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On air: Your Questions for GlaxoSmithKline

Sarah Holmes Sarah Holmes | 12:09 UK time, Monday, 26 April 2010


Andrew Witty is the CEO of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, and will be live on WHYS from 1700GMT. No subject is off limits so long as it's relevant to GSK.

In turn, Mr Witty would like to ask you if you think enough is now being done by the pharmaceutical industry to fight malaria? And if your perception of the pharmaceutical industry is changing?


Nuala 18:46 Andrew says never become complacent with malaria even if there were a vaccine.

Nuala 18:27 : Andrew answers whether all anti-retroviral drugs are of equal quality around the world by saying we operate a common standard across all our medications across the world.

Nuala 18:18
Andrew from GSK: 80-100 million tablets going into Sub-saharan Africa, biggest issue getting them out of the warehouses in Africa and into the villages.

Nuala 18:06, Phones on, Andrew Whitty seated and we're off.

Chris 17:46
Question from Dr Greg Kushnik, from New York:
Do you think there should be a time plan for getting people off medicines such as Paxil, to prevent the dangers of long term usage?

Nuala 17:19 Dr. Carlat There is an issue whether treating women who are pregnant with Paxil is more dangerous than other anti-depressant drugs.
Has GSK come out with a position in reference to this and has Paxil for pregnant women been contraindicated in countries?

Nuala 16.33 Question from a concerned consultant psychiatrist in the UK
A number of drug companies including GSK have been found to withhold data from the public and from regulators. Given the vast amounts of money that can be made in the drug industry, how can you reassure people that the enormous profits will not lead to further efforts at concealing bad news from the public?

And a follow-up:
Given the failure of regulation in the drug industry that has allowed drug companies to conceal damaging information, what changes to the regulatory industry would you like to see, because self= regulation has not worked.

Sarah, 15:05 So far we'll be hearing from people in 10 different countries who all have questions for Mr Witty, including Dr Ashraf Grimwood, a South African doctor who works at an HIV clinic in Cape Town.

Krupa, 14.54: Interesting article on generic drugs here.

Claudia, 14.46 Saudi Arabia is the first country to temporarily suspend GSK's diabetes drug Avandia. They say: The risk outweighs its benefit, especially risks like heart failure. It was suspended in March for 6 months.

Nuala, 14:32 Mind over Meds?

Sarah, 12:30 Subjects coming up - quality of drugs in developing world, amount of effort made to get vaccine for malaria, how drugs are priced, price of drugs in poor countries, Paxil and mental health problems, cheaper HIV medicines, GSK's profits.

Here is more information on some of the key issue that we're sure to touch on.

Malaria is still the biggest cause of death in Africa and access to medicine is something that many of you are concerned about. Sunday is World Malaria Day and last Wednesday GSK announced it will make previously confidential data about anti-malarial drugs available as part of its new open innovation policy. Is this enough or should it be doing more?

GSK is under scrutiny in the US at the moment over the diabetes drug Avandia after a Senate committee report published in February says the company knew about the possible risks related to the drug.

Social Responsibility
Here Mr Witty talks about his commitment towards improving the social responsibility of GSK, particularly in terms of access to medicines. But as this piece in the Guardian points out, reducing the price of medicine in poorer countries could end up being profitable for GSK in the future. Do you trust GSK and Andrew Witty's commitment to 'fulfilling its social responsibilities'?

Generic drugs
In the US, GSK will lose its patent on a number of drugs by 2012, including Advair, its main asthma treatment. GSK is already applying its brand to some generics, which Mr Witty says will reassure people of the quality of these drugs. But, is it just a way to counter the loss of its patent?

Also, should GSK make it easier for people to have access to generic drugs for diseases like HIV/AIDS, as this piece argues. It was written last year but the issue remains current.

What else would you like to ask Mr Witty? Post your questions here.

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