This is the Fifteenth in the Persecution Series, after The Persecution of Heretics, The Persecution of Vulnerable Adults, Harassment from the BBC to GMC, Harassment from Rolf Harris to James Coyne to Doctor Who, Persecution: Black Riders in the Shire, Persecution: Rumbles from Mordor, of which there were eight in the SUI Cide Series SUI Cide in Betsi, SUI Cide Trick or Treat, The SUI Cide Note, SUI Cide or Homicide, SUI Cide in the OK Corral, SUI Cide & Peace in our Time, The SUI Cide Apparatus, Professional SUI Cide. This marks a new Pharma sub-series.
Faced with questions about the $3 Billion fine imposed on GSK in 2012 – is it just the cost of doing business? Andrew Witty snapped back:
“Although corporate malfeasance cases end up looking very big, they often have their origin in just… one or two people who didn’t quite do the right thing. It’s not about the big piece. The 100,000 people who work for GSK are just like you, right? I’m sure everybody who reads the BMJ has friends who work for drug companies. They’re normal people… Many of them are doctors”.
The $3 Billion fine stemmed in the first instance from Study 329 for which New York State sued GSK for fraud. This is the study that colleagues and I are rewriting at the moment – at what risk?
Pharma has taken a regulator to Court twice. The second was in 2013 when AbbVie took the European Medicines’ Agency (EMA) to the European Court to protect Humira in 2013.
The first case happened in 1969, when Upjohn took FDA to Court over Panalba.
The 1962 amendments to the Food and Drugs Act required companies to show their drug was effective using controlled trials. For all drugs licensed prior to 1962, FDA insisted on a retrospective Drug Evaluation Study Initiative (DESI) to look at these. DESI convened panels of medical academics to adjudicate on each of the older drugs.
At the time there were many combination products – combinations of two antibiotics or an antidepressant and a tranquilizer. FDA and most academic physicians did not approve of combination products, whether antibiotics, analgesics or psychotropics. DESI recommended removing most of them from the market.
In 1969, DESI lined up Upjohn’s Panalba for the chip. Panalba was a combination of tetracycline and novobiocin. By FDA’s calculations Panalba was likely responsible for 12-15 deaths per year that would not have happened if doctors had used tetracycline alone. At the time Panalba was making $18 million per year for Upjohn – 12% of their income; $1 million per death. There was evidence that Upjohn knew of the risks the drug posed and in house evidence that Panalba was no more effective than tetracycline alone.
The company chose option 5.
Liaising with the Secretary of State for Health in the new Nixon Administration that had just taken power, Upjohn pursued a legal action all the way to the Supreme Court.
When the details of the case were presented some years later to business management students in the University of Pennsylvania, Scott Armstrong found that none of his class supported Upjohn and all bar two of the 71 found Upjohn’s behavior irresponsible.
But when he got students to role play the Upjohn Board and faced them with the decision to pull the drug or not, he found to his astonishment that 79% of respondents opted to take the same course of action as Upjohn and none withdrew the drug. This result has been widely replicated in different national groups with socialist Swedes behaving the same as capitalist Americans, and the idealistic young in just the same way as their cynical elders.
Debriefing the subjects and attempting to adjust the board and the circumstance to see if behavior could be modified, Armstrong and others were left with the conclusion that it is generally accepted that the primary duty of Board members is to stockholders rather than to society at large. Board behavior can be modified by appointing stakeholders but even then few Boards opt to remove Panalba from the market.
Armstrong modified the role play experiments by introducing an Upjohn safety officer who told the Board that the company did have hidden evidence supporting the complaints – to no effect.
In real life not even the death of the CEO’s wife from suicide, from the Company’s drug Prozac, has led to a decision to pull the drug or add warnings.
Putting people in a group where the unstated assumption is they will behave like a proper Board produces a situation which has commentators reaching for comparisons with the Milgram experiment where decent ordinary people in experimental settings can be induced to give life-threatening shocks to innocent strangers simply because they are asked to do so by the conductor of the experiment.
What’s true of a pharmaceutical company Board is probably no less true of a Hospital or other Board especially when these boards see themselves as being in the business of defending brand value.
The only thing that appears to modify the likely behavior of a Board is a threat of boycott – that is if maintaining the drug on the market led to the kind of disenchantment that caused the company share price to fall, the Board would respond.
While in real life this is close to what happened when GSK threatened not to supply anti-retrovirals to South Africa, Fear not, Andrew shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him.
Doctors don’t do Boycotts. Why should they? They don’t suffer the consequences of pills going wrong.
We have to accept Andrew Witty’s suggestion that he and other employees of GSK are just like us, even if few of us can imagine being party to behaviors that warrant a $3 Billion fine. But Armstrong’s study suggests we are more like him than Andrew is like what we might like to think of ourselves.
