UK Drugs Firm Launches Africa Charity Partnership

10 May 2013

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New medicines will be sold at cost price with any profits reinvested in research


Britain's biggest drug manufacturer has launched a new partnership with Save the Children to develop medicines to tackle child mortality in Africa.

GlaxoSmithKline and the charity said together they could save a million children's lives.

Save the Children chief executive Justin Forsyth said there was the potential for "huge gains".

But critics are wary about the close involvement of a pharmaceutical company in charitable work, reports the BBC.

Save the Children admitted that its alliance with GlaxoSmithKline would be controversial - but said the project would save children's lives.

For example, a formula for mouthwash will be turned into a gel that can be applied to the umbilical cords of babies to stop infection.

The new medicines will be sold at cost price.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said the partnership would set a new standard for how companies and charities could work together.

Initially, two flagship programmes will operate in DR Congo and Kenya.

These will be followed by other initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Forsyth said: "This ground breaking partnership involves both organisations working in genuinely new ways to save the lives of a million children.

"In the past Save the Children may not have embarked on a collaboration with a pharmaceutical company like GSK.

"But we believe we can make huge gains for children if we harness the power of GSK's innovation, research and global reach."

Sir Andrew Witty, chief executive of GSK, said: "A partnership of this scale gives us an opportunity to do something amazing."

However, BBC international development correspondent Naomi Grimley said critics questioned whether the pharmaceutical giant was just after good publicity - and access to emerging economies that would spend more on drugs in future.

Tags: Health and Wellbeing, Health, Featured

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