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Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award Recipient (Twice)
Humanist, humorist

Sunday, November 25, 2012

GSK, Avandia and Jack the Ripper

I always love it when GSK attempt to cover themselves in garlands, particularly after being fined $3 billion for, amongst other things, marketing deathly drugs to children.

The Washington Post recently ran an article entitled, "As drug industry’s influence over research grows, so does the potential for bias." The article was heavily critical of Glaxo's bias when it came to reporting all the facts in clinical trials.

The Washington Post article centred around a 2006 report that compared three diabetes drugs, one of which was Glaxo's Avandia. The reported concluded:

"We now have clear evidence from a large international study that the initial use of [Avandia] is more effective than standard therapies" - Lawson Macartney, Senior Vice President of GlaxoSmithKline

What Macartney failed to add was the trial, according to the Washington Post,  "had been funded by GlaxoSmithKline, and each of the 11 authors had received money from the company. Four were employees and held company stock. The other seven were academic experts who had received grants or consultant fees from the firm."

The article, to date, has prompted 645 reader comments, the majority of which are highly critical of GlaxoSmithKline.

So, in a massive PR [Yawn] exercise, Glaxo have responded with the usual roll-out of  "we don't do this anymore". 

Jack the Ripper [presumed dead] was a notorious unidentified serial killer during the late 1800's. His murdering spree, which some believe to be 5 women, involved the mutilation of his victims.

Can you imagine if, during the late 1800's, Jack admitted these killings and issued a press release stating that he was a good man now and didn't kill any more? Furthermore, can you imagine if Jack had been caught by the investigative police force at the time and fined rather than imprisoned for his crimes?

Jack the Ripper was a deplorable man [could have been a woman, although I doubt it] who carried out heinous acts against vulnerable women. Could we, as a nation of sane mind been forgiving if Jack had publicly announced that he had turned over a new leaf?

There are many critics of GlaxoSmithKline, I remember one blogger many years ago using the abbreviation GSK to form Global Serial Killers - He [could have been a she, although I doubt it] was pretty much on the money.

Let's take a look at Glaxo's response to the Washington Post article.

Let's also take a look at how Jack would have made a similar statement.

GlaxoSmithKline responds to a Post report on drug firms’ influence on research. [LINK]

“We continue to make significant and genuine efforts to further transparency in the ways we conduct our research and our business. We just announced new commitments, which we believe give scientists a way to closely evaluate and interrogate our safety and efficacy data. We will enable researchers to gain access to anonymized patient-level data from our clinical trials. This is a first for the industry. If researchers have questions or doubts about our work, they may take the data and perform their own analysis. We hope the data also will support new research.

We also seek publication of all our studies — positive and negative — in peer-reviewed journals. Since 2004, we have posted summaries of all our clinical trial results on our website for the world to see. All of these actions speak to the degree of commitment we have to be open with our research so there can be more understanding, and hopefully credibility, in what we are doing.

With regards to Avandia, we firmly believe we acted responsibly in conducting the clinical trial program, in marketing the medicine, in monitoring its safety once it was approved for use and in updating information in the medicine’s labeling as new information became available.”

One can only imagine that Jack the Ripper would have wrote the following:

Jack the Ripper responds to a Post report on dismemberment

“I continue to make significant and genuine efforts to further transparency in the ways I conduct myself. I have just announced new commitments, which I believe give Police investigators a way to closely evaluate and interrogate the safety of the women of Whitechapel. I  will enable investigators to gain access to to my home and will, furthermore, wear a ball and chain on my ankle. This is a first for serial killers. If Police have questions or doubts about my whereabouts, they may take my fingerprints and perform their own analysis of any future crime scenes. 

Since 1894, I have posted summaries of all my daily routines on lamp-posts in and around London for the residents to see. All of these actions speak to the degree of commitment I have to be open with my sincerity so there can be more understanding, and hopefully credibility, in what I am doing.

With regards to the women I have already killed, I firmly believe I acted responsibly in conducting the dismemberment, ”

Out of the two I'm guessing we would send Jack to the funny farm or to his death. As for Glaxo, they continue to cover themselves in garlands, painting themselves whiter than white and we, as members of the public, just shrug our shoulders.

Glaxo's drugs have been associated with more death than all of the world serial killers combined, their underhand tactics of promoting unsafe drugs to children has, and continues to be, copied by other pharmaceutical companies, we could, should, be labeling them copycat serial killers.

Jack the Ripper was no worse than the corporate entity that is GlaxoSmithKline - only thing is... Jack never had access to a multi-billion dollar PR machine that could spin his depravity into a bouquet of roses and a box of milk chocolates.

Glaxo will argue that their drugs and vaccines have saved millions of lives world-wide. Jack may have argued that his reluctance to kill anymore could have also saved lives.

As many as 100,000 heart attacks, strokes, deaths and cases of heart failure may be due to Avandia since it came on the market in 1999Dr. David Graham, FDA scientist - CBS News, June 29, 2010

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