Seroxat Link 5 : 1998 , Seroxat Holocaust , The Second Wave

So far , Through the links I have provided on this blog, we can see where Seroxat came from, How GSK unscrupulously hoodwinked it passed the regulators (MHRA and FDA) and obtained a market to promote what was originally classified as a “hypnotic” chemical as an “antidepressant” treatment… Seroxat was then released to an unsuspecting and trusting public in 1991 , I call this The first wave , because it seems that from this period until 1998 , GSK were testing the waters with Seroxat , gathering data on how it would perform …How much could they get away with?

But it was in 1998, (when Seroxat was relicenced )that GSK Stepped up a gear, GSK went on a marketing Blitz … A triumph of Marketing over Science.. With the help of devious sales tactics, In 1998 , GSK turned Seroxat into a blockbuster…

Here is how they went about it :

Seroxat : For Shyness

New pill to beat shyness
Sunday Mirror, Oct 4, 1998

A PILL to combat shyness is being launched this week and will be available on the NHS.

The drug, which could relieve the symptoms of up to three million chronically- shy people in Britain, is reported to improve the condition within a week in some cases.

Seroxat, which was originally licensed to treat depression, has now been given the go-ahead to fight shyness and “social phobias”.

The drug works by increasing the level of seratonin in the brain, and could cost the NHS up to pounds 700 million a year if all the country’s shy people took it.

Thursday, 23 July, 1998, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
Shy? Try taking a pill

Social wallflowers could be transformed into outgoing party animals with the help of a new drug.
SmithKline Beecham claims its anti-depression drug Seroxat, launched in the UK in 1992, has been shown in tests to cure ‘social phobia’.

It has applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for a licence to use the drug, now prescribed for panic attacks, for people diagnosed as having acute shyness.

The media has climbed onto the Seroxat bandwagon, hailing it as the big new thing in social drugs after anti-impotence pill Viagra.

They say Seroxat will help shy people get to the point where they might need Viagra.

    The downside is that Seroxat can reduce sexual drive and function.


The drug boosts the level of serotonin in the brain – the hormone which controls people’s moods.

It is already a major success at treating depression and its sales have risen by 23% in the last year.

It now accounts for one quarter of US anti-depressant drug sales and it was the fastest selling anti-depressant drug in the UK in the mid-1990s. In 1996, UK sales grew by 50%.

But if it gets approval to be used to treat acute shyness, sales are likely to soar.

    A spokesman for SmithKline Beecham said shyness was ‘ a serious condition’ and that only those who had acute problems would be prescribed the drug by doctors.

“It would be used for the sort of people who would have to run out of a crowded room. The underlying problem is usually extreme anxiety,” he said.

-SMITHKLINE BEECHAM: SmithKline Beecham’s Seroxat/ Paxil approved in UK to treat social anxiety disorder.

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Seroxat/Paxil (paroxetine HCl) has been approved for the treatment of social anxiety disorder in the United Kingdom, SmithKline Beecham announced today. It is the first selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) to be approved for this severely debilitating and little known anxiety disorder. Seroxat/Paxil is currently under review for this indication throughout

Pill to melt shyness

Most people call it extreme shyness. According to some experts, up to eleven per cent of people in Ireland suffer from it. They prefer to call extreme shyness “social phobia” and they say that people who suffer from it experience unimaginable torment and isolation.

Now doctors believe Seroxat, a pill to counteract depression, can also help these social phobics or people who are, literally, painfully shy.

Now, new research in Britain which reveals that the anti-depressant drug Seroxat successfully treats the condition has brought the plight of social phobics into the public mind for the first time.

On 9th January 1998, in the face of mounting adverse reports from users and GPs, Seroxat was re-licensed for a wider range of symptoms including depression accompanied with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorder. Off label prescription included pre-menstrual tension and irritable bowel syndrome. This wider remit increased sales dramatically and for the first time people who had never been depressed or suicidal were being prescribed Seroxat. Unbeknown to them, they were exposed to the additional risk of dependency syndrome and a raised risk of suicide. No longer could depression, suicidal thoughts and acts suffered by these people be attributed to a relapse of their depressive illness.

Revealed: secret plan to push’happy’ pills

Jamie Doward and Robin McKie
Sunday November 7, 2004
The Observer

Britain’s largest drug company drew up a secret plan to double sales of the controversial anti-depressant Seroxat by marketing it as a cure for a raft of less serious mental conditions,

The contents of the 250-page document have alarmed health campaigners who accuse the firm, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), of putting profit before the therapeutic needs of patients by attempting to broaden the market for the drug which has been linked to a spate of suicides.

The internal report carries a section which outlines how GSK planned to double sales of ‘selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)’ – the industry term for anti-depressants – by winning the marketing war against Seroxat’s chief rival, Prozac, manufacured by Eli Lilly.

Written in 1998 and subsequently updated in following years, the section is entitled: ‘Towards the second billion – all SSRIs are not the same’ and discusses strategies to see off the threat posed by Prozac.

    The document outlined how GSK intended to market Seroxat for a range of conditions other than clinical depression. Chief among these was a condition the company identified as social anxiety disorder, although other forms of anxiety were also discussed internally.

‘What this document makes clear is that a number of different forms of anxiety were being targeted in a systematic way. The thrust was to move sales beyond the $1 billion to $2 billion mark by pushing it to people who were not clinically depressed,’ said Professor David Healy, a psycho-pharmacologist at Cardiff University, who has given evidence to the House of Commons Health Select Committee.

Richard Brook, chief executive of Mind, the mental health charity which submitted the document to the committee, told the MPs it was ‘all about developing new conditions for that drug and demolishing the arguments of other competitors about why their drug was not any good’.

In addition the document shows GSK made a great virtue of the fact that Seroxat had a relatively short ‘half-life’ compared with Prozac, an argument which has subsequently proven deeply controversial.

A half-life is the scientific term for how long it takes for the concentration of a drug to drop by 50 per cent in a patient’s bloodstream. The company suggested Seroxat’s short half-life meant patients could come on and off the drug easily, compared with those on Prozac, even to the extent that they could take ‘treatment holidays’. ‘There was an argument that a short half life was really good news,’ Brook said.

But five years later, Seroxat has withdrawal issues. It’s the short half life that causes the problems. The substances get into the body so quickly it causes some sort of dependency reaction. So one of the things the company was saying was a benefit was actually a problem.’

In its submission to the parliamentary committee Mind said the original trial data submitted to the UK regulators by GSK showed the claim was at best ‘naive and at worst seriously mislead ing’. It added that ‘the Seroxat file is highly illustrative of using marketing information as facts’.

Concerns about the addictive properties of Seroxat saw the government ban its prescription to people under the age of 18 last year. This followed a review which found children taking it were more likely to self-harm or commit suicide.

A spokesman for GSK said Seroxat could be marketed at new conditions only after stringent testing. ‘Medical authorities around the world have required that GSK study each condition separately in order to prove benefit in each condition specifically.’


In 1998 , GSK also released a sales memo to their Paxil ( Seroxat ) selling team …
The memo speaks for itself…

For more GSK / Seroxat internal memos and documents see link :