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PHARMA: I guess GSK’s not reading THCB

A couple of days ago I posted a long piece about what big pharma might do to get itself out of the bind it’s in over reimportation. My suggestions included bending somewhat on reimportation and taking the high road on patient safety by helping to certify limited sources of imported drugs. Last week, the second biggest drugmaker GlaxoSmithkline decided to take, shall we say, an alternate approach. It’s running ads bascially echoing Jeb Bush’s point of a while back that Canadian drugs are going to kill you.

Actually if you read the ads carefully, they really are saying that drugs of unknown origin purchased over the Internet are going to kill you. So perhaps if you buy them from a certified Canadian pharmacy regulated by the Canadian government, then perhaps not only will they not kill you, but they may even be the exact same drugs as sold in American pharmacies, made in exactly the same factory in Puerto Rico or Ireland.

Pharma companies claim to think long term about their R&D. We’re not seeing a lot of evidence of long-term thinking in their current public policy stance. For instance, what if either HHS/FDA changes its rules or the bill sitting in Congress for reimportation passes before, oh say, November this year. Do they really think that the President will do something 80% of seniors oppose if the election is coming down to the wire in Florida and Pennsylvania? And if pharma loses here, what’s Plan B?

Meanwhile, talking of allegedly unsafe drugs GSK is now facing its first lawsuits over the use of Paxil in kids.

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