Last week, we referenced drug company CEO Andrew Witty’s statement that “mistakes were made” in regard to the way his company, GlaxoSmithKline, used to market its drugs. According to Witty, that’s all in the past – the off-label promotion, the lack of responding to FDA requests for safety information – after a record-setting $3 billion fine.
But Dr. Peter Breggin, writing in the Huffington Post, basically says the fine is chump change compared to what the company made promoting its antidepressants and other pharmaceutical drugs, without regard to product safety.
Still, the record-setting fine is a step in the right direction, even though Breggin’s piece sheds some disturbing light on the situation.
According to Breggin, a five minute video shows GlaxoSmithKline executives putting on a sound-and-light show that “rivals a rock band.” The executives tell their assembled mass of more than 2,000 sales representatives that “there are people in this room who are going to make ungodly sums of money,” even though the drugs they were selling could cause harm to patients.
Essentially, Breggin paints a picture of unbridled capitalism run amok. Advair, Paxil and Wellbutrin – these are all GlaxoSmithKline drugs that Breggin cites as being potentially harmful to patients, yet the company’s ra-ra-ra seems to be the antithesis of ethical business.