GlaxoSmithKline and AIDS Drugs for Africa
What comes to mind when you hear the words “pharmaceutical company”? There are many ways to define a pharmaceutical company. According to the Princeton review, a pharmaceutical company is a drug company that makes and sells pharmaceuticals. Another definition for a pharmaceutical company is an industry that develops, produces, and markets drugs licensed for use as generic and/or brand medications. These companies are subject to a variety of laws and regulations regarding the patenting, testing and marketing of drugs.
One of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world today is GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK). GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) was formed in December 2000 through a merger of the British firm Glaxo Wellcome and the American firm SmithKline Beecham. The merger created the largest pharmaceutical company in the world with over $25 billion in annual sales and a 7 percent global market share. With dominance in four of the five largest therapeutic areas, GSK became the sales leader in pharmaceuticals in both Europe and the United States. With its corporate headquarters in London and its operational headquarters in the United States, GSK was known to be the “kings of science”.
Historically, Glaxo Wellcome had been a leader in the development of drug therapies for AIDS by introducing the first antiretroviral medication Retrovir that was designed to inhibit the replication of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Other drugs that GSK developed and introduced for AIDS were called Epivir, Combivir, Ziagen, Agenerase, protease inhibitors, and Trizvir. These drugs were moneymakers. In 2000, the company sold $1.74 billion of AIDS drugs, an increase of 14 percent over the prior year. In the United States, for the year ending February 2000, the company earned revenues of $478 million on the sale of Combivir alone. Glaxo’s sales of AIDS drugs were concentrated in developed countries. Of the company’s...
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