|Framing The GlaxoSmithKline Plc. Case in Italy — A “Big Pharma” ’s Strategy To Reinvent Itself|
GlaxoSmithKline announced plans to abandon some areas of neuroscience research (e.g. depression and pain) to cut costs and improve research productivity at their facility in Verona Neuroscience Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery, in addition to partial or full closures at other GSK facilities across Europe and Canada.
GKS’ plan will result in severe job cuts – the total still unspecified, but 3,000 is the suggested number — and an approximate savings of $ 370 million from the sole reduction in R&D. GSK’s move coincides with the “big pharma”’s entry into the fast developing therapeutic area of orphan diseases, and is part of a strategy which, according to a company's representative, aims to “deliver more products of value and improve returns in R&D through a focus on areas with a higher probability of success” and “lower” associated risks — more than 5500 rare diseases have been identified, but less than 10% are being treated.
GKS’ announcement and overall strategy have generated strong criticism in Italy in defense of the researchers whose jobs are threatened as well as of the Verona center, an “historic piece of scientific and pharmaceutical research" in the country. Having said that, the Glaxo case and Italy’s flawed research policy are, to same extent, faces of the same medal. There is some room for a "mea culpa" there.
Read more on the making of Glaxo the biggest UK pharma: John E. Lesch’s Review of The Business of Medicine: The Extraordinary History of Glaxo, a Baby Food Producer, Which Became One of the World's Most Successful Pharmaceutical Companies. By Edgar Jones. London: Profile Books, 2001.
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