The problem is if everyone is so good, whence the growing Fascism in healthcare? We can retreat to the wilder shores of conspiracy theory and claim the problems are down to the Germans, the Jews, or a Socialist cabal. Or we (including Andrew) can attribute the problems to a few people somewhere in a pharmaceutical company who break laws.
If we accept that the Board of GSK and other companies are populated with people just like you and me, who are perhaps even less likely to break the law than you or I, the $3 Billion fine for GSK notwithstanding, then the more sensible option is that the problem must stem from the system – which is just the opposite to what Andrew is saying.
We can change systems from the top-down or the bottom up. RxISK is about bottom-up change.
If GSK loses with a Boycott, so do we. We lose access to useful treatments. This led RxISK to propose an alternative to a Boycott – an AbbVie. Rather than not speak to GSK or other companies, to AbbVie means to speak as much as possible to a company telling them and the world more about their drug – feeding back the range of effects the drug has, some good, many bad. This is a way to make drugs better – a good medicine is a chemical plus good information.
(Ditto for a hospital).
There is little doubt that people in GSK and other pharmaceutical companies have the experience of being ever more adherent to protocols for Good Laboratory Practice, Good Research Practice, Good Marketing Practice etc
They likely feel little connection with the increasing numbers of people who die a premature death because of pharmaceuticals – and why should they given that no-one in GSK ever prescribes a drug?
But still someone is responsible for all these deaths…
To be continued.
Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
Perhaps the problem is that it generally falls outside the criminal law. For a gigantic corporation like GSK even occasional multi-billion dollar fines might be an acceptable risk. Do we even know that GSK has ever sacked anybody connected with its fines, or for instance Merck over Vioxx where they talked of destroying scientists where they lived? There are perhaps not even financial sanctions against wrong-doers. JK Galbraith when talking about “innocent fraud” points out that being a corporate executive is not like being an old fashioned capitalist:
“Let’s begin with capitalism, a word that has gone largely out of fashion. The approved reference now is to the market system. This shift minimizes—indeed, deletes—the role of wealth in the economic and social system. And it sheds the adverse connotation going back to Marx. Instead of the owners of capital or their attendants in control, we have the admirably impersonal role of market forces. It would be hard to think of a change in terminology more in the interest of those to whom money accords power. They have now a functional anonymity.
“But most of the people who use the new designation—economists, in particular—are innocent as to the effect. They see nothing wrong with their bland, descriptive terminology. They pay no attention to the important question: Whether money—wealth—accords a special power. (It does.) Thus the term innocent fraud.
“The fraud also conceals a major change in the role of money in the modern economy. Money, we once agreed, gave the owner, the capitalist, the controlling power in the enterprise. So it still does in small businesses. But in all large firms the decisive power now lies with a bureaucracy that controls, but does not own, the requisite capital. This bureaucracy is what the business schools teach their students to navigate, and it is where their graduates go. But bureaucratic motivation and power are outside the central subject of economics. We have corporate management, but we do not study its internal dynamics or explain why certain behaviors are rewarded with money and power. These omissions are another manifestation of fraud. Perhaps it is not entirely innocent. It evades the often unpleasant facts of bureaucratic structure, internal competition, personal advancement, and much else…”
I think the problem many have with GSK is that they keep re-offending… despite being given large fines. To me, at least, it seems as though GSK are in the position that many of us are not in – they can throw money at accusations and, in many instances, strike deals where their misdemeanors are suppressed from the public eye… thus giving them the option of stating “We did nothing wrong”
We see it all the time in test cases – GSK lose, appeal then quietly settle pending cases…in between all of this they go back to the test case and, once again quietly settle… their appeal gets forgotten about and (be cause of the settlement agreement) they are in a position to claim that their drug didn’t cause the birth defects or had no part in the suicide… or has not been proven to be addictive.
The court document (sealed under deals struck with plaintiff attorneys) never see the light of day so GSK can continue to deny that their drug causes any problems.
If GSK were a single human entity they probably would have been imprisoned for life many years ago, or been given a death sentence.
Herein lies the problem. Who at GSK is responsible for allowing Paxil onto the market… knowing that it was a pill that could cause a whole host of problems for the consumer?
Do we blame Witty or his predecessor, Garnier? Do we point the finger at the GSK mouthpieces, Rhyne and/or Benbow?
Do we target the reps for bribing doctors to prescribe more of GSK’s wares to populations outside of the recommendations?
Do we blame the justice system for being so absurd that it, itself, disregards human life?
As long as cases are settled we will have a momentous task of seeking the truth and warning the public… Glaxo are so privileged, in the sense that they can strike deals that keeps the truth away from the public.
There’s still a hundred or so consumers from the UK fighting GSK. These group of people were not told that Paxil could cause them severe withdrawal problems – similar cases have been settled in the United States (settlement agreements)
If those settlement agreements were made public then GSK would not be able to defend the on-going UK action against them.
