Global Healthcare on the Ground: GlaxoSmithKline's Efforts - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Global Healthcare on the Ground: GlaxoSmithKline's Efforts
GSK Works in Developing Nations to Improve Everything from Research to Roads.


Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 35, Issue 7, pp. 22-24

Access

The registration of new medicines in many of these targeted countries, however, can be costly, complex, and time-consuming, says Pender. "Too often, regulatory authorities do not have sufficient capacity to deal effectively with numerous and complex product registrations. A possible solution would be the creation of a harmonized registration system that several countries with the same disease priorities can adhere to."

In an attempt to improve this situation, GSK established a dedicated Developing Countries and Market Access operating unit in July 2010. One of the unit's goals is to increase patient access to key medicines and vaccines.

The recently created Advance Market Commitment (AMC), pioneered by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), offers another financing mechanism to ensure more sustainability in vaccine manufacturing and supply for the developing world. Recently, GSK agreed to supply up to 300 million doses of its pneumococcal vaccine for a period of 10 years to countries that are part of GAVI as part of the first global AMC for the pharmaceutical industry. Pfizer has made a similar commitment for its vaccine.

Infrastructure

Another challenge faced by the healthcare industry globally is the infrastructure that exists in many developing countries, including poor distribution networks and a lack hospitals, clinics, and healthcare professionals. Political issues often compound these barriers, meaning that even when there is funding, there is little action, says Pender. "In middle-income countries, the health system may be more developed, but wide ranges in income mean that many poor people at the lower rungs of the income ladder are not able to access healthcare," he adds. The needs to strengthen health systems and reduce inequities are becoming more visible, and much more can be done to increase access to life-saving services, says Pender.

In the least developed countries (LDCs), the challenge of improving healthcare and access to medicines is even more difficult. Earlier this year, therefore, GSK formed a partnership with AMREF, CARE International UK, and Save the Children to help reinvest 20% of the company's profits made in LDCs back into projects that strengthen the healthcare infrastructure in those countries. The money will go toward programs that improve health outcomes by supporting frontline health workers who operate in these countries.

Since 2009, GSK also has committed to significantly reducing its prices for patented medicines in the LDCs. The company's goal is to reduce prices to no more than 25% of their price in the United Kingdom.

Future plans

Going forward, GSK plans to continue and add to these global healthcare efforts. "All these initiatives commit us to continuing to work closely with the global community and to ensuring the necessary resources and political will are in place to make partnerships work," says Pender. "Partnerships that combine the resources and expertise of companies, governments, international agencies, academic institutions, NGOs and communities, are a central component to our global health approach. From GSK's perspective as a global company, we believe this is not only the right thing to do but makes good business sense. By working with others to find logical and sustainable solutions for the long-term, we can achieve more for patients than we can alone," he adds.


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