GSK ranked No.1 for access to medicine

  • 28/12/2016
Heap of medicine pills.  Background made from colorful pills and capsules

Innovations in New Zealand and the Pacific have helped global drugs company GSK top a list of global pharmaceutical companies providing the best access to medicine, its country general manager says.

GSK topped the Access to Medicine Index for the fifth consecutive time.

Funded by Bill Gates' charitable foundation and the UK and Dutch Governments, the index measures the top 20 pharmaceutical companies' efforts to improve access to healthcare in developing countries.

GSK's move to translate instructions for a test to measure how badly someone is affected by asthma into Maori and its aid work in the Pacific played a part in gaining the ranking, NZ general manager Anna Stove says.

"We know in New Zealand that patient outcomes for asthma are worse for Maori," Ms Stove says.

"And as a company we wanted to ensure we were doing everything we could to better educate Maori patients, and their whanau on how their lives could be improved by appropriate use of medication."

GSK also donated more than $330,000 worth of critical medicines as part of a relief effort into Fiji following Cyclone Winston.

Other important global measures GSK says it has taken include extending its patent licence agreement for its newest HIV medicine to allow generic copies to be distributed in most developing countries.

Its partnership with Save the Children has also reached 1.3 million children in some of the world's poorest countries and includes vaccines and treatment for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.