Settlement agreements benefit GSK more so than any claimant – any agreement entered in to basically closes the floodgates for future litigation against them.
I don’t buy into the “GSK do saves lives with other drugs too” line.
Maybe they do but if Harold Shipman were to use the same line of defence we’d all laugh in his face. If Jimmy Saville had babysat a teen but never touched the teen would we think any more or less of him?
Witty was in a great position to stop the cancer spreading, a cancer ignored by Garnier. Witty chose not to – Any comment from him is a direct result of the $3 billion fine and not because he has a deep concern for the way in which his company is run.
They have no guilt, no shame because manufacturing a defective product means nothing to them.
There are crystal meth labs all over the world – ask the same question to those churning out the drug… probable answer will be “We don’t push it on people, people ask for it… they have a choice, we are just mass producing, we are meeting a need”
Cue the advertisements for Paxil. Convince a normal person that they are abnormal and you have tapped in to a lucrative market.
Sit back and watch the money flow in.
Kid hanging themselves, adults killing people, children born with serious defects or consumers becoming addicted… is just part of the business model. If they were an airline they would have been grounded years ago.
The GSK, science with a conscience reminds me of Hitler Youth propaganda. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, a corporation monster trying to be human.
Promoting the good old wholesome family image. I mean for God’s sakes these are people’s mums making these drugs…. surely good old mum wouldn’t hurt a patient !
Mum wouldn’t put profits first no of course she wouldn’t, mum has more important things to worry about like how she will afford the gas bill on the minimum wage she earns from GSK.
It’s easy to do the wrong thing if you don’t have to take personal responsibility and the wrongdoings are collective. If there’s lots of money to pay for those mistakes that makes it even easier.
The mistakes can be buried quietly along with the bodies of the people they kill.
Until these companies are stopped from buying their way out of trouble they are not in trouble because no conscience means no regrets.
It seems to me that all of pharma continues to “re-offend”, to use Bob’s words here. I have often pondered the notion of corporate evil or corporate sin as it pertains to Eli Lilly’s discussions of “what to do, what to do”, once faced with the reality that it’s “blockbuster”, Zyprexa, caused enormous weight gain, diabetes, hyperglycemia, and death.
When reading the internal documents (found on the PsychRightsAlaska blog), one reads the communal nature of the discussion in emails, marketing pep talks, and horrified reactions to sales decreases once a warning label is finally placed on the drug by the Japanese government – acting over a year earlier than the FDA.
Which of the names that comes up should be blamed?….should it be Dr. John Lechleiter, the President and CEO who so wanted Zyprexa to capture the children and adolescent market? Dr. Robert Baker, VP of Global Medical Affairs? Alan Breier, VP Medical/Chief Medical Officer? John Bamforth, VP/Chief Marketing Officer? Or should it include all of them plus the host of other names listed on the emails?
Reading the corporate correspondence is chilling in that it becomes quite clear that protecting the brand is the key driver. Preserving the venerated “molecule”, in which so much time and effort has been expended. Lilly, in its own words, had “bet the farm” on Zyprexa, especially as Prozac was coming off patent back in the 90s.
There is no sense anywhere in the internal documents that saw the light of day that there is any genuine concern for the innocents who would go on to gain huge amounts of weight, get diabetes or hyperglycemia and ultimately die.
Wikipedia, that venerated source of definitions, says that “elements that are commonly associated with evil involve unbalanced behavior – expediency, selfishness, ignorance, or neglect”. I would say that only the first two apply in this case.
One employee who was involved, Tom Brodie, after a panel of endocrinologists reviewed everything and were quite alarmed about Zyprexa, said “I do believe they made a very strong point that unless we come clean on this, it could get much worse.” The Lilly decision makers decided not to come clean, and it sure did get much worse. For a view of just what decisions were made, read Ben Wallace-Wells’ excellent piece, “Bitter Pill”, Rolling Stone magazine, issue 1071, February 5, 2009.
When Jean-Pierre Garnier was interviewed by James Naughtie on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday he faced questioning over whether GSK was prepared to make public all information about the potentially dangers of Seroxat. As the interview progressed Garnier became increasingly annoyed when challenged on the issue. “Either you want me to answer the question or you don’t,” said Garnier after Naughtie interrupted one of his answers. When the interviewer asked Garnier about a request from the government regulator MHRA for GSK to put all information about the possible dangerous side effects of Seroxat into the public domain, Garnier said GSK had said it will handle all information requests on Seroxat. When asked whether he will leave a company that will “be honest” about the safety of its drugs Garnier drew the interview to a close. GSK has denied it has improperly withheld Seroxat data and said it has never been marketed to under-18s. Regulators in Britain and the US have not passed the drug for under-18s.
I listened to the interview, which is available, and as the programme went off air, Naughtie remarked “and that was the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline” and chuckled to himself….
