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..
Glaxo’s record breaking 3 Billion dollar fine with the US Justice department caused an almighty stink in the media- but hardly a dent in GSK’s multi-multi-billion dollar profit margins.
Many commentators have observed that to companies like GSK, fraud and illegal practices, are merely the cost of ‘doing business’.
The cost of doing business has cost many patients their lives and health, and some have called for jail time for the GSK executives who partook in these illegal practices.
One man at the center of this debacle is GSK boss, and CEO, “Sir” Andrew Witty.
Mr Witty claims that these GSK crimes and violations took part in another era, yet Witty has spent his entire working life at GSK. He has been involved in almost every corner of the GSK corporate machine, and he has held many high level positions in the company. Are we to believe that Andrew Witty was unaware of any of these illegal activities? (which incidentally happened right up to his current tenure).
Are we to believe that Mr Witty is whiter than white?
Did he do a (hush-hush) deal with the Department of Justice?
What did Witty know? Who’s gonna solve the mystery?
There have been some very interesting comments on the popular pharmaceutical news blog “Pharmalot” in regards to Mr Witty and the GSK 3 Billion dollar fine.
Some of you might find them interesting….
Particularly perhaps the ones which are allegedly by a former Director of GSK…
Andrew Witty now CEO was KNIGHTED,even though he was a VP in marketing at GSK the time of the complaint. What was his role, nobody knows, he calls it a different “era”, yet it was his era in part, he was there.
Now he and his scumbag attorneys wont even compensate the whistleblowers according to law requiring it. They are fighting them in Court to fight against the wrongful termination a.d retaliation, suffered.for some 11 years. Thorpe was blackballed in the industry for his efforts, now the NEW GSK ,under Sir Witty.is screwing the messenger again. Wait until this is public , it will be a. PR nightmare.
Why did this agreement take ten years…while the whistleblowers Greg Thorpe and Blair Hamrick were gagged from revealing the truth ? They know trust me. This story is not over by a long shot, white collar killers and those who bargain in bad faith with them need real punishment, not promotions.
Early in the investigation, a U.S. attorney allegedly stated any settlement would include someone “behind bars.” As negotiations to settle continued, one of my former colleagues stated that the starting point was $13a billion. Yes they laughed this off & went on to buy Human Genome Sciences for $3 billion. JP Garnier negotiated a lucrative retirement, clearing the way for the board to appoint Witty CEO. The first thing he did was fire Stout. Note Garnier & Stout had parachutes from other companies. Ingram was retired after he declined to return to running the U.S. company. Witty also fired the 2 SVPs in the U.S. company, Pernock & Hull. The only honorable executive, Chris Viebacher, was recruited by Sanofi-Aventis to be CEO, where he has turned that company around. There was a mass exodus from GSK in 2010the when GSK offered lucrative separation packages, followed by a huge layoff. Those with experience talent and ethics couldn’t get out fast enough. So the Witty purge is complete and he reigns today with absolute power.
GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty’s statement still had a measure of disingenuousness: “On behalf of GSK, I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learnt from the mistakes that were made.
“Mistakes that were made”? Couldn’t have the statement read simply, “mistakes that we made”?
Witty was VP of all marketing in the U.S. for a while pr-merger. The two companies had very different marketing strategies, with SKB more aggressive without regard to ethics. But Witty oversaw Wellbutrin Alerts &the Flovent. But make no mistake, he runs the GSK company of today.
Andrea, you are right…”we” could not have been uttered in this or any instance, for fear of further litigation, let alone implying that he, personally, had anything to do with it.
How can anyone trust anything these people say or do? They knowingly promoted a product which was harmful to patients. In some cases it caused : heart attacks, strokes,heart failure, PPH…….last time I checked these can mean a death sentence or cause significant morbidity. This is only one of those great products…
If GSK manages to stay out of trouble for ten years or so, then we can look back and see Witty’s statement as a potentially significant moment. We’re a long way from that now.
Thirty years in this business have taught me that there were probably lots of warning signs and high level internal memos flying around GSK letting the chief executives know the trouble that was in store for them lest they proceed with these activities at their own peril.
Glaxo continues its same m.o. The drug Lamictal is taking many lives due to an allergic reaction called Stevens Johnson Syndrome. They have been able to keep a lid on the number of deaths because doctors are not required to report this telling statistic. With one additional sentence in the warning label for this drug it would be far easier for patients and doctors to identify and provide immediate treatment but Glaxo is sinking millions into keeping the current label intact through blocking litigation and perpetuating myths about this potentially toxic drug. When Witty meets with his advisors in the morning they talk about beating litigation and keeping dangerous drugs on the shelves. They don’t talk about patient safety until the courts force them to.
Are you kidding me , Witty was VP marketing at main time frame of bulk of the complaint 1997- 1999…exactly when Wellbutrin was being revived from the dead, with total off label marketing for new scripts…another era he says? No he was neck deep and had to know what the message was. How could thousands of sales reps be trained to sell Wellbutrin off label, especially to children and actually be tested on their knowledge of the drug for weight loss. I was there, I took the test…seems the DOJ ” overlooked” his involvement or knowledge….he was to become a knight, as we all know now…how much did he know and when. Coverup by the company and stupidity at GSK ? No, how about some quid pro quo ?
Get the DOJ documents and follow the money as usual…..Sir Witty huh
“Witty says we are not the company we used to be, which begs the question, what kind of company were you when you, Sir Witty were VP of marketing…the “old era”….off with his head. No better than Bob Ingram, still his advisor, and planner of the schemes. Email me Ed, before I am dead.
(Witty, of course, was hip-deep next to Stout and Garnier in GSK’s criminal activities in the mid to late 00′s, so to paint him as some sort of “new generation” is misguided.)