The GlaxoSmithKline "Defense"
There is no defense
for the indefensible.
The goal of all GlaxoSmithKline communications concerning the Paxil Protest series of demonstrations will be to preserve (perhaps salvage) the company's:
multibillion dollar Paxil revenue stream
To this end GlaxoSmithKline will probably generate:
a flurry of press releases* intended to "paper over" its freshly shredded corporate facade.
a series of carefully worded internal company memos designed to placate and calm its employees.
a fresh load of "good news" GSK/Paxil stories to drop off into the electronic and print media.
a parade of company spokespersons who will issue authoritarian-sounding statements embellished with time-tested one-liners**, and who will further respond to media questions backed by a Q&A/rude.
To track up-to-the-minute Paxil Protest news — along with any GSK responses — here are a couple of Google News searches that will help:
Optimize your ability to monitor breaking news by setting up each of the above searches as a Google News Alert. That way, when something "hits the wire" it will be delivered to your email box instantly.
The public will oftentimes have an opportunity to respond to many of GlaxoSmithKline's P.R. gambits by:
Sending emails to an author
Sending letters to an editor
Posting responses to an article online in "comments"
Interviews (phone or in person) with reporters covering this
*The following mock press release is adapted from an actual press release GlaxoSmithKline put out prior to a scathing Seroxat (Paxil) expose that ran in the UK in the year 2000 — a BBC Panorama special called "The Secrets of Seroxat." (This turned out to be a spectacular series; see our "links" page.)
Philadelphia, (date), 2005 - GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is particularly concerned that the recent event which occurred outside its United States headquarters may lead patients to discontinue their use of Paxil, with potentially serious consequences. GSK spokesperson Mary Anne Rhyne said, "The overwhelming view of independent medical experts and regulatory bodies around the world who have seen the data, is that Paxil 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."
In commenting on this event, GSK welcomes the opportunity to communicate the important role that Paxil has to play in treating depression and other mental health disorders.
J.P. Garnier, CEO of GSK, said, "We feel strongly that we have an obligation to speak up both for the millions of patients that Paxil 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."
GSK hopes that this occasion will serve as an opportunity to highlight the severity of depression and other mental health disorders and the important role Paxil has played in managing this debilitating disease that affects millions of people in the world.
**GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson "one-liners":
We feel Paxil is safe and effective and it is a medication that has successfully treated millions of patients around the world.
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.
—GSK spokesperson Mary Anne Rhyne
You can experience symptoms, as you can with other SSRIs and as you can with other kinds of medicines as well.
Whereupon former President Ronald Reagan's
famous quip comes to mind:
"There you go again."
If you are a member of the media seeking a statement from GlaxoSmithKline regarding this web site and the Paxil Protest here are your GSK spokesperson contacts.
UK Media Inquiries:
Philip Thomson...............+44 208 047 5502
David Mawdsley..............+44 208 047 5502
Chris Hunter-Ward..........+44 208 047 5502
Alice Hunt.......................+44 208 047 5502
US Media Inquiries:
Nancy Pekarek................+1 215 751 7709
Mary Anne Rhyne............+1 919 483 2839
Patricia Seif.....................+1 215 751 7709
Canada Media Inquiries:
Alison Steeves................+1 905 819 3363
As a last resort you might try calling "The Man" himself: GlaxoSmithKline's CEO, Jean-Pierre Garnier, at his home in Devon, PA: +1 610 254 0937.