Sunday, January 28, 2007

GSK - Seroxat: hi there drug reps, we're from head office and we're here to help you

What's the difference between these two statements?

"Demonstrates remarkable efficacy and safety in the treatment of adolescent depression."

"The results of the studies were disappointing. The possibility of obtaining a safety statement from this data was considered but rejected."

The first is what GSK told its sales reps after it tested its adult antidepressant Seroxat (aka Paxil in the US) on teenagers.

The second is what company insiders had admitted internally. But it went ahead and promoted the drug for children anyway.

This is the story of how Britain's biggest drug company deliberately misled doctors into prescribing Seroxat, which it couldn't prove actually worked for teenagers. Not only that, one of its own clinical trials indicated that they were six times more likely to become suicidal after taking it.

In this investigation the BBC's TV programme, Panorama reveals the secret trail of internal emails which show how GSK manipulated the results of the trial for its own commercial gain. Panorama has gained access to them as GSK fights a fraud trial in the US which could seriously damage its reputation.

The documents also reveal how the company continued to deny safety problems with the drug despite three investigations by Panorama reporter Shelley Jofre.

Meanwhile, no one knows how many hundreds of young people self-harmed or took their own lives after their doctors prescribed the drug, which has now been banned for under-18s in the UK.

Panorama, Monday 29 January, 8.30-9.00pm BBC ONE

1 comment:

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