GSK's Data Transparency Initiatives: Will They Trigger a Change in Pharma Industry Practices?

GSK's Data Transparency Initiatives: Will They Trigger a Change in Pharma Industry Practices?
Case Code: BSTR483
Case Length: 14 Pages
Period: 2012-2014
Pub Date: 2015
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.600
Organization: GlaxoSmithKline plc.
Industry: Pharmaceutical Industry
Countries: US
Themes: Radical Openness, Data Transparency
GSK's Data Transparency Initiatives: Will They Trigger a Change in Pharma Industry Practices?
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


Putting Profits Before Safety?

Despite GSK paying a fine for illegally marketing Paxil in the US and committing to data transparency by publicly disclosing its clinical trials data, it was reported that the company was continuing with its illegal marketing of drugs in the US and had closed its clinical trials register on its website....

In 2003, Gregory Thorpe (Thorpe) and Blair Hamrick (Hamrick), representatives at GSK, initiated legal action against GSK with the federal government. The lawsuit was filed reportedly after their complaint to the managers at GSK in 2001 was ignored. Their complaint comprised allegations regarding GSK’s marketing of drugs for off-label uses.....

Embracing Transparency

GSK’s transparency initiatives received appreciation from several quarters. According to Mark Walport, an advocate of transparency and director of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable organization, "In its commitment towards more openness and collaboration, GSK is setting an example of how the pharmaceutical industry must adapt to help drive forward medical advances. Real breakthroughs do not come out of nowhere, but are born of scientists sharing their knowledge and learning from each other. GSK's moves are bold and innovative, a very positive sign of its commitment to tackle some of the greatest health challenges facing the world today.".....

Others Follow Suit

Following GSK’s transparency move, French multinational pharmaceutical company, Sanofi S. A (Sanofi) stared posting their trials results on In September 2012, Sanofi, GSK, and Roche helped found TransCelerate BioPharma, a non-profit that created standards for collecting and reporting clinical-trial data. According to Philip Huang, vice president of strategic planning and operations for Sanofi, "It will essentially give investigators a single playbook, if you will, for how to do clinical research."...

The Results

As of July 2014, the GSK Clinical Register listed 6,939 clinical trials in 185 countries. It was reported that the site received more than 40,000 page views per month and 300 unique visitors daily....


Though GSK had committed itself in 2013 to stop making payments to doctors and hospitals completely by 2016, it was reported that the company was not doing much in this regard. In June 2015, OpenPaymentsData, a search-based website that encouraged patients to search for payments made to their own doctors, revealed that GSK had paid doctors fees totalling US$ 213 million for the year 2014. Nearly US$ 36 million of those comprised of general payments for non-research services, though Witty had taken a pledge to phase out such payments...


Exhibit I: Details of how GlaxoSmithKline was Formed
Exhibit II: GlaxoSmithKline's Financial Summary
Exhibit III: Details of GSK's Record Trial
Exhibit IV: List of Companies Ranking in Pharmaceutical Journal's Corporate Transparency Study Results (2014)
Exhibit V: Pharmaceutical Payments to Doctors and Hospitals in 2014

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