Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit

Friday, September 13, 2013

GSK - A Runaway Train...Running Right Off The Track


If there is one corporate company still operating when it really shouldn't be that company that stands head and shoulders above any other I know is British based GlaxoSmithKline.

No sooner had they been found guilty for a whole host of violations in the US [Resulting in an estimated $3 billion fine] they are back in the news again for yet more violations, this time in China.

The Chinese violations are currently under investigation. GSK head honcho, Andrew Witty, has denied knowing about the shenanigans going on in China which include:


  • Bribing doctors with cash payments
  • Bribing doctors with sexual favours
  • Using a network of more than 700 middlemen and travel agencies
  • Inventing meetings that required travel payments (these payments were given to doctors to persuade them to prescribe GSK products)

Glaxo's $3 billion fine in the US is just another piece of the jigsaw. Before this they have made settlements in and out of US Courts, paying defendants compensation and slamming down gagging orders as part of the settlements... in other words nobody can go public with amounts paid to them.

Let's just take a look at some of the other violations committed by GlaxoSmithKline over the past few years.

Cidra

Glaxo's Puerto Rico plant, Cidra, was infested with violations of federal rules and regulations with regards to the operation of the plant, which violations had a large and detrimental effect on the Company's sale of Paxil (Seroxat) and Paxil CR.

A lawsuit was filed by Cheryl Eckard, who, at the time, was Glaxo's Manager of Global Quality Assurance. (United States ex rel. Cheryl Eckard v. GlaxoSmithKline, Case No. 1:04-cv-10375-JLT (D.Mass. Feb. 25, 2004

Eckard was assigned by GSK headquarters in Research to lead a recovery team in Cidra after Glaxo had received a warning letter from the FDA regarding the abhorrent state of the plant. GSK had nine years to iron out the problems at Cidra... they didn't.

After leading her recovery team Eckard found more violations that the FDA had missed first time round.

In a nutshell, she brought this to the attention of her senior managers, her managers ignored her... then fired her.

According to Eckard's complaint: "persons at the Cidra plant were skimming product during manufacture, including reject product, and diverting the product to Latin America. ... rejected batches of drug product, including Avandamet, were sent from Cidra to [MOVA Pharmaceuticals], (which is located near Cidra) for "black market" packaging and distribution ..."

Nearing the end of the trial Glaxo said in a statement that it regretted the way it operated the Puerto Rico plant, which has since been closed, and it's committed to continuously improving manufacturing quality. The company denied Ms. Eckard's allegations, and said her lawsuit will be dismissed as part of the settlement and payout to her.


Glaxo were fined $750M and Eckard walked away with $96 million for her whistleblowing efforts.

No criminal charges were laid against Glaxo despite allegations of their involvement in selling on rejected batches of drugs to MOVA Pharmaceuticals.

Avandia 

Glaxo suppressed patient-level meta-analysis of safety data from Avandia trials which demonstrated an estimate of excess risk of ischemic cardiovascular events and other potentially life-threatening complications.

A two-year investigation by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee revealed GlaxoSmithKline knew of the cardiovascular dangers associated with Avandia for years and tried to stifle concerns noted by several doctors about the medication. 

During the first round of Avandia lawsuit settlements in May 2010, the company agreed to pay approximately $60 million to settle more than 700 cases. Later that year, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to a $460 million settlement, which resolved approximately 10,000 cases. In early 2011, as the first federal Avandia trials began, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay a reported $250 million to settle 5,500 claims that Avandia had resulted in death.

In 2012, after being ordered to pay $90 million to resolve allegations by prosecutors in 38 states that the they illegally marketed Avandia, Glaxo had this to say:

 "The company did not admit to any wrongdoing or liability of any kind under these states' consumer protection laws in this settlement" 



Paxil (Seroxat) Birth Defects

After deliberating for seven hours, a state court jury in Philadelphia found that GlaxoSmithKline failed to properly warn doctors and pregnant women about risks associated with Paxil. The jury awarded $2.5 million in damages to the family of Lyam Kilker, who was born with heart defects after his mother took Paxil during her pregnancy.

The case was the first to go to trial of more than 600 suits claiming that Glaxo hid knowledge of birth defect risks allegedly tied to Paxil. 

