I’ve just spent half an hour watching Secrets of the Drug Trials – the latest Panorama investigation into Seroxat (Paxil).
My first thoughts are that because these emails are no longer secret it’s great that the public can see how drug companies operate – how cleverly they market their products. Profits come before patients for them – Glaxo cares nothing for the people who have been harmed by Seroxat.
I was interested to see what kind of people Doctors Ryan and Keller were – they had become lazy and greedy and totally disinterested in anything approaching patient welfare. They believe in their own hype – they really think they’re Masters Of The Universe. But in reality we now know their reputations have been sold and bought many times over by Big Pharma.
The contrast between their smug, flippant uncaring attitude and the powerful story of Stephanie Gatchell, whose daughter killed herself while taking Seroxat, could not have been better made. Forget sales figures, share price, profits and dividends – this is about people’s lives.
But perhaps the most surprising thing was the lack of a meaningful response from Glaxo. I couldn’t work out if it the company was too scared to put someone up to appear on camera, knowing the strength of this new evidence against it; or whether it just couldn’t be bothered.
Maybe the all powerful Glaxo sees this as just another bump in the road on the way to its next billion.
And for those of you who wait for the outcome of the criminal investigation of Glaxo in the UK being undertaken by the MHRA, I would advise that you don’t hold your breath…