It never rains but it pours for poor old GlaxoSmithKline, or should that be GlaxoSmithSpine? Fresh on the back [ahem, excuse the pun] of a $3 billion fine from the US Department of Justice they have now been told by the Australian Federal Parliament to set up a charity and look after a possible 60,000...yes, that's 60,000, victims harmed by it's product, Myodil.
There's an estimated 60,000 Aussies who have been left crippled with pain, paralysed and incontinent because they were injected with a dye during an x-ray procedure. The dye was, at the time, the only way doctor's could see the spine clearly.
The federal government, despite knowing the procedure could cause arachnoiditis to those injected by Myodil, turned a blind eye and here we are today.
Glaxo have previously settled a class-action with 140 Australians harmed by Myodil but are now being told they must help other victims who were unfortunate not to be part of that settlement.
In 1995 legal action in the UK regarding Myodil saw about 3,500 people pursue compensation, only 426 received an average payout of £16,000 in an out of court settlement.
Glaxo have rolled out the usual company statement. Regarding the 60,000 Australians left crippled by Myodil they...
"had the utmost sympathy for the people who have been, and are, afflicted by arachnoiditis” and believed it had “acted responsibly at all times in relation to the supply of Myodil.
"Arachnoiditis is a complex condition that may be caused by a number of conditions such as spinal infections, surgery and trauma."
Glaxo would like the public to know how caring and considerate they are. When it comes to defective products they produce they much prefer to battle it out in courts, seeking that elusive legal loophole that can protect them from paying compensation.
A spokesperson for Glaxo told News Limited it was “considering” the parliamentary report’s recommendations, it has so far not yet committed to providing any assistance.
I'm left wondering if Glaxo will do the same for victims of Avandia and Seroxat, many of which have been harmed and/or physically and mentally impaired not to mention the families left behind from those that have died as a result of their loved ones ingesting the aforementioned Glaxo products.
Glaxo are currently defending a group action in the UK regarding Seroxat where patients have claimed that it caused severe withdrawal problems that, at the time, was not mentioned on the labelling. Glaxo intend to show how it was either the "illness" or other drugs that may have caused these people to suffer withdrawal problems.
News.com.au, who ran the Myodil story, have highlighted just a few of Glaxo's misdemeanors over the years. They rightly show:
OTHER GSK LEGAL AND REGULATORY BATTLES
2003: GSK drug Seroxat, a common anti-depressant, was banned for use in children aged under 18 in the UK because of concerns it triggered suicides
2010: The licence for GSK’s diabetes drug Avandia was revoked in Europe because of evidence that it could cause heart failure and heart attacks.
2011: GSK settled a US lawsuit over Avandia but continue to fight compensation claims over the drug in Britain. (Avandia is still sold in Australia)
2012: GSK was hit by a $3 billion penalty in the US after revelations it handed out cash, rock concert tickets, pheasant hunting trips to induce doctors to prescribe medicines for unapproved conditions.
Here's more... a whole lot more.