GlaxoSmithKline. They had three drugs: Avandia, Paxil and Wellbutrin—you might have heard of them from all the commercials.
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It’s true I have a lot of friends in politics but they wouldn’t be friendly very long if they knew my business was drugs instead of gambling, which they rule that as a harmless vice. But drugs is a dirty business. GlaxoSmithKline. They had three drugs: Avandia, Paxil and Wellbutrin—you might have heard of them from all the commercials.
Paxil was being prescribed as an anti-depressant to treat depression in kids. One clinical trial showed that teens that took the drug for depression were more likely to attempt suicide then those who took placebos. Oops…time for a little massage on that result. So Glaxo hired a company to prepare a medical journal article to say that Paxil was actually good for teens with depression.
And then they took that article and started banging the drum with it at their all expense paid retreats with the psychiatrists who may wind up prescribing these love pills to the the melancholy youth.
And that was the pattern for Avandia and wellburtrin as well. Together, over 5 years, Glaxo sold almost $28 B worth of these drugs.
Did these fake happy pills work out for these depressed kids? not so much. But when top management got their bonuses you can best believe the boardroom resembled a rave on ecstasy. Glaxo management was rolling until their were so many…bodies of evidence… that the FDA was forced to act. And 5 years later penalties were assessed.
GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3B in fines for marketing drugs for unapproved uses and failing to report drug safety information. $2B are for civil fines involving a multitude of the companies other drugs. But they will pay $1B for criminal misdemeanors involving Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia!
This is what happens when you sell drugs and take your product—loss of judgment. You are apparently so hopped up you let your lawyer persuade you to admit to criminal wrongdoing. As a corporation? Are you high? We never ever admit to criminal wrongdoing—especially to the charge of bribing doctors to prescribe pills that kills kids, I know it was just a misdemeanor, and the top execs face no personal criminal action, no bonuses get clawed back, and you got to keep the other $25B…but accepting criminal wrongdoing……….no.
And to Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of Glaxo, it doesn’t make any difference to me what a man does for a living, but your business, the way you conduct it, is a little dangerous.