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Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is planning to slash its prices for drugs in the world’s least developed countries, and share knowledge of patented treatments, it has been reported.
GSK’s new head, Andrew Witty, told the Guardian that pharmaceutical companies have a duty to help the poor and said his firm would cut its prices in the 50 least developed countries to no more than 25% of the expense in the UK and US.
“We work like crazy to come up with the next great medicine, knowing that it’s likely to get used an awful lot in developed countries, but we could do something for developing countries,” he said.
“Are we working as hard on that? I want to be able to say yes we are, and that’s what this is all about – trying to make sure we are even-handed in terms of our efforts to find solutions not just for developed but for developing countries.”
The newspaper reported that a fifth of GSK’s profits in the developing world would be reinvested in hospitals and clinics, and said that formulas and processes owned by the company under patent will be shared with other researchers to enable poorer people to buy cheaper versions of the same medicine.
Copyright Press Association 2009