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GSK welcomes key agreement to support global preparedness against pandemic influenza

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) welcomes the agreement reached at the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on a Framework to support global preparedness for a future influenza pandemic. The agreement establishes the principles of an improved process for influenza virus and benefit-sharing between the WHO GISN (Global Influenza Surveillance Network) and industry.

Issued: London UK

  • Outcome of the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) of Member States on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness, Geneva, April 11-15th 2011

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) welcomes the agreement reached at the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on a Framework to support global preparedness for a future influenza pandemic. The agreement establishes the principles of an improved process for influenza virus and benefit-sharing between the WHO GISN (Global Influenza Surveillance Network) and industry.

The agreement will mean that companies supplying vaccines, antivirals and diagnostics for influenza will become key stakeholders in the WHO GISN, which tracks the development and movement of influenza viruses globally. Industry will increase its financial contribution to the GISN to enable the network’s geographical expansion and support technical improvements that will accelerate the start of vaccine production, enabling industry to deliver seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines more quickly.

Industry has also committed to provide other benefits to enable the world’s poorer countries to manage the challenge of pandemic influenza.  These benefits include real-time production allocations of pandemic vaccines and antivirals, which will be donated to WHO for use, especially for lower-income countries, or supplied at tiered prices, again especially for lower-income countries. In addition, manufacturers have agreed to explore, where appropriate, the establishment of local manufacture of these products in developing countries through technology transfer and licensing.

Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, said: “This Framework agreement is a critical step in ensuring that the world, including developing countries, is able to prepare properly and equitably for any future pandemic. I applaud the leadership of the WHO. Member States and industry have demonstrated a shared commitment to addressing global needs and an ability to work together and compromise.

“GSK made a significant contribution to managing the previous H1N1 pandemic – through donation of both vaccines and antiviral medicines, and through supplying products to the developing world at tiered prices that reflect ability to pay. We are committed to playing a major role now in preparing for a future pandemic.

“The principles in the agreement strike an important balance. They ensure that there will be equitable access to vaccines and medicines – but maintain an intellectual property framework that will encourage the development of new medicines and vaccines. They also recognise that all stakeholders have their part to play. We look forward to participating in future discussions to move beyond principles and agree a full and balanced plan.”

GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.  For further information please visit www.gsk.com

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GlaxoSmithKline cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
Under the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that may affect GSK's operations are described under 'Risk Factors' in the 'Business Review' in the company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2010.