Wednesday, January 20, 2010

GlaxoSmithKline sets a great example.

The Guardian is featuring an article about GSK's CEO, Andrew Witty, who recently announced that GSK will open its internal research findings on malaria drugs to the global health community to hopefully expedite the search for a cure. It's a brilliant move on GSK's part and it clearly showcases the power of disciplined corporate social responsibility as a management philosophy. Given the time consuming, capital intensive, and complex trial and error research approach with a variable hit ratio that yields successful drugs, it makes sense from a moral, ethical, financial, and strategic perspective to release this data. GSK doesn't have the time, money, or will to bark up the 13,000 research leads it is releasing to the world, yet, releasing them undoubtedly increases the chances of producing aproduct that can measurably improve peoples lives. It's a win-win of the best sort.

Pharma has long been in a bind. They perform an invaluable service to humanity and have been doing so for the most honest of motives, profit. Regressives, left-wingers, and even some liberals have long wallowed in the sea of their ignorance of basic economics and shamelessly hounded pharma for "not doing enough." Well, given the FDA has increased the barriers to research through insane bureaucratic standardization, that pharma is inherently a high risk, high reward industry, and that profits reaped are in part needed to sustain these various research initiatives since most flop, pharma has had to be judicious in guarding their intellectual property. GSK gets a huge image improvement, paves the way for pharma to reassess how they manage their internal research flows, shuts up the ignorant lefties(wishful thinking), helps sick populations, and allows itself to focus on drugs with high profit returns that can sustain the cycle.

In an age of changing consumer expectations, increased corporate transparency, and broader stakeholder constituency awareness, the werewolf has long realzied that the opportunity of a well integrated CSR strategy, and the upside it presents to the bottom-line, is too important to leave to the anti-capitalistic, self-loathing do-gooders who frequently claim to be stewards of CSR. They are the enemy. Capitalism and free-markets are the path to humanity's prosperity. CSR, properly executed, reaffirms that very notion.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Having worked in pharma and built economic models to help companies prioritize pipeline products, I can honestly say that it is disheartening to know that necessary treatments may never reach the market for the sole reason that they are not as profitable. Thumbs up to GSK.