GSK to offer flexible drug pricing in middle-income countries

Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) "plans to bolster earnings by selling to more people in middle-income countries after cutting prices in the world's poorest nations," Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reports.

"Our strategy is to grow our business in middle-income countries by increasing the volume of products we sell," GSK Chief Executive Andrew Witty said by e-mail, according to the news service. "Extending [GSK's] flexible pricing program for such nations would 'improve the affordability of our medicines, increase access for patients with lower income levels and be profitable for GSK,' he said."

Middle-income countries vary "in terms of economic status, demography and health-care infrastructure which can vary significantly," Witty explained, the news service continues. "Taking a single pricing approach would be difficult, inappropriate and inequitable," he added. The news service notes Witty did not name individual countries (Ghosh, 3/9).

The Hindu Business Line reports on GSK's rationale for the customized approach to pricing for middle-income countries (Datta, 3/9).  

"The long-term purpose of the initiative is to make its medicines accessible to all income groups," Economic Times/India Times reports. "The strategy will be executed through a combination of alliances with local firms or reduction of prices of selective brands," according to the news paper (Singh/Kumar, 3/10). Economic Times/India Times also features an interview with Witty (Singh/Kumar, 3/10).

In related news, Witty was in Nashik, India, on Monday to dedicate a new factory that will produce "albendazole, part of a combination treatment used within the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF)," according to a GSK press release. The new facility "is expected to deliver 300 million tablets" of albendazole this year, the press release notes (3/8).

Kaisernetwork.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


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