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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 14867

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: news

GSK to end state-level political contributions
Triangle Business Journal 2008 Dec 22
http://triangle.bizjournals.com/triangle/stories/2008/12/22/daily3.html


Full text:

GlaxoSmithKline says it will stop giving corporate political contributions – though the company will keep intact a political action committee that has given away millions in recent election cycles.

The drug company says its new policy will be to stop corporate political contributions around the world. In the past, the company has made contributions to state-level candidates in the U.S. and Canada.

In calendar year 2007, according to a company report, it gave about 250,000 British pounds (about $375,000) to candidates for state-held offices in the U.S. About 51 percent of that money went to Republicans, while 47 percent went to Democrats.

“We continue to believe that it is important for GSK to be engaged in policy debates and the political process,” CEO Andrew Witty said in a written statement. “However, we need to ensure that there is no implication whatsoever that corporate political contributions provide us with any special privilege. We do not believe they have, and in the few countries we have given contributions we have done so in full compliance of the law.”

GSK is not ending all means of political contributions. The company says it will keep intact an employee-run political action committee in the U.S.

Since the 1990 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, PACs associated with GSK and its predecessor companies have donated more than $6 million to federal candidates and political parties.

GSK’s announcement Monday also will not affect the company’s lobbying practices. According to GSK’s most recent corporate responsibility report, the company spent $8.24 million on federal lobbying activities in the U.S. in 2007.

GlaxoSmithKline is based in London. Its U.S. headquarters are in North Carolina, where the company employs more than 5,000.

 

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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963