Corporate Social Responsibility: What Went Wrong at Glaxosmithkline?
Corporate Social Responsibility: What Went Wrong at GlaxoSmithKline?
When London-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) paid a $750 million dollar settlement as part of a plea agreement that required it’s Cidra, Puerto Rico subsidiary SB Pharmco to plead guilty for knowingly selling contaminated medicine, it laid to rest any doubts that its business practices were in direct conflict with its commitment to both quality and to creating a strong ethical culture. There are, nevertheless, important issues that extend beyond the facts in evidence. This paper does not seek to re-litigate the government’s case against GlaxoSmithKline. It, instead, seeks to accomplish three basic goals: to offer insights into the failure of the Food and Drug
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In many ways, the Cidra, Puerto GSK Manufacturing facility was a microcosm of the company as a whole. In a January 2011 interview on the CBS news magazine show 60 minutes, Cheryl Eckard, former GSK Global Quality Assurance Manager and whistleblower who alerted authorities to the depth and breadth of problems at Cidra explained "All the systems were broken. The facility was broken. The equipment was broken. The processes were broken. It was the worse thing that I had run across in my career." (Eckard, 2011). The problems she reported were far more pervasive and consequential than those found by FDA inspectors in 2002. The total breakdown of controls lead to improperly packaged and/or mixture of medications, the introduction of bacteria into chemical compounds and production line failures leading to the improper mixture of active ingredients. Ms. Eckard’s warnings to Executives at GSK, including multiple warnings to the Sr. Vice President for Quality, North America went unheeded. When asked how such egregious violations, not seen in the GSK’s eighty manufacturing facilities around the world, could have occurred in Cidra, GlaxoSmithKline Sr. Vice President Ian McCoven explained:
“They all operated to the same standard at the same quality system that we had in place. The difference between Cidra and all of the rest of the plants was the