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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)’s vision is to help New Zealanders do more, feel better and live longer.

Our two local divisions – GSK Pharmaceuticals and GSK Consumer Healthcare – strive each day to achieve this vision through our medicines, vaccines, non prescription products and community activities.

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Helping New Zealanders to do more, feel better and live longer for over 100 years.

GSK’s response to the public roundtable report on Arachnoiditis in Australia

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has reviewed the final report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing into adhesive arachnoiditis in Australia.(“Living with the pain of adhesive arachnoiditis”).

The report makes a number of direct references to GSK, so it is important that GSK communicates its position on the report and related issues. Some of the points below reiterate information that GSK has previously provided in its public statements and some reflect responses to the contents of the report.

• GSK has the utmost empathy for people who have been, and are, afflicted by arachnoiditis.

• GSK considers it has acted responsibly at all times in regard to the supply of Myodil including appropriate testing and monitoring and timely updates to product information to reflect the available science. We have also engaged in legal settlements where appropriate and been an active participant in the roundtable process..

• All pharmaceutical products may be associated with side-effects. Manufacturers provide prescribing information so that practitioners can make a judgment about the risk/benefit of the product and whether or not to administer it to the patient. .

• When GSK became aware of a possible association with arachnoiditis (in 1971), GSK promptly included a precautionary warning in the Myodil prescribing information sheet that there was a possible risk of arachnoiditis following x-ray myelography using Myodil. .

• Arachnoiditis is a complex and difficult to diagnose condition that has a range of possible causes such as as spinal infections, spinal surgery and procedures and trauma. GSK remains of the view that there is no conclusive evidence that Myodil causes arachnoiditis.

GSK respects the work of the committee and for the many people affected by arachnoiditis and recognises the important role it has played in raising awareness of the experiences of patients living with this condition.

However, we believe that it would not be appropriate for GSK to be responsible for establishing a charitable foundation as recommended by the committee.

The report was based on roundtable discussions convened by the Standing Committee in which GSK participated

The Report by the standing committee makes reference to a range of stakeholders including pharmaceutical companies (e.g., Lafayette Pharmacal, GSK), medical associations (e.g. Royal Australian College of GPs, The Australian and NZ College of Anaesthetists), local health networks (e.g. Medicare Locals), research bodies (e.g., The Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council)

The full report can be found here:



GlaxoSmithKline is a global research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare company with a proud history in Australia dating back to 1886. Our mission is to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.


Martin Palin: Consultant to GlaxoSmithKline
Tel: + 02 9412 2255 | Fax: + 02 9412 3561| Mobile: 0418 419 258


Adverse events involving GlaxoSmithKline products should be reported to GSK Medical Information on 0800 808 500.