GlaxoSmithKline To Cut Some Drug Costs In Emerging Markets

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plans to decrease the prices of many of its leading medicines in emerging markets following the success of a pilot program in the Philippines, Andrew Witty, GSK’s chief executive, said, Financial Times reports. Witty said the price cuts are part of an effort to diversify and expand globally.

The move comes at a time when “many multinational drug manufacturers are seeking to expand in emerging markets through such differential pricing between countries, as well as joint ventures, acquisitions, partnerships and internal investment in commercial operations, manufacturing and research,” according to the Financial Times.

The newspaper writes, “[w]hile anti-retroviral medicines for HIV have been offered at deep discounts in poorer countries for several years, GSK is extending reductions into many richer countries and for a far broader range of patented medicines for many different medical conditions. [Witty’s] policy marks a signal that he rejects the long-standing pharmaceutical industry claim that discounts would result in ‘leakage’ of their medicines back into richer markets. He said historical efforts to enforce a single global price for medicines had made access to drugs difficult for poorer countries. But he warned that if rich countries demanded similar price reductions ‘that would be very challenging … and destructive.'” (Jack, Financial Times, 6/11).