GSK Addresses Global Health Challenges; Plans to Create a GSK-Led Biopreparedness Organization
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced it will set out a series of steps to further address emerging global health challenges as the United Nations General Assembly takes place in New York this week. Among the issues GSK will address are supporting immunization for refugees, antimicrobial resistance, and preparedness for pandemics.
With respect to immunization for refugees, GSK said it will supply essential vaccines to internationally recognized civil society organizations at its lowest price in acute humanitarian situations. This will initially apply to GSK’s pneumococcal vaccine, Synflorix, at $3.05 per dose to charities who fund and deliver and deliver immunization programs to refugees and displaced people. GSK will explore expanding this offer to other essential vaccines in the future.
GSK also reiterated its commitment to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and plans to add its signature to an industry “roadmap,” which lays out a series of commitments for reducing the development of AMR, investing in research and development (R&D), and improving access to antibiotics. This topic was addressed by the Industry Declaration on Combating AMR, which was launched at Davos, Switzerland in January 2016, which called for collective action to create a sustainable and predictable market for antibiotics. The issue of AMR will also be addressed at a high-level meeting of the UN on September 21, 2016.
To address preparedness for global health threats, such as those seen in the Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks, GSK said it will create a Biopreparedness Organization (BPO) within GSK as a dedicated, permanent organization operating on a no-profit, no-loss basis and focused on designing and developing new vaccines against potential public health threats. The pathogens to be targeted would be selected and prioritized with guidance from independent public health experts.
GSK plans to house the BPO at its facility in Rockville, Maryland, where it has established a global vaccines R&D center. GSK is engaging with governments, funders, and non-governmental organizations to secure funding to enable the BPO to advance.