Can you really believe they said this – 2012 reprise

They say hindsight is 20/20 vision.

Well, here are a bunch of quotes I’ve posted over the years for you to consider with the gift of hindsight.

 

It’s not possible really to measure total serotonin. We do not know with absolute certainty about how any of the antidepressants work. 
Alan Metz 
Glaxo Vice President for Clinical Development
source: Generation RX

No, we are not misleading them [patients]. The information in the patient leaflet and in the information we supply to doctors, is based on fact. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow 
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline
10/13/02

….there have been a number of systematic studies in humans looking at the potential for Paxil for abuse, tolerance and physical dependence. So actually, there is data to date to negate the statement that it has not been systematically studied, because, in fact, it has been. 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
10/19/2000

Physical and Psychologic Dependence: PAXIL has NOT been systematically studied in animals or humans for its potential for abuse, tolerance or physical dependence. While the clinical trials did not reveal any tendency for any drug-seeking behavior, these observations were not systematic…
GSK Patient Information Leaflet

If ‘discontinuation reactions’ occur in patients stopping [Paxil], the majority will experience symptoms that are mild to moderate in intensity, and are usually limited to two weeks. 
Mary Anne Rhyne 
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson
2005

Drugs like Seroxat [Paxil] have been around for almost a decade and help millions of people fight depression. There’s no reliable scientific evidence to show they cause withdrawal symptoms or dependency. 
Alan Chandler 
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson

These problems [’discontinuation reactions’] are just the body’s adjustment when you stop taking medicines. It takes more than that to be addictive. 
Mary Anne Rhyne 
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson
8/21/2002

The side effects [of Paxil “discontinuance”] are things like dizziness, nausea, headache, um, and are clearly labeled in the information made available to doctors and patients. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow 
GlaxoSmithKline’s European Medical Director
Source: GSK’s web site 2004

I think patients have nothing to fear from taking Seroxat. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow
GlaxoSmithKline’s European Medical Director
6/13/2002

Experts including the FDA and leading physician and mental health organizations agree that antidepressant medications like Paxil are non-habit-forming. 
David Stout President
US Pharmaceuticals
GlaxoSmithKline
10/10/2002

It was quite clear from talking to patients and as a doctor that’s very, very important to me, it’s quite clear that the phrase “Seroxat is not addictive” was poorly understood by them. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow 
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline
5/11/03

I think you have to develop a culture where if there is bad news you don’t sit on bad news. Bad news does not get any better. It can only get better if it’s admitted, understood and addressed.
Robert (Bob) Ingram
Vice Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals
8/25/2002

We’re reviewing every single process at the company. The environment of the business has changed after Enron. I believe that there was a lack of trust [on the part of] the public for big business, and that lack of trust has been amplified by a few bad apples in the cart. And because of that, there has been a tremendous loss of trust in all big business not just pharma and that has implications to me as a CEO.
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
10/4/2004

Obviously doctors are very busy people, and their day is packed with patients. The question is how do doctors get information about medicines and new research into treatments and disease, and one of the easiest ways is this kind of presentation [”dine and dash”]. We think this is a benefit to both physicians and patients.”
Mary Ann Rhyne
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson
11/11/2002

We don’t want to be accused of anything about the way we deal with trials.
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
6/21/2004

As a knowledge-based industry we understand full well the value of information, and we want to create a climate of openness where the evidence for prescribing our products is clear.
Richard Sykes
Chairman of Glaxo Wellcome
6/19/2004

I think if, if we’ve been guilty of anything over the past few years, perhaps, um, emphasizing entertainment over education, um, we know that’s what patients really want.
Christopher Viehbacher
GlaxoSmithKline U.S. President
8/16/05

Seroxat does have side effects, but these are clearly stated in the information that’s made available to doctors and to patients.
Dr. Alastair Benbow
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline
10/13/02

My wife thinks J.P. [Garnier] is the best thing since sliced bread. 
Christopher Viehbacher
GlaxoSmithKline U.S. President
7/21/03

We are a high-integrity company. We know what the rules are and we follow them.
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
6/6/2004

