GSK regrets the manufacturing issues at the Cidra facility, which were inconsistent with GSK's commitment to manufacturing quality. It is important to note, however, that the issues outlined in the 60 Minutes story occurred in the past - between 2001 and early 2005 - and related to one manufacturing facility. GSK had been working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to improve the plant's performance as early as 2001, before Cheryl Eckard was sent in 2002 as part of the team to address the issues cited by the FDA.
GSK strongly disagrees with 60 Minutes' implication that patients suffered harm as a result of the Cidra issues. The FDA; the US Department of Justice; and Neil Getnick, Cheryl Eckard's attorney, all stated there was no indication that patients were harmed as a result of the production issues at Cidra. Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz herself stated: "We did not uncover any evidence that patients were harmed from these adulterated batches."
GSK's manufacturing division has a strong track record of quality and compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) requirements. Various regulatory agencies - including the FDA - conduct an average of more than 100 inspections each year at over 80 GSK manufacturing sites located in over 30 countries. The FDA has raised no material issues as a result of its very thorough inspections. GSK is committed to continuous improvement in our manufacturing processes. Patients should have a high level of confidence about GSK's manufacturing and the quality of our medicines.
GSK worked to bring the Cidra facility to a high level of operating performance that satisfied both GSK and the FDA. The plant was closed in 2009 due to a declining demand for the medicines made there. The company strongly rejects any claim of retaliation for whistle-blowing. In fact, employees are encouraged to report any concerns they might have to management or through a confidential compliance hotline. Issues raised are investigated, and company policy prohibits any retaliation against employees.
GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.