GlaxoSmithKline plans to donate more of its medicine to treat children at risk for intestinal worms.
The British company, which has its North American headquarters in Research Triangle Park, will donate an additional 400 million albendazole tablets a year for the next five years. The latest commitment brings GSK's total donation to the World Health Organization to 1 billion tablets a year.
The additional pills will cost GSK about $19 million a year and the company will spend another "couple million" to increase production at drug factories in South Africa and India.
Neglected tropical diseases are “a priority” for GSK, CEO Andrew Witty said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “We are very keen to do more."
Such donations help to polish GSK's image as a global drug maker that gives back, and to deflect criticism over the prices of its medicines.