Big Pharma Gets Personal About Lupus

An executive bio article in the Charlotte NC "News & Observer" the other day talks to and about Deirdre Connelly, the new-this-year president of North American pharmaceuticals for Glaxo-SmithKline ("GSK").

It turns out that Ms. Connelly has a personal connection to lupus and that may be helping her get some focus on the disease at GSK. The connection is that her father died from lupus in 1994.

Most of the stuff quoted in the article is the usual, dry, corporate PR-speak but when asked about some preliminary results on a possible new GSK treatment for lupus (still being tested) her response carried a little more genuine personal feel.  She said, "Obviously, I'm not a physician, but it's exciting because it comes to answer a horrible disease." Then she added, "I'm choking up; I didn't expect to get emotional here. I lost my dad to that disease. It's very debilitating. It's your body thinking that your organs are being invaded."

That's not corporate speak.  It sounds like the same confused and fuzzy view that most of us have about the disease and it really seems quite genuine. Frankly, it's good to know that there's somebody near the top of a "big pharma" giant with a genuinely personal connection to lupus.  Very sorry to hear about Ms. Connelly's father, but very thankful that it engendered her special interest in lupus.

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