What did Glaxo have to say after being found guilty?

“While we sympathize with Lyam Kilker and his family, the scientific evidence does not establish that exposure to Paxil during pregnancy caused his condition.” 

You'll probably find that the jury thought otherwise Glaxo.

Paxil (Seroxat) Suicide

On December 14, 2009, Bloomberg published an article entitled “Glaxo Said to Have Paid $1 Billion in Paxil Suits.” 

The article reported:

GlaxoSmithKline PLC has paid almost $1 billion to resolve lawsuits over Paxil since it introduced the antidepressant in 1993, including about $390 million for suicides or attempted suicides said to be linked to the drug, according to court records and people familiar with the cases.

Why did they do this?

Well, it's down to the Schell case in 2001.

Donald Schell, 60, had been taking Paxil for just two days when he shot and killed his wife, his daughter, his granddaughter and then himself.

Remaining members of the family filed suit.

During the trial GSK [then SmithKline Beecham] internal documents showed the company was aware that a small number of people could become agitated or violent from Paxil. Despite this knowledge, Paxil packaging didn't, at the time, include a warning about suicide, violence or aggression.

Glaxo were found guilty and ordered to pay $6.4 to the remaining family members.

What did Glaxo attorneys say after this particular defeat?

"Paxil is a very effective medication in helping depression," attorney Charles Preuss said after the trial. "Our only regret is that Mr. Schell did not have Paxil for a longer period of time." [Link]

The link between Paxil and suicide has been raging for years.

Here's what former Head of Psychiatry at GlaxoSmithKline, Alistair Benbow, had to say in a BBC interview.

Benbow {A} was being interviewed by investigative journalist Shelley Jofre.{Q}

Q. Let us move on. What has the company done about the Wyoming (Schell) verdict?

A. As I told you before, in this matter because of a confidentiality agreement between the family and GSK I am not able to specifically comment on the mitigation, but what I can say is that there is no reliable clinical evidence that Seroxat causes violence, aggression or homicide. This tragic, tragic case is something that does occur from time to time in patients who are depressed...

Q. This man had no history of suicidal thoughts or tendencies. The jurors sat and listened to all the evidence and decided that there were four deaths that were mainly caused by Seroxat. Your company was found guilty of negligence. You cannot ignore that.

A. No, and nor would we want to ignore it. This was a tragic case but we remain firmly convinced that Seroxat did not cause the tragic events in this case.


Again, I think the jury would disagree with Benbow here.

If Glaxo believed their product was innocent in the suicides of these people why would they settle further cases? One such case involving the death of a 14-year-old boy who had been taking Paxil for two months. The parents of Scott Cunningham, of Valparaiso, Indiana, sued after the boy hanged himself in 2001. They alleged Glaxo suppressed evidence that Paxil use was linked to the risk of suicide attempts by adolescents. Glaxo denied the allegations, according to court papers.


They then settled with the family later.



Paxil (Seroxat) Addiction

In its 2008 annual report, Glaxo officials said they had reached a “conditional settlement agreement” in January 2006 with Paxil users who alleged they suffered withdrawal symptoms after taking the drug. The case, filed in Los Angeles federal court, was marked closed in court records in February.

In other words a gagging order was place. This enables Glaxo to defend any further lawsuits regarding Paxil addiction. One such lawsuit is the UK Seroxat litigation which Glaxo are defending.

The UK lawsuit has been dragging on for over 10 years now. Glaxo have refused to make any such compensatory settlements to any UK citizen.

So, just a few reasons why it comes as no surprise to learn that Glaxo have been behaving badly in China. No surprise that Witty is denying any knowledge of what went on in China either.

Even when found guilty Glaxo continue to deny any wrong-doing... that trend will continue until compensation is put to one side and criminal charges are laid against the top executives at Glaxo. They are the past masters of buck-passing, of laying blame on others, of waving wads of cash [dangling carrots] in front of victims in the hope that a settlement can be reached. With settlement comes suppression and Glaxo just love suppression.

I anticipate that the bad behaviour in China will be settled and those responsible [the top management] will deny knowledge and let the area managers take the fall.

That's their style, always will be until someone has the balls to come down hard on the senior management at GlaxoSmithKline.

Someone really needs to put a stop to this runaway train.




Bob Fiddaman