“…Sir Andrew Witty, GSK’s chief executive, said the settlement brought a resolution to “difficult, long-standing matters for GSK” adding: “I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learned from the mistakes we made.”
Critics point out that other executives directly named as having been told of concerns continue in top jobs, albeit in different companies.
Whistleblower Greg Thorpe first alerted the company to the entertainment offered to doctors and the culture that allegedly put profits above ethics in 2001. He raised his concerns with David Stout, who was then head of the US business, and Bob Ingram, GSK’s chief operating officer. When he was forced out of the company, he took his case to the regulators, which spent almost 10 years investigating the issues….”
“…..Eliot Spitzer, who as New York’s attorney general sued GSK over similar allegations eight years ago, told the New York Times that companies like GSK seem incorrigible. “What we are learning is that money [ie fines] do not deter corporate malfeasance. The only thing that will work in my view is chief executive officers and officials being forced to resign and individual culpability being enforced…….”
GSK whistle-blower Greg Thorpe left a really interesting comment on my blog – in relation to GSK’s Lamictal. Lamictal was one of the drugs mentioned in the US department of justice complaint- which eventually led to GSK’s 3 billion dollar fine in 2012. It was because of Greg’s bravery and tenacity that this fine came to fruition and GSK’s vast off label fraud and criminality was exposed to the world, however, as Greg has stated multiple times- the fine itself was paltry, as was the final settlement. It was not justice for patients nor was it adequate punishment for GSK. The CEO’s and top executives did not receive fines or jail time, in fact many of them were made multi-millionaires and now live in luxury, despite the fact that they were part of a massive fraud and bribery network which led directly to deaths and harm to tens of thousands of innocent trusting patients and consumers (as illustrated in the Dept of Justice complaint).
One such executive now living the high life off the backs of many years of GSK’s various unethical shenanigans is Bob Ingram. Bob Ingram was the US head of GSK for many years leading up to GSK’s 3 Billion felony crimes. Bob now enjoys showing off his Porshe collection all around the US. He’s probably worth tens of millions, and perhaps never gives a second thought to kids killed on Paxil, or any other folks harmed by GSK’s greed over the years?
Anyhow, here’s Bob talking about his Porshe collection..
Here’s Greg’s comment:
“….GSK DID NOT pay 3 billion dollars for Lamictal crimes…little to nothing was paid for Lamictal relative to the settlement…in spite of the fact that it was actively marketed for depression and bipolar disorders at least 6 years before any type of approval. This was a large part of the DOJ complaint I filed in 2003. In fact one woman died after treatment of her depression with Lamictal. It was reported to GSK and they covered it up. I reported this murder to DOJ in my complaint, it was ignored. GSK made hundreds of millions of off label dollars with this dangerous drug for years. There SHOULD HAVE BEEN AT LEAST a 3 billion dollar drug alone in fines and executives were informed, look up the Thorpe v GSK complaint. Career prosecutors under Eric Holder, former attorney for the company who Said he recused himself ….huh? allowed this quid pro quo to happen under corrupt career prosecutors…want names..Ask Jeff Sessions .
The taxpayers were robbed of Tens of billions of dollars by the Department of Injustice who took ten years to ruin my complaint…to give GSK a free pass=1 month of GSK profit.
This death occurred where I worked, they did nothing. Holder and his crew of career idiots and political hacks should be in jail, right along with Bob Ingram ,
JP Garnier, and all the planners and initiators of the fraud.
It is the most horrible, disgusting violation of everything proper, that should have concluded a 10 year investigation. It makes the current Russian scam a walk in the park.
I still cannot believe how bad and evil these deep state bastards in the DOJ
gave this free pass to what I reported.
Now Bob Ingram r, former CEO, COO, rides around in his choice of dozens of Porsches, that run on the blood of dead or maimed patients. Who will come forward at the DOJ ?
“…In a statement, the company said it had cooperated with the SEC and it had received credit for taking steps to improve its operations, such as changing how sales representatives are paid and stopping the practice of paying healthcare professionals to speak to doctors about the company’s products.
It also said the U.S. Justice Department, which had opened a parallel criminal investigation into the matter, was closing its probe without any action against the company.”….
GlaxoSmithKline PLC agreed to pay $20 million to settle charges that the drugmaker’s Chinese subsidiaries engaged in bribery schemes to increase sales in the Asian country, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday.
