Following on from my previous post 'Save the Children and GSK'
In my previous post I wrote about how I had wrote Save the Children and asked them the following regarding their partnership with GlaxoSmithKline.
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.
Here is their response.
It's the first time I have ever seen an organisation, outside of the pharmaceutical industry, use the words 'benefit' and 'risk'.
We are aware of the reports on the historic issues relating to Paxil. As an organisation we take our role to protect children very seriously and assess all our partnerships and collaborations very much within this context. Save the Children works to ensure that decisions around who we partner with are made with the best interests of children at the core – and this means deciding whether the impact on children we can have through our programming and advocacy funded by a donor or partner outweighs any potential risks.
We consider carefully the risks associated with partnering with pharmaceutical companies and in the case of GSK our belief is that the risks are outweighed by the benefits of this partnership, in helping us achieve our ambitions for children. The focus of the GSK-Save the Children partnership is to help save a million children’s lives in the developing world.
Make of that what you will.
Save The Children can be emailed here.