An interview is an interview – corporate manslaughter is corporate manslaughter – in the United States of America – Paxil
Sir Andrew Witty is his successor ‘handling all information requests on Seroxat’
A husband, a father.
I remember that interview, it was golden.
The GSK business model and the business model of health care share a body of evidence that each has committed fraud, causing harm- for profit, and that each of these businesses is both a threat to the public good, to life- and operates with both impunity and alacrity within the societies of so-called, developed countries. I find it impossible to reconcile these well established, but un-prosecuted crimes without speculating that the obscene profits netted by companies like GSK have been invested in extensive buy outs of every agency and system that has been established to protect the public from unscrupulous business practices.
Dismantling the crime syndicate that feeds off of the vulnerability of people seeking health care seems impossible when we examine the philosophical basis for economic growth. The prevailing belief that a thriving economy cannot be created unless we all agree to devalue our own lives- to some degree, sacrifice even our health, for the *greater good*, which is defined only in terms of material wealth, profit and growth of industries, is – this *shared belief*, the fine print at the bottom of the *public trust* contract– it is, in fact , The self-destruction clause. This clause is taught, practiced and upheld by every major religion — also a human creation–[ with the single exception of a sect of Buddhism based on the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Buddhism is the only religion that reveres*life* itself, a quality we all possess, and proposes no creator, or deity who will judge and condemn us for our weaknesses and faults, or meet out just punishment for the type of crimes our mafia-style health care system is perpetrating to beat the band.] In other words, to some degree, the majority of the population of developed countries buys into the notion that we will suffer according to our shared human flaws of ignorance and cowardice at the hands of those driven by greed, lust and anger. The playing field will be leveled, can *only* be leveled by a deity–. We forbear until ….. or
Unless- we adopt another belief system about ourselves and life on this planet.
Since I neither ascribe to monotheistic renderings of the human condition or their concepts of *certain justice*, I have struggled to find the precise epicenter of this crime syndicate –* wolf in sheep’s clothing*. And from my vantage point I see would-be predators flocking into every prong of this proverbial pitch fork– WHY?
Well, since the prey–, virtually every human on the planet is *the market* for this syndicate/ business partnership– there is a big demand for predators to fill positions that offer all the economic security anyone could hope for. [Therein, coincidentally, lies the fulfilled prophecy of every major religion’s — made up story of ultimate self destruction of a flawed species.] Back to my original point, WHO is the epicenter– or the one lone wolf that we might separate from the pack and disable– ? [employing non violent means, of course.]
The most vulnerable and the most powerful wolf in this pack is THE DOCTOR, without whom, this monopolizing , perpetual motion machine style crime ring, could never have made a dime.
Targeting psychiatrists makes the most sense from every perspective-. I think the most productive strategy is to solicit the Medical Doctors in a campaign to gain back the public trust that they are about to lose. Self preservation instincts might be evoked from within the brotherhood of Pharma’s favorite sons. Defrock psychiatrist’s– take a hero’s stance!! however…
When doctors are taken out of Pharma’s and Health Insurance provider’s food chain, that just means MORE profit for the *cheaper labor* left behind– . Doctors were courted and worshipped when they were the only means for peddling Pharma’s poisons– and some doctors seem NOT to have realized [ a basic doctrine of profit making business];their high end budget drain has lost them any favor or any sense of a need to protect them , as once was the case, and the promise of Pharma.
Doctors are under siege. They failed to take heed of Dr. Healy’s compassionate warning– and so, *medical doctors* career suicide is enhanced by career homicide– and that is a good thing for us–
This potential *feeding frenzy* , we see playing out in both dramatic claims of omniscience by psychiatry and bold claims of salvation from out internal ticking life threatening, time bomb *risks* made by the rest of the medical doctors, is evidence that the playing field can be leveled right here on earth- sans divine intervention.
What constitutes a *great good* is the willingness to sacrifice one’s small minded , self preserving, self indulgent ego, for the sake of goodness that benefits others–.
One could claim that the crime ring bosses had intentions of doing a great good, but that is nothing more than a rhetorical statement that has no grounding in reason. The *good* intended by these professional thugs was limited to : personal wealth and power for a small percentage of the world’s population– maybe a whimsical prayer that the ever expanding market would benefit from their *poisons* was thrown in , but I have to warn that this served their need for restful sleep and clean conscience– as it has hardly been part of their assessment of their own business activities.
The capacity for committing a Great good is a mutually possessed human quality, but to begin the process of opening the way for expression of the highest potential in us all– we need DOCTORS to become champions of the noble profession that rose to the prominence needed to launch Pharma’s business enterprise, by virtue of our trust– And by extension, some of these doctors will become our champions as well– not gods, not saviors, but partners in the preservation of our shared humanity.
there is one little word that would solve this whole problem – a word that could be equally used by us ,the would -be users, by doctors and psychiatrists and all the way up to the very top rung of the ladder – that word is NO! Until we can accept that it has all happened due to our craving for a “quick fix” to all our ills rather than sharing our fears and supporting each other through tough times, there is very little that will change.Pointing the finger at the top of the tree has not worked as we have seen – lets have a revolution(to quote the comedian) and concentrate on the users – after all if ther eis power in numbers then that’where we’ll find the answer!
