Access to healthcare | Health for all | Responsibility | GlaxoSmithKline

Access to healthcare

Improving access to healthcare is one of society’s most pressing challenges. We are actively seeking new ways of delivering healthcare and making our products more available and affordable to people who need them, wherever they live.

Innovative pricing

Our innovative approach to pricing maximises our ability to make medicine more affordable. Flexible pricing of our medicines and vaccines, based on a country’s wealth and ability to pay, gives a good outcome for patients, governments and our shareholders.

The cost of healthcare can be a barrier to access for patients in both the developed and developing world.

Being flexible in our pricing can help to build our business in emerging markets by increasing the overall volume of products we sell. However, our ability to offer not-for-profit or highly preferential prices in the world’s poorest countries is only sustainable if we can continue to make an adequate return on our medicines and vaccines in better-off markets.

This is more challenging in an uncertain economic climate when governments seek to contain healthcare costs. We recognise this challenge and we are working with governments in Europe and the USA to find solutions. We seek to price medicines fairly in these countries and at a level that reflects their value to patients and payers.

A tailored approach for developing countries

There are no easy solutions to the challenge of providing sustainable access to healthcare in developing countries. Poverty is the single biggest barrier. In many countries people do not have enough food or access to a supply of clean water. They also cannot access hospitals or clinics that provide professional help and treatments. These challenges make it all the more important that we contribute where we can.

We have established a special business unit that is responsible for increasing access to our products in the least developed countries in the world. The Developing Countries unit is committed to expanding access to GSK medicines and vaccines for around 800 million people in developing countries. This includes the world’s 49 poorest nations as defined by the United Nations. In this region, the price of our patented medicines is kept at no more than 25% of our developed world prices and we re-invest 20% of the profits we make from sales in these territories back into local healthcare infrastructure projects.  

This is just one of the many initiatives we are involved in to address access issues to our treatments across the four non-communicable diseases (NCDs): diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases. For more information please see our Briefing on non-communicable diseases in the developing world (PDF).

Working in partnership

We can achieve more for patients through working in partnership with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governments, academic institutions and other companies than we can alone.

We are working closely with all partners to ensure that health is an integral element of the post 2015 development agenda. For more information please see our Position statement on the post 2015 development agenda (PDF).

We work with UNICEF and GAVI to supply our medicines and vaccines globally so that price is not a barrier to access. Our agreements to supply our pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines to GAVI will contribute to the potential to immunise 250 million children by 2015. 

We also continue to support the WHO objective of eradicating polio by 2018 by providing vaccines to UNICEF until this is achieved.

We established ViiV Healthcare with Pfizer in 2009. ViiV Healthcare is an independent company solely focused on the needs of people living with HIV. All GSK and Pfizer HIV medicines are marketed by ViiV healthcare, which is committed to delivering innovative treatments for people living with HIV wherever they are in the world.

Supporting healthcare

We want to help improve health through our own business, but also beyond our products by acting as a catalyst for change. That’s why we reinvest 20% of the profits from sales of our pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare products in the world’s least developed countries to support healthcare infrastructures in those countries. In 2013 we also launched innovative partnerships with Barclays and Vodafone, and invested £5.1m in strengthening healthcare infrastructures through our 20% reinvestment programme in Least Developed Countries.

Through our partnerships with three major NGOs – AMREFCARE International and Save the Children, we are addressing the shortage of trained frontline healthcare workers. This will help bring the World Health Organization a step closer to achieving its  goal of one million health workers in developing countries by 2015.

In 2013 we formed an innovative partnership with Save the Children to help save 1 million children’s lives. By combining our expertise, resources and capabilities, we will bring much-needed medicines and vaccines to some of the world’s poorest children, train thousands of healthcare workers, and seek to alleviate child malnutrition.

Access to Medicine 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 recent ranking as top of the 2012 ATM Index reflects our long-term commitment to bringing access to healthcare across the world.