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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Save the Children and GSK





This is another of those posts that has taken a while to construct. My personal life took a kick in the gonads recently and I've been mulling over where I go from here. Do I continue down the path that I've been walking since the conception of this blog or do I change and write that fictional novel I've been meaning to write for some years now?**

Do I continue to answer emails from people who want my help or do I just give it all up and ignore them all? There's times when I feel deflated, none more so than this period in my life. It's a period where you truly find out who your close friends are and whether or not you are made of steel, as many think to seem bloggers who go up against the likes of GSK, are. Truth is, I'm just like you, I'm human. I feel pain and every single human emotion that others feel. There's some people who go through life seeking revenge, these people just cannot operate without feeling revenge, they spoil the life of others and see it as Karma, when in actual fact it serves only to make them feel better because their current lives are blighted by an inability to move on and let go of the past. Ironically, both individuals have suffered loss so know what it feels like, their goal, it appears, was to inflict that pain upon someone else by colluding together to throw a spanner in the works of something that was quite beautiful.

The whole experience has left me feeling somewhat broken, so both individuals should take a bow at this point - Job done. Ironically they both share the same letter in their first names. They know who they are - I just hope now that they feel a sense of satisfaction and are able to move on with their lives, just as I am trying to do... I digress.

Corresponding with Save the Children has been difficult but it's kept me focused on what needs to be done (in this instance anyhow). Both they and GSK have been working together since 2005 on a number of public health projects, including GSK’s initiative to reinvest 20% of the profits it makes in least-developed-countries back into community programmes to strengthen healthcare infrastructure, primarily through the training of community health workers. Their current partnership, to help save the lives of one million children, builds on this existing partnership and will help them achieve their ambitions for children.

You can see my dilemma here. On one hand I applaud the efforts of Save the Children for taking measures to help children, on the other I feel that partnering with GSK is morally wrong.

In an email to Save the Children I asked if it were GSK who approached them or if it was they who approached GSK.

Here's the reply...

Save the Children and GSK have actually been working together since 2005, which began with a community health and well-being programme called ‘PHASE’ – Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Education. Save the Children approached GSK to explore their potential support for our health programmes . Our global partnership with GSK was further developed and formalised in 2012, when the CEO of Save the Children was invited to speak as part of a GSK leadership conference. The discussions that took place at this event initiated the process to explore a more ambitious partnership between both organisations.

With this admission, I wrote back to Save the Children with the following...


As I am sure you are aware GSK recently pleaded guilty and were fined over $3 billion in the US for promoting drugs to children off-label. One of these drugs, Paxil, which goes by the brand name of Seroxat here in the UK, causes suicidal thinking in children. At the time of the off-label promotion GSK knew of this particular side effect but failed to inform medicine regulators and healthcare professionals. A result of which has saw children and teenagers go on to complete suicide.
My question to Save the Children is one of ethics.
Knowing that GSK promoted a drug that could harm children (and they (GSK) knew of the potential risk but failed to warn), do you (Save the Children) believe that a partnership with GSK is morally correct?
If you believe it is, please state your reasons.


I thought by asking them a direct question would, at the very least, tap in to their conscience, assuming they had one.

Stay tuned for their response.


Footnote


To me, at least, it's about giving children a voice. This vulnerable population, at times, need someone to speak up on their behalf. I'm not, or have I ever, professed to be a martyr. When I see the likes of GSK teaming up with an organisation who have children's best interests at heart it makes my blood boil for two reasons.

1. GSK have an abhorrent history regarding Paxil and children.

2. Save the Children would have already done their homework yet chose the unmoral path.

The picture that accompanies this article reads, "Don't Believe Everything You Think" ~ a valuable parable when trying to make the correct choices in life. I'm at the stage of letting go of believing everything I think, to go down that path is destructive. Save the Children, on the other hand, have evidence that their partners, GSK, were up to no good... yet they still wish to remain partners.

I'll never quite understand relationships.

**For what it's worth, I'm going to continue writing, albeit with my foot off the gas for a while. I need to make changes in my life ~ writing a fictional novel is just the start of that change.

Bob Fiddaman.





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