Ben Goldacre Thinks “Andrew Witty Is A Good Guy”…


“…I think Andrew Witty, the current head of GSK, is a good guy, and I discuss this at length in the afterword of Bad Pharma: because I don’t realistically think that we can rely on one person in one company being nice, as a strategy to address ongoing regulatory failure in a global $600bn industry where lives are at stake...”

Ben Goldacre, October 11th, 2012

(243 Pages Of GSK Crimes Detailed In The Us Dept Of Justice Whistleblower Complaint)

The quote above, from Ben Goldacre never ceases to astound me, not least because Ben said it (in Oct/Nov 2012) after GSK were fined 3 Billion in the US for decades of misconduct and fraud (in July 2012). This unethical and immoral behavior by GSK led to tens of thousands of patients being killed, damaged and harmed. Andrew Witty presided over this (whitewash) ‘deal’ with the department of Justice, Andrew Witty was the top man at GSK at the time. Witty has also worked for GSK for all of his adult life (straight out of university into management apparently). This wasn’t a ‘different era’ Ben, Witty has been with GSK since 1985, Andrew Witty IS THE ERA…

Does Ben seriously believe that Witty had absolutely no idea of the scope of off label prescribing, corruption, hidden data and trials, bribery, and just general skullduggery and shenanigans which GSK have been involved in for decades? Does Ben seriously think that Witty climbed the corporate ladder at GSK for 25 years without coming across any of the bad behavior detailed in the hundreds of pages of crimes in the department of justice complaint? Does Ben think that Witty knew nothing? It’s just not realistic to believe that is it? It’s just not..

If you’re reading this Ben, I urge you to read the Department of Justice complaint, brought about initially by whistleblower Greg Thorpe. I have had direct contact with a few GSK Whistleblowers myself over the past years, and if these ‘low level’ employees (drug reps) were aware of multitudes of examples of off label prescribing, fraud, corruption of doctors, and harm to patients, during their time at GSK (the same years as Witty), then are we seriously supposed to believe that the ones at the top of the GSK food chain were unaware? It’s just not plausible to believe that they didn’t know what was going on, in fact it’s more credible to think that perhaps they instigated, and directed, much of the various fraudulent schemes which are detailed in the department of justice complaint, isn’t it? It’s much more plausible to think that this criminal behavior was company policy, because let’s be real here, the drug reps, and marketing departments, don’t work independently of the top executives do they? They are told what to do by their superiors, and Witty has had various high profile roles in GSK even before he became CEO therefore it would be safe to assume, that after 25 years or service, perhaps Mr Witty has witnessed a good deal more than a little bit of wrongdoing at GSK, would it not? There is a pecking order, Witty is at the top of that pecking order, and orders come from the top don’t they?

I was prescribed Seroxat in 1998, around the time that Andrew Witty was busy working in GSK’s marketing department. And also around the time that Witty was making quips about Wellbutrin in the media, and how effective it was for depression, I was being prescribed one of the most toxic drugs ever created. I wasn’t warned of the dangers, because GSK lied, and deceived, all of this is documented; the BBC’s Four Panorama Documentaries on Seroxat brought my plight, and the plight of many other unsuspecting vulnerable people into the spotlight. Of course, now we know, from the department of Justice case that Wellbutrin was being promoted off label for a myriad of different things, and we also know, from this damning whistleblower complaint, that it wasn’t just Wellbutrin which GSK lied about, but they also lied about Paxil (Seroxat), Avandia and many other drugs. I don’t know what Ben Goldacre’s definition of a ‘nice guy’ and a ‘good guy’ entails, but I would certainly think that someone who could climb the greasy sociopathic ladder for 25 years in one of the most detested corporations on the planet likely didn’t get there by being nice and good; only an utter fool would believe that. However, Ben doesn’t come across like a fool, so it’s really strange that it seems he would believe in (never mind actually utter such) incredible nonsense..

So next time Ben, when you’re having a little chat with Mr Witty about some kind of pseudo – data transparency agenda or wot-not, why don’t you ask him about exhibit 329 in the Lauren Stevens trial? Or about his role in Wellbutrin marketing in the 90’s? or about Seroxat causing young people and kids to kill themselves, and GSK ghost writing articles like study 329?  Ask him what he knew about that hideous crime during his many years grafting up that greedy ladder? Actually you could spend a lot of time asking Andrew Witty various things about many many GSK misdeeds couldn’t you?.. you could ask him about Seroxat, Avandia, Wellbutrin, Tax Avoidance, Bribery, Mark Reilly, Peter Humphrey, You could ask him about harm to patients from hiding trials and data, concealing side effects, birth defects, corporate manslaughter, you could question him on so many things Ben… you could really make a difference….that’s if you were a genuine patient advocate of course…




  1. kiwi

    Its amazing what people will say when given a free lunch, a certificate..and a selfie with an Abhorant Wrong-doer (AW)!
    Ben why not have more noble goals.
    Ben i thought you had called for ‘an end to spin.’
    Lions are nice, Tigers are nice, white pointer sharks are nice, alligators are nice, when they are in an enclosure…which is where Arrogant Wrongdoers belong as well…. and that WOULD be nice.

    John Stone writes some interesting stuff; Goldacre senior [Oxford professor of public health Michael J Goldacre, director since 1986 of the UK Department Health funded Unit of Healthcare Epidemiology] was a co-author of a study of the effects of GlaxoSmithKline’s notorious Urabe strain version of MMR, Pluserix, after it was suddenly withdrawn from public use in 1992: the Unit has produced several MMR related studies.

    Ben Goldacre’s column which started in 2003 has featured his largely epidemiological approach to health issues, most prominently MMR and autism. Coming apparently from nowhere, journalistically speaking, he was promoted to the role of an “opinion leader” from the outset. His early article MMR: Never mind the facts won the accolade of the GlaxoSmithKline sponsored Association of British Science Writers’ award for the best feature article of 2003.

    The article, however, used flawed epidemiology for which he later offered no defence, as well as including an anonymous attack on Andrew Wakefield by one of Wakefield’s colleagues. This was just the first of several notable interventions Ben Goldacre in the MMR affair. A stock-in-trade has been his generalised attacks on parents of MMR damaged children. His Bad Science blogsite for a long time offered this intimidatory advice to would-be contributors:

    “..personal anecdotes about your MMR tragedy will be deleted for your own safety”
    [That’s not very nice Ben… been getting a bit of training from pharma].

    A fundamental of Ben Goldacre’s journalistic method is the ad hominem and he always talks across opponents: he can always depend on the greater prominence of his published views and he never answers the many awkward criticisms.

  2. BOB FIDDAMAN (@Fiddaman)

    I think the email produced at the Steven’s trial needs to be seen. What exactly did Witty say regarding the speaker training inquiry? Why is this email sitting gathering dust, why is it not public, why was there no mention of it in the media during, or after, the Lauren Stevens trial?

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