Overuse, Safety Questions Cloud Advair’s Ascent to Asthma Blockbuster | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
Millions of Americans use GlaxoSmithKline's purple inhaler. But whether Advair poses a higher risk of asthma-related death remains uncertain 15 years after regulators approved the drug.


On an April day in 2001, more than 2,000 Glaxo salespeople flocked to the Paris Las Vegas hotel for events to launch Advair. Spotlights swirled and the room glowed purple, matching a giant replica of the drug's inhaler.


Jim Daly, the Glaxo manager nicknamed "Mr. Advair," took the stage sporting a purple tie. "There are people in this room who are going to make an ungodly sum of money selling Advair," he told the cheering throng.


The 50 salespeople who persuaded physicians to prescribe the most Advair would get $10,000 bonuses on top of healthy commissions.


"I think we can make some millionaires out there," declared Glaxo's then-president of pharmaceutical operations, David Stout.


Stan Hull, the company's senior vice president at the time, rhetorically asked the crowd, "What patient is not appropriate for Advair?"