The vast majority of drugs more than 90 per cent only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people, I wouldn’t say that most drugs don’t work. I would say that most drugs work in 30 to 50 per cent of people. Drugs out there on the market work, but they don’t work in everybody. 
Dr. Allen Roses 
GlaxoSmithKline Senior V.P.
Genetics Research
12/8/2003

If anyone thought drugs were without side-effects, hopefully that’s over. All drugs have side-effects. We are having to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on lawyers.
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
4/23/2005

We follow the law, and we follow government guidelines. 
Mary Anne Rhyne 
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson
8/26/2005

This is a company that is reinventing itself … possibly creating a model for pharma companies. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
7/21/03

The evidence, however, is clear, these medicines are not linked with suicide, these medicines are not linked with an increased rate of self harm. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow 

GlaxoSmithKline’s European Medical Director
10/3/2004

So we always want to make sure we are serving the good, the right purpose…. 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
9/9/2004

I’ll be a hero in three years. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer GlaxoSmithKline
4/5/2004

I am sure it happens because academics are very, very busy people, and they prefer to do research than spend a lot of time writing papers. If the industry puts forward a method of relieving them of that chore, then I am sure that that does happen throughout the industry. That would be true generally. Is it a good idea? I think it can be, as long as everybody is in agreement with what is written at the end of the day, the results and what they are. 
Sir Richard Sykes 
former Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline
On the industry practice of “ghostwriting medical reports” and “gift authorship.” 12/7/2004


We have acted responsibly in conducting clinical studies in pediatric patients and the dissemination of the results. We would strongly disagree with any allegation that we have done otherwise. 

Dr. Tadataka Yamada 
Chairman of Research and Development
GlaxoSmithKline
6/19/2004

You can experience symptoms, as you can with other SSRIs and as you can with other kinds of medicines as well. 
Mary Anne Rhyne
GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson
12/13/2003

What we have seen in terms of the anecdotal reports [of Paxil withdrawal] is that it happens very rarely. 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
8/25/2000

While GlaxoSmithKline strives to produce medications that safely and effectively treat medical conditions, we’re also committed to protecting the environment. 
Dr. Anne Phillips 
Chief Medical Officer of GlaxoSmithKline
source: GlaxoSmithKline

As you can see here, few numbers of patients experienced any adverse event after being randomized off [Paxil] into the placebo group and the percentages are certainly very small. But these were the common adverse events seen in that small population in our attempt to systematically assess a discontinuation syndrome. 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services Excerpt from a transcript of the FDA Review of Paxil
10/5/1992

I have my iPod and my Bose headphones. You can run anywhere. I’m in a bubble. When I go home I don’t talk about my job. It drives my wife crazy because when we go out she doesn’t know anybody. Socially we see politicians we have to and she knows nothing about the issues. But that’s the way I like it. I want to go home and say, ‘hey what happened to you?’ I have a very demanding job and I don’t want to go home and discuss the same stories. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
4/23/2005

We feel strongly that we have an obligation to speak up both for the millions of patients that Seroxat allows to lead a normal life, and for our employees whose commitment to this important medicine has made such a positive difference to so many people. 
Eddie Gray 
General Manager
GlaxoSmithKline UK
10/10/2002

My mum, you know, she thinks her son walks on water….. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
4/23/2005

….recognize that in the final analysis success rests on selecting the right people to work with. If you have the right people, the rest will follow. 
Jan Leschly 
Former CEO of SmithKline Beecham

It’s becoming too easy for many people to attack the pharma industry and hold the pharma industry to standards that are higher than anywhere else. I don’t have a problem with the standards….

Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
6/6/2004

Of course we didn’t follow this advice. Of course we didn’t selectively publicize the data. This is not a smoking gun. It’s a stupid memo and there are lots of stupid memos in every company’s file and it is really unfair to look at the company’s action through the small hole of one memo written among thousands and thousands in 1998. I do regret that those memos exist but I’m not going to lose sleep over the fact.
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
6/6/2004

I utterly refute any allegations we are sitting on data, that [we] have withheld data or anything like that. We have provided all the data both relating to safety and efficacy in the pediatric population to the regulatory authorities around the world and have hidden nothing.
Dr. Alastair Benbow 
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline
6/15/2003

