Being hit with a $3 billion fine from the U.S. government has given GlaxoSmithKline some incentive to change its ways. The drug giant is undertaking a few changes to its policies in order to regain some of its lost respect. They are going about this change in three main ways.
1. More access to Clinical Data
GSK promises to make more detailed data from their clinical trials available to scientists and researchers. This will be done through an online database that will accumulate all the data. However, a panel will have to approve any request for access to this data. GSK claims that this approval process is to ensure that those wanting access have valid motivations, but one has to wonder if this is just another way for GSK to try to mend their public image while still keeping their data behind closed doors.
2. Further investment in the Open Lab
In 2010, GSK established the Open Lab laboratory in Spain, an effort to open the company’s resources to independent researchers in hopes of finding innovative solutions to the world’s serious problems, including tuberculosis and HIV. The company announced that it will grant the Open Lab an additional $8 million in funding.
3. Opening up the Compound Library for Tuberculosis Research
Finally, GSK has also identified which compounds in its vaults might act against tuberculosis and made those compounds public. They will be publishing these results in a scientific journal in hopes of new strides being made against treating TB.
4. Publication of all data—good and bad
In the recent past, pharmaceutical companies including GSK have been accused of going to any length to conceal or skew the results of unfavorable studies and present only positive results in peer-reviewed journals. The company now promises not to do this, and instead says it is committed to publishing study results as they actually are.
Time and time again, drug companies like Pfizer, GSK, and Eli Lilly have made promises to reform after they have been found guilty of wrongdoing. But the changes that GSK is promising to make are truly the first of its kind. What do you think? Do you think these are promises that will be kept? Or are they just more of an effort to create a trust that will be violated when the company does as it has always done and put its profits ahead of patient health and safety?