Andrew Witty was the recent CEO of GSK. He was at the helm of GSK when they were fined for the largest health care fraud investigation in US history (in 2012) and weathered several corruption investigations (including the 2014 China Bribe scandal) during his tenure. You would think that this kind of thing wouldn’t look good on his CV wouldn’t you? You’d think that presiding over a company that has one of the worst corporate reputations (and image problems) of the FTSE 500 would look bad for future roles and jobs wouldn’t you?
Not so- it seems- when it comes to the stomach churning revolving door of the British business and political class.
“….The U.K. government has announced that former GlaxoSmithKline chief Sir Andrew Witty is to head up its new pathway that aims to get a handful of drugs and medical technologies to patients quicker than ever before….”
The plans for the so-called Accelerated Access Review (AAR) will see Sir Andrew, once on the other side of the fence trying to get new drugs onto the market, decide which set of medications and devices can get through to U.K. patients at a much speedier rate. This also comes two months after he was hired by venture capital firm Hatteras Venture Partners; the firm tells me he will be staying on there, but did not answer questions about any potential conflicts of interest….”
So Sir Andrew Witty of the corporate pharmafioso outfit of GSK will now head the UK governments fast-track process for new drugs? Does that make you feel safe in the drug approval process?
You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.
Amazingly also, on the same day that this news was reported, it was also reported that GSK have a new drug which the US regulators are designating as a ‘breakthrough’ drug.
“…LONDON (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline received a boost for its oncology research on Thursday when an experimental drug for blood cancer received a “breakthrough” designation from U.S. regulators…..”
“…The decision by the Food and Drug Administration paves the way for a speedy regulatory review of the BCMA drug for multiple myeloma. It follows similar priority treatment granted by the European Medicines Agency last month…”
Whilst Witty was swinging through his revolving door- from industry honcho to government insider- GSK’s Patrick Vallance just might be skipping through another one…
“….GlaxoSmithKline’s head of R&D Patrick Vallance could be en route to a UK government position as chief scientific advisor, according to reports.
Vallance has been leading the R&D operations of GSK for more nearly six years, and his departure comes in the midst of a shake-up of the UK big pharma group under new chief executive Emma Walmsley, who took over from previous CEO Sir Andrew Witty in April.
News of the departure – reported by the Financial Times – was previously covered on the Research Fortnight website, which said Vallance had been proposed by an independent panel of scientists along with another candidate with a background in the physical sciences…..”
Of course this kind of thing is all absolutely ethical, above board and not in the slightest bit worrying. It’s just another day, another dollar isn’t it, business as usual? nothing to see here, move along…
I feel much safer knowing that these two ex GSK executives will now have an even bigger role in deciding which drugs pass from industry into patients’ mouths.
I feel so safe and comfortable knowing that the top executives from the manufacturers of Myodil, Seroxat, Pandemrix, Tafenoquine, Lamictal, Wellbutrin, Cervarix, Zofran and Dexedrine (and other shoddy meds) will decide on which treatments and drugs will work best for the consumer…
The Foxes Own The Hen House Guys..
We’re all Fucked..
Patrick Vallance: “Alltrials is not pushing for that level of data availability and neither are we”
“If I’m a shareholder, which I am, I don’t want a company to be hiding something that might come to light”…
Yesterday I posted an interview with GSK’s CEO Andrew Witty. In that interview Witty was very clearly (and visibly) uncomfortable when questioned by BBC’s Newsnight’s Evan Davis about GSK’s bribery scandal in China and their corruption of doctors.
Andrew Witty’s awkward body language said it all.
See here for more
In an interview (see Audio above) with BBC 4’s ‘Life Scientific‘ radio series today with Jim Al-Khalili, GSK’s (head of R and D and admitted GSK share-holder) Patrick Vallance, is asked about Seroxat harming kids, and his response is really very unsettling. He casually glosses over the harm to (potentially) millions of kids from GSK’s dangerous Paroxetine (Paxil/Seroxat/Aropax) over the past 15 years in a very matter of fact way, as if he was discussing a certain flavor of tooth-paste or the symptoms of a very mild head ache.
Vallance says (when asked about Seroxat killing kids) that:
“It’s inevitable that side effects things will occur from time to time”
“I’d rather know them than not know them”
(but isn’t this the whole point Pat- we weren’t warned of the side effects such as suicide, withdrawal and self harm so many millions of people didn’t know the side effects and were harmed by Seroxat- me included- purely on the basis that we didn’t know and were not told about them).
Wow, is that really your answer to the Seroxat scandal Pat? It’s inevitable that people get killed and maimed is it? It’s inevitable that GSK push drugs like Seroxat on under 18’s (when GSK knew from its own studies that Seroxat could harm them). That’s inevitable, all above board and expected is it? Is it all just inevitable really because that’s the nature of the drugs business? Or do scandals like Seroxat happen because of human greed, profit and sociopathic corporate behavior? I’d go with the latter…
It’s inevitable that it might rain tomorrow, it is not inevitable for a drug company to push its dangerous anti-depressant on young people when it knew it might make them kill themselves… How about making sure that your drugs are safe? Now there’s a novel idea Pat…
When asked about GSK’s endorsement of Alltrials GSK’s Pat Vallance admits that the Alltrials agenda is not about access to data at all ( data is the meat of the drugs industry, without access to it we just don’t know the dangers or efficacy of the drugs we take- see study329.org for more). Vallance also spins the well worn GSK yarn that they have been always publishing their trials on the clinical trials register but the truth (and what the GSK spin machine always omits) is that GSK were forced by two separate department of justice investigations into the company which have compelled them to publish trials- they did not do this willingly).
When asked by the interviewer, Jim Al-Khalili : “Is this about making clinical trial data available to all people”?
Pat Vallance responds that: “Alltrials is not pushing for that level of availability and neither are we”
Vallance’s answer is really very telling, and it reveals why GSK were so eager to jump on board the Alltrials/Ben Goldacre bandwagon. Access to data is what is needed here, not access to drug company’s published trials. Alltrials is a red herring, it gives GSK more control, and Ben Goldacre really has a lot to answer for in this regard. However since he seems to be enamored with Witty and Vallance, I won’t hold my breath for him to challenge them anytime soon. (I’ve written about these issues here, and Dr David Healy’s been banging the drum about Alltrials on his blog too- see here).
Furthermore, one of the only ways to get access to the data, is often only through litigation or department of justice investigations etc. People shouldn’t have to wait decades before they know the harms of a drug Mr Vallance. This is not acceptable nor inevitable. Seroxat has harmed immeasurably. The long term damage hasn’t even begun to be assessed.
Just like Andrew Witty, your attitude towards those damaged by your drugs like seroxat seems to be… “well that’s just tough”..
And your company still makes a profit on Seroxat, it’s still being sold, which means that you and Witty are still profiting directly (and knowingly) from death, human damage, addiction and child suicide…
How nice for you both..