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GlaxoSmithKline Drug Development and Research Scandal

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Jarod Cassidy4 years ago

GlaxoSmithKline is now at the center of the controversy that has come to surround pharmaceutical research and development in emerging countries like China. GSK is now facing allegations of corruption, bribery, price fixing, and unethical clinical trials which could lead to criminal charges in both Britain and the U.S.

GlaxoSmithKline and Unethical Clinical Trials

“If [this is] true, it’s a moral sin in research requirements. No one could approve human trials without having [animal testing] information available, scientifically or ethically. That’s kind of a Rock-of Gibraltar sized ethics violation” – Arthur L. Caplan, head of the division of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center as published by New York Times.

  • The New York Times has claimed that it received a confidential report of an internal audit performed by GSK which warned of problems in the way the company performed research and clinical trials.
  • According to the document, issues were found in the company’s Shanghai research center which develops neurological drugs.
  • Auditors found that testing was done on humans before researchers reported results of animal testing.
  • The same document suggests that employees did not properly monitor the clinical trials and were paying hospitals in a manner that the auditors warned could be perceived as bribery.
  • In the clinical trials of a drug called ozanezumab, auditors found that the project leader did not learn the results of the animal testing until after they had begun testing on humans.
  • In the same clinical trials, auditors found six unreported studies.

GlaxoSmithKline Alleged Corruption

“Certain senior executives of GSK China, who know our systems well, appear to have acted outside of our process and controls, which breaches Chinese law.” – Abbas Hussain, GSK’s head of emerging markets as published by Bloomberg.

  • In addition to unethical clinical trials, GSK is being investigated by Chinese authorities for alleged corruption including price fixing, bribery, and quality controls.
  • GSK has been accused of bribing Chinese officials and doctors to boost sales.
  • The company is also accused of raising drug prices by funneling up to $489 million in bribes through 700 travel agencies according to CNN.
  • If the allegations are true, GSK executives could be hit with criminal charges for violating bribery laws for both Britain and the United States.

GlaxoSmithKline has produced large name drugs such as Avandia, Paxil, and Wellburtin.

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