Alastair Benbow – yet more questions

Matthew Holford has been at it again (does the man ever stop?)… see below for his latest note to those MHRA stalwarts Stephen Fawbert, Jan MacDonald and Sarah Walk:

Dear Stephen, Jan and Sarah,

Further to my recent enquiries, concerning PILs and the EWG Report, are you able to add in one further item, please? That is, are you able to confirm the date upon which the risk of suicide was first acknowledged/approved by GSK/MHRA on the Seroxat PIL?

I am interested in this point, because I note from Stephen’s previous replies that a UK exercise in 2000 identified the issue, and that GPs were advised accordingly, shortly thereafter. However, GSK, in the person of Dr Alistair Benbow, an officer of the Company, was publicly arguing the absence of any risk, at least as recently as 2003. If my anticipation is correct, I would be interested to hear of the MHRA’s position on this peddling of misinformation, whether it be innocent, or not.

As a general point, what would be the MHRA’s position on the status of an officer of a company, who deliberately misled the public, as to the nature of a serious adverse event of one of its drugs? Does it, for example, possess any sanctions, which might be applied, or would this be left as a matter for the company concerned? To what extent does the MHRA imagine that the solutions it has at its disposal are adequate to deal with such a scenario (ie, would it be able to prevent such a thing happening again, if only with respect to the company/officer concerned)?

Best regards

Matthew Holford

Yet more questions that we need answers to. Watch this space.


5 Responses to “Alastair Benbow – yet more questions”

  1. Matthew Holford Says:

    I want somebody to come back to me and point out that Benbow’s comments, c. 2003 (“there’s no reliable data…”) were actually a precursor to the conclusions of the EWG. God I want them to point that out!


  2. Matthew Holford Says:

    In fact, I’m distilling my invective and sharpening my poisoned pencil, right now.


  3. MWW Says:

    Hi there, I am writing a paper on Big Pharma for English and trying to find an article or resource that neatly or explicitly outlines spending practices of the largest pharma companies in North America for my paper. Any pointers or links would be greatly appreciated. The paper is about :”The Constant Gardner”


  4. truthman30 Says:

    Ahhh … the constant gardener…
    The devious and sinister actions of the “fictional” pharmaceutical company in that film were tame compared to some of the real pharmaceutical companies out there…

    John le Carré writes in the book’s afterword, “By comparison with the reality, my story [is] as tame as a holiday postcard.”

    Good luck with your paper…

    You will notice that the drug company in this film has a triple barreled name… KVH (KarelVitaHudson)
    I wonder was John Le Carre trying to tell us something?…
    Because there is only one other Big Pharma I know of with a triple barreled name… and that would be GlaxoSmithKline…
    If you think the plot of this film was far fetched..
    Think again…

  5. Matthew Holford Says:

    Try writing a fictional account about something, anything, which you have absolutely no experience of. Not easy, is it? That’s why Dickens, Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac, and so on, are so convincing.


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