Corporate responsibility is not just a job for selected people at GSK, it defines the way we do business. Our ten corporate responsibility principles set thestandard for everyone, since responsible business is only a reality if it is practised by all employees at all times. 
Christopher Gent
GlaxoSmithKline Chaiman
Jean-Pierre Garnier
GlaxoSmithKline CEO
GlaxoSmithKline 2004 “Corporate Responsibility Report”

The overwhelming view of independent medical experts and regulatory bodies around the world who have seen the data, is that Seroxat has a well established safety profile and is an effective treatment with experience in tens of millions of patients worldwide since launch in the UK over ten years ago. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline 10/10/2002

Human behavior is we know so little about it, and therefore, to try to speculate on a mechanism for human behavior is very difficult. 
Dr. Tadataka Yamada 
Chairman of Research and Development GlaxoSmithKline 1/24/2001

Sometimes a system indeed hinders your rise up the ladder but you also have to accept personal responsibility. That translates into realizing that it’s not always someone else’s fault that you didn’t get promoted. You have to ask some serious questions of yourself before you point the finger at someone else. Ask yourself, `What have I done?’ ‘What is my role in this?’ ‘What am I willing to do?’ 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
10/26-27/1995

If we meet the test of our highest purpose nothing less than making historic contributions to human welfare then we will surely meet our important responsibilities to other GlaxoSmithKline stakeholders, to the investors who put their trust in our performance, to the communities in which we operate, to our colleagues and to ourselves. 
Dr. Tadataka Yamada 
Chairman of Research and Development
GlaxoSmithKline from GSK’s web site

We are all in favour of this being scrutinized all the time, because it is not in our interests to have a product on the market that is not safe or effective. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier 
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline 2/15/2002

I think fundamentally the public needs to be reassured that multinational companies and globalisation are not bad quite the reverse. 
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer
GlaxoSmithKline
2/18/2003

We take the safety of our medicines extremely seriously…. 
Dr. Alastair Benbow
GlaxoSmithKline’s European Medical Director
Source: GSK’s web site 2004

First of all let me say that we, as a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products and vaccines, take any report of an adverse event on any of our products, seriously. 
Dr. David Wheadon 
Senior Vice President
GlaxoSmithKline Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
1/31/2001

Great [GSK] products, however, are not the whole story society expects companies to act responsibly in their pursuit of success. If anything, the fact that our business is about human health makes it even more important that we operate to the highest standards.
Christopher Gent
GlaxoSmithKline Chaiman
Jean-Pierre Garnier
GlaxoSmithKline CEO
GlaxoSmithKline 2004 “Corporate Responsibility Report”

I think to focus on safety is important.
Dr. Tadataka Yamada
Chairman of Research and Development
GlaxoSmithKline
3/01/05

….my experience is that most physicians don’t look at the [a drug safety] label very carefully. And I’m not certain. I personally am not certain whether it would make a difference whether something was in a black box or in a warning section or in a precaution section….
Dr. Tadataka Yamada
Chairman of Research and Development
GlaxoSmithKline
1/24/2001

Responsible business practices are also the key to a good reputation. In 2004, the pharmaceutical industry and GSK continued to come under public scrutiny on how medicines are developed, tested and marketed. To meet this challenge we must act with integrity and be open about our approach to these important issues.
Christopher Gent
GlaxoSmithKline Chaiman
Jean-Pierre Garnier
GlaxoSmithKline CEO
GlaxoSmithKline 2004 “Corporate Responsibility Report”

Our concern is people’s safety.
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
3/1/2003

Anybody who suffers side effects of any sort I feel every sympathy for….
Dr. Alastair Benbow
Head of European Psychiatry for GlaxoSmithKline
5/11/03

Everybody who has looked at this the FDA, American Psychiatric Association, National Mental Health Association all those groups agree that SSRIs, like Paxil, are not addicting and not habit forming.
Andrew T. Bayman
attorney for GlaxoSmithKline
King & Spalding

GSK strongly stands behind the safety and efficacy of Paxil. Physician organizations, like the American Psychiatric Association, have stated that antidepressants are not habit-forming.
David Stout
President of U.S. Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline

GlaxoSmithKline is proud to offer physicians Paxil CR the latest treatment advance in the SSRI class.
David Stout
President, US Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline
4/19/2002

We missed something big we missed the fact that the public wasn’t going to necessarily trust us.
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline
8/13/2005

 

Family double death horror

I’ve just seen this terrible story in the Daily Mirror:

A father is believed to have returned home yesterday evening to find his two young children murdered and his wife with her wrists slit.

