antidepressant were involved. The evidence is there if you look for it.

This tragedy has all the hallmarks of being SSRI-induced. The signs to look out for are (1) out of character (2) recently been to the doctor or psychiatrist and (3) totally out of the blue. Dr David Healy did a comprenhensive  report for my son’s inquest. He testified to the dangers of these drugs and that he believed the drug Citalopram (aka Cipramil or Celexa) caused my son to behave so uncharacteristically. The inquest jury rejected a suicide verdict on account of Dr Healy’s testimony. His report is here.

The devastation left behind in Sligo is mind-numbing; 2 boys suffering a violent death, parents left in devasted bewilderment, in a world which will never be the same again. I believe with all my heart that the mental health care Shane Skeffington received is to blame for these two deaths! I also believe that these deaths were preventable. Kathleen Lynch, the minister with responsibility for mental health, was informed (by 3 experts) of the dangers of these drugs; she did nothing. Enda Kenny and James Reilly were also made aware; they did nothing!


Is Peter Humphrey The Scapegoat For GSK’s Corruption in China?


On Monday, Humphrey was shown apologising on state-run China Central Television, saying he and his wife “deeply regret” breaking any laws. He added he would not have worked with the drug manufacturer had the company informed him about the full details of the e-mails it received from whistle-blowers.


GSK : Living Up To Their Reputation As The Most Corrupt Company In The World

July 16, 2014 10:00 pm

GSK admits to 2001 China bribery scandal

GlaxoSmithKline faces further scrutiny from US prosecutors after it emerged that staff were caught bribing Chinese officials more than a decade ago.

The revelation comes as US and UK authorities investigate allegations that GSK employees bribed doctors and officials more recently to boost drug sales in China.


On this story

The Financial Times has learnt that GSK also found problems with its China vaccine business in 2001 that led to the firing of about 30 employees.

The US Department of Justice, which is investigating the current allegations, will take a close look at the earlier scandal, said a former senior DoJ official who asked to remain anonymous. If it found a pattern of such behaviour, the justice department was likely to take a tougher stance towards the company, legal experts said.

GSK has been under scrutiny in China since authorities last year accused it of paying up to $500m in bribes. The DoJ is looking at the case as part of a broader probe into drugmakers under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Two people familiar with the 2001 scandal said GSK found that staff were bribing Chinese officials and taking kickbacks. The company acknowledged the matter for the first time to the Financial Times, but said it had dealt with the issue rigorously.

Timothy Blakely, a partner at the US law firm Morrison & Foerster, said US prosecutors would have to examine the 2001 case under justice department guidelines to see whether there was a pattern of behaviour.

“It is something that a prosecutor would have to take into account,” said Mr Blakely.

GSK asked PwC to investigate the case when the corruption suspicions emerged. “These matters occurred over 12 years ago. We believe appropriate investigation and action was taken at the time,” it said.

One member of the PwC team in 2001 was Peter Humphrey. Now an independent investigator, he is being held in China on charges of illegally buying private information in connection with GSK’s current scandal.

The rapid move to hire PwC in 2001 contrasts with the response to the current scandal. After a whistleblower made allegations against the company last year, GSK first relied on an internal probe with external legal and auditor support. That inquiry found no evidence of systemic corruption, although some staff were dismissed for expenses irregularities.

GSK has since hired Ropes & Gray, a US law firm, to conduct an external inquiry. In May, Chinese police said they had evidence of “massive and systemic bribery”.

“We have zero tolerance for unethical behaviour,” GSK said. “We investigate any allegations put to us and take action where necessary.”

The earlier scandal came the year after GSK was formed via a merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKlineBeecham. In late 2001, Paul Carter, GSK’s new China head, asked PwC to investigate after suspicions of corruption emerged, including the fact that two staff had been detained in China without him being told.

PwC confirmed the suspicions, and Mr Carter fired the Chinese head of vaccine sales in China. Mr Carter left GSK in 2005 long before the current problems emerged. He declined to comment.

Chris Baron, the general manager for the vaccines unit in 2001, denied knowledge of the bribery at the time. He was suspended and, soon after, left the company.

Mr Baron said PwC concluded he had “no personal involvement or knowledge” related to the bribery. But he said “there was some debate as to whether I may have been insufficiently diligent to spot the matter earlier”.

At the time of the 2001 incident, Sir Andrew Witty, GSK chief executive, was the company’s head of Asia-Pacific, but his responsibilities excluded China. GSK said Sir Andrew “was not involved in and was not aware of” the case at the time.

Sir Andrew has tried to cast GSK as a leader in ethical reforms since it was hit with a record $3bn DoJ fine for marketing abuses in 2012. But his clean-up effort, including measures to cut the link between sales volume and pay for marketing personnel, has been overshadowed by the latest scandal in China.