Case Study: Expanding Availability of Healthcare Services

New Business Models to Increase Access in Developing Countries, GlaxoSmithKline


At GSK we adapt our business models and tailor our approach to reflect the needs of countries in different markets.

Our Developing Countries and Market Access (DCMA) operating unit has a clear objective to increase patient access to GSK medicines and vaccines for around 800 million people in these countries, while expanding our market presence and ensuring that our business continues to be sustainable.

The unit aims to increase the availability of GSK medicines by broadening its portfolio to make it more relevant to people in these countries. It does this through:

  • pricing strategies that unlock demand and increase access
  • contributing to education and awareness
  • expanding distribution and supply chain capability
  • investing in healthcare infrastructure.

Wherever possible, GSK works in partnership with other companies, governments, international agencies and academic institutions, patient groups, NGOs and communities providing expertise, resources, medicines and vaccines to improve access to healthcare. The unit’s ultimate goal – to be part of the solution, rather than simply sit back and wait for things to change.

Globally, we have a commitment to further embed our flexible pricing strategy and innovative business models for our prescription medicines and vaccines, to increase usage among those less able to access and afford our products.

Lessons Learned

We recognise that to create a sustainable business in developing countries we need to take an innovative and holistic approach to improving access to healthcare. Since the DCMA unit was established in 2010, we have seen that our tailored approach to creating a sustainable business model is benefitting patients and stakeholders as well as GSK.

In particular, our specific programme of strategic investment in healthcare infrastructure in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is building capacity which further supports our overall objectives.

Infrastructure challenges aside, the LDCs present a complex business environment, often with political, social, economic and corporate reputational risks. Management of these requires a level of vigilance, a ready risk management plan & strong partnership with key stakeholders including governments, NGOs and other corporates with whom risks can be shared.

Results to Date

  • Objectives and rewards for managers in the DMCA unit are based primarily on volumes rather than profit to help ensure our medicines reach those that need them most. Since the unit was established in 2010, the volume of medicines we supply to Least-Developed Countries has increased by nearly 50% from 55 million units in 2010 to 82.5million in 2012.
  • In the world’s LDCs we offer all GSK-patented products (medicines and vaccines) at heavily reduced prices. Prices are now capped at no more than 25% of their price in the UK (or in France for products not sold in the UK) provided this price covers our manufacturing costs so the offer can be sustained in the long-term.
  • A registration catch-up program has been initiated to increase the number of GSK products registered in developing countries. Over 1,000 regulatory submissions will be completed across 50 developing countries by 2015.
  • Since 2009, GSK has reinvested 20% of profits generated in the world’s Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) into community programmes to strengthen healthcare infrastructure in those countries. Cumulatively, we have been able to provide training for up to 10,000 health workers & the number continues to rise.
  • Through our partnership with One Family Health, we have supported creation of 30 new health posts in Rwanda, the beginnings of an ambition to reach 500 clinics over the coming 7 years.
  • In partnership with Sproxil & NAFDAC (Nigeria FDA), we successfully piloted in Nigeria a mobile phone solution that allows patient authentification of medicines they purchase via a text message. For this solution, The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) selected Sproxil and GlaxoSmithKline one of the recipients of the 2012 Annual Cheers Awards.
  • Through our partnership with Vodafone we have initiated a pilot programme in Mozambique testing an innovative mobile phone solution for vaccination programmes. If successful the solution could increase vaccination uptake by up to 10%.

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