Happy Fourth Birthday…

… yes, you guessed it – happy birthday to the MHRA ‘criminal’ investigation into GlaxoSmithKline.

It’s four years old this week.

It was four long years ago in October 2003 that the MHRA started a criminal investigation into GlaxoSmithKline because of concerns that Britain’s biggest pharmaceutical group had withheld important data from clinical trials. This data showed that Seroxat could cause an increased risk of suicide and self-harm if prescribed to depressed teenagers.

In January 2006, the MHRA told Panorama, “that the investigation has been given substantial additional resources and remains a high priority.”

But the reality is that any prosecution of Glaxo would put the MHRA itself – and Chairman Alasdair Breckenridge in particular – too squarely in the frame. What was it he told Panorama in the second of their four splendid programmes? (11 May 2003) – “What you can say with great firmness is that these drugs do not increase the risk of suicidal thought and they do not increase the risk of suicide”. Ooops!

Anyway, birthdays provide for reflection on times past – perhaps these old posts of mine will help in that reflection:

The MHRA, criminal investigations and Glaxo

The MHRA, criminal investigations and Glaxo – 2

The MHRA, criminal investigations and Glaxo – 3

What we’re talking about is the now infamous Study 329 (see here and here for details).

The Panorama Programme, Secrets of the drug trials (watch it here) made public the secret emails that revealed how Glaxo distorted trial results of Seroxat, covering up a link with suicide in teenagers. Panorama went on to reveal how GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) attempted to show that Seroxat worked for depressed children despite failed clinical trials and that GSK-employed ghostwriters influenced ‘independent’ academics.

Want to know more? – it’s all here – And while we’re talking about Study 329 – here are some real Seroxat Secrets

Four long years, eh – how much longer can the MHRA stall?

Every single one of those 1,460 days has simply seen you and me let down by a chronic lack of action from the body that is supposed to protect patients in the UK and regulate companies like GlaxoSmithKline.

How much longer?

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