The SEC alleged that between 2010 and 2013, GlaxoSmithKline’s subsidiary and a China-based joint-venture violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by providing inappropriate gifts to foreign officials, including health-care professionals. The commission also alleged that the payments were often falsely recorded as legitimate expenses.
The bribes took the forms of gifts, improper travel and entertainment with no or little educational purpose, shopping trips and cash, among others, the SEC said in its order.
Glaxo entered into the SEC agreement without confirming or denying the charges, the U.S. agency said in its statement.
In a separate statement, Glaxo said it has installed several reforms, including shifts to the compensation of sales representatives and the end of payments to health-care practitioners for advocating for Glaxo products to other prescribers.
“The U.S. Department of Justice has also concluded its investigation into these matters and will be taking no further action,” Glaxo said in a prepared statement. “The SEC and DOJ investigations were initiated as part of an industry-wide inquiry in 2010.”
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.
In 2014, a Chinese court found the company guilty of bribery and penalized Glaxo $491.5 million in the same matter, which was touted at the time by Chinese state media as the largest-ever corporate fine in China.
Five of the company’s managers, including Mark Reilly, its former top China executive, were also convicted of bribery-related charges and received suspended prison sentences.
Write to Ezequiel Minaya at firstname.lastname@example.org
“…Britain’s Serious Fraud Office has launched a formal criminal investigation into GlaxoSmithKline’s sales practices, piling further pressure on the drugmaker which is already being investigated by Chinese authorities and elsewhere amid allegations of bribery.
Britain’s biggest pharmaceutical company, run by Sir Andrew Witty, said it had been informed on Tuesday that the SFO had “opened a formal criminal investigation into the group’s commercial practices”.
“GSK is committed to operating its business to the highest ethical standards and will continue to cooperate fully with the SFO,” it added. A spokeswoman was unable to give further information. It is understood the SFO is looking at possible patterns across numerous global jurisdictions including China.
Under the 2010 Bribery Act, the SFO has powers to investigate and prosecute corruption at home or abroad. In some circumstances companies can be considered for immunity from prosecution if they can demonstrate they have been proactive and alerted SFO investigators to evidence of wrongdoing as soon as they found it…”
Following on from my post two days ago (about Erika Kelton-Whistle-Blower attorneys’- article on GSK CEO Andrew Witty in Forbes online), GSK whistleblower Greg Thorpe left some interesting comments on it. (see here)
I have long thought that GSK’s 3 Billion dollar fine gave merely the appearance of justice-to the media and the public- but didn’t really deliver it at all. The only ones that really benefited from this 3 Billion dollar fine were the many attorneys involved and GSK themselves. Patients did not get justice, many people were harmed and some died. There was no real justice for those harmed.
On the surface of it, it seems like a lot of money, and a big fine, but 3 Billion is nothing to GSK, it’s around 3 months profit, and in any case- the profits that they made -pushing the various drugs detailed in Greg’s complaint off label- over the decade that the case was (unethically) sealed-and the years previous (to when Greg raised the alarm) more than made up for the criminal behavior that GSK were fined for anyhow.
As Greg so perfectly put it- this fine was a ‘gift’ to GSK.
Disturbingly also, GSK were then fined 2 years later (500 million) in the biggest corporate bribery scandal in China. It seems that GSK broke its corporate integrity agreement (one of the main stipulations for GSK’s fine with the US department of Justice) literally less than 2 years after it signed it. Was GSK setting up this bribery network during the time it was signing this corporate integrity agreement with the US department of Justice? Who was overseeing the funding of GSK’s elaborate bribery scam? that’s something that journalists and the media should be researching to find out…
GSK are also under investigation by the serious fraud office in the UK.
Personally, I don’t think that GSK will be brought to justice in the UK, or the US, for any of this extremely unethical and immoral behavior. GSK operate above the law because they are a cash cow for the UK economy; they are hugely influential over politics, healthcare, universities, and the media- globally. They are an unimaginably profitable company, and their stranglehold upon powerful people, and organizations around the world (from political sway to university/academic control), stretching back about a century, keeps them protected from facing justice for any of the crimes that they commit.
