GSK Thailand: providing Thais with access to good health

GSK’s roots in Thailand go back to 1964.  Over the past 50 years, as a science-led healthcare company, we have been a part of Thai society and remained strongly committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. Our commercial success depends on creating innovative products and making these accessible to Thai people.

Fifty years ago, Thailand was one of several countries in Southeast Asia demonstrating good economic growth potential. Realising the opportunities, British pharmaceutical company Glaxo (now part of GSK) launched a plan to produce and market its products in Thailand, in partnership with a Thai businessman in SamutPrakarn’s Phrapadaeng district under the name of Glaxo Vidhyasom Company Limited.

The GlaxoVidhyasom plant began production in 1964. At that time, people considered the company a “BorisatyaFarang” (foreign pharmaceutical company). The 50 Thai employees produced medicinal tablets, liquid formulations and injectables. A logistics company was retained to distribute and ship the products to hospitals and clinics throughout Thailand.

In time, Glaxo headquarters set up a division responsible for distribution and shipping in GlaxoVidhyasom. Glaxo Thailand was established on Surawong Road in Bangkok’s Bang Rak district as a pharmaceutical sales representative for GlaxoVidhyasom. The new operation was responsible for distributing medicines and medicinal products manufactured locally by the company as well as importing products from other countries.

In its early days, the company was not only conducting research, developing and producing medicine as a business; it was also passing on knowledge and innovations to Thai people. The GlaxoVidhyasom plant became a learning resource for pharmaceutical manufacturing due to its quality assurance programme that covered every step of the production process, ensuring it met the standards set by Glaxo headquarters in England. Pharmacists, customers, government officials and students were all welcome to visit the plant. They were shown every step of the plant’s pharmaceutical production process, which was modern, clean, safe and met international standards. University students from pharmaceutical science faculties also underwent training at the plant every year, learning how to produce quality medicines.

In 1995, a merger between Glaxo and the Wellcome Company Limited resulted in the company changing its name to GlaxoWellcome Company Limited.  The merger increased the number of medicines available with new offerings such as antiviral drugs, anti-cancer drugs and anti-HIV/AIDs drugs.  

GlaxoWellcome merged with SmithKlineBeecham in 2000. The company changed its name to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). In 2001, the Thailand operation became GlaxoSmithKline (Thailand) Ltd., better known as GSK Thailand. The merger increased the number of vaccines available to protect Thai people. This expanded the company’s market for pharmaceutical products in Thailand and provided more access to medicine for a greater number of patients.

Although the company’s Thai factory was closed under GSK headquarters’ efficiency strategy of using only a single factory to produce medicines for countries in Southeast Asia, the company remains committed to investing in local employee development. As a result, GSK Thailand is now operated by a majority of local employees.

Today, GSK Thailand has more than 400 employees and sells a wide range of medicines, vaccines and health products. We are the market leader in respiratory and allergy therapeutics; antibiotics; anti-viral therapeutics; and vaccines for people of all ages. GSK also markets other products including over-the-counter (OTC) medicines such as antacids; analgesics; cod liver oil; Stiefel dermatology products; a wide range of skin cleansing and skin care products; sun protection; dental care products such as Sensodyne, Parodontax, and Aquafresh; and Polident denture care products.

As a part of the company’s global research & development commitment, GSK Thailand conducts many clinical trials of medicines and vaccines for tropical diseases.  This is in response to an urgent requirement for these medicines and vaccines for people living in Asia and elsewhere in the developing world. Our activities cover medicines and vaccines for AIDS/HIV, Hemorrhagic fever, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Cancer, Heart disease. GSK Thailand also supports research and development projects creating vaccines for influenza, HPV, and Anti-HBs.

GSK strives to deliver the highest quality and safety standards for its products. We are committed to running our business ethically and transparently, respecting others as we develop and distribute innovative products for patients and consumers. Our employees are dedicated to working with determination and creativity to improve the quality of Thai people’s lives.

GSK Thailand also believes that by working in partnerships and sharing with communities, we are able to improve Thai people’s health and increase access to medicines and healthcare services. Under the corporate “Access to Medicines” initiative, GSK Thailand is doing its part by working hard to follow four key principles: (i) Flexible medicine pricing in line with Gross National Income; (ii) Supporting research & development for medicines necessary for developing countries; (iii) Participating in innovative public-private partnerships to increase access to medicine; and (iv) Long-term Corporate Social Responsibility commitments to support communities.

Since 2011, our Access to Medicine initiative has made medicine more widely available to Thai people, and improved their quality of life. We work with many partners to bring access to healthcare to Thai people, creating a sharing society. GSK has implemented two key programs, the GSK Medicine Bank and the Nursing Excellence Programme. The GSK Medicine Bank, in partnership with the Thai Red Cross Society, improves the health of the underprivileged. The Nursing Excellence Programme, in collaboration with the Praboromarajchanok Institute for Health Workforce Development, provides scholarships to underprivileged nursing students.

Over 50 years, in sustaining our business and serving Thai communities, GSK remains dedicated to operating in a manner that reflects the highest ethical standards, respect for people, and innovation. We are and will actively make our products more widely available and affordable to Thai people. GSK is doing well by doing good ranking no 3 among multinational pharmaceutical industry (Q2 2016 IMS data). We are the market leader in respiratory, CNS and vaccine in Thailand. 


Awards and recognitions:

  1. The Thai Chamber of Commerce Business Ethics Standard Test: TCC Best Award 2011. The award reflects GSK's commitment to operating its business in an honest and transparent manner using best practices and high standards that benefit all related parties, while running socially-responsible activities under its Access to Medicines initiative to help improve the well-being of Thai people.

  2. The Private Sector Collective Action Coalition Againsts Corruption certificate: GSK Thailand was the first company in the Thai pharmaceutical industry to receive certification from the Private Sector Collective Action Coalition Againsts Corruption under the auspices of the Thai Counter Corruption Commission. The 2013 certification recognizes GSK’s commitment to operating our business in an ethical, honest and transparent manner and conducting corporate social responsibility activations.

  3. The 2014 Thai Chamber of Commerce Good Governance Award: the award is granted in collaboration with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (ONACC) to state enterprises and private sector companies who successfully pass the audit by the ONCC, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

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