There has been a tremendous community building, peer support response that I think addresses your suggestion for overcoming dependence on doctors and psychiatrists. Grassroots movements are indeed powerful.
I have to disagree with your statement,
“Until we can accept that it has all happened due to our craving for a “quick fix” to all our ills rather than sharing our fears and supporting each other through tough times…”
The prevailing beliefs around so-called *mental illness* and *magic bullets* that continue to greatly mislead the public and the medical/health care community came directly from the marketing strategies of pharmaceutical companies, co-opting with psychiatrists. The psychiatrists aka doctors, validate and continue to profit from these lies, as they feed and fuel their benefactor, Pharma.
I also think it is important to consider that everyone who encounters the mental health system is not able to just say, “no” to unsafe/harmful treatment. Toxic drugs are first line treatment for first episode psychosis , for example, and many patients are forced to take these drugs on locked wards and court ordered to take them in the community. Children are not able to say “no”– .
There are even more troubling examples of what amounts to abusive psychiatric treatments forced on children who have medically complex issues, that I personally have decided is the last straw–
I agree that pointing fingers at the top of the tree has not worked, but believe that there is a misconception regarding who is ultimately responsible for the harm and death of patients that has resulted from the most egregious corruption of the scientific process imaginable in the 21st century. Psychiatrists are the culprits and the medical profession is their accomplice. We, the people, weaknesses and ignorance notwithstanding, are the innocent victims.
I will point out one more weakness of those of us who claim power in numbers. We are not unified in purpose, nor are we of the same mind with regard to the exact nature of the problem. Our enemy has both of these elements nailed. The big shots of both the pharmaceutical and health care *industries* and their key thought and opinion leaders, aka doctors, are in lock step.
Considering that there is a plethora of diverse talents amongst the masses, I am confident that when we have honed in on a common goal, our diversity will be our strength.
what I meant by my statement is that if psychiatric medications had been kept for psychiatric patients, instead of given ( and in many casses requested) at the first sign of anxiety etc., then the incentive for the companies to produce in ever-increasing numbers would not be there. I did not mean to suggest that every single case could shout “no” – but those of us who are carers can and should.Let’s hope 2015 sees a breakthrough for the benefit of all sufferers and their families.
There is already a revolution and there is already power in numbers…according to my Dear Friend email received today.
This is very exciting news that they will be knocking on the door of GlaxoSmithKline, maybe, even meeting, Sir Andrew Witty….never know your luck…..
Today at 10:53 AM
Please help us make a real and lasting change.
Two years ago I started discussing the problem of withheld trial data with Sense About Science. Back then, the situation seemed hopeless, and I was angry: many institutions were in denial, and many past efforts to fix the problem had ground to a halt. In January 2013 Sense About Science formally took this issue on as a core campaign, and with others we started the AllTrials campaign. Since then, progress has been phenomenal. WHO, the European Commission and the US, UK and Canadian Governments have finally been persuaded to take further action. Hundreds of organisations have agreed to help, including the great and good of the medical establishment. Eighty patient groups signed up in one day. We have seen lots of new promises, and many of them are credible and formal.
The future of clinical trials reporting is going to be different. But that’s not enough.
Doctors don’t only use medicines invented after 2014: we use treatments that came on the market five, ten, twenty years ago, and more. All of this information is vital, but much of it is still being withheld. Getting access to these trials – on the medicines we actually use today – is much more important than changing reporting standards for new drugs, and could have a huge impact on medicine.
This means we need action. We know the companies and organisations which hold this information. At the moment, there are huge differences between them: some still defend secrecy, or claim that sharing is impossible; while others have exposed that claim, by taking significant steps towards greater transparency. Many are staying silent. We think they are hoping that the AllTrials momentum will fizzle out.
That’s not going to happen. In the New Year, Síle Lane and I will be banging on the doors of individual pharma companies to ask them what they’re doing to fix this problem. And we will be announcing some very interesting new projects and tools.
All this progress has only been possible because you have been involved. We built an organised and coordinated campaign, with doctors, academics, publishers and tens of thousands of patients working alongside experienced full-time campaigners. We all have been able to turn decades of grumbling into decisive, targeted action.
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O wow! Very good news.Thanks for putting the letter up – it really is good to know about this – I had no idea it was in the pipeline. 2015 could see more progress still – well done them ,or should I say well done all of us – lets hope they get our ready support.
Is not the definition of a sociopath: ‘an individual without conscience’?
