“Things go wrong. We have inevitably – of course, we go through all the processes with the regulators to get a drug to be as safe and effective as it can possibly be. But the reality is, every time a human takes a drug, it’s like a clinical trial. You don’t really know what’s going to happen.
Everybody can react a different way. So on the one hand, what is the story of the drug industry? The story of the drug industry is wonder drugs. On the other hand, it’s danger drugs. Those are the two extremes that we have.
It’s kind of unavoidable.”
(Translation: “often we release dangerous drugs like Seroxat and Avandia. We make billions on them and the people that get killed are just collateral damage, some of our drugs and products help people so we make up for the other GSK drug-induced deaths from poisons like Seroxat- that way. It all balances out in the end- we kill some, we help some.. it’s the nature of the pharmaceutical business and kinda just tough if you get harmed”).
-“But you’re saying there are bad apples, and it goes wrong. Is that right, or is it – for example, in the China case. Was it that there was a bad apple and it went wrong, or was it that that was normal behaviour in certain markets, and it just got called out in that particular case?”
-“For obvious reasons, I’m not going to get into all the details of that.”
(translation: “I don’t answer questions about our criminal behavior”)
Mr Witty, “I think the bigger question” is: are you- and is your company-sociopathic?
It’s not often that we get to see the CEO of one of the biggest (and notably most corrupt) pharmaceutical companies on the planet (GSK) squirm like a little snake in an interview. Usually someone like Andrew Witty would have no fear of being asked awkward questions about fraud, bribery or corruption in interviews. Usually, Sir Witty would expect nothing short of the red carpet treatment from the media who court people like him. However, in the last seven minutes, of a recent interview between the BBC’s Evan Davis and Andrew Witty, the unethical behavior, of his company GSK, comes under intense scrutiny.
It’s important to note that under Andrew Witty’s tenure as CEO of GSK (since 2008), as recently as last year (2014) the company has been caught operating a massive bribery network in China, and the company is also under several investigations spanning several other countries for similar corruption allegations, and has been for some years now. In 2012 GSK paid 3 billion to settle the biggest health care fraud in US history. There is also the issue of an ongoing serious Serious Fraud Office UK investigation and many other ethical issues concerning GSK’s unethical shenanigans which have yet to be resolved. These issues, serious though they are, don’t even touch upon the other GSK issues which affect people’s lives directly in horrible damaging ways- such as kids developing Narcolepsy from GSK’s Pandemrix, or kids dying from GSK’s notorious Seroxat (Paxil) drug.
GSK have been killing and harming consumers for decades.
Witty knows this, he just doesn’t care, because he is paid millions to care about GSK. His self interest, and the company’s self interest, values the profitability of GSK above human life, ethics and morality. That is the essence of his several minutes of uncomfortable avoidance in this fascinating interview. Our lives mean nothing to him, he more or less said that in this interview. He said it’s “kind of unavoidable’. What’s unavoidable? That people get killed and damaged? What is he saying- “tough shit- your life means nothing?” What’s unavoidable Andrew? That you corrupt psychiatrists, doctors? That your company lies about side effects of its drugs which leads to deaths?
He sees us (the public) as collateral damage. That much is clear.
As one of the direct casualties of GSK’s defective and dangerous drugs (Seroxat), I have to admit, I find it satisfying to see the CEO responsible for Seroxat, asked uncomfortable questions about GSK’s criminal behavior. His responses though, could be perceived as a master-class in how to avoid and deflect uncomfortable questions, however, despite his obvious skills in avoidance I think Witty comes across very badly in this video clip for a number of reasons.
His body language speaks volumes, when asked the first uncomfortable question at the beginning of this video, and when it’s obvious that the tone of the interview is about to change dramatically, Witty suddenly looks visibly annoyed, tense, fidgety, and uncomfortable. His squirming demeanor, followed by a big gulp, bowed head, contortions in his seat, and shameful expression, speak to me of a man who knows exactly how badly his company has behaved. I’d say he knows it all too well.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t stop him doing what he is paid (millions of pounds) to do: defend the company at all costs.
This is his own personal, ethical and moral weakness (he just doesn’t realize it).
(You’re defending the indefensible Witty- you sold your soul to GSK in 1985).
I don’t think that Witty was successful at all in this interview.
He doesn’t seem to realize that ‘normal’ (non sociopathic) people find it disturbing when they hear people trying to attempt the defend the indefensible.
I think he would have been better off being humble and apologizing for GSK’s widespread and well known criminality over the decades. Trying to pretend it didn’t really happen and is all just some kind of misconception is just an insult to people, we all know it did, there are hundreds documents and articles online, and on this blog, which detail GSKs vast and extensive criminality. People aren’t stupid, and the internet has documented all of GSK’s behavior now, no amount of deflection can argue with the facts…
The second video is taken from a recent interview from an Australian news piece with Jon Jureidini, a child psychiatrist from the university of Adelaide, who was also part of a RIAT team who re-assessed a GSK study (study 329) which came to the conclusion that GSK’s Seroxat (Aropax/Paxil) drug has harmed (and killed) many thousands of teens since it was first pushed on kids in the late 90’s.
GSK’s corporate spokesperson, Bernadette Murdoch, seems to have no problem coming out in defense of the indefensible. Similar to Witty, she tries to muddy the water with red-herring statements that are both meaningless, and also an insult, to all those who died, or were harmed, by GSK’s Seroxat (Paxil/Aropax) drug over the past few decades.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…
How do these corporate executives sleep at night?
Are they just sociopaths?
Do they not possess consciences?
(Kudos To Bob Fiddaman Of Seroxat Sufferers Blog for finding this video – see his post on it here)
For Recent news on GSK’s Dangerous Seroxat drug see here-
“This is a very high rate of kids going on to become suicidal. It doesn’t take expertise to find this. It takes extraordinary expertise to avoid finding it.”
In an article published with the re-analysis, Peter Doshi, associate editor of the BMJ, said the new paper “has reignited calls for retraction of the original study, putting additional pressure on academic and professional institutions to publicly address the many allegations of wrongdoing.”
He said few trials had been as controversial as study 329, whose lead author was Martin Keller from Brown University. In 2002, the year after its publication, the US Food and Drug Administration said it should be considered a failed trial because the depressed adolescents taking the drug did no better than those on placebo.
In that same year, more than two million prescriptions for paroxetine were written for adolescents and children in the United States, on the back of an advertising campaign which claimed the trial had shown “remarkable efficacy and safety”.
GSK was fined $3bn in 2012 for fraudulently promoting the drug.
For further reading on GSK’s China bribery scandal see here-
China has fined UK pharmaceuticals firm GlaxoSmithKline $490m (£297m) after a court found it guilty of bribery.
The record penalty follows allegations the drug giant paid out bribes to doctors and hospitals in order to have their products promoted.
The court gave GSK’s former head of Chinese operations, Mark Reilly, a suspended three-year prison sentence and he is set to be deported.
Other GSK executives have also been given suspended jail sentences.