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Friday, July 11, 2008

Financial Times cover Ofsted story

“GSK acts properly and responsibly in the conduct of all its clinical trials, including those related to children."

GSK executive forced to quit Ofsted
By Andrew Jack
Published: July 11 2008 02:37 Last updated: July 11 2008 02:37

A senior pharmaceutical executive has been forced by the schools inspectorate to resign as a top adviser only one month after he was appointed, in a move likely to damage efforts to bring private expertise to the public sector.

Paul Blackburn, senior vice-president and financial controller at GlaxoSmithKline, was asked to leave his part-time voluntary post as a member of Ofsted’s board of non-executives last weekend despite being appointed amid high praise at the start of June.

The decision follows criticism from campaigners highlighted in a Mail on Sunday article last weekend stressing GSK’s commercial interests and potential conflicts in medicines testing and use in children.

Some of the claims were disputed by GSK, and none was new. They did not im­pede Mr Blackburn’s initial selection after an application process that Ofsted said was “based on merit” for one of four vacancies on its board.

Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, praised the GSK ex­ecutive and his fellow senior corporate nominees on June 3 for their “breadth of private sector experience and a passion to help improve the lives of children and learners.”

Ofsted confirmed on Thursday that Mr Blackburn had resigned, initially stressing that his departure was “agreed mutually” and “follows public concerns about the activities of his employer GSK”.

However, Mr Blackburn issued a statement through GSK saying: “At Ofsted’s request, I have resigned. This is very disappointing for me personally.”

Ofsted on Thursday night added: “His resignation follows public concerns about the activities of his employer GSK and some negative media coverage.

“Paul did not want any negative press interest to detract from Ofsted’s work and therefore resigned.”

The decision to ask him to resign – who was selected for his financial expertise and had no direct link to any of the claims made publicly about GSK – raises questions about how far other senior private sector figures can work with government.

Critics have raised concerns that GSK recently received a government contract to supply its cervical cancer vaccine to schoolgirls, and tested and produced drugs that have caused side-effects.

It was criticised by the medicines regulator for belatedly reporting side-effects in adolescents of anti-depressants under test.

Phil Frampton, a campaigner born and raised in care homes, also attacked Mr Blackburn’s appointment and called GSK “bodysnatchers” for supplying drugs for clinical trials of HIV medicines used in babies and toddlers at a New York City children’s home.

A GSK spokesman said: “Mr Frampton’s allegations have no foundation."

“GSK acts properly and responsibly in the conduct of all its clinical trials, including those related to children."

“The requested resignation of Mr Blackburn is very disappointing and we hope it will not dissuade others currently working in companies to consider roles in public bodies.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008


“GSK acts properly and responsibly in the conduct of all its clinical trials, including those related to children."

Link: - GSK knew Seroxat wasn't 'effective' on children

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline knew that the anti-depressant Seroxat could not be proved to work on children in 1998, according to a leaked internal document....

Read the new book, The Evidence, However, Is Clear...The Seroxat Scandal

By Bob Fiddaman

ISBN: 978-1-84991-120-7



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