Littered with such lines as, "denies any suggestions that it has put patients at risk", "currently under review", "Avandia does not increase the overall risk of heart attack, stroke or death...",
On the 'secret tape' the BBC are going to air tonight, Glaxo issued the following statement:
In pre-publicity materials for the programme, BBC Panorama suggests that this recording is the "secret tape the drug company would rather you didn't hear."
On Friday 3 September 2010, following the issuing of a subpoena (legal request) to Dr Nissen, GSK obtained a copy of the audio recording. The company today (6 September) posted the recording to its website www.gsk.com.
The company has taken this action so that all interested parties can hear all the comments made at this meeting in their full context.
For our part, we regret if any comments made by GSK during this meeting might be misinterpreted as seeking to stifle an independent view of the science around Avandia.
Well, first off, if Nissen had told GSK officials he was recording what they were saying, I doubt very much if they would have used the intimidation tactics.
Secondly, by releasing the audio on their web page before tonight's show airs, no longer makes the tape 'secret' and by doing this, it would appear, they aim to take the shine off tonight's evidence that is being put to the British public.
Glaxo released the audio on their website earlier today after issuing a subpoena to Dr. Nissen. Wouldn't they have achieved more by releasing warnings about Avandia?
There are many items Glaxo HAVE NOT released on their web page that would in fact protect the public. It would appear that they are more concerned protecting their name.
I, myself, came under fire from the iron fist of GlaxoSmithKline...or rather their Solicitor's, Addleshaw Goddard, when I created a slide show video regarding another of their drugs, Seroxat and one of their employees, Dr. Alistair Benbow. Apparently, I caused Benbow great distress with one of my comments on youtube - Glaxo were also not happy that I was using their company logo in the video. I removed the video on the advice of solicitor's, however, the video was re-uploaded to youtube.
For what it's worth, their threat to me backfired as many bloggers over the world took umbrage at stifling my voice regarding Seroxat.
Tonight's BBC show is broadcast at 8.30pm. It's presenter, investigative journalist, Shelley Jofre, was also behind the four...count them...four Panorama programs about Seroxat. Shelley was also privy to internal emails from GlaxoSmithKline. In the last of the Seroxat programmes, 'The Secrets of the Drug Trials', Shelley was shown a series of emails by leading attorney, Karen Barth Menzies. The emails in question showed GlaxoSmithKline passing around information to various departments about Shelley Jofre. Entire broadcast can be seen HERE. You can also listen to a podcast by Shelley Jofre HERE.
The release of this statement before tonight's show is broadcast shows one thing. It shows how they like to throw the first punch, a punch before the bell rings.
Well Glaxo, expect an onslaught of media attention over the next week or so. You can use the old faithful lines in your press releases, such as, 'Avandia has helped millions of people worldwide'.
Truth is, the public of Great Britain are more astute than what you think.
As for the MHRA's involvement, or lack of, in the Avandia debacle, it really does not surprise me that they, once again, have been waiting for someone else to act before they do anything.
Question is...what are they going to do?
Same as they did with Seroxat.
I cannot for the life of me recall throughout living history one company that has got away with what GlaxoSmithKline has.
In the States they are currently settling over 800 birth defect cases - they settle, the claimant is gagged. They are also settling Avandia cases in the States.
They claim the settlements are to avoid any further costs to both parties.
We all know they settle because they don't want items of disclosure presented to the courts to hit the streets.
Glaxo are currently disputing the UK Seroxat Group Action regarding Seroxat and the withdrawal problems it caused consumers in the UK. As yet, no offer has been made to settle, despite settling similar cases in the United States.
Tonight's program will see Shelley expose Glaxo's intimidation of someone who dared to show them that their drug was causing heart attacks/strokes.
However they wish to paint it, Glaxo were given warnings about Avandia. They chose to bury their heads in the sand about it.
GlaxoSmithKline may be the second biggest pharmaceutical company in the world, they may have riches and highly paid law teams. This does not give them the right to withhold information regarding the safety of the drugs they manufacture, particularly when that information is so serious to the humans taking it.
We are not Glaxo's lab rats, we are not the MHRA's servants.
End of the day, it will be left to the British public to decide whether or not Glaxo and the MHRA have royally messed up.
I, for one, already know that answer.
Further reading: Investigative Journalist and the Avandia Articles.
The video that caused a stir:
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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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