Monday, 1 November 2010

Boycott GlaxoSmithKline, Panadol, Aquafresh, Macleans, Niquitin, Lucozade, Ribena and Horlicks

GlaxoSmithKline plc is a global pharmaceutical, biologics, vaccines and consumer healthcare company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's third largest pharmaceutical company measured by revenues (after Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer). It has a portfolio of products for major disease areas including asthma, cancer, virus control, infections, mental health, diabetes and digestive conditions. It also has a large consumer healthcare division which produces and markets oral healthcare products, nutritional drinks and over-the-counter medicines, including Sensodyne, Horlicks and Gaviscon.

The organisation that calls its GlaxoSmithKline or GSK for short was created through a myriad of mergers and acquisitions. Please bear me with on this.

GSK was formed in 2000 by the merger of GlaxoWellcome plc (formed from the acquisition of Wellcome plc by Glaxo plc), and SmithKline Beecham plc (from the merger of Beecham plc, and SmithKlineBeckman Corporation).

In 1880, Burroughs Wellcome & Company was founded in London by American pharmacists Henry Wellcome and Silas Burroughs.

Glaxo was founded in Bunnythorpe, New Zealand in 1904. Originally Glaxo was a baby food manufacturer processing local milk into a baby food by the same name: the product was sold in the 1930s under the slogan "Glaxo builds bonny babies".

Glaxo became Glaxo Laboratories, and opened new units in London in 1935. Glaxo Laboratories bought two companies called Joseph Nathan and Allen & Hanburys in 1947 and 1958 respectively. After the Company bought Meyer Laboratories in 1978, it started to play an important role in the US market. In 1983 the American arm Glaxo Inc. moved to Research Triangle Park (US headquarters/research) and Zebulon (US manufacturing) in North Carolina. Burroughs Wellcome and Glaxo merged in 1995 to form GlaxoWellcome. In the same year, GlaxoWellcome opened its Medicine Research Centre in Stevenage. Three years later GlaxoWellcome bought Polfa Poznan Company in Poland.

In 1843, Thomas Beecham launched his Beecham's Pills laxative in England giving birth to the Beecham Group.

In 1830, John K. Smith opened its first pharmacy in Philadelphia. In 1865 Mahlon Kline joined the business which, 10 years later, became Smith, Kline & Co. Subsequently, in 1891, it merged with French, Richard and Company. It changed its name to Smith Kline & French Laboratories as it focused more on research in 1929. Years later, Smith Kline & French Laboratories opened a new laboratory in Philadelphia; it then bought Norden Laboratories, a business doing research into animal health.

Smith Kline & French Laboratories bought Recherche et Industrie Thérapeutiques (Belgium) in 1963 to order to focus on vaccines. In 1982, it bought Allergan, a manufacturer of eye and skincare products. The Company merged with Beckman Inc. later that year and then changed its name to SmithKline Beckman.

In 1988, SmithKline Beckman bought its biggest competitor, International Clinical Laboratories, and in 1989 merged with Beecham to form SmithKline Beecham plc. The headquarters of the Company were then moved to England.

In 2000, Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham merged to form GlaxoSmithKline.

GSK market over-the-counter (OTC) medicines including Panadol, dental products such as Aquafresh and Macleans, smoking control products such as Niquitin and nutritional healthcare drinks such as Lucozade, Ribena and Horlicks.

Controversies involved GlaxoSmithKline

Paroxetine (Seroxat, Paxil) is an SSRI antidepressant released in 1992 by GlaxoSmithKline. In March 2004 the FDA ordered a black box warning placed on SSRI and other antidepressants, warning of the risk for potential suicidal thinking in children and adolescents. Since the FDA approved paroxetine in 1992, approximately 5,000 U.S. citizens have sued GSK. On January 29, 2007, the BBC in the UK broadcast a fourth documentary in its 'Panorama' series about Seroxat. There is as yet no proven link between SSRI's and actual suicide, and the addition of blackbox warning labels was said to be controversial. But many recent analyses prove the link, even with older patients.

In November 2007, a United States Congressional committee released a report describing intimidation of Dr John Buse (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) by GlaxoSmithKline over his concerns about the cardiovascular risks associated with the company's antidiabetes drug Rosiglitazone (Avandia).

