Pricing and access strategies

We want our medicines and vaccines to be accessible to everyone who needs them, no matter where they live. We are making our products affordable and available to more people around the world through responsible pricing, and strategic access programmes and partnerships.

Our ranking as top of the 2018 Access to Medicines Index (ATMI) reflects the strength of our long-term, global commitment to improving access to healthcare. The Index, published every two years, gives an independent assessment of pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to improve access. We have consistently ranked top since it began in 2008.

Pricing

The pricing of pharmaceutical medicines and vaccines is an important topic in both developed and developing countries. We understand payer and patient concerns about the affordability of healthcare and are leading efforts to develop sustainable solutions.

We develop pricing strategies based on country-specific circumstances, such as patient affordability, the local healthcare system and other social and economic factors. When setting the price of our medicines in developed markets, we apply a value-based approach to balance reward for innovation with access and affordability. We price our medicines according to the value and outcomes they bring to patients, providers and payers while being sensitive to market and societal expectations.

In developing countries, we use innovative pricing structures as part of our access strategies to extend product reach. We also do not file patents for our medicines in least developed countries (LDCs) and low-income countries, and do not enforce historic patents that we have in those countries. This allows generic companies to manufacture and supply generic versions of GSK medicines in those countries. 

Access to Vaccines

GSK has one of the most diverse vaccines portfolios in the industry and we were recognised by the first Access to Vaccines Index in 2017 as the leading vaccines company improving access to vaccines through our R&D, pricing and registration, and manufacturing activities.

We are a long-standing partner of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, 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. Gavi supports countries with a GNI per head of less than $1,580. Eight Gavi countries are now using our new four-dose vial presentation of our Synflorix pneumococcal vaccine, designed to address cold chain challenges in hot countries, and our Rotarix vaccine is available in 36 Gavi countries to protect against rotavirus.

As countries develop and exceed the Gavi GNI threshold, they ‘graduate’ from Gavi support. We have committed to provide Gavi with more than 850 million vaccine doses at reduced prices to help protect 300 million children in developing countries by 2024. And we are freezing our vaccine prices for graduating countries for ten years to help them maintain their commitment to immunisation during their transition. 

For over 50 years we’ve also been a provider of oral polio vaccines to UNICEF, contributing more than 17 billion doses since the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988.

Access to HIV medicines

Extending access to HIV treatment and care is a priority, particularly in low-income countries where nearly 90% of people affected by HIV live. ViiV Healthcare’s access programmes reach 138 countries worldwide and its 16 royalty-free voluntary licences enable generic manufacturers to sell its products to donor agencies and public sector programmes at a significantly reduced price.

Following a 2014 agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), a UN-backed organisation that encourages voluntary licencing and patent pooling, ViiV Healthcare introduced the first ever MPP licence with a tiered royalty system tailored to national GDPs. In 2016, ViiV extended the existing license agreement to cover all lower-middle-income countries for the adult formulation of HIV drug dolutegravir. This means 90% of adults living with HIV in the developing world are now covered by license agreements. The policy for lower-middle-income countries enables the adult formulation to be available through generic manufacturers, with royalty fees tiered depending on national GDP, following approval by the relevant regulatory authorities. This strategy extends access to dolutegravir to countries where 93% of adults with HIV in developing countries live, and to paediatric formulations of the drug in the 121 countries where more than 99% of children with HIV live.

Eliminating lymphatic filariasis

We are an active partner in one of the world’s biggest and boldest public health initiatives, led by the WHO, to rid the world of lymphatic filariasis (LF). It is more commonly known as elephantiasis, a condition with marked hardening and thickening of the skin that frequently accompanies massive swelling in the arms, legs, breasts and genitals. The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and has been one of the principal causes of permanent disability worldwide, affecting more than 120 million people in tropical and sub-tropical areas of Africa, Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East and the Americas. Since 2000, we have donated over 8.5 billion tablets to the WHO in the global efforts to help eliminate LF and control intestinal worms. 14 countries have announced elimination of LF and researchers estimate the number of people at risk of infection of LF has almost halved.

Bhagwati in Bungmati, Nepal
Bhagwati, an LF patient, in Bungmati, Nepal

In January 2012, we joined other global pharmaceutical companies and leading global health organisations, including the WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Department for International Development (DfID), US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank, in a new united effort to support countries to defeat Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Together, this coalition supports the goals set out by WHO to control or eliminate 10 of the 17 NTDs by 2020. Our contribution focuses on the large-scale donation of albendazole, efficient forecasting, manufacturing and shipping of donated products. Find out more.