The Irish media health care awards is a prestigious event held in Ireland and sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline. While it is important to honor good health care reporting, particularly in the area of mental health, surely it’s ironic that GlaxoSmithKline are sponsoring it? Glaxo have had more bad press than I’ve had hot dinners, and most of it is covered on this blog, (which will be 8 years old in January). A lot of their bad press has occurred because they made, marketed and sold an anti-depressant called Seroxat/Paxil which has damaged, maimed and killed tens of thousands worldwide.
I started this blog, partially as a reaction to my own terrible experience of Seroxat (GSK’s anti-depressant which should never have been licensed), but also in part because of the BBC panorama’s excellent reportage of the Seroxat Scandal in 2002. Panorama followed that groundbreaking documentary with no less than three more exposes of GSK and Seroxat (unprecedented for BBC Panorama). They also covered GSK’s dubious ethics surrounding their heart attack inducing Avandia drug, GSK’s tax avoidance, and their corruption of doctors and medical specialists, in later documentaries. If anyone should be sponsoring, and receiving awards for their coverage of health care in the media it should be the BBC panorama team; Shelley Jofre, in particular.
Conor Cusack is a great advocate for mental health sufferers in Ireland, and he has been doing great work trying to bring awareness to the plight of depression sufferers for a few years now, and I admire him greatly.
Conor recently gave a talk at the Irish media health care awards (sponsored by GSK), and I wonder if Conor was aware that GSK were caught lying about the safety of their anti-depressant Seroxat for children, would he have given the talk? I have a lot of respect for Conor, and I am sure he would not have given this talk if he was informed about GSK’s history of damaging patients, particularly sufferers of mental illness. I have written about Conor’s campaigning in previous posts, and I was particulalry impressed by his views on psychiatry. I am a champion of his views.
Therefore, I would like to make it clear that this blog post is not a criticism of Conor. It is a criticism of the drug company GSK, who sponsored Conor’s talk at the media awards. I have great respect and admiration for Conor Cusack, in fact I think we would have a lot in common.
I am writing this because I wonder is Conor aware that GSK were fined 3 Billion by the US department of Justice for over a decade of corruption, unethical marketing practices, off-label prescribing, and fraud a few years ago, the full extent of which can be read on the Dept of Justice legal complaint. It makes for shocking and sobering reading. If you’re reading Conor, please read the links I am providing you.
Is Conor aware that GSK are currently embroiled in a corruption scandal which spans several countries?
There are hundreds of instances of GSK criminality, harm to patients, corruption and fraud, most of them documented on this blog, if you’re reading this Conor, please take a look at the blog archives here and educate yourself about GSK before you attend any more awards sponsored by them. For Seroxat alone, they should have had their pharmaceutical license revoked. They damaged tens of thousands of vulnerable mental health sufferers, many of them children, and many of them now dead because of GSK lies.
I wish you well Conor, you are inspiring hope for many.
But educate yourself about GSK.
Keep up the good work.
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