GSK makes a ''horlicks'' out its media meet

The press meet was supposed to start at 12 noon, but started half-an-hour late. Nearly 50 people attended the meeting, which resulted in sizeable loss of productive manhours.

Addressing the gathering Shubhajit Sen, general manager, marketing (nutritionals), said, the company, jointly with the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, had conducted a `clinical trial' spread over 14 months on 869 children (6-16 age group) studying in a boarding school in the same city.

The children were divided into two groups with one being served Horlicks everyn day and the other with different beverage.

At the end of the study, he claimed, the children who drank Horlicks were taller, stronger and sharper than the non-Horlicks drinkers. Sen specifically drew the attention of the media to the words `clinically proven' in one of the power point slides he presented.

Soon after, questions from the reporters flew thick and fast. When asked whether the company had the permission of Drug Controller of India to conduct the clinical study, Sen replied in negative saying, such studies did not require permissions. However, he added that the permission of the parents had been obtained.

When asked to share the study report, he replied that the National Institute of Nutrition would do that soon. Interestingly, no one from the institute was present at the press meet.. Sen was also silent on the nature of the drink given to the other group of children - whether it was competing brands available in the market, its mode of preparation and other details.