GSK epitomize an evil, untouchable, unaccountable corporate entity that has influence and power beyond our imaginations. They get away with corporate fraud, bribery, harm to patients (and often corporate manslaughter of patients) because the governments and justice systems (particularly, in the UK, Europe and US) are nefariously influenced by GSK’s huge financial, legal and corporate power. They have every facet of society in their pocket…
Like big oil and the military industrial complex, the big banks etc, Big Pharma’s like GSK are literally untouchable. From time to time they face paltry, meaningless, fines, such as the department of Justice charade- however their corporate culture remains the same.
They hire people like Andrew Witty to become the face of their new branding strategy, but they never ever atone for many of the crimes that they commit.
At the end of the day, it’s all about money and greed…
In this corporate dominated world, the individual is considered value-less and disposable..
The average joe, on the street; the ordinary consumer or patient- has little or no power, to fight these kinds of corporations. If big oil destroys the environment, it doesn’t have to face any real justice, if the military industrial complex wants to fund wars in the middle east, leading to deaths of innocent people in those areas, maiming and dismembering kids and women, and men- it’s allowed to, and if Big Pharma wants to sell a dodgy drug to you, and lie about side effects, and even kill you and get away with it, it’s allowed to do this without proper recourse.
The CEO’s of these entities, are so rich, and well protected by the high political, legal and professional class, that they can simply do what they please, and at the end of their tenure, they can ride off into the sunset with multi-million pound nest eggs and golden parachutes. It doesn’t matter what the corporation does while the CEO is in charge, even if the company commits fraud continually, and pushes drugs off-label to people harming them and sometimes killing them- the CEO’s are let off the hook…
They are untouchable…
We are at their mercy, and they have no mercy..
They behave sociopathically because that’s the nature of how they do business. Despite protestations of new ethical branding, they are unable to change because the corporate environment in which they thrive doesn’t allow for humane characteristics.
If GSK think that I am wrong about anything that I have written on my blog, I am open to amending any blog post to set the record straight, and furthermore I would be happy to discuss any of the issues raised on this blog with Andrew Witty, the CEO, of GSK anytime and anyplace (as long as its recorded and released to the public) so there you go Andrew, take me up on that offer anytime you wish- and show the world that GSK are really concerned with ‘patients first’ and ‘transparency’ – prove to the world that you’re not the corporate lackey that we all think you are…
(I won’t hold my breath)
Anyhow, here’s Greg’s comments– make of them what you will…
Erika Kelton and her so called whistleblowers are frauds, period.
Kelton told me specifically in a letter that “Off label marketing is not fraud”.
Her firm would not take this case until they found out I was right.
Both her me too whistleblowers were terminated GSK employees and Matt Burke was terminated for off label promotion as a Regional Manager, forcing some 200 plus representatives under him to do the same.
This was AFTER I went to the highest ranking people in the company, complaining of off label fraud and kickbacks.
These clones of me used much of the same information I sent Kelton…only to file a separate case about 4 months AFTER I had to get some rookie counsel to represent me.
Her version of the story and their statements are not only false and misleading but probably defamatory to my position on the case. The Department of Justice gave ME standing as first to file and my attorneys handled the award.
The award was decreased to the minimum largely because her “me too” terminated clients were actually deemed ” planners and initiators ” of the Fraud.
This was a 9 year joke, and that is the time it took the DOJ to decimate my complaint and reduce it from some 350 pages with 750 exhibits to some 80 pages or so of a huge quid pro quo to GSK.
I have a lot more to say on this and it was largely Kelton and her boys inaction and lack of substance on the major drugs…Paxil, Imitrex, Zyban and Wellbutrin that the settlement was so paltry.
The settlement amounted to 3 months of PROFIT for GSK. It makes me sick, and Kelton declares victory ? I call bullshit.
Criminal actions no doubt occurred over these 9 years including an illegal seal from the public on the case….9 years !! Sara Bloom, Kelton’s buddy was lead investigator and seemingly spearheaded the Gift to GSK.
I have questions as to the role of Eric Holder also in this whole charade.
A GSK defense attorney became Attorney General 5 years into the case. He supposedly recused himself, but there are indications he had his moles in the DOJ putting the clamps on any criminal indictment…let alone the insanely low penalty. Hundreds of thousands of patients were killed or suffered…nothing done. A slap on the wrist. Holder is now back at the same law firm, DEFENDING GSK. Anyone smell the RAT ?