Emergency services were called to the home in Wandsworth, south west London, but the 10-week-old baby boy and one-year-old girl were pronounced dead at the scene.

A post mortem is due to take place today although reports have suggested the children showed no signs of injury and may have been smothered.

A woman in her mid-30s, believed to be the man’s wife, was arrested over the deaths and is being questioned by detectives today.

She is understood to have self-harmed but did not require hospital treatment.

Police are believed to be investigating the possibility that the mother was suffering from post-natal depression.

In cases like this, I believe one of the first things to establish is what (if anything) the woman was being treated with for her depression…

The authorities simply must start to take notice about this issue and the public deserves to know if there is a connection between acts of extreme violence and drug treatment – I believe that antidepressants can cause extreme violence.

All too often in the past, it seemed that the only other people in the world who would ever begin to entertain the possibility were people such as Michael Moore and Dr Peter Breggin in the USA – and in England David Healy, Andrew Herxheimer and David B. Menkes, who co-authored a paper on the subject in 2006 – Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law.

If you want more information, then you can read follow up with these links (or just type ‘Violence’ in the search box on the left of your screen:

What made Raoul Moat do it

Nebraska shooting – antidepressant connection yet again?

Lost in translation – were Anti-Depressants Involved In Finland School Massacre?

A brief history of school shootings

The Finland Massacre

SSRI stories

Antidepressants and violence

As I’ve said, there has to be a proper investigation into this issue – and I believe that the drug companies (such as Glaxo) know the problem exists, but have done nothing about it as it would have affected their profits.

 

Glaxo – a simple challenge for you…

It’s been a while since I wrote anything as I’ve been very busy with my day job.

Happily, others have continued to write – I’ve just read a post over at Seroxat Suffers about Glaxo in New Zealand and the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with Aropax (Seroxat).

According to Glaxo (only in New Zealand, though):

Depression is longer lasting or more severe than the low moods that everyone has from time to time. It is thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance in parts of the brain.

AROPAX corrects the chemical imbalance and so helps relieve the symptoms of depression.

Sorry, but I have to throw the gauntlet down to Glaxo on this one… I think in 2012 it’s fair to say that the chemical imbalance story has been discredited completely.

But, Glaxo, if you can tell me what the correct level of Serotonin is in a human brain, then I’ll listen.

If you can measure how much Serotonin I currently have in my brain, then I’ll listen.

If you can then demonstrate how much 20mgs of Seroxat will raise my brain serotonin level by, then I’ll listen.

But the problem is that Glaxo can’t do any of those – the idea of a ‘chemical imbalance’ causing depression – and even the term ‘SSRI’ – was invented by marketing and PR companies, simply to sell a drug.

To use a technical term, it’s complete bollocks.

 

 

If you don’t want to believe me…

I think we all know the internet is overflowing with all kinds of dubious sources of ‘information’ sources.

I’m a patient who suffered greatly at the hands of GlaxoSmithkline and decided to tell my story by creating this blog. As such I freely admit that I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, unbiased.

I see what I do as trying to counter (in some small way) the spin and lies that Glaxo routinely produces every week of the year.

I also hope I may be able to help some people understand what’s happening to them if they are suffering from Seroxat addiction and are trying to withdraw from the drug.

But if you don’t want to believe me, then can I suggest you look at the new blog written by Dr David Healy – Dr Healy being the internationally respected psychiatrist, pyschopharmacologist, scientist and author. I can’t recommend this blog enough. Go there now!

And for the record:

I believe Seroxat is defective and dangerous.

I believe that Glaxo has hidden clinical trial data that shows exactly how dangerous a drug it is.

I believe that something must be done to help people who suffer terrible problems with withdrawal, as they desperately try to stop taking Seroxat.

I believe that Seroxat is addictive.

I believe that Seroxat can cause anger, aggression and violence.

I believe that doctors have taken large sums of money from Glaxo to lie about the efficacy and safety of Seroxat.

I believe that GlaxoSmithKline puts profits before patients – their wealth before our health.

