Open letter to Paul Blackburn, GlaxoSmithKline

I understand that Ofsted recently asked you to resign from your post as a non executive member of their Board (just days after you were appointed). [Interested readers can see an excellent article about this story from Eileen Fairweather of the Daily Mail here.]

Said Ofsted “…His [Paul Blackburn] resignation follows public concerns about the activities of his employer GSK. Paul did not want any negative press interest to detract from the excellent work of Ofsted and therefore resigned.”

You said “At Ofsted’s request, I have resigned… I wish to make it clear that this decision should in no way give credibility to the spurious allegations which have been reported regarding GlaxoSmithKline. These are entirely without foundation and have been previously addressed by the company.”

Now Paul, what I’d like to know from you in detail is this – just are these “spurious allegations” that “have been previously addressed by the company”?

Do you mean the way that GSK did not release negative paediatric trial data (Seroxat/Paxil – Study 329), but rather spun the data and used it to promote the sales of Seroxat/Paxil?

Do you mean GSK’s participation in unethical AIDS drug-vaccine trials in the U.S. which were the subject of a BBC-Two documentary “Guinea Pig Kids” that aired Nov. 2004. “The New York health authority recently investigated claims that drugs were tested on 100 babies and toddlers with HIV at the city’s Incarnation Children’s Centre. GSK was one of the firms that supplied the drugs.”

Do you mean that in 2000 Glaxo Wellcome was accused of extraordinary ‘obfuscation’ by Ireland’s senate after a commission unsuccessfully sought files concerning vaccine trials it conducted in the Sixties and Seventies on children in care homes. At the time the firm said: ‘Glaxo Wellcome regrets any distress that may have been caused to individuals involved in these trials.’

I’ll ask again – exactly what are the “spurious allegations” you mentioned Paul?

I think we’d all like to know…


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