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Anorak | UK drugs pusher GlaxoSmithKline nailed as British disease infects the markets

UK drugs pusher GlaxoSmithKline nailed as British disease infects the markets

by | 3rd, July 2012

ISN’T it just bloody marvelous to yet again see Britain leading the way?

The world’s largest ever drugs pusher, the mind-boggling huge GlaxoSmithKline, has agreed to take a teaspoonful of castor oil by pleading guilty and spewing three billion U.S. dollars into the U.S. coffers to bury criminal and civil charges of healthcare fraud.

So far, the only threatened court action has been in the United States (others will follow) and the U.S. Department of Justice was today crowing over its victory.

Image 1: March 22, 2012 – Prime Minister David Cameron is joined by Analytical Chemist Dave Sargeant during a visit to GlaxoSmithKline’s plant at Ulverston in Cumbria. Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline unveiled plans to build its first new manufacturing facility in the UK in almost 40 years today. The proposed biopharmaceutical facility at Ulverston in Cumbria is part of £500 million of investment that Glaxo expects will create up to 1,000 UK jobs. 

In a totally unchallenged version of events, the US Justice Department says the UK company has illegally promoted prescription drugs, failed to report safety data, and reported false prices.

GSK will pay one billion dollars in criminal fines and other penalties for illegally marketing and promoting the …wait for it…  anti-depressant drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and for failing to report important clinical data about the alleged diabetes wonder drug Avandia to the FDA.

GSK will also cough up two billion dollars to settle civil actions it caused false claims to be submitted to US federal authorities resulting from illegal promotional practices and payments to medics.

It has admitted to the wide-spread, and until now not very well hidden, practice of sending doctors off on “conference” trips, and all-expense paid holidays. This, of course, would have little or nothing to do with encouraging those doctors to use and prescribe exclusively GSK drugs.

These trips are an every-day joke among the UK’s hard-pressed National Health Service front-line staff as UK consultants are whisked off to ski-resorts or sun traps to examine the latest available catheters or tooth-picks.

Image 2: Jan 20, 2010 – Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said it will open up its research cupboards and labs to outside scientists in an unusual effort to trigger more research on malaria and other neglected tropical diseases. The London-based company also said its researchers expect in 2012 to be able to seek approval for the first vaccine against malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease that kills a million people a year, mostly young children in Africa. 

The GKS agreement is the largest health fraud settlement in history and the largest payment by a drug company.

Health remains the most subjective of conditions for every single one of us and each has a unique set of circumstances and needs from medical advisers. Drug companies tackle it differently and think in an objective way. Forget the individual, and look at the solution to a general cause rather than a specific. One drug to fit all.

GMK has fallen into the trap it years ago set for itself. When huge budgets are set aside to produce the drugs, the fact is some never make it to market and those which do have to sell. Aggressive marketing is the accepted unpalatable norm.

Image 3: January 17, 2000 –  Photocall of the merger between drug companies Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham, in London. L-R: John Coombe, Sir Richard Sykes; Jean-Pierre Garnier, and Jan Leschly. The agreed deal will create the world’s largest pharmaceuticals group. The merger will create a company with a value of around 114 billion which will be one of Europe’s largest by stock market value.

Pharmaceutical engineers are tasked with a mind boggling job. Often the medical researchers come up with a suggested solution to, say, a chemical cosh cure for chronic urinary tract infections or an anti-depressant. The drug is known or

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