Case Study

GlaxoSmithKline and AIDS drugs in South Africa (A): The fight for lives and profits

10 pages
February 2005
Reference: IMD-3-1496

The case describes the interactions among pharmaceutical companies, NGOs, and governments in the context of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. Oxfam singled out GSK as the target for its new campaign, “Cut the Cost.” The goal was to hit where it would hurt the most–GSK’s share price. At the same time other NGOs also went after GSK. For GSK the situation in South Africa was extremely delicate. The ultimate issues were patent and price protection globally. The pharmaceutical companies were afraid that cheap generic drugs could flood the West, undermining the entire pricing structure and their ability to fund new research. Defending the patents and prices seemed essential. Yet, fighting the NGOs could bring negative publicity and, ultimately, be self-defeating. Meanwhile, million of people were dying of AIDS in South Africa.

Non-market Competition, Ethics, Pharmaceuticals, AIDS
Africa, South Africa
GlaxoSmithKline, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals
Published Sources
© 2005
Available Languages
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