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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 can be cloned from a known formula and the engineers are instructed to provide the means to produce. Then they go to areas like Humberside in the UK. There they build huge production plants to actually make the drugs.

This has to be done before full approvals are given because the lead in times are so long. Plants can be designed and off the drawing board and built 25 years before the first potion is produced. In the meantime, the drugs are refined and the greasing process begins

There was such a rash of these developments in the 1960s through to 1990s, areas such as ICI’s sprawling industrial complex on both banks of the River Tees and Humberside’s despoiled sky-line still suffer the scars of a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Drug companies pour billions into the production of these wonderful concoctions and then pour billions more into flogging them to doctors to use on the suffering and subjective patients. Along the way governmental drug use agencies have to be suborned into believing:
1. The condition exists.
2. It is of benefit to the State the condition is fixed.
3. The drug which company A or B is flogging fits the bill.

For years the drugs industry has been greasing palms. Once again that quantitative easing spreads far-wide and very, very high into the establishment of almost every government in the world. There is no point in being a Global giant unless you can treat your closest friends (and enemies) in the Right Royal way they have come to expect.

Britain’s Premier David Cameron yesterday called for an inquiry into the closed-shop practices of the swine trough bankers. No-one yet knows what he means by that.

It will be a lot more difficult to tackle the large tax-paying multi-national pharmaceutical industrial giants producing cure-all for the masses. Once the U.S. legal success starts to sink in and actions spread to other countries and continents, he may have to hold his nose and swallow the remedy his political doctors will advise.

We would recommend he starts with a hit of GSK’s Paxil to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety along with his evening slug of whisky.

That way the next time he leaves the kids in the pub he won’t be bothered.

Image 4: January 20, 1956 – Scientists at the Glaxo Laboratory working in the Virus Assay Section where potency and identity of the polio virus are checked.



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