The 2001 product launch of the asthma drug Advair (fluticasone/salmeterol) was a lavish, Las Vegas affair.
Using images of a slot machine to illustrate their message, top GlaxoSmithKline executives took the stage in front of thousands of assembled sales reps. "There are people in this room who are going to make an ungodly sum of money selling Advair," one executive told the group.
He was right.
The Serious Business of Asthma
Millions of people with asthma, including many children, have gone on the drug and, according to data from IMS, Advair sales have exceeded $4 billion every year since 2007.
Yet even as profits mounted evidence began to emerge from independent medical studies and court records suggesting that the drug can be dangerous, especially to children and that overuse of the drug exacerbated the danger.
Asthma is not a benign condition.
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