archiving dated material from this page; please see GlaxoSmithKline for most current information.
- 1 Basic Information
- 1.1 HQ Contact information
- 1.2 Country of incorporation
- 1.3 Ownership status
- 1.4 Primary industry sector
- 1.5 Primary industry ranking
- 1.6 Number of employees worldwide
- 1.7 Chief executive officer
- 1.8 Financial information
- 2 Detailed Information
- 3 Problems with antidepressants for teens
- 4 Improving GSK's public image
- 5 Avandia controversy
- 6 Paxil Controversy and Lawsuits
- 6.1 Historical financial results
- 6.2 Business scope
- 6.3 Geographic scope
- 6.4 Governance
- 6.5 Labor
- 7 Political & public influence
- 8 Corporate Accountability
- 9 Articles and resources
HQ Contact information
980 Great West Road
Brentford, Middlesex TW8 9GS
Phone: 020 8047 5000
Country of incorporation
Primary industry sector
Primary industry ranking
- Fortune Global 500: 122
Number of employees worldwide
Chief executive officer
Jean-Pierre Garnier, 59
- Dodge & Cox LLC, 2.61% (value: $3,809,889,167 on June 30, 2007)
- Dodge & Cox Stock Fund 1.13%
- Allianz Global Investors .79%
- Morgan Stanley .59%
- 2006: $45,500,098
- 2005: $37,272,528
- 2006: $8,747,382
- 2005: $5,740,589
In 2000, GlaxoWellcome and SmithKline Beecham merged in a stock swap worth $76 billion to form, what was then, the world’s largest pharmaceutical firm: GlaxoSmithKline. Each of these two firms were themselves products of a history of mergers with smaller pharmaceutical interests, but combined they would have over 7% of the global market.
In 1880, Burroughs Wellcome & Company was founded in London by American pharmacists Henry Wellcome and Silas Burroughs. Wellcome Tropical Researches Laboratories was opened in 1902. McDougall & Robertson Inc. was bought by the Wellcome Company to be more active in animal health. Also, the production center was moved from New York to North Carolina in 1970 and the following year another research center was built.
Glaxo was founded in Bunnythorpe, New Zealand. Originally a baby food manufacturer processing local milk into an early baby food by the same name, which was sold in the 1930s under the slogan "Glaxo builds bonny babies". Still visible on the main street of Bunnythorpe is a derelict dairy factory (factory for drying and processing cows' milk into powder) with the original Glaxo logo clearly visible, but nothing to indicate that this was the start of a major multinational.
Glaxo became Glaxo Laboratories, and opened new units in London in 1935. Glaxo Laboratories bought two companies Joseph Nathan and Allen & Hanburys in 1947 and 1958 respectively. After it bought Meyer Laboratories, it started to play an important role in the US market. In 1983 the American arm Glaxo Inc. moved to Research Triangle Park (US headquarters/research) and Zebulon (US manufacturing) in North Carolina. To be stronger in the medicine market, Burroughs Wellcome and Glaxo, Inc merged in 1995. The new name of the company was GlaxoWellcome. In the same year, GlaxoWellcome opened their Medicine Research Centre in England.
In 1843, Thomas Beecham launched his Beecham's Pills laxative in England. Beecham opened its first factory in England for rapid production of medicines in 1859. By the 1960s it was extensively involved in pharmaceuticals.
In 1830, John K. Smith opened its first pharmacy in Philadelphia. Over the years Smith, Kline and Company favorably amalgamated with the French, Richard and Company because of their successful management decisions. It changed its name to Smith Kline & French Laboratories to focus more on research in 1929. Years later, Smith Kline & French Laboratories opened a new laboratory in Philadelphia; furthermore, it bought a laboratory called Norden Laboratories which was doing research into animal health to benefit their research in various other areas.
In the 1960s, Smith Kline & French Laboratories attempted to grow through a series of mergers, beginning with the acquisition of Recherche et Industrie Thérapeutiques in 1963. Smith Kline & French Laboratories bought 7 more laboratories in Canada and US over the next six years. In 1982, it bought Allergan which was making products about eye and skin.
SmithKline continued to acquire competitors in the 1980s, beginning with Allergan, a pharmaceutical firm focused on skin and eye-care, for $260 million. In 1981, SmithKline purchased the medical instrument firm Beckman Instruments for $1 billion. Many analysts felt that this move was intended to diversify SmithKline and move them away from a dependence on Tagamet sales. In 1988, SmithKline Beckman bought its biggest competitor, International Clinical Laboratories, and enlarged by 50%.
