Sunday, December 30, 2012

Glaxo Finish in 26th Position... But Spin Victory




Back in November I wrote how GlaxoSmithKline had been shortlisted for Britain's most admired company. When I learned that they had been shortlisted I wrote a brief email to the editor of the Management Today, who were offering the award. In a nutshell, I aired my disgust at their nomination, citing Glaxo's various violations over the years.

Management Today never replied.

No surprise then that Glaxo were blowing their own trumpet on their Facebook page early in December after they had learned that they had won the most admired company in the Health & Household category. [Fig 1]

Fig 1

The Health & Household award was a sub-category and the reason why Glaxo felt the need to cover themselves in garlands on their Facebook page was probably due to the fact that they finished in 26th position overall. Now there's some spin for you, huh?






To arrive at the total scores, each company were marked out of 10 across nine criteria, such as quality of management, value as a long-term investment, financial soundness and capacity to innovate.


Um, yeh, we finished top of a sub-category but did poorly overall - how can we spin this?

Sounds like a clinical trial for Paxil in pediatrics. Ho hum, "remarkable efficacy"

I find it remarkable that:

a; Glaxo finished as high as they did

b; That Glaxo could even be considered for excellence with criteria such as, quality of management, value as a long-term investment, financial soundness and capacity to innovate

Not knowing how they arrived at their choices for most admired company, I'm left with nothing but my own thoughts.

1. Quality of management
Andrew Witty, in the eyes of the voters, has done a marvelous job in steering the Glaxo ship. Let's forget about the $3 billion iceberg he hit and the case against his company in the UK where consumers are having to sue his company because they became somewhat addicted to an antidepressant and suffered horrendous side-effects as a result. Let's also forget the up and coming litigation in Canada where the same antidepressant is, once again, on trial for causing heart defects in the most vulnerable of people, newborn babies.

2. Value as a long-term investment
Well, in the eyes of the voters, they must believe that despite Glaxo's criminal behaviour and admittance of guilt that they are still worth investing in. Anyone with money should, as Glaxo's CEO pointed out, think about the future of GSK rather than look back at a bygone era. The rich will forget about the 100,000 deaths or so related to Glaxo's Avandia and the way they continued to promote its use despite knowing the problems it was causing.

3. Financial soundness
The voters may have thought that a pharmaceutical company like Glaxo always put money aside to settle cases brought against them - in any event, Glaxo will rarely admit to any wrong-doing so can continue to dupe the public into believing they only make drugs that are safe and effective, hey, if they didn't then the British drug regulator, the MHRA, would say so. The current Head of Licensing at the MHRA is Dr Ian Hudson... before he joined the MHRA, Hudson was head of worldwide safety at GlaxoSmithKline [then SmithKline Beecham]

4. Capacity to innovate
To begin or introduce (something new) 
Maybe the voters here have presumed that Witty's "part of an era" excuse for his company causing misery to thousands of families globally actually means that they [GSK] are reinventing themselves. No more off-label promotion by their money-hungry representatives who have , in the past, been brainwashed by GSK management to tell doctors that drugs that can induce suicide in kids [Paxil] are actually safe for kids or that drugs manufactured for depression [Wellbutrin] could also be promoted as dietary supplements. Maybe the voters took on board the recent Glaxo internal memo that surfaced regarding their  6-in-1 vaccine, Infanrix Hexa. No surprise that 1271 page document revealed that GlaxoSmithKline received a total of 1,742 reports of adverse reactions between October 23, 2009, and October 22, 2011, including 503 serious adverse reactions and 36 deaths. Hey, innovation really working here. Maybe innovation means Glaxo will design more unique ways to keep the public from the truth, they are, after all, past masters of it.

Management Today should be proud of themselves for highlighting the 26th most admired company in Great Britain. The hoo-ha Henrys who sat around the table all growing chins have, I believe, a disdain for those affected by Glaxo's drugs. Instead of bigging up the management they should be dissecting it bit by bit, morsel by morsel.

As for Witty, Glaxo's CEO, he continues to hold his head high - "Not on my patch, honest guv".

Next time Glaxo pat themselves on the back for being voted for a business award we should all remember that Glaxo spin results, they've done it since the dawning of time. They either try to make themselves look good or their products look good - the consequences of which are devastating for those left to pick up the pieces - consumers left hooked on antidepressant medication with no help whatsoever from Glaxo, mothers who have given birth to children with heart defects, families that have buried their dead because of GSK's product causing heart problems, families left to bury their children and the memories of finding their children hanging from nooses.

Nice way to kick off the new year, nice kick in the teeth for all those who have suffered and continue to suffer because of the lack of compliance and mis-management at GlaxoSmithKline.

If you feel outraged enough by Glaxo's award then rather than bitch about it on Facebook or Twitter why not email the editor of Management Today. He can be reached via email at editorial@managementtoday.com