The company's partnership with NGOs is improving access to medicine and saving lives in deprived areas of the country while creating value for the business and stakeholders
Pharma companies haven't exactly been the sweetheart of the development community, with high profits from expensive medicines generating serious questions around their social licence to operate. Yet some good examples of shared value are emerging, especially in the developing countries where access to medicine can be an acute challenge. One example is from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Thailand.
Globally, GSK has made it a priority to increase access to medicine and bring pricing in line with gross national income (GNI). It seems to have done a good job, having topped the Access to Medicine Index in 2008 and 2010.
In Thailand, GSK's country office developed the Medicine Bank initiative to increase access to medicine while building trust locally by partnering with the Thai Red Cross and Royal Thai Army to provide and deliver medicine and sanitary supplies.
The partnership with the Thai Red Cross sets out to provide health education and vaccines to the underprivileged for illnesses that are the main causes of death among young children in Thailand, including infant diarrhoea, influenza and pneumonia. GSK has put huge efforts into vaccinating children at particular risk. Around 13,200 of them have been vaccinated since June 2011, many of them street kids and orphans, who can be challenging to convince to come back to complete the required doses.
GSK also provides medical and sanitary supplies to the Royal Thai Army, which has the role of distributing relief to distressed areas across Thailand such as the conflict zone in the south and areas that were rendered inaccessible during the floods in late 2011.