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Published by:
Stanford Business School (2003)
7 August 2003
14 pages
Data source:
Field research


In Africa, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) confronted the reality of the AIDS crisis every day, and its decisions impacted thousands. There were no ready answers to the crisis, but everyone - governments, nongovernmental organizations, the media, shareholders, and others - had an opinion. GSK had to determine how to address the crisis while maintaining business viability in developing countries in the midst of all the pressures. Throughout the late 1990s, the CEO of GSK, Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus Dr Jean-Pierre Garnier, was at the forefront of the controversy over antiretroviral drug pricing, patent protection, and drug access. Proactive in addressing critics, he was seen as the de facto spokesperson for the pharmaceutical industry in addressing these critical issues. He responded to the criticism by speaking out at every opportunity, including writing two letters to the editor of the Financial Times to clarify the industry position on drug pricing, research and development costs, and drug access. These communications set the tone for the company and its worldwide operations.


AIDS; Pharmaceuticals; Pharmaceuticals industry; Government policy; Public policy; Public relations
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