Pharma Critic Nominated into AstraZeneca Board


Published Date : Feb 18, 2015

A well-known pharmaceuticals industry critic has been nominated by the board of AstraZeneca. Professor Cori Bargmann is a U.S. scientist who has commonly used Twitter to post strongly critical views about the pharma business. Her critical views also include GlaxoSmithKline, a rival of the U.K. domestic group.

The professor is a renowned neuroscientist at Rockerfeller University, N.Y. She has tweeted about GlaxoSmithKline’s allegedly confusing communication regarding the side effects of one of their diabetes drugs. She has also described the Indian generic drug maker Ranbaxy as “appalling”.

On Tuesday, AstraZeneca made the announcement that it would ask Professor Bargmann to step into its board during the company’s annual meeting. The meeting will be held on April 24th and will also include the retirement of the former chief executive of Barclay’s, John Varley.

Experts say that judging from the tweets made by the professor, AstraZeneca wants someone with a skeptical mind who is not afraid to speak her mind to join their board.

In 2012, one day after GSK was fined US$3 billion by the U.S. justice department Bargmann tweeted that GSK’s illegal practices in other segments of the economy would be considered for a prison term. GSK was found guilty of performing marketing abuses by creating the image of recreational use of drugs.

In another remark by Bargmann, she said that she did not actually intend to see the GSK heads in prison. She also added that along with the growing number of people that had convictions of conservative and liberal senses, she believes that the U.S. creates unnecessary imprisonments through their “war on drugs”. The GKS tweet she made was merely a mockery of the country’s double standards, not a real call to arms.