JP Garnier, 5 April 2004 – “I’ll be a hero in three years”…?

When JP Garnier took over GSK as chief executive following the merger eight years ago the share price of GSK was £21 – in October last year the share price was £13.17…

Today the share price is £11.20.

That’s right, during his time as CEO of Glaxo JP has watched the share to fall from £21.00 to £11.20

By anyone’s standards he has failed in the most spectacular manner.

But of course it’s not his fault….

Last Friday Jean-Pierre Garnier, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, launched a scathing attack on press coverage of the pharmaceutical industry as the company issued a shock profits warning.

In one of his last presentations before retirement in May, Garnier criticised the reporting of scientific developments and appeared to partly blame journalists for the furore surrounding GSK’s diabetes drug Avandia, sales of which plunged when a study last May linked it to an increase in heart attacks.

“My wish for the media is to be more sophisticated when they report scientific news,” he said at the presentation in London. “Debates now are being thrown into the public domain before scientists have given their opinion.”

Many may disagree with JP on this one – including Aubrey Blumsohn at Scientific Misconduct:

I am a scientist and a doctor Mr Garnier ……. and the science stinks. That’s my opinion. How does one have a “sophisticated” discussion about scientific misconduct?

They just can’t stop themselves – first looking to discredit scientists, then to discredit patients, then to discredit journalists – instead of addressing the shortcomings of their science and ethics.

Never mind the non-transparent science. Never mind the apparent cheating of results in Paxil clinical trials, selective publication of “positive” data, false evidence-free statements made about the safety of Paxil, bullying of academics, witholding of information from prescribers, threats of legal action, involvement with the UK government, and non-existent criminal self investigations. Never mind Keller, Buse, Laden or study 329. Never mind the patients. Never mind the failure to answer actual scientific questions.

I don’t think Matthew Holland agrees either:

Well, who knows, perhaps he knows his audience better than we do? Anyway, he’s got a fucking nerve to demand that “scientists” (all scientists, or just the ones that agree with GSK (I’m thinking of the way that we’re told Garnier orchestrated the slating of John Buse)?), are the only ones who are able to proclaim the truth, and the media should report on what the scientists say, provided that that casts GSK in a good light. I’m sorry: I’ve only to read the correspondence between McCafferty, Oakes, Keller and Laden (who were responsible for the travesty of science that was the write-up of Paxil Protocol 329), to know that, in the context of the sordid world of pharmaceuticals, the view of the experts is worth precisely dick. Besides, if scientists are the only ones who get to say what is true, then patients have no right to speak, and are merely the glad recipients of the great wisdom of the scientists – whereupon we may be fed any old shite, which I imagine would suit Garnier, just fine.

“I’ll be a hero in three years” – JP Garnier, 5 April 2004


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