Our Vaccines business is one of the largest in the world, developing, producing and distributing over 2 million vaccines every day to people across 170 countries.
Our broad portfolio of more than 30 vaccines help prevent illnesses such as hepatitis, rotavirus and HPV infections, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella, bacterial meningitis and influenza.
Vaccination is recognised worldwide as one of the best investments that any government or healthcare organisation can make. In 2012, the WHO and its 194 member’s states published an action plan on vaccination that aims to prevent millions of deaths by 2020.
This involves more equitable access to existing vaccines for people in all communities, the introduction of new and improved vaccines and accelerated research and development for the next generation of vaccines and technologies. Overall, this translates in a growing global demand for vaccines over the next 10-15 years.
We believe that the protection from life-threatening diseases provides opportunities for greater health not just for individuals, but also for the communities in which they live.
Around 40% of the world’s children currently receive at least one GSK vaccine to protect them against potentially life-threatening infections. Yet, 22 million children in low-income and least-developed nations still don’t have access to any vaccines.
In order to reach those people who could benefit from vaccination, we need to make sure we have a sustainable business approach in the way we develop, manufacture and distribute our vaccines.
Since the early 1990s, we’ve worked hard to support governments in making a long-term investment in immunisation. Our approach, known as ‘tiered pricing’, allows more flexibility in that it reflects a country’s wealth and ability to pay. We aim to support those countries that commit to vaccination for the long-term and enable them to maintain and expand upon their commitment to immunisation as their economies grow.
For the least developed countries, we work closely with GAVI and UNICEF. These organisations are able to purchase large volumes of vaccines for the world’s poorest children at our lowest prices. Just over 80% of our vaccines go to the developing world.
Quality and manufacturing
In 2013, we distributed more than 860 million doses of vaccine around the world. These are made in one of our 13 manufacturing sites located around the world. For some of our vaccines, this production process can take up to two years.
On average, each batch of vaccine will have undergone more than 100 quality checks before it is sent out, to ensure the vaccines meet world-class standards. Each of our vaccines is produced to the same quality standard, regardless of where in the world the vaccine will be used.
We are continuously investing in our manufacturing facilities, improving our processes and building partnerships to ensure we meet the global growing needs for high quality vaccines.
Research and collaboration
Scientific advances are central to our ability to innovate, and we continue to invest in the science to discover and develop new vaccines, both to protect against diseases where vaccines are not yet available and to improve on those vaccines that already exist. This research includes our efforts to find new vaccines against malaria, HIV and tuberculosis.
We are also seeking to overcome the challenges of transporting our vaccines to remote communities, where at present many vaccines must be kept at constant low temperatures throughout the supply and transportion process.
We’re currently maintaining over 100 partnerships in R&D alone and have a long track record of collaborating with governments, healthcare providers, regulators, academic institutions, non-governmental organisations, vaccine producers and other key partners to tackle the healthcare challenges of the world’s neediest communities.