Access to healthcare
Healthy communities are the backbone of strong, sustainable societies. But there are still millions of people without access to basic healthcare. We want to help change this. So we are harnessing our scientific expertise, our partnerships and our global reach to develop and make products for people who need them, wherever they live.
The Access to Medicines Index
Recognising our achievements in bringing access to healthcare, we have consistently ranked top in the Access to Medicines (ATM) Index since it began in 2008. The Index, published every two years, gives an independent assessment of pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to improve access. Our ranking as top of the 2016 Index reflects our long-term commitment to bringing access to healthcare across the world.
This is testament to everyone at GSK, and our partners, who strive every day to research, develop and deliver innovative medicines and vaccines."
Better access to medicines and vaccines
We want our medicines and vaccines to be accessible to everyone who needs them, no matter where they live or how much they can afford. We develop pricing strategies based on country-specific circumstances, such as patient affordability, the local healthcare system and other social and economic factors.
Since 2010, we have capped the prices of our patented medicines and vaccines in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at 25% of developed world prices, as long as our manufacturing costs are covered. We also have a tiered pricing approach for our products, where countries pay a price based on their Gross National Income (GNI) per capita.
We sell smaller pack sizes in order to make our products more affordable, and thereby serve more patients. For example, our single-unit inhaler products help patients living with asthma and COPD to manage the cost of their treatment by buying a little at a time.
Affordability can also hinder access for people in developed countries. We broaden access to our products in these markets by having a flexible approach, while retaining returns for our investment in innovation. For example, in the USA, all of our six most recently launched new medicines were priced at parity or at a discount to the medicines we aim to supersede.
Innovation in our laboratories
Discovering and developing new medicines and vaccines requires huge investment, takes a long time and there is a high rate of failure. So if we are to continue to discover new products and get them to the people who need them as quickly as possible, we must continually challenge the way we go about doing things in our labs.
We know we will not discover everything inside our own labs – especially when it comes to treating illnesses that disproportionately affect developing countries. So we are stimulating innovation in new ways, looking outside our own labs and opening up access to our expertise, our facilities and even our intellectual property.
In the five years since it opened, the Open Lab has built a portfolio of 51 research projects and resulted in 44 scientific publications and several promising drug discovery leads.
We opened the doors of our specialist research centre in Spain to scientists from outside GSK, inviting them to collaborate with us on projects to find new medicines for neglected tropical diseases. In the five years since it opened, the Open Lab has built a portfolio of 51 research projects and resulted in 44 scientific publications and several promising drug discovery leads. In 2014, we launched a new ‘open lab’ dedicated to better understanding variations in non-communicable diseases in Africa.
Working with others
By working in partnership with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governments, academic institutions and other companies, we can achieve more for patients than we can alone.
We are a long-standing partner of Gavi, which funds immunisation programmes for some of the world’s poorest countries. Gavi-eligible countries always get our lowest prices, which can be as little as one-tenth of those for developed nations. We have committed to provide Gavi with more than 850 million vaccine doses at reduced prices to help protect 300 million children in the developing world by 2024.
We have an innovative five-year partnership with Save the Children to help save one million children’s lives. We are combining our capabilities in R&D, supply chain, procurement and vaccines with the charity’s expertise working with the most vulnerable children. To date, we have reached over 1.3 million children. Over 23,500 under-fives have been fully immunised, over 125,000 children have been treated for diarrhoea, malaria or pneumonia, and over one million children have been screened for malnutrition.
In the UK we are also partnering with the Medical Research Council and five universities on the Experimental Medicine Initiative to Explore New Therapies (EMINENT). This open innovation research initiative aims to support up to ten experimental medicine projects on inflammatory diseases, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and fibrosis.
We led the ORCHID alliance (Open Collaborative Model for Tuberculosis Lead Optimization) to address this urgent medical need. This four-year multi-sector partnership, co-funded by the European Union and completed in 2015, aimed to develop new medicines against drug-resistant TB and make them available to patients quickly and efficiently.
Another key public-private collaboration for GSK is in the field of anti-biotic resistance. We are active members of the Innovative Medicines Initiative’s NewDrugs4BadBugs initiative, which was launched in 2012 to address all of the key issues associated with the development of new antibiotics.
In January 2016, we signed up to a declaration of more than 80 pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies, committing to work with governments and in parallel to develop sustainable economic models for antibiotics to ensure a sustainable supply of these medicines for the future.
Read more about our work on anti-biotic resistance.
Alzheimer’s and dementia
Dementia is one of the leading causes of disability and dependency among older people globally. Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent cause of dementia and we are extending our open innovation model to tackle this challenge. Our focus is on public-private partnerships and new collaborative models.
We are a founding partner, with a £17 million Investment, in the UK government’s Dementia Discovery Fund – a global fund for dementia research. The fund, designed to speed up the discovery and development of new treatments for dementia, will identify and promote new avenues for research from around the world.
We also continue to participate in the US Accelerating Medicines Partnership on Alzheimer’s and the UK Dementia Platform, and to lead IMI’s PharmaCog project to develop new tools for testing candidate drugs to treat Alzheimer’s. Find out more about our investment in dementia research in Behind the Science.
Activities in embargoed countries
Operating in countries targeted by sanction laws such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, raises concerns for some stakeholders, and represents challenges and risks for the business. Although some sanctions have been lifted in Iran, others remain in force. We comply with the disclosure requirements of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012. We believe that people should have access to essential medicines regardless of their country’s regime. Wherever people need medicines and vaccines, we aim to supply them, including essential medicines in sanctioned countries, in compliance with applicable sanctions and export controls. Where appropriate we work in partnership to make GSK medicines and vaccines available, in particular where no such alternatives exist, for supply to supra-national groups like Unicef or direct to government.