In 1989, SmithKline, which had been considered a potential take-over target for several larger firms, entered into their largest merger to date, with Beecham Plc, to form the second largest drug company in the world. The combined firm had nearly $7 billion in worldwide revenues. As part of the merger, SmithKline sold off Allergan and distributed its stake in Beckman to shareholders, Beecham sold of its cosmetic operations including: Yardley, Margaret Astor, and Lancaster.
Problems with antidepressants for teens
In March 2004, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published excerpts from a GSK "internal document" that advised staff "to withhold clinical trial findings in 1998 that indicated the antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil in North America and Seroxat in the UK) had no beneficial effect in treating adolescents." The GSK memo recommended, in part, that the company needed to "effectively manage the dissemination of these data in order to minimize any potential negative commercial impact" and stated that "It would be commercially unacceptable to include a statement that efficacy had not been demonstrated, as this would undermine the profile of paroxetine." 
Improving GSK's public image
Due to the low public standing of GSK and of the drug industry as a whole, GSK began engaging in aggressive, often locally-focused PR.
In spring 2004, GSK launched a "grassroots outreach" effort, sending "sales representatives to deliver its message in front of the religious, fraternal, and other community groups to which they belong." A year into the effort, PR Week reported that GSK's standing had improved by 13 points, according to a Harris Interactive poll. "Clearly the grassroots campaign is having an impact," said Michael Pucci, Glaxo's VP of external advocacy. 
GSK "also forged a partnership with WebMD, launching the website plaintalkaboutmeds.com to address issues ranging from the cost of developing drugs to patient assistance programs," reported PR Week. 
In Fall 2005, the company will begin "an extensive state-by-state media blitz," paralleling its "grassroots outreach." PR Week reported, "Glaxo will target local media markets in each state - outlets that do not often have the chance to communicate directly with pharmaceutical executives." GSK's Pucci said that local reporters were easier for the drug company to deal with. "These folks are hungry for news," he said. "They'll print everything we say … without the political spin." GSK hired two PR firms for the media work, but declined to name them. 
Following Dr. Steven Nissen's publication of a study warning that "GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug Avandia increased the risk of heart attacks by 43% and death from cardiovascular events by possibly 64%," he was publicly pilloried. "More than one story from ostensibly different sources" derisively referred to him as "St Steven," the "Patron Saint of Drug Safety," and "Saint Steven the Pure," reported Evelyn Pringle in an August 2007 CounterPunch article. 
Among the Nissen attackers was FDA spokesman Douglas Arbesfeld. Arbesfeld previously worked at the PR firm Manning Selvage & Lee (MS&L), helping Glaxo and other "healthcare clients maximize internet-relations." Former FDA Deputy Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who ridiculed Nissen in a Wall Street Journal editorial, also consulted for pharmaceutical companies at MS&L. Two more FDA alums, Peter Pitts and Robert Goldberg, mocked Nissen in a Washington Times piece. Pitts is the senior vice-president for global health affairs at MS&L. Goldberg doesn't have ties to the PR firm, but serves with Pitts as an officer of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI), which Pringle describes as a "nest of ex-moles who served the industry in one capacity or another in the Bush Administration's FDA."  CMPI is a project of the Pacific Research Institute, a free market think tank.
Paxil Controversy and Lawsuits
In 2003 GSK signed a corporate integrity agreement and paid $88 million in a civil fine for overcharging Medicaid for the antidepressant Paxil, and nasal-allergy spray Flonase. Later that year GSK also ran afoul of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and was facing a demand for $7.8 billion in backdated taxes and interest, the highest in IRS history.
On September 12, 2006 GSK settled the largest tax dispute in IRS history agreeing to pay $3.1 billion. At issue in the case were Zantac and the other Glaxo Group heritage products sold from 1989–2005. The case was about an area of taxation dealing with intracompany "transfer pricing"—determining the share of profit attributable to the US subsidiaries of GSK and subject to tax by the IRS. Taxes for large multi-divisional companies are paid to revenue authorities based on the profits reported in particular tax jurisdictions, so how profits were allocated among various legacy Glaxo divisions based on the functions they performed was central to the dispute in this case.
On December 22, 2006, a US court decided in Hoorman, et al. v. SmithKline Beecham Corp that individuals who purchased Paxil(R) or Paxil CR(TM) (paroxetine) for a minor child may be eligible for benefits under a $63.8 million Proposed Settlement. The lawsuit won the argument that GSK promoted Paxil(R) or Paxil CR(TM) for prescription to children and adolescents while withholding and concealing material information about the medication's safety and effectiveness for minors.
