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Glaxo Smith Kline's Corporate Social Responsibility Practices. Essay

4251 words - 17 pages

Table of contents:1) Introduction.2) Pharmaceutical sector in general, main arguments put forward by the companies and counter-arguments.3) GlaxoSmithKlein's CSR claims and counter-evidence:i) Medicines for the developing world.ii) Business ethics and integrity.iii) Environment, health and safety.iv) Research and development.4) Concluding remarks.5) References.6) Appendices.1. Introduction.The global pharmaceutical industry has long been considered one of the mostprofitable industries, and historically, it has proven itself to be a low risk, stable investment sector. However, the perception of pharmaceuticals as a 'safe bet' is changing as investor concern mounts over a number of recent negative publicity cases. A number of issues are undermining the industry as a whole giving rise to the importance of looking at individual companies' corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance. Some of these issues include: access to essential medicines by the developing world countries, fair pricing of existing drugs, ethical conduct of clinical trials and marketing, investment in research and development of medicines to cure diseases which generally affect poorer regions of the world. Although, in some respect I agree with the corporate view that the ultimate responsibility for addressing social issues lies within governments, I also think that there is much to be done by the private sector as well. But in order to come to any kind of conclusions on how the above concerns can be addressed, we as public at least need to have some knowledge of the subject matter and that is the reason why I have chosen the topic of my essay.2. Pharmaceutical sector in general, main arguments put forward by the companies and counter-arguments.Before considering a specific example I would like to give you some interesting general information about why the arguments made by pharmaceutical companies in their defence don't 'stack up'. (The analysis is based on the Oxfam paper: "Implausible denial...", April 2001). A number of counter-arguments have been put forward by the major pharmaceutical companies, including:The advantages to the industry of enforcing a global and uniform system of patent rights.The risk that any diminution of the minimum 20-year patent terms imposed under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) would undermine incentives for research & development (R&D), to the detriment of developing countries.The claim that the industry is already - via Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and voluntary donation schemes - doing what it can to address the public health needs of developing countries.It takes US$500m to bring a new drug to market, and the rewards for innovation have to be sufficient to justify the risks involved. A 20-year patent term is justified by the cost and risk associated with R&D into new drugs.Although, patents do play an important role in generating incentives for R&D, the super-profits...

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