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Who we are:

GSK is one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. We have a challenging and inspiring mission to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. We have a global footprint across 140 countries, employing almost 100,000 people who are passionately and personally committed to improving the lives of patients and consumers.

We have a long and proud history in Africa and Developing Countries of Asia (Africa DC) operating in 44 countries and employing over 1,500 people. We are one of the fastest growing regions in GSK and for us, Africa DC provides great opportunities for commercial growth and increasing access to healthcare for more people than ever before.

In East Africa, GSK started operations in 1956 with the regional headquarters based in Nairobi, Kenya. This hub serves key countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Djibouti. Kenya also hosts a GSK manufacturing site as well as the pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare operations. The company has a workforce of 323 people in this region.

What we do:

In 2014, we announced our Africa investment strategy designed to address pressing health needs and contribute to long-term business growth. Working in partnership with governments, communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and academia, our strategy aims to do just that.

To achieve our goal of reaching more people within Africa DC, we need to provide a portfolio of relevant products that will tackle the needs of today and the emerging requirements of tomorrow. To do this, we are:

  • Supporting innovation and development in Research & Development (R&D) to research non-communicable diseases, which are emerging as the next big threat to health and to build sustainable and local R&D capabilities

  • Developing products that are specifically designed for patients and consumers that live in Africa or Developing Countries

  • Increasing our commercial presence and growing our business while ensuring our commitments to access and affordable pricing remain

  • Building talent and capability both within and outside the organisation

  • Expanding distribution and supply networks to drive growth and increase access to healthcare products across the region


How we do it:

Our goal is to build a sustainable, integrated and local healthcare company with the capabilities, people and portfolio to reach 80% of patients and consumers in our region. To do this, we are:

1. Challenging industry norms by changing the way in which we work:

In all of our interactions with healthcare professionals, our priority is to be transparent about our work, operate with integrity, and always put the interests of patients first.

At the end of 2013, we announced a transformation in the way we sell and market our medicines and vaccines to healthcare professionals (HCPs). These were the latest in a series of reforms to industry practices led by GSK over the past decade.

The changes were made to increase transparency and build patient trust by helping to remove a perceived conflict of interest between GSK and prescribers and therefore meet the evolving expectations of society. For example:

  • Since January 2015, GSK Medical (Sales) Representatives and their Managers are no longer financially rewarded for the number of prescriptions they each generate (individual sales targets.) Instead they are incentivised based on their technical knowledge, the quality of service they deliver to HCPs to support improved patient care, and a broader set of business performance measures.

  • In January 2016, we ended payments to HCPs for speaking on our behalf about prescription medicines or vaccines. Internal medical experts now offer knowledge and expertise when and how it is needed by HCPs.

  • We will continue to pay for HCP expertise across activities like clinical research, advisory boards and market research that help us develop medicines and vaccines to meet patients’ needs.

  • We are continuing to support medical education and provide grants to independent organisations that deliver high quality, balanced and objective medical education.

  • We remain open to supporting HCPs to attend scientific conferences, but only through funding to third parties so that GSK is not directly involved in the decisions relating to the selection of HCPs.

2. Building collaborative partnerships to innovate and drive progress:

To be truly successful in tackling the global healthcare challenges we are facing, we know we can’t do it on our own.

Whether it’s partnering with academic research organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or even other businesses, we believe collaboration is critical in finding the best solutions for patients and consumers.

A few examples of our collaborative partnerships include:

  • Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Open Lab: We have invested £25 million in the world’s first open lab, enabling African scientists to work in collaboration with GSK to undertake research on NCDs. This will help inform prevention and treatment strategies and develop local scientific knowledge and talent.

  • Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation (TCOLF): Created in 2010, TCOLF stimulates open innovation to target areas of unmet medical need. Our laboratory at Tres Cantos, Spain, is currently working on 50 research projects on diseases of the developing world with a team of 100 scientific staff. We do this supported by partners such as the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), Global Alliance for Tuberculosis Drug Development (GATB), Drugs for Neglected Disease Initiative (DNDi) and Wellcome Trust.

3. Safeguarding the health of Africa’s future through vaccines:

We believe that the protection from life-threatening diseases provides opportunities for greater health not just for individuals, but also for the communities in which they live.

Around 40% of the world’s children currently receive at least one GSK vaccine to help protect them against potentially life-threatening infections. Yet, 22 million children in low-income and least-developed nations still don’t have access to any vaccines.

Today, our vaccines continue to tackle some of the world's most devastating diseases, including pneumococcal disease, meningitis, hepatitis, rotavirus, whooping cough and influenza.

In order to reach those people who could benefit from vaccination, we need to make sure we have a sustainable business approach in the way we develop, manufacture and distribute our vaccines.

Since the early 1990s, we’ve worked hard to support governments in making a long-term investment in immunisation. Our approach, known as ‘tiered pricing’, allows more flexibility in that it reflects a country’s wealth and ability to pay. We aim to support those countries that commit to vaccination for the long-term and enable them to maintain and expand upon their commitment to immunisation as their economies grow.

For the least developed countries, we work closely with organisations such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and UNICEF. These organisations are able to purchase large volumes of vaccines for the world’s poorest children at our lowest prices. To date, approximately 90 million doses of GSK vaccines have been supplied through Gavi / UNICEF in Africa DC. About 35 million children have been immunised with GSK vaccines through Gavi: that is 63% of the total birth cohort in Africa.

4. Innovative Pricing and IP strategies

We are actively working with payers, policymakers, physicians and others on solutions to address concerns about the costs of healthcare.

With our flexible pricing strategy, we are working to make our medicines and vaccines available and affordable for the people that need them, no matter where they live or what they can afford.

Intellectual property (IP) protection is a vital part of healthcare innovation, providing necessary incentives for investment in research to create new treatments which can help people around the world.

The global healthcare challenges we face require us to be flexible in our approach and responsive to different needs, particularly as the disease burden shifts from infectious to non-communicable diseases. In 2016, we announced an industry-leading graduated approach to IP that enables us to bring innovative GSK medicines to drive access in poorer countries whilst continuing to incentivise innovation.

5. Investing in the Communities we serve through our Global Health Programs

Strong and sustainable public-private partnerships are an essential ingredient in increasing access to medicines and improving the health of the world’s poorest and underserved communities.

Through our Global Health Programs we are:


We recently have embarked on a 5-year partnership with Comic Relief in order to help strengthen health systems for malaria control and help the global health community to meet targets to reduce malaria cases and deaths by at least 90% by 2030.

By remaining true to our mission and living our values of Patient Focus, Integrity, Respect for people and Transparency, GSK is unlocking Africa’s potential through healthcare!

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EA/OTH/0028/17 March 2017

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