The lawsuit stemmed from a consumer advocate protest against Paroxetine manufacturer GSK. Since the FDA approved paroxetine in 1992, approximately 5,000 U.S. citizens – and thousands more worldwide – have sued GSK. Most of these people feel they were not sufficiently warned in advance of the drug's side effects and addictive properties.
According to the Paxil Protest website, http://www.paxilprotest.com, hundreds more lawsuits have been filed against GSK. The Paxil Protest website was launched August 8, 2005 to offer both information about the protest and information on Paxil previously unavailable to the public. Just three weeks after its launch, the site received more than a quarter of a million hits. The original Paxil Protest website was removed from the internet in 2006. It is understood that the action to take down the site was undertaken as part of a confidentiality agreement or 'gagging order' which the owner of the site entered into as part of a settlement of his action against GlaxoSmithKline. (However, in March 2007, the website Seroxat Secrets discovered that an archive of the Paxil Protest Site was still available on the internet via Archive.org) Gagging orders are common in such cases and can extend to documents that defendants wish to remain hidden from the public. However in some cases, such documents can become public at a later date, such as those made public by Dr. Peter Breggin in February of 2006.
Historical financial results
Lines of business
- Consumer Healthcare
|Brand Name||Generic Name||Date of FDA Approval||Date of Patent Expiration||2006 Sales (millions)|
|Avandia®||rosiglitazone||2012 (2013, EU)||£1,645|
|Wellbutrin®||bupropion||The basic compound patents have expired. Formulation patents expire 2013||£900|
|Coreg®||carvedilol phosphate||Oct 20, 2006||2007||£779|
Countries of operation
- Global Pharmaceutical Operations headquarters in Brentford, United Kingdom with US operations based at Franklin Plaza in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
- Consumer Products headquarters in Moon Township, Pennsylvania suburb of Pittsburgh
- Major R&D sites in Greenford, United Kingdom; Stevenage, United Kingdom; Harlow, United Kingdom; Ware, United Kingdom; Beckenham, United Kingdom; Verona, Italy; Zagreb, Croatia; Evreux, France; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and Upper Merion and Collegeville, Pennsylvania
- Major manufacturing sites for prescription products in Ware, United Kingdom; Evreux, France; Montrose, United Kingdom; Barnard Castle, United Kingdom; Crawley, United Kingdom; Bristol, Tennessee; King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Zebulon, North Carolina; Cidra, Puerto Rico; Jurong Singapore and Cork, Ireland; Parma, Italy.
- Major manufacturing sites for consumer products in Maidenhead, United Kingdom; Dungarvan, Ireland; Mississauga, Ontario; Aiken, South Carolina; Clifton, New Jersey; Memphis, Tennessee; and St. Louis, Missouri
- GSK has a presence in over 72 countries
- Most of the biological part of GSK is in Belgium (Wavre and Rixensart)
Breakdown of revenues
- By Division
- Pharmaceuticals: £20,078
- Consumer Healthcare: £3,147
- By Geography
- USA: £10,353
- France: £967
- Japan: £860
- UK: £788
|Therapeutic Area||2006 Sales (millions)||2005 Sales (millions)||Description of Products|
|Respiratory||£4,995||£5,054||Advair, Flovent, Serevent, Flonase|
|Central Nervous System||£3,642||£3,219||Paxil, Wellbutrin, Imitrex, Lamictal|
|Anti-virals||£2,827||£2,598||Combivir, Epivir, Valtrex, Zovirax|
|Cardiovascular||£1,636||£1,331||Coreg, Levitra, Avodart,|
- Dr. Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO
- Julian Heslop, CFO
- Rupert Bondy, Senior VP, General Counsel
- John Clarke, President, Consumer Healthcare
- Chris Viehbacher, President, US Pharmaceuticals
- Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Chairman of R&D
- David Pulman, President, Global Manufacturing and Supply
- Dan Phelan, Senior VP, Human Resources
Board members & affiliations
- Christopher Gent, Former Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Group, Director of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, Director of Ferrari S.p.A., member of KPMG’s Chairman’s Advisory Group
- Deryck Maughan, Managing Director of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Former Chairman and CEO of Citigroup International
- Robert Wilson, Chairman of BG Group
- Stephanie Burns, Chairman, President and CEO of Dow Corning Corporation.
- Lawrence Culp. President and CEO of Danaher Corporation
- Sir Crispin Davis, Chief Executive of Reed Elsevier PLC.
