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Putting GlaxoSmithKline to the test over paroxetine

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 12 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6754

Re: Putting GlaxoSmithKline to the test over paroxetine

Sir: When it comes to exemplars of medical ethics no one expects pharmaceutical companies to be at the front of the list. Nonetheless the recent behaviour of GlaxoSmith Kline (1), or that of AstraZeneca (2), are unacceptable.

Where several compounds are not significantly better at treating a disorder might physicians consider other factors when they discuss choice with patients.

Discussing non-clinical aspects may be a worthwhile and valid aspect of exercising choice. Just as consumers choose green products, and the BMA campaigns on human rights aspects of the conditions of workforces in the production of surgical instruments, so might patients decide that a company behaving in the right way is worth believing in; and rewarding by choosing its product.

If Doctors are believed to be unduly influenced by accepting education from pharmaceutical companies, imagine how 'Pharma' will respond to changing choice from their customers, and a deteriorating bottom line.

1 Pitting GlaxoSmithKlone to the test over Paroxetine. P Doshi. BMJ 2013;347:f6754
2 US Lawyers investigate trial that secured drug licence. D Cohen. BMJ 2013: 347: f6727

Competing interests: No competing interests

16 November 2013
M E Jan Wise
Consultant Psychiatrist
CNWL NHS Foundation Trust
13-15 Brondesbury Rd, London NW6 6BX