I have a lot more intimate knowledge about all of this…and have already been threatened for coming forward.
I was the ONLY whistle-blower who was wrongfully terminated for coming forward.
So Erika until you can stop lying and putting lipstick on this pig of a case…that cost the taxpayers Tens… if not hundreds of millions of dollars…
I suggest you keep your mouth shut and comply with my request to show how you really handled the information I first gave to you…when you would not file, and declared in writing that “OFF LABEL DETAILING IS NOT FRAUD”…. It certainly is, especially when people die because of statements made to physicians, even by your own so-called whistle blowers
To Forbes …..
If you want the truth about this whole incredible 9 year quid pro quo….I will give you the truth, and not in some self serving article put forth to generate business for a lawfirm.
The article makes me want to puke. You will get the whole truth from me, not just what some me-too attorney wants you to believe.
Truth man, why don’t you publish the letter to me from Kelton ? Says it all on her integrity and real role in the case on the “killer” off label promotion…not some innocuous promotion on Advair for mild asthma, which in most cases helped patients….which she lays claim to…..having nothing on Imitrex, Paxil, or Avandia.
The really harmful drugs. A useless pawn, and I have the evidence, including HOW she got into the case, and it was not because of the DOJ at all initially.
Get real Erica, you can’t hide the real truth on this Government Fraud forever. That is the bottom line.
The truth will come out, and not in a few paragraphs here…sooner or later.
One other note, Kelton insists that GSK listen to internal whistleblowers.
Certainly I agree…however this is coming from an attorney and a lawfirm who would not listen to the only internal whistle-blower in the 3 Billion dollar gift.
Maybe Erica should take a little of her own advice..instead of only listening to terminated employees, planners and initiators of the Fraud, then claiming THEY
were the leading whistleblowers.
They both secured good jobs outside the company and lived the good life for ten years….while I went through hell for reporting while employed, then was subject to wrongful termination after almost 25 years with the company.
Really Erika…you can fool some of the people some of the time..as the saying goes.
Matt Burke, your main bread and butter, as you know… would not even put his name on the complaint until I forced him to do so, or hit the road. Some hero ?
Come clean, seriously…it is about more than generating business for your firm through false and misleading statements. Bottom line you and your clients only got in the way in this case, especially in settlement discussions. The truth hurts, huh ? If I am wrong Burke can reply….but he will not.
He was grossly unjustly enriched and could be in prison, instead of living the good life off of my initial complaints.
It’s good to see at least one mainstream news outlet has the balls to publish the truth about CEO Andrew Witty’s tenure at the helm at GSK over the past decade- however I would like to see more discussion about the 3 Billion dollar fine for what it actually was: a whitewash and NOT justice for consumers or patients- or in the words of Whistle-Blower Greg Thorpe– a mere “gift to GSK“…
Also, Perhaps Erika Kelton (the author of this Forbes article) could further explain to the public, why so little of this Department of Justice complaint involved Paxil (Seroxat/Paroxetine)? Considering that Paxil (Seroxat) has been GSK’s most controversial drug, I would like to know why was the focus of the investigation on Advair (GSK’s least dangerous drug when compared to drugs like Paxil) and also why do the other whistle-blowers- recruited at the time- not speak out about the sham investigation and white-wash fine?
My e-mail is always open to information and discussion Erika (if you’re reading!). I have much more information about GSK than I have published on this blog- several whistle-blowers have contacted me over the years, and some of these stories haven’t even been covered in the news at all, or online even.
Anyhow, here’s her Forbes article…
(ps- most of the info in this article could be gleaned straight from my blog- as I have been documenting GSK for ten years now- and have often done deeper digging than most journalists)
Mar 24, 2016 @ 04:43 PM 3,930 views
With Andrew Witty’s Departure, Will GlaxoSmithKline Say Goodbye to Fraud?
Erika Kelton ,
I write about whistleblower matters involving fraud and other issues.
GSK has made headlines during Witty’s tenure, but for all the wrong reasons.
The company should scratch internal prospects off the list.
Glaxo SmithKline recently announced that its CEO, Andrew Witty, will be out the door as of March 31, 2017 – a development many were expecting.
GSK has made headlines during Witty’s tenure, but for all the wrong reasons.
Glaxo needs to make major changes after CEO Andrew Witty (on right) leaves the company next year.
