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GSK cuts prices of key drugs by 50pc

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced a reduction in the prices of essential drugs by as much as 50 percent.

The move to reduce the prices of antibiotics, asthma medicines and dewormers is a part of GSK\’s strategy to enable poor households to afford quality medication within their meagre budgets.

GSK East Africa Managing Director John Musunga said the price reduction is a continuation of a programme that began two years ago and has already cut prices of 13 drugs in Kenya so far.

"We began this journey in 2009, and today we\’re lowering the prices of four products; three in infectious disease and one in respiratory medicine and hopefully these prices will enable many more doctors and pharmacists to be able to dispense the same to needy patients," said Mr Musunga.

He added that the prices of all medicines with patent protection will be 25 percent of the prices in the Western world.

"If a product is Sh100 in the US it will be Sh25 here, so long as that remains profitable. There are many patients who require quality medicine in Kenya, so by making sure we have the right price we are increasing the pool of patients who can afford drugs," he said.

The price reductions, Mr Musunga assured, would not compromise the quality of the products, adding that provision of affordable drugs to a wider spectrum of patients is the primary purpose of the cuts.

Mr Musunga acknowledged that the company\’s profit margin has been significantly reduced as a result of the price cuts, however, he insisted that the program is profitable.

"Over the last two years, where we\’ve taken price reductions we have seen significant volume gain. When we reduced prices of our leading antibiotic by 40 percent last year we saw a 60 percent increase in volume which compensated the price reduction we took. So price reductions do work," he said.

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