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NEWS UPDATES 30 October 2010

Drug company cuts Indo prices

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GlaxoSmithKline, the world's second-largest drugmaker, has slashed prices in Indonesia and plans to introduce a microfinance scheme to provide broader access to its medicines and raise sales volumes.

Christophe Weber, Glaxo's senior vice president and regional director for the Asia-Pacific region, said in an interview on Friday that the company cut prices by 30 percent to 50 percent for all of its medicines in Indonesia as part of plans to raise sales volumes in Asia, which is expected to spend more on health care in the years ahead.

"We are very much volume-driven," Weber said. "By reducing prices, of course, we'll reduce our margin. But if the [sales] volume increases significantly, that's fine.

"Clearly, this part of the world will represent a very significant part of the company [revenues]," he added, "more than 20 percent in the near future, and certainly, a major part of our growth."

The company could not say immediately how much of its revenues were driven by Asia now.

Glaxo cut prices for all its drugs sold in the Philippines in 2009 and found that sales of some of them, like its antibiotic Augmentin, jumped 50 percent.

It extended the same pricing policy for Indonesia this month and intends to do the same for other developing countries in the near future, but Weber declined to name them to pay.

Health care spending in Asia can only rise with growing affluence and many countries starting at a very low base, Weber said. While health expenditure is $3,181 per capita in Australia, it is $98 in Thailand, $37 in Vietnam and the Philippines and $26 in Indonesia, according to Glaxo.

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