In March 2006, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced that "GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will pay $14 million to resolve allegations that state-government programs paid inflated prices for the firm’s anti-depressant drug Paxil because GSK engaged in patent fraud, antitrust violations and frivolous litigation to maintain a monopoly and block generic versions from entering the market."

At the AGM on 19 May 2003, GSK shareholders rejected a motion regarding a £22 million pay and benefits package for CEO, JP Garnier. This was the first time such a rebellion by shareholders against a major British company has occurred, but was regarded as a possible turning point against other so-called "fat cat" deals within executive pay structure.

The company and its shareholders have been targeted by animal rights activists because it is a customer of the controversial animal-testing company, Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). HLS has been the subject since 1999 of an international campaign by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), ever since footage shot covertly by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which was shown on British television, showed staff punching, kicking, screaming and laughing at the animals in their care. On 7 September 2005, the ALF detonated a bomb containing two litres of fuel and four pounds of explosives on the doorstop of the Buckinghamshire home of Paul Blackburn, GSK's corporate controller, causing minor damage.

In November 2005, AIDS Healthcare Foundation accused the company of boosting its short-term monopoly profit by not increasing production of the anti-AIDS drug AZT despite a surge in demand, hence creating a shortage that affected many AIDS patients in Africa. GSK announced that it had halted clinical trials of the CCR5 entry inhibitor, aplaviroc (GW873140), in HIV-infected, treatment-naive patients because of concerns about severe hepatotoxicity. In June 2006 GSK said it was further cutting, by about 30%, the not-for-profit prices it charges for some of these medicines in the world's poorest countries.

In December 2003, Allen Roses, the then worldwide vice-president of genetics at GlaxoSmithKline, admitted that most prescription medicines do not work on most people who take them. "The vast majority of drugs - more than 90 per cent - only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people," Dr Roses said. "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."

GlaxoSmithKline's Consumer Brands (some of them)

* Aquafresh
* alli
* Beechams
* Biotene
* Breathe Right
* Corsodyl
* Eumovate
* Flixonase
* Horlicks
* Imigran
* Lactacyd
* Lucozade Energy
* Lucozade Sport
* Macleans
* Nicabate
* Nicoderm CQ
* NiQuitin CQ
* Nytol
* Panadol
* Piriteze
* Piriton
* Poligrip
* Ribena
* Sensodyne
* Solpadeine
* Solpadeine Max
* Solpadeine Plus
* Solpadeine Headache
* Tums
* Zovirax

Sir Christopher GentSir Christopher Gent is currently the chairman of GlaxoSmithKline. He is the former chief executive officer of Vodafone. From 1977–79, he was Chairman of the Young Conservatives.

Prior to joining Vodafone, Sir Christopher was Director of Network Services at ICL. In this role, he was Managing Director of Baric, a computer services company owned jointly by Barclays and ICL, and was responsible for ICL's computer bureau services worldwide.

From October 2005 to October 2006 he served on the Tax Reform Commission, established by the then Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.

He is a non-executive director of Ferrari SpA and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc; a member of KPMG's Chairman Advisory Group; a Senior Adviser at Bain & Co; and a member of the Advisory Board of Reform.

Other Knights on the board of GSK include Sir Robert Wilson, Sir Deryck Maughan, Sir Crispin Davis, Professor Sir Roy Anderson. Another member of the board is James Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation, Europe and Asia.

On 18th October, Sir Christopher Gent signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.

For this reason Sir Christopher is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott all GSK brands.

As you can see GSK area huge diverse company with many different products from Horlicks to Panadol. Please feel free to suggest alternatives.


  1. I find it interesting (and it makes me a little sad) to notice that the Knights of the Realm still control the rest of us, so long after the supposed end of the feudal system.

  2. The thing that gets me is the asssumption that because you sit on the board of one company you are obviously qualified to run another. It's as is the products, customers, staff, processes, procedures etc are all irrelevant because boards exist in an alternative dimension.

    James Murdoch is a prime example. He may know about media but what does he know about pharmaceuticals? Nothing, but he still gets a cushy job.

    It's all very incestuous.

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