There is a theory that proposes that there is small percentage of any given population that possess the characteristics of sociopaths (or at least exhibit traits from the sociopathic spectrum). If this theory is true, it would explain a lot about our world, and the corporate world in particular.
Sociopaths do not feel remorse, or guilt, like non- sociopaths do. They don;t feel empathy for their fewllow man, or for the suffering of others like ‘normal people’ do (non sociopaths). They can imitate empathy, they can fake human characteristics sometimes…. but I suspect many of them know that they are different, hence why they gravitate towards (and thrive in) positions of power. They are good at jobs and roles where they can behave without impunity. They are successful in high level positions where lives are at stake, because they can decide that they value the profit over the person, their conscience does not dictate, because they don’t possess one, or perhaps, depending on the sociopath spectrum they operate on- maybe they have a flicker of one?
Even if they do have that flicker of humanity, perhaps many of their peers and their colleagues are also on the sociopath spectrum and the culture within the company they work for is also pathologically sociopathic, so what happens then? Does the flicker ever get to become a light, or a flame, or a twitch of conscience? or do they just conform and comply because doing the right thing is just too damn hard in a culture which supports sociopaths, greed and deviousness…
It goes back to that adage of: ‘I was just following orders’ ..
What orders? the orders which encourage you to hurt others? The orders which put profits before ethics, morality, and human life?
Disobey the orders, reject them, because if the orders encourage you to hurt or harm others then they are likely coming from the mouths of sociopaths…
It’s not drugs we need to boycott it’s the sociopaths running our political system, our corporate system, banking system and of course our health care system…
Who amongst the sociopaths you have named are licensed to be responsible for the safety, well being and care of vulnerable human beings? Who in this group are bound by an oath and trusted by the public to continue the process of education ( a requirement for license renewal), employ the scientific method and are accountable to their profession- ONLY when held accountable by their peers?
Doctors and nurses come to my mind as the most responsible for protecting us in the most crucial way– as we cannot hope to accomplish much without good health and reasonable protection from sociopaths who rise to power in the health care field– can we?
If we accept that doctors and nurses can be bought by industries who have no regard for our lives, much less our health, then should we not expect that there will be doctors and nurses with conscience who will struggle and fight for our right to receive what is only the premise and purpose of the medical profession?
Whatever has influenced our culture and caused the condition which supports sociopaths, greed and deviousness, it is destructive to our most basic nature as human beings to accept this as …”the way it is”… mainly because this *culture* is destroying all of us.
Doing the right thing is inherently hard, because the right thing always involves acknowledging the validity and dignity of others, which requires developing something in ourselves that goes beyond simply meeting our own needs. And by the way, that used to be the goal and the life long learning curve that went with the license to care for “the injured and infirmed”–
It’s easier to do the right thing in the company of others with the same goal. I think the right thing for those of us who feel we have a stake in the future of health care, is to decide who amongst the power broker/sociopaths we can and should hold accountable.
I agree Sinead,
And I have always said, that it is the responsibility of all doctors, and health care professionals to boycott companies like GSK when they behave unethically, but apparently they couldn’t be bothered because they just want a quiet life…
In my opinion -which is worthless, Ben Goldacre has launched a big glossy campaign to tame a hydra type monster. There is great appetite for more transparency and honesty from the drug companies. As providers of life saving medicines they have abused their power and as well as curing have also knowingly maimed, disabled and killed. Judging by past performance some pharmaceutical companies will appear to comply but profits and shareholders take precedence over patients. In the meantime lots of small hits by using the Abb vie strategy is a lovely simple effective idea. Bottoms up!
‘a glove puppet…’
‘Sellers’ investigate the ‘wax’.
The ‘comments’ reveal who is ‘slipping up’ and who is ‘leaving’ the ‘cold-calling’ card…………..
Annie – Thank you for posting the links. As one coming late to this blog, I was immediately suspicious of Ben Goldacre’s claim that all would be solved through the effort(s) he mentioned. Having never heard of them – or him – I’ve now done a bit of snooping and suspect the man of being a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
There are wolves everywhere – having testified countless times before FDA committees, attempted to work with various and sundry Congressmen/women and Senators, and so on, I have seen such wolves with my own eyes.
It seems to me that the very multi-pronged approach advocated here is in order – some here are on the front lines (doctors and nurses), plus people in BigPharma who do have a conscience, interested journalists who seek the truth, patients and families who have been harmed, innovators looking for better ways to help with medication or not. Because we must all realize that the “enemy” has a multi-pronged approach as well. Don’t think for a moment that Washington, D.C., isn’t crawling with lobbyists who are schmoozing up your Congressperson as we speak and ditto in state capitols. It will take all that we have, including the weapons of secrecy and theatrics to turn the ship around. But I believe that, in the end and probably well past my lifetime, helping those who are suffering will one day become an honest thing again.