I took Seroxat for 9 years and it took me 22 months to withdraw from the drug little by little.

Maybe you should believe me – I do know what I’m talking about.

Yet more on Ian Hudson and the MHRA

Another old post here about Ian Hudson playing fast and loose with important public health matters – how that man is still in his job in 2012 is beyond me.

Interestingly, I’ve just found this old article from the BMJ, 29 January 2005

Select committee angry over absence of drug regulator from session

London – by Lynn Eaton

Members of the House of Commons select committee on health appeared angry that they were not able to question one of the employees of the United Kingdom’s drug regulatory authority at a session last week looking into the influence of the drug industry.

Although several senior figures from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency attended the session, the committee said that it would also have liked to have heard evidence from Ian Hudson. Dr Hudson is a member of the agency’s executive board and was worldwide director of safety at SmithKline Beecham from 1999 to 2001, having worked for the company since 1989. Dr Hudson joined the agency’s predecessor, the Medicines Control Agency, in January 2001 as director of the licensing division.

MPs wanted to question Dr Hudson about the company’s drug paroxetine (marketed as Seroxat in Britain and as Paxil in the United States). They were particularly interested in evidence concerning the safety and efficacy of the drug in people under the age of 18. In June 2003 the agency advised doctors that patients aged under 18 should not be prescribed the drug.

Committee members were told that Dr Hudson could not attend the session because he was at a London meeting as a representative of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, a part of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency.

“It would have been useful if Dr Hudson had been here, as he was at SmithKline Beecham and his department was responsible [for drug safety],” said Mr John Austin (Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead).

The agency’s chairman, Alasdair Breckenridge, told MPs he had been a member of the scientific committee of SmithKline Beecham from 1992 to 1997, when he resigned. He fiercely defended his involvement with the committee and denied any knowledge of the issue of the safety and efficacy of paroxetine.

The agency’s chief executive, Kent Woods, also giving evidence to the committee, said that Dr Hudson had assured him he had no direct personal involvement in this safety issue. “However, because of his role in the company [SmithKline Beecham] he doesn’t get involved [in discussions on Seroxat],” said Professor Woods.

Speaking after the meeting, the committee’s chairman, David Hinchliffe, who was clearly angry at the committee’s inability to question Dr Hudson, said his understanding was that Dr Hudson was invited to attend.

However, Professor Woods, also speaking afterwards, said that some discussion with the committee secretariat about who would attend had taken place and that the agency had received a clear statement from the committee about whom it wanted to see, which did not include Dr Hudson.

Professor Woods and Professor Breckenridge also sought to reassure the committee that measures were now being taken by the agency to monitor new drugs more closely. Both reiterated the views of earlier witnesses that the public needed a better understanding of the risks and benefits of all drugs.

Professor Breckenridge admitted that the agency had “suffered from not being professional enough” in its communications. “We are determined to change that,” he said, explaining that the agency has just appointed a communications director.
I hope you noticed the paragraph in bold – “Speaking after the meeting, the committee’s chairman, David Hinchliffe, who was clearly angry at the committee’s inability to question Dr Hudson, said his understanding was that Dr Hudson was invited to attend”.

But what I find strange is that if you want to download this PDF – Witnesses for Thursday.pdf – you’ll see that it appears that Lord Warner (then Health Minister) and David Hincliffe had a phone conversation on the Monday morning before the hearing and agreed exactly who was going to attend from the MHRA… and you will see that Ian Hudson is not mentioned as a witness.

I’m confused – who’s lying then – Lord Warner or David Hinchliffe? and why?

I have emailed my concerns to members of the Committee who were there, asking questions that day, but so far I have been ignored – more than once…


The MHRA, Ian Hudson and the House of Commons

Just to follow on from yesterday’s post about the MHRA and its links to Big Pharma, I thought this might be of interest.

Below is an old post I wrote, specifically about Ian Hudson and the way he avoided giving evidence to the House of Commons select committee – he just didn’t bother to turn up – he said he had a ‘prior engagement’.

How very convenient.

