LONDON, March 24 GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L)
will share more than 800 of its patents with others seeking to
develop new medicines for neglected tropical diseases and slash
the cost of many of its drugs in poor countries from next week.
The world's second-largest drugmaker announced the moves on
Tuesday in its annual corporate responsibility report, following
a pledge by Chief Executive Andrew Witty in a speech at Harvard
last month to do more to help the developing world.
The $800 billion-a-year global pharmaceutical industry has
come under increasing pressure in recent years to help close the
gap in access to medicines between rich and poor, particularly
That has resulted in leading companies offering a series of
deep discounts for drugs to treat AIDS and other diseases.
The creation of a free patent pool to spark development of
new medicines for tropical diseases takes things a step further,
although Glaxo has stopped short of offering up its patents on
drugs for HIV/AIDS, which it does not consider to be neglected.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Michael Kahn)