A decade ago, the UK drug industry was in dire straits.
In the wake of the devastating pandemic, a huge surge in demand and rising prices meant it was the biggest in the world, overtaking France, Germany and the US as the world’s top-selling drugmaker.
It was a moment of hope and opportunity.
But, as the industry struggles to come to terms with its recent history, it’s now become an industry of giant multinationals, with pharmaceutical sales reps working in a world of global corporate giants.
In its most recent annual report, British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline was named number one in the global pharmaceutical industry.
But as the number of drugs it sells globally has dwindled over the past decade, the drug company has become an increasingly distant shadow of its former self.
This is the story of how Glaxos’ fortunes changed.
In the early days, GlaxoS had a global reach.
Its drugs were sold in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
It also sold a number of cheaper medicines.
Glaxom began selling drugs in the UK in 2000, the same year it was formed.
Its UK office is now in Brighton, which is a busy, middle-class town about two hours’ drive from London.
Glaxos sales rep is Matthew Stirling, 35, who came from a family of doctors in the same town.
He was a keen sports fan and, like most young doctors, loved football.
But he soon became bored with the sport, which he found difficult to follow.
He found it was too repetitive and his body became too tired.
So he decided to do something different.
“It was about making a change.
I was interested in sports and the lifestyle.
I didn’t want to be a doctor,” he says.
After graduating from University College London, he joined the company as a junior sales rep, and soon became involved in the drug business.
At the time, Glaxtron was in its infancy.
It had only recently received approval for its first treatment for cancer.
It didn’t have a clinical trial to compare it to other drugs.
So Mr Stirling began looking for a new way to grow the business.
The first step was to make Glaxocin, a cancer drug that had been developed by Glaxocloche, a US company.
Glaocloche was acquired by Pfizer in 2008.
The company had a much stronger financial profile than Glaxoz.
It could be more profitable.
“The biggest problem was Glaxoscan was the only drug in the market that didn’t cost Pfizer a fortune,” Mr Stirlings says.
“That was a problem.
It wasn’t the first time.
Glazocin was so cheap it cost Pfizers a fortune.”
Glaxolone became Glaxospan, and Glaxoplasma, a drug used to treat hepatitis C, became Glazoplasma.
“Glaxocans cost Pfiser nothing.
They cost us nothing,” Mr Moulton says.
Glazzo’s Glaxalans were also available for free.
In 2007, Glazos first drug, Gliadin, was approved for use in patients with COPD.
The drug has since become the first approved drug for COPD, and has been proven effective in improving symptoms and slowing progression of the disease.
Gliadin, Glazzolone and Glaodalan were all licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Glaxostin was one of the first drugs approved by the MHRA to treat severe asthma, a condition where severe symptoms are difficult to manage.
Gloceliad was also the first drug approved by a government regulator to treat COVID-19, a disease that causes inflammation of the lungs.
Glodalans and Glazolone were also the most widely prescribed drugs in Britain, selling more than 5 million doses in 2007, according to data from the Medicinal Products Council.
Glaze’s Glaoxasone was approved in 2011 to treat HIV-positive people.
Gloprex was approved by Britain’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in 2016 for the treatment of COVID and Hepatitis C. Gloop was a second drug approved in 2016, to treat people with COVID, and was developed by AstraZeneca, the largest drug company in the United States.
Glosil had been approved in 2009 for the development of a novel treatment for HIV and hepatitis C. However, Glozopro was the most controversial of Glaxopro’s drugs.
The British company’s drug, which had been in development for more than 20 years, was withdrawn by Glozolips last year after a string of reports of serious side-effects.
Glozoopro is not a new drug, but it is the first to be licensed in Britain for the use of HIV drugs,