A short while ago, I wrote a post about Dr Ian Hudson. Hudson is currently the MHRA’s Director of Licensing – but the job he had before he joined the agency was at GlaxoSmithKline – he was their Worldwide Director of Safety and we know from his CV that one of the drugs he had “significant involvement with” was, in fact, Seroxat…

In my previous post I bemoaned the fact that Hudson had decided to go elsewhere on the day he was expected to be questioned by the House of Commons Health Select Committee about Seroxat safety and trial data.

The MHRA has been questioned about the secret data that Glaxo kept hidden for more than a decade.

The MHRA replied that they were “confident that neither Professor Breckenridge nor Dr Hudson had prior knowledge of the data discussed in Dr Breggin’s report.”

Does the MHRA really expect us to believe that Glaxo’s Worldwide Director of Safety, who had a “significant involvement in Paroxetine” (Seroxat), did not have full knowledge of ALL the trials and data that appertained to this particular drug?

Does Ian Hudson expect us to believe this?

He was their Worldwide Director of Safety and Seroxat is one of GSK’s biggest ever blockbuster drugs… hmmmm?

This stinks.

The Murdochs and Glaxo – the parallels…

I’ve been following the News International story with great interest. What surprised me today is the news that people think it’s wrong that James Murdoch paid off Gordon Taylor (£700,000 according to some estimates) and  included a gagging order in the agreement to stop the truth from coming out. Of course, Murdoch did this long before the details of the case were in the public domain, so he was spending big in order to try and avoid exactly what’s happening at this very moment.

There seems to be outrgage that someone would do such a thing… well, I’ve got news for you – Glaxo has been doing for years and still does..

Here’s an old post from 2007:

Buying our silence

Buying our silence – that’s what it’s all about when Glaxo opens its cheque book to ‘settle’ litigation. It has nothing to do with putting right a wrong or making sure that patients are not harmed in the future – Glaxo is simply protecting its own interests – while never admitting it did anything wrong.

Glaxo always denies it was in the wrong. “We believe we acted appropriately,” said Glaxo spokesman Mary Ann Rhyne in one case the company settled. “We deny liability. We have taken this action to avoid protracted litigation and the costs associated with that. We haven’t admitted any liability.”

In another case, GlaxoSmithKline once again admitted no wrongdoing as part of another settlement. “We’ve agreed to this settlement to avoid the delay, expense and uncertainty of litigation,” said Mary Anne Rhyne, a company spokeswoman. However, though Glaxo doled out $65 million in this case, it refused to admit guilt. Paragraph 22 of the final Order in that case, dated April 22, 2005 states:

“Neither this Final Order and Judgment, the Settlement Agreement, nor any of its terms or the negotiations or papers related thereto shall constitute evidence or an admission by Defendant, that any acts of wrongdoing have been committed, and they shall not be deemed to create any inference that there is any liability therefore.”

The US government has hit the jackpot with Glaxo. On September 12, 2006, the Huffington Post reported that Glaxo had agreed to pay more than $3 billion to settle charges by the IRS that the company under-reported profits to avoid paying US taxes.

However, here too, in true Glaxo form, the company denied any guilt and said it only paid the $3 billion to settle the case to avoid protracted litigation. That’s $3 billion… but we never did anything wrong!

You can read more about these cases here.

Maybe you see a pattern here – HUGE payouts, but only to avoid protracted litigation.

Yeah, right.

The other common thread in Glaxo’s settlements is the gagging of individuals. The agreements people sign – under subtle but nevertheless very real duress – try to ensure silence.

Typically you will not be free to carry on making public comments about Seroxat or addiction to it. Perhaps you might be forced to take down your website or stop blogging on the subject… perhaps you will not be allowed to talk about withdrawal from the drug in public… basically you’re paid to go away and shut up.

Importantly, you’re NOT paid anything for all the suffering and harm you have experienced – you’re simply paid to go away and shut up. These agreements are all about protecting companies like Glaxo – rather than trying to help injured patients. And then to rub salt into the wound Glaxo asks the court to seal any incriminating documents – it doesn’t work every time though.

What I can’t see is why Glaxo, if they really have nothing to hide, can’t settle with people but NOT gag them – why should a payout from Glaxo be dependent upon our silence… what kind of warped quid pro quo are we talking about here.

This leaves just one question: Alastair Benbow takes money from Glaxo – why can’t he be made to shut up?!

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