GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is stopping making corporate political contributions as part of its transparency drive but employees can still donate through the Political Action Committee (PAC).
The initiative is the latest in the current trend among big pharma to present themselves as transparent and not wielding influence over politicians or physicians.
However, the retention of the ability for employees to donate through PAC means that significant contributions can still be made in the US, with $901,170 donated this way in 2008 according to OpenSecrets.org.
Andrew Witty, CEO at GSK, said: “We continue to believe that it is important for GSK to be engaged in policy debates and the political process. However, we need to ensure that there is no implication whatsoever that corporate political contributions provide us with any special privileges.
“As part of our overall drive to improve transparency in terms of our interactions with governments, political leaders and candidates for public office, we believe that stopping corporate political contributions is the right thing to do.”
Prior to this latest move GSK had also vowed to disclose payments to doctors and professors and grants to educational and charitable organisations.
GSK to acquire BMS Pakistan
GSK’ focus on emerging markets continues with the $36.5m acquisition of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMS) Pakistani business, which includes a portfolio of “over 30 well-established pharmaceutical brands”.
These products cover antibiotics, vitamins and dermatology products, which GSK believes will complement its existing portfolio. In addition the acquisition will provide GSK with opportunities in the oncology and cardiovascular markets. BMS Pakistan generated sales of $19m in 2007.
GSK’ latest acquisition follows its moves for South African pharmaceutical company Aspen in July and BMS’ Egyptian business in October.