GSK to share patents to aid disease fight

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The Independent Online

Europe's biggest pharmaceuticals group, GlaxoSmithKline, said yesterday that it will share as many as 800 patents it holds in an attempt to find cures for rare diseases.

The announcement, which came in the company's annual corporate responsibility report, will allow others seeking treatments for some rare diseases, many of which are prevalent in some of the poorest parts of the world, to use GSK's intellectual property. The company also said that it would cut the price of 110 patented medicines, including treatments for diseases such as malaria.

GSK, along with the other giant pharmaceutical companies, has been fiercely criticised in recent years for putting profits in the $800bn (£545bn) a year industry ahead of the needs of people in the developing world.