- Sir Ian Prosser, Chairman and CEP of Bass Plc. Former chairman of the London Stock Exchange Listed Advisory Council.
- $1,700,000 salary
- $3,080,000 bonus
- $633,000 other compensation
Date & venue of next AGM
|Research and Development||15,952||15,495||15,037|
Political & public influence
Traditionally, Glaxo spends several million dollars a year on lobbying, reaching a height of $5 million in 2003. However, in 2006 the company spent only $991,000 their lowest level of contribution since 1998. The lobbying was done using outside lobbying firms rather than with in-house lobbyists. Some of the firms used were Barbour, Griffith and Rogers, Dutko Worldwide, Walker Martin & Hatch, and BKSH & Associates. 
Total, by year:
- 2006: $991,000
- 2005: $4,860,000
- 2004: $4,900,000
- 2003: $4,950,000
- 2002: $4,100,000
Social responsibility initiatives
Accolades as an Employer
- Named one of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” for 15 straight years by Working Mothers Magazine.
- Placed 3rd, in “Britain’s Top Employers” by The Guardian
In 2006, they donated £302 million in medicine, vaccines, time and equipment. Included in this is their 20-year partnership with the WHO to combat elephantiasis.
In 2006, GSK supplied 86 million tablets of “preferentially priced” ARVs(anti-retrovirals) Combivir and Epivir. They also reduced by 30% the price of abacavir-containing ARVs. They also negotiated the eighth licensee to permit generic manufacturing of their ARVs for sale in sub-Saharan Africa.
Environment & product safety
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Citizens for Better Medicare
- Corporate Social Responsibility & The Drug Industry
- Eli Lilly
- GlaxoSmithKline, the Diabetes Drug Avandia and The Intimidation of Dr. John Buse
- Health Care
- Healthcare Leadership Council
- Industry-funded organizations
- Medicare Prescription Drug Bill Vote Scandal, 2003
- Pharmaceutical industry
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
- The Homeland and Lilly Protection Act
- U.S. prescription drug system
- Fortune 2006 Global 500
- Fortune Global 500 Profits
- Yahoo Profile
- Yahoo Financial Profile
- GlaxoSmithKline 2006 20-F, filed March 2,2007
- CNN, “Glaxo, SmithKline to tie”, Jan. 17, 2000.
- Hammer, Alexander “SmithKline, Beckman Plan Merger”, New York Times Nov. 26, 1981.
-  Times UK Online Sept 12 2006
-  Paxil® Pediatric Settlement Web site
-  National Paxil Protest invites antidepressant drugs victims to join public outcry against GSK September 06, 2005
- [ http://www.breggin.com/courtfiling.pbreggin.2006.html A press releasy by Dr. Peter Breggin]
- GlaxoSmithKline 2006 20-F
- FDA Approved Drug Products
- Glaxo 2006 20-F
- [ http://www.glaxowellcome.com.ua/investors/reps06/annual_review_2006/2006_performance_overview.htm GlaxoSmithKline 2006 Annual Report]
- Pg 54, Board of Directors, GlaxoSmithKline, accessed October 2007.
- Business Week Profile
- [2006 Annual Report]
- 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed July 2007.
- Open Secrets GlaxoSmithKline Profile
- GSK 2006 Corporate Responsibility Report
- Wayne Kondro and Barbara Sibbald, "Drug Company Experts advised staff to withhold data about SSRI use in children", Canadian Medical Association Journal, March 2, 2004, p. 783. (Note: Link will download PDF file for article)
- Patricia Reaney, "Drug Firms Withheld Negative Data -Study", Reuters, April 23, 2004.
- Jeremy Laurance, "Pharmaceutical companies accused of manipulating drug trials for profit", The Independent (UK), April 23, 2004.
- David Firn, "GSK told to bolster drug warnings", Financial Times (London), April 23, 2004.
- "Plans for new malaria treatment", BBC News, April 23, 2004.
- "Court backs GlaxoSmithKline on Calif. labeling", Reuters, April 15, 2004. (GSK wins case claiming that CA nicotine warning law is too stringent.)
- Ian Hall, "Kendle wins GSK opinion leader job", PR Week, May 27, 2005. (Sub req'd).
- Beth Herskovits, "GlaxoSmithKline to engage media on state-by-state level," PR Week (sub. req'd.), June 6, 2005.
- Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, "Democrats' Victory Is Felt On K Street," Washington Post, November 23, 2006. re Rick Santorum
- Evelyn Pringle, "Protection Racket? The FDA and Avandia," CounterPunch, August 15, 2007.