Dec. 17, 2013

GlaxoSmithKline Statement Rings Hollow

Statement of Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Founder and Senior Adviser, Public Citizen Health Research Group

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) CEO Andrew Witty’s apparent epiphany, announcing that the company will no longer engage in certain kinds of illegal activity, rings somewhat hollow. The company said nothing about refraining from fraudulently pricing drugs, selling adulterated drugs or criminally withholding information about drug risks – behaviors that have gotten the company fined repeatedly in the past decade. In addition, while GSK promises not to reward favorite physicians with speaking fees, it will continue paying some physicians for “market research” and “advisory activities.” In the face of its previous behavior, GlaxoSmithKline’s announcement today should be seen with great skepticism.