Unfortunately, one of the things we will need to do if we want is to pressure the pressure groups — beginning with AllTrials.
One thing not mentioned in that fund-raising letter is that GSK has actually signed the AllTrials Petition and endorsed the campaign. Ben Goldacre has already met with Andrew Witty numerous time and thinks he’s a great guy apparently. When he talks about certain companies that have “taken significant steps towards greater transparency”? He means GSK.
David Healy has written plenty on this blog about the controversy; this article is a good place to start: https://davidhealy.org/gsks-transparency-and-access-journey/
The short version is, GSK has endorsed a very limited version of “access” to company-prepared summaries of their data, and even those are censored or redacted where “appropriate.”
One place where we can come in is this: Patient privacy and confidentiality is the major excuse GSK and other Pharmas have offered to explain why they can’t share the raw data on their studies with other researchers, like any responsible scientist should. It will take patients to call this out as bullshit — which it is — and I’d love to start thinking about intelligent ways to do just that.
Are you saying that patients should demand that data on GSK and other Pharmas studies be turned over to the public?
I am thinking about all of the means for maintaining crap shoot clinical trials as the *gold standard* to which Pharma claims to be aspiring to– with the help of the Cochrane Collaborative, for instance. Seems like a ruse–
I am thinking that to continue with this tug of war over data is a great distraction from the core issues, or rather *ALLthings* that neither Pharma or their key henchman, MDs, want to debate, discuss– even disclose.
What if, outraged patients do gain some ground on the transparency issue? Are you thinking that patient driven action will wake up complacent doctors who are not engaged in any sort of inquiry into Pharma practices?
Maybe direct confrontation of their own doctors with regard to their[doctors] understanding of the transparency and crap shoot clinical trials issues might be another tactic?
I have very little expertise in interpreting raw data, let alone the analyzing the merits of the study– but I do know that the purpose for all of this crap shoot propaganda is NOT the producing of safe/effective *poisons* for patients—.
I would much rather see a bulldozer type effort to criminally prosecute Pharma execs and their henchmen,MD’s– create a vacuum and hope that there are enough decent, conscientious science minded, humanistic professionals to fill it.
Well said Sinead,
On this darkest day of the year, my memory recalls a time not long ago when I was happy…but then my part of the Shire was devastated when a Black Rider came into our lives and pushed pills and lies at my partner. She may as well be a Ringwraith now – chemical zombification of someone you love is the most disturbing experience you will ever go through; until my dying day, I will never properly get over this ghastly experience.
If anyone thinks AllTrials will make the slightest bit of difference to Big Pharma’s conduct, then ask yourselves why were GSK so quick to sign up for it? How could this make the slightest bit of difference to a couple who were deceived about what SSRIs would do to a human brain? The drugs are already out there, so having limited trial information in the public domain would not have made the slightest bit of difference to our narrative. Or to anyone else’s who has suffered from the ‘side effects’ of these toxic poisons. And if $3 billion fines cannot curb corrupt corporate behaviour, then what will? GSK, Eli Lilli, et al, and their employees are practically untouchable.
But their toadies and lackeys in psychiatry are not. They provide the ‘drug pipeline’, the ‘shop front’, the ‘street corner’, the justification, the rationale, the respectability which allows drug companies to poison us. If they are willing to lie about a ‘chemical imbalance’ (or indeed anything else), then they become fair game. The academics who take drug company money, the leading lights of the Royal College, the KOLs who talk up drugs, those responsible for the deaths of innocent children, the flunkies, and the functionaries.
The only weapon we need is the internet. To expose these men (almost all are men), to expose their lies, their ‘crimes’, their Big Pharma ‘benefits’. To make sure that they cannot hide, and cannot conceal their perfidy. To make certain that their ‘hidden agendas’ assume the top rankings when their names are googled by potential ‘patients’.
Dr David Healy has done more than anyone to raise awareness of the venal axis between drug companies and psychiatry, and which seeks to draw us all into its bloody, dripping maw. As the NHS crumbles under the rapacity of a thousand cuts, and the sharks of private ‘healthcare’ circle to cannibalise the profitable limbs, a ‘skirmish’ in North Wales appears to be a repeat of the Nemeroff -Toronto fiasco.
Has Dr Makin broken cover as the ‘Mouth of Sauron’? Does he stand at the point of a hidden phalanx which has been orchestrated by ‘Big Pharma’, in an attempt to suppress truth telling and honesty? Or is he just doing the bidding of others?
