You may have read about my thoughts on CSR-strategies for Business Development in developing countries before (see for instance my blog posts from March 29 2010, May 2 2011). In those discussions I have used the so-called Walderik-Mattson pyramid to visualize the different CSR- and business strategies needed on different markets:
CSR-i-praktiken.se, one of my favourite CSR-newsletters, has published a very interesting article on GSK's newly implemented business model for developing markets such as Kenya and Uganda. Very interesting reading, and I have been waiting for the article to be published since I knