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GSK's Breo: "Don’t ignore the pneumonia risk!"

November 12th, 2013 by BOB FIDDAMAN



In the past GlaxoSmithKline have wined and dined ["dine and dash"] doctors as a means of getting their drugs ahead of competitors when it comes to filling out prescription pads. They are not the only pharmaceutical company to apply this tactic.

In the past GlaxoSmithKline have invited doctors to symposiums at lush holiday resorts, an all-expenses paid trip to do what you want to do providing you attend the symposium on this or that drug. Again, they are not the only pharmaceutical company to use this tactic.

On Oct 5, 2013, 100 of the top lung doctors in the U.S. gathered at a Hilton hotel in Houston. You see, Glaxo have a new baby they wish to hit the public with and one of the most effective ways to target the public is to target the agents who sell [prescribe] to the public.

Breo, Glaxo's new respiratory drug, is now on the advertising [by proxy] table but now the rules have changed. They can no longer tell doctors about the efficacy without first warning them of the dangers and much of the Hilton promotion was spent spelling out the dangers of Glaxo's new blockbuster drug.

Last year Glaxo were handed down a $3 billion fine for illegally marketing medicines, one of which was Advair, a respiratory drug. Glaxo were found guilty of pushing Advair for all asthma patients, even though it was only recommended for severe cases. Glaxo executives through their reps bribed doctors to prescribe Advair to patients that it wasn't meant for, in other words they told doctors that Advair was beneficial for minor asthma sufferers... when they knew that it wasn't. As a result FDA researcher David Graham estimated that long-acting beta agonists, of which Advair was one, contributed to an estimated 14,000 asthma deaths from 1994 through 2007.

With the old way we did things, you emphasized the efficacy and benefits, said James Donohue, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina who received a fee from Glaxo for chairing the Oct. 5 Houston meeting. At the end, youd always include the safety, but you just brushed over it. Now theres a huge emphasis on the side effects. [1]

So, what's with the new approach from GlaxoSmithKline, are we expected to believe that they have turned over a new leaf and are telling us everything about their drugs so we, the public, can make an informed decision as to whether we use their product?

It would be nice to think so wouldn't it. Alas, it appears that this new initiative only applies to Glaxo's new products and they are, more or less adhering to the US Justice Department. Glaxo are not doing this because it is right, they are doing it to avoid further fines.

If GlaxoSmithKline were that concerned about its products they would come out of that dark closet of denial and warn the public about the dangers of Seroxat [known as Paxil and Aropax].

Of course, they've already made their billions on Seroxat, it's since gone generic, which means other pharmaceutical companies can sell it.

Glaxo are claiming to be transparent and, in essence, they are. But this transparency was forced upon them. It's akin to giving a small child razor blades to play with, you know it's wrong but you continue to hand out the blades. You will do so until you are caught. Once caught you, because you are a pharmaceutical company that will always avoid jail time, will pay the fine and announce that you have changed your ways, "The razor blade thing was just part of an era".

In the UK there are a number of patients who took Seroxat and had severe withdrawal problems when trying to come off it. A lawsuit was filed but Glaxo have denied any wrong-doing, spouting the line "Seroxat has benefited millions of people world wide", at every given opportunity.

The UK group action is yet another classic example of how GlaxoSmithKline operate. Let's just say that those razor blades were Glaxo's Seroxat. Those people that were injured are ignored by Glaxo. They hire top lawyers to defend the claims against them... even though they have settled similar claims in the US [without liability]

If the UK litigation, which has been dragging on for 10 years, does get to the High Court then Glaxo will defend the test case, it's testing the water to see whether or not they will defend the other 100 or so cases.


So when I see articles about how Glaxo have changed their ways I think 'Nah, they are still exactly the same'.

Glaxo are a business and they want to make money, lots of it. Publicly they now have to be seen to be the good guys, hence the reason for highlighting the downside of their new product Breo.

However, what goes on behind closed doors is another matter. District managers at Glaxo have a unique way of selling products to people that don't need them, if they didn't tell their reps to target those who didn't need their products then, well, they'd be out of a job.

Changing times at Glaxo?

I think not


Bob Fiddaman.



[1] Changing times: GSK sells bad with good to doctors in safety push
 
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Tags: Mental Health, SSRI, advair, Asthma


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