The most ridiculous thing about the Alltrials claims of taming the GSK hydra is the fact that GSK (and other drug companies) should be FORCED to release the data on all their drugs (All the data, all the studies). They shouldn’t be asked politely, they shouldn’t be given options, they shouldn’t be appeased or courted, they should be FORCED. Not asked, FORCED. The data should be demanded by the government, however we all know that the government in the UK is toothless when it comes to GSK. GSK have nothing to fear in the UK, because they are prized for bringing profits to UK shores…
GSK’s 3 Billion fine in the US was also a whitewash, but it’s a damn sight more than the UK did because the UK establishment and GSK are one and the same. GSK call the shots in the UK, that’s why people like Ben Goldacre and The CEO of the MHRA ask them politely because they are afraid of them, and they probably have good reason to be too…
In the US – GSK are technically half-way through a 5 year ‘probation’ period, because of their decades of unethical practices there which led to the record-breaking fine. They have a ‘corporate integrity’ agreement which could have been already broken because of their China bribe scandal and allegations of bribes in other countries.
GSK behaves like a ruthless, devious mafioso sociopath with absolutely no regard for the public, doctors, ethics, morals, laws or governments, but people like Ben Goldacre praise them for signing up to a transparency agenda which everyone else (apart from him it seems) can see is merely a PR coup for the company. They have not delivered on anything remotely resembling real transparency and there are hidden agendas which many bloggers have drawn attention to. Sycophantically fawning over GSK does nothing apart from feeding into the ego of the company..
“The most ridiculous thing about the Alltrials claims of taming the GSK hydra is the fact that GSK (and other drug companies) should be FORCED to release the data on all their drugs (All the data, all the studies). They shouldn’t be asked politely, they shouldn’t be given options, they shouldn’t be appeased or courted, they should be FORCED. Not asked, FORCED. ”
Largest Theft of Prescriptions Drugs in US History…see link to article below…just FYI. Seems this is becoming a common problem, e.g. prescription drugs getting into common drug dealer’s hands
Hello Dr. Healy –I saw the documentary “Bridgend” recently –I was shocked by the great number of young people suicides. I have a curious and analytical nature and started doing research…reading articles, reading about the town itself, and learned that a pharmaceutical company (BIOTEC) moved in just before the suicides started happening. Their promotional video shows young people working there (could be actors of course) but still, could be that young people work in the labs/manufacturing or warehouse/shipping departments –how easy for them to lift the pills and then give or sell them to local youth. It is true that young people are often indiscriminate about what they take recreationally. Or perhaps they willingly took the stolen drugs for depression. Young people are very experimental by nature…and big risk takers. I personally know drugs can make people suicidal. A student I was tutoring 10 years ago was on a mess of drugs for depression, ADD, and anxiety, and he was suicidal the whole time…10 years later, he is still thinking of suicide. So very sad. I would hope that someone in Wales would investigate the possible relationship between the pharmaceutical company and the 100+ suicides that happened so close together most within a few years of each other…and continuing today! What about the case where a young man pledged to his mother he would not commit suicide–then did it! He reported to the hospital “felt weird” following a suicide attempt, and then in a day or so after he was successful. This mystery of tragedy at Bridgend really MUST be solved!! I can’t believe it isn’t already. Someone needs to get to the bottom of it. I notice that suicides are still higher in Wales than the rest of England. Someone needs to find out why. The documentary did not go nearly deep enough into finding out possible causes–just showed a few interviews with parents and a few kids–no real investigative journalism. Perhaps you can find out the definitive answer. A true mystery for today…with important consequences…
Wendy – Thank you for the tip on “Bridgend” – I plan to look for it.
One of the best depictions of the ruthless nature of BigPharma in film was “The Constant Gardener”, based on John LeCarre’s book of the same name. It depicted Pfizer’s clinical trials, which were held in Nigeria. Of course, none of the families taking part were told of the known lethal side effects of the drug, and a number of children died.
The movie, starring Ralph Fiennes, so gripped me at the time that I bought a caseload of the paperbacks and left them out at an FDA hearing. Nothing venture, nothing gained –
Suggested alternative sub-heading for this article: Corporate animals who knowingly do great evil must first of all believe they have all the necessary backing to get off scot free.
Indeed. And note there was an excellent report by the UK House of Commons Health Committee in 2004-5 ‘The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry’ documenting the complete failure of government including the cronyism of the Department of of Health and the MHRA.
Of course, nothing was done. But it is not like no one knows.
PS The industry can also rely on the cronyism of the Legal Aid Agency and its precursors. They wouldn’t even support the civil prosecution of Merck over Vioxx in the UK despite billion dollars of settlement in the US – the government machine has the whole thing wrapped up.
When the U.S. Department of Justice gave a fine of $1.4 billion dollars to Eli Lilly for its civil AND CRIMINAL acts over Zyprexa, there were some front page headlines announcing it to be the largest such fine in U.S. history. Since then, nothing has changed and there have been even larger fines against Pharmas…
The last time Congress tried to strengthen the FDA – (2007, re-authorization of PDUFA) all such strenghtening words – which would have tightened up prescription drug safety- were stripped out of the bill at the eleventh hour and every senator (except for Bernie Sanders from Vermont) voted for it.