GlaxoSmithKline Executives — True Quotes

Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.

J.C. Watts

Here follows a good selection of "believe it or not" quotes issued top GlaxoSmithKline executives, attorneys and company spokespersons gleaned from the Internet. We think they have an almost "poetic" quality to them. If you come across any more good quotes please send them to us.

....We also have the pressure
to understand that our drugs aren't safe...

Great [GSK] products,
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.

—Jean-Pierre Garnier
GlaxoSmithKline CEO

GlaxoSmithKline 2004 "Corporate Responsibility Report"

I think to focus on safety is important. 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....

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.

—Jean-Pierre Garnier
GlaxoSmithKline CEO

GlaxoSmithKline 2004 "Corporate Responsibility Report"

Our concern
is people's safety.

Anybody who suffers
side effects of any sort
I feel every sympathy for....

Some people will never have enough information [re: side effects].
That's it. I've got an attorney
sitting down there waiting to see me.
I've got to go.

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.

GSK strongly stands behind the safety and efficacy of Paxil.
Physician organizations, like
the American Psychiatric Association,
have stated that antidepressants are not

is proud to offer
Paxil CR
the latest treatment advance
in the SSRI class.

David Stout
President, US Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline


We missed something big —
we missed the fact that the public
wasn't going to necessarily trust us.

In the words of a very famous person in Washington,
GSK is a company with a soul.
I love it. I love it.

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 the standard
for everyone, since responsible
business is only
a reality if it is practised
by all employees at all times.

—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.

Human behavior is —
we know so little about it,
and therefore, to try to speculate
on a mechanism for human behavior
is very difficult.

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?'

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.

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.

I think fundamentally the public needs to be reassured
that multinational companies and globalisation are not bad —
quite the reverse.

We take the safety of our medicines extremely seriously....

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,

If you pay peanuts you get monkeys —
and we cannot have monkeys running this company.

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


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.

The side effects [of Paxil "discontinuance"] are things
like dizziness, nausea, headache, um, and are
clearly labeled
in the information made available to doctors

I think patients have
nothing to fear
from taking Seroxat.

Experts including the FDA
and leading physician and mental health organizations
agree that antidepressant medications
like Paxil
are non-habit-forming.

It was quite clear from talking to patients —
and as a
that's very, very important
to me, it's quite clear that the phrase
"Seroxat is not addictive"
was poorly understood
by them.

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....

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.

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

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."

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.

You can experience symptoms,
as you can with other SSRIs
and as you can with
other kinds of medicines as well.

What we have seen
in terms of the anecdotal reports
[of Paxil withdrawal] is that it happens very rarely.

While GlaxoSmithKline strives to produce medications
that safely and effectively treat medical conditions,
we're also committed to protecting the environment.

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 (Page 98)

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.

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.

My mum, you know, she thinks her son walks on water.....

....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 (now GSK)

Fast Forward: The Best Ideas on Managing Business Change

My wife thinks J.P. [Garnier] is the best thing since sliced bread.

....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.

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.

We are a high-integrity company.
We know what the rules are
and we follow them.

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.

It's not possible really to measure total serotonin.
We do not know with absolute certainty
about how any of the antidepressants work.

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.

We follow the law, and we follow government guidelines.

This is a company that is reinventing itself ...
possibly creating a model for pharma companies.

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

So we always want to make sure
we are serving the good, the right purpose....

I'll be a hero in three years.

I have no trouble making difficult decisions.
I do not agonize too much — just ask around.
I sleep well at night.

I do not need to take anything.
I am fortunate to be in very good health.
And you have to be well in your head.
You have to enjoy not the destination, but the journey.

I can't count on people
just to trust us as a company
to do the right thing,
even though they should.

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
it's admitted, understood and addressed.

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.

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."

We think more transparency is better.
We don't want to be accused of anything
about the way we deal
with trials.

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.

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.

Seroxat does have side effects,
but these are clearly stated in the information
that's made available to doctors and to patients.