Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Doing good hides being bad

GlaxoSmithKline has announced a partnership with Save the Children to help reduce the child mortality rates in Africa by providing drugs at cost. This sounds all very good and such. I am all for reducing child mortality rates and reduced costs for medications.

However, you should also know that GlaxoSmithKline is the manufacturer of Tykerb which is used to treat several kinds of cancer, including metastatic breast cancer for the paltry amount of $6000-$7000/month. I did find the price online for $1000/month. This is only one of their many medications.

What irks me about this supposed 'goodness' by GSK is paid for on the backs of the American patients which metastatic breast cancer as well as other cancers.

In addition, GSK was fined for market abuse in the US where it paid $3 billion (that's with a b) last year for marketing antidepressants for children for which it had not been approved. And if you read this little analysis included with the article, the rest of the rationale comes clear.


"Big pharma" does not have a good reputation in Africa. Memories are still scarred by the refusal of some drug companies to lower prices for HIV drugs when millions were dying across the continent.
Justin Forsyth, of Save the Children, admits that he used to picket GlaxoSmithKline over that controversy. Now, though, he thinks this particular drug giant has reformed itself under the leadership of Sir Andrew Witty.

That's why the charity has agreed to forge a partnership with GSK to formulate new drugs and train health workers in Africa.

But some critics insist it's still an unholy alliance. They argue the drug company is in need of good publicity - especially after it was fined $3bn (£1.9bn) in the US last year for promoting anti-depressants for unapproved use in children.

The partnership might also help GSK gain access to new emerging economies - which will spend much more on drugs in the coming years.

So basically they are using good to hide the bad and their self promotion for future gains. Its not so good in daylight. I'm still not a fan.

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