Corruption, bribery, illegal marketing, contaminated drugs and collusion are some of the “highlights” of Glaxo’s business practices that were revealed during Witty’s nine years at the helm.
Witty oversaw Glaxo’s “Hall of Shame” when the following entries were added:
A $3 billion payment to the US to settle whistleblower allegations leading to civil and criminal charges that the company had marketed a number of its top-selling drugs for unapproved uses that in many cases endangered patients’ lives and health. It is the largest healthcare fraud settlement ever paid. (My firm represented the leading whistleblowers.)
A $750 million payment to settle whistleblower allegations that led to civil and criminal liability for manufacturing contaminated drugs at its facility in Puerto Rico and selling them.
A $489 million fine by a Chinese court for bribery and corruption charges based on allegations its China division paid doctors to prescribe Glaxo’s drugs. (A record penalty for China.)
Accusations of bribing doctors to prescribe Glaxo’s drugs in at least 11 other countries: Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Syria and United
A fine of roughly $54.5 million by Britain’s Competition & Markets Authority for allegedly paying generic drug makers illegally to delay the launch of cheaper versions of Glaxo’s Seroxat, an antidepressant.
A fine of about $9 million imposed by India’s Competition Commission for allegedly colluding with Sanofi India in bidding to supply a meningitis vaccine to the government for Haj pilgrims.
That’s a record that won’t be missed.
On the bright side, Witty’s announced resignation provides an opportunity for Glaxo to clean up its act.
Glaxo reportedly is considering external as well as internal candidates for the top spot. The company should scratch internal prospects off the list.
Witty came up through the ranks and landed in the CEO office after more than 20 years of slogging his way up from management trainee. Although Witty surely knows the business well, he was also part of a culture that was not healthy. Only an outsider with great resolve has a chance of reshaping the business to respect compliant and ethical practices.
Given Glaxo’s recent history, the board of directors should ensure that Witty’s replacement does more than drive up profits. A dramatic cultural shift at GSK is long past due.
A good place to start would be to listen to employees when they blow the whistle internally, particularly given the billions the company has paid to resolve significant problems whistleblowers have exposed. Glaxo will find that being open to whistleblower concerns could be very profitable in more ways than one.
Erika Kelton is a whistleblower attorney and partner at Phillips & Cohen LLP. http://www.phillipsandcohen.com. Follow @Fraudmatters.
“There have been warnings about paroxetine for a long time,” including a 2007 Food and Drug Administration advisory on the risk of increased suicidality when anti-depressants like paroxetine or imipramine are used to treat people age 18 to 24, according to Dr Jon Jureidini of the University of Adelaide in Australia. The authors of the 2001 study did not report this side effect, although the evidence was there, said Dr Jureidini, a co-author of the re-analysis.
“A broad community of people around the world have raised concerns,” he told Reuters news agency.
“Mistakes were made”…. thousands of kids killed themselves because of Seroxat…
All in a day’s work for GSK’s CEO Andrew Witty..
Minor inconveniences on the road to hoarding his millions it seems…
What’s a few thousand dead kids?
As long as there’s no dent in profits.. that’s the bottom line isn’t it Witty?
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Andrew Witty: The Art of Deflection.
Sir Witty should have been a politician. Very adept at answering a question…with a question.
Here’s a recent interview with Evan Davis, Presenter, Newsnight, BBC
Skip to 29.40. Transcript for this section is below video.
I’m going to open it to the floor in a second, because we do want to leave half the session for the audience to ask questions. I’ll just finish with kind of a general reflection, because it is interesting, and it’s nice when you talk about the drugs and what they cure, what the treatments are. Don’t you find it very interesting that the pharmaceutical industry has a bad reputation? We read about the China corruption, we read about profits, we read about profiteering. It is an industry that saves lives, no one can dispute that. It’s an industry that produces pills that are completely transforming for people’s welfare. Yet, it’s actually not a terribly popular industry. I just wonder if you can explain that paradox. Is it that you’ve done bad things and that’s been recognized, or is there somehow something the public don’t understand about the industry that makes them feel negative about it? Or am I wrong in thinking there’s a slight [indiscernible] around it?
No, clearly – first of all, I think we are, slightly alongside any big industry, or any big institution, there is a bit of that. We are big companies, we’re global. Again, like any big organization, you’re vulnerable to your weakest link in the organization. So if something goes wrong, particularly in today’s social media world – I often think about what it must have been like to run a global company in the 1970s, where you had to wait for the ship to arrive to find out what happened on the other side of the world. Today, the Wall Street Journal calls you before you’ve even heard about something inside your own company. So I do think there is a certain phenomena where – and you see that across many, you look at it in politics, you look at it in newspapers. The hacking stories, all things like that. So I think it’s a bit of that. I do think – let’s be honest, nobody wakes up in the morning hoping that they’re going to need a drug from GSK. You don’t wake up in the morning thinking, actually, if it’s a really good day, I might be diagnosed to be ill and I might need a drug. So we’re not aspirational in that sense. So you start by saying, actually, I’ve got some bad news, because I’ve been told I’m not very well. They then said: we might have some good news, because there’s something we can help you with. Then in some countries, I have to pay for it. Or in Britain, you might go to the doctor and they say: actually, I’d like to give you this, but NICE have said I can’t. So then there’s a whole series of reasonably negative concepts around pricing. So there’s a bit of that. Then you’ve got – actually, we do occasionally make mistakes. 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.
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.
Was that behaviour actually something, or was it just a slight extension of behaviour that is normal?
I think the bigger question is, where do you want to go forward?
No, but just answer that one.
There’s no doubt, if you ask the more general question – so there have been concerns over the years of, is the drug industry transparent enough? What’s the relationship of the drug industry with doctors? All of those are kind of concerns – let’s call them concerns or reasons for anxiety, whatever they are. Sometimes they’ve spiked up into real issues. What we’ve really tried to do, and we’re beginning to see some other companies, I think, following a similar direction, is we’ve said: you know what? We get that. We get that transparency is a cause of concern. People are worried that something is being hidden. We didn’t think there was but people – perception is everything, right? So what did we do? We came out and said: we will publish every single bit of clinical data we have in the company. We are the only company to do that at this point. Every single thing. If a researcher wants to know exactly what the data was on patient number – all anonymized, but on Patient 1002, in Clinical Trial 87, from 2002, we will give them that information. All the way through, we’ll do that. We’ve said we will stop all payments to physicians to speak on behalf of the company. It’s a perfectly legal practice, everything the company has done – but we stopped it all.
But this is a recognition – there is a lot you’ve done to present these things differently. But it is a recognition that it was pretty dysfunctional before, isn’t it? Because publishing data, to me, honestly, doesn’t seem like a great achievement. It just seems to me that that’s what you should be doing with data. Not bribing doctors seems like a thing you would do.
I wouldn’t say it’s bribing doctors – it’s perfectly legal to pay. If you went to a physician and said, would you expect to be paid for speaking on behalf of somebody, they will probably say yes. Actually, in most countries in the world, it’s perfectly legal. However, there are risks it can be abused. People can make mistakes. And there are risks that there is a misperception. Just to your point on publication, do you think academics are mandated to publish their data? Do you think universities publish all their failed studies? They don’t, but we do.
One box of chocolates for the first person to tell me how many times Witty deflects the questions put to him.
GSK were forced to be transparent, they didn’t just decide one day that they were going to be the first pharmaceutical company to “open it’s doors” (Halfway)
This from the Department of Justice/GSK agreement
“Among other things, the CIA also requires GSK to implement and maintain transparency in its research practices and publication policies and to follow specified policies in its contracts with various health care payors.”
“Moving forward, GSK will be subject to stringent requirements under its corporate integrity agreement with HHS-OIG; this agreement is designed to increase accountability and transparency and prevent future fraud and abuse.”
I think the bigger question is why did Witty fail to mention that his company were forced to be more transparent.
I’ll leave the last words to Witty…
“It’s a perfectly legal practice, everything the company has done…”
Original video here.
http://www.quitam-lawyer.com/sites/quitam-lawyer.com/files/02.03.12%20-%20GSK%20–%207th%20Amended%20Complaint.pdf (GSK Dept of Justice Complaint)
Regular readers, and those interested in GSK, would likely be aware of the record breaking 3 Billion dollar fine which GSK had to pay the US justice department in 2012. The US justice department complaint which this fine is based on is absolutely huge, and the sheer scale of the abuses of ethics and morals which GSK were engaged in for many years is simply astounding. The full complaint can be viewed here, and at 243 pages, it’s quite a read, and I’m sure most readers won’t fail to be utterly appalled at the litany of charges contained within it.
However, according to some comments by an apparent whistleblower on my blog recently, this complaint should have been much wider in its scope, and should have been at least twice (or more) in its length of charges against GSK. It would be interesting to know why the department of Justice didn’t just go the whole hog and fine GSK on all the information which they had in their possession, why was the complaint supposedly much smaller than it should have been?
This blog is primarily about Paxil (Seroxat) because that is the drug which I was prescribed and it’s the drug that damaged me, therefore I find the information about Seroxat the most interesting, however, I also find it puzzling that the Paxil part of the complaint seems quite meager considering Seroxat/Paxil was one of Glaxo’s most notorious, particularly in the sense of the scandals, cover ups and controversy surrounding it.
Is there more about Paxil which should be in there? is there more about other drugs? or other fraudulent or unethical behavior? If so, where is that information? and how do we get access to it?
If anyone has any information regarding this, contact me on the e-mail provided.
Updated: 7:51 p.m. Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 | Posted: 4:40 p.m. Monday, Jan. 5, 2015
Action 9: Man waits years for money after $3 billion Avandia settlement
Yesterday I posted a public document which gave a judgement from a judge presiding over part of the GSK whistleblower complaint (which led to a record breaking 3 Billion dollar fine for GSK in 2012, after a US dept of Justice investigation). The complaint itself goes back decades, and in this particular part of the legal case, one of the ‘whistleblowers’, Blair Hamrick, was recently denied compensation for his claim for ‘unfair dismissal’. I have no idea how much exactly Blair expected to receive with this part of the claim, but I gather it would likely be in the “few million” bracket. However, I’m sure Blair probably isn’t feeling overly hard-done-by considering the multiples of millions he has already received from his original whistleblower case.
I found this document interesting because, although the 3 billion dollar fine itself made headline news back in 2012, little is known about the whistleblowers themselves. The only whistleblower who seems to have made much media appearances, since GSK were fined, is Blair Hamrick, and the (now failed) unfair dismissal case (which I posted yesterday) was brought against GSK by Blair Hamrick. The other whistleblower Greg Thorpe seems to have been the first to instigate the case against GSK, therefore it would seem that it was Greg who blew the whistle initially. Greg has given just one interview, and is apparently still caught up in legal actions but is beginning to speak out. However, apparently there were at least another 4 whistleblowers who were part of this case- Thomas Gerahty and Matthew Burke, were both mentioned in news articles but nothing has been forthcoming in the media from those two men. Why?
The two other apparent ‘whistleblowers’, have surnames Graydon, and LaFauci, and they apparently filed suit much later than the others. Why are these two men not mentioned in news articles? (but they are mentioned in court documents here). What did they reveal? or was it just a rehash of the previous claims already filed? Furthermore, what has the dubious Dr. Piacentile (who seems to have made his living through whistleblowing and suing drug companies who once courted him) got do do with some of the later claims?
Stone & Magnanini, a firm with a history of representing whistleblowers in groundbreaking settlements, represented Dr. Joseph Piacentile, a physician who was the first to blow the whistle on Johnson & Johnson and Janssen’s fraudulent conduct back in 2001. Following Dr. Piacentile’s filing, five other whistleblowers filed actions against the companies, and relators and their counsel formed a team to assist Government lawyers in achieving this groundbreaking settlement.
I have always thought that the GSK 3 Billion fine was a slap on the wrist for GSK, and I have also thought that paying out whistleblowers such high amounts of cash was bordering on obscene, particularly considering some of these drugs (detailed in the court complaint) killed people, and most of them caused a lot of harm. I understand that some of the whistleblower’s took risks, and should be rewarded for loss of earnings etc, but I don’t believe that all these whistleblowers were genuine whistleblowers. It would be interesting to ask them what drugs did they prescribe off-label themselves? (if any?). Why, and when did they decide to come forward, was it before or after they realized they would get rewarded handsomely? These are important questions.
There is no money that can replace the loss of your life from a drug like Seroxat (Paxil), or the loss of your health, and anyhow most people can’t get GSK anywhere near a court to claim compensation for that, particularly in the UK and Europe. In my opinion compensation from GSK is blood money, plain and simple- it is money tainted with bad karma, unless the person receiving it was a victim, or a real whistleblower (with genuine intentions not just freeloading on the back of a potential payout)- then I think the money is seriously tainted… Think of it this way- any money GSK has, and any money it pays out, has been earned on the back of fraud and corporate murder. It’s blood money– no doubt about it. It’s money soaked from the blood of Seroxat teenage suicides, Avandia heart attacks, babies with defects…
Another intriguing aspect of all this is, what happened to the Paxil complaint? Why did the main part of the original fine allegations focus on Advair? Why not Avandia or Paxil (Seroxat)? It seems to me that GSK got off extremely lightly for their most dangerous and damaging drugs- Paxil and Avandia- and that the department of Justice allowed the least damaging complaint (Advair) to gain the most traction and attention- particularly in the media. Why are the whistleblowers not talking about the whitewash and the deal that GSK did with the justice department? It was obviously a good deal for GSK- 3 months profits for decades of damaging and killing tens of thousands of people? why are they not talking about the nitty gritty of what GSK did- corporate manslaughter and corporate murder? Why did the big executives walk away scot free? What really happened in the dubious Lauren Stevens trial? What was Witty’s involvement (pre CEO) with Wellbutrin? (one of the main fraudulent drugs mentioned in the original DOJ complaint?).
If anyone has any information on any of this, please contact me on my e-mail
Money: Pink Floyd
Money, get away
Get a good job with more pay and you’re okay
Money, it’s a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I’ll buy me a football team
Money, get back
I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack
Money, it’s a hit
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit
I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet
Money, it’s a crime
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise
That they’re giving none away
Away, away, way
Away, away, away
After months of anticipation, a Chinese court found the GlaxoSmithKline GSK.LN +0.90% subsidiary in China guilty of bribing doctors, hospital officials and other non-government personnel, and fined the drug maker more than $490 million, The Wall Street Journal reports. This becomes the largest such penalty levied on a company in China.
At the same time, Mark Reilly, the former head of the Glaxo unit in China, pleaded guilty to bribery-related charges and was given a three-year suspended sentence. There are varying reports, however, whether he will be deported or required to remain in China during that time. Four other senior Glaxo managers in China also received suspended sentences of between two and four years.
As we have noted previously, the drug maker had been accused of running a bribery network in China that was designed to boost drug sales. As part of the scheme, Glaxo employees allegedly bribed physicians and hospital staff members, while channeling kickbacks through travel agencies and trade groups, among others.
The court decisions cap a tumultuous episode for Glaxo, which was already struggling to restore its image and revamp business practices in the wake of a $3 billion settlement with U.S. authorities two years ago. The drug maker had been accused of failing to disclose clinical trial data for certain medicines and improperly marketing drugs, among other things.
Andrew Witty, the Glaxo chief executive, issued a brief statement: “Reaching a conclusion in the investigation of our Chinese business is important, but this has been a deeply disappointing matter for GSK. We have and will continue to learn from this. GSK has been in China for close to a hundred years and we remain fully committed to the country and its people.” (here is the official apology, too).
Despite the contrition, pressure may be mounting on Witty, who has repeatedly emphasized the China and other so-called emerging markets are key to Glaxo growth. As the Journal points out, some investors are starting to question his overall performance and whether the scandal in China may represent a systemic problem.
Indeed, Glaxo previously acknowledged investigating claims employees bribed doctors in Poland, Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Meanwhile, the FBI and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are probing its activities in China. As part of a probe into the pharmaceutical industry, U.S. authorities have been eyeing its overseas dealings since 2010 for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
It is worth noting that Witty has now spent half of his six-year tenure trying to overhaul business practices, and has still more fines and investigations to show for his efforts. Granted, cultural differences require varying approaches to success around the world, and Glaxo is not the only drug maker facing this challenge. But Glaxo is now something of a poster child for scandal.
Witty has made headway in other areas. In particular, he has won kudos for his push to make clinical trial data more readily accessible to researchers, a move that has helped Glaxo deflect much of the criticism leveled at the pharmaceutical industry otherwise. In trying to resolve this highly contentious issue, he placed himself and Glaxo in a leadership position.
Whether he emerges unscathed by the latest developments in China – and unfolding events elsewhere – remains to be seen, of course. But Witty may need to have Glaxo executives practice some of the self-criticism that Chinese Communist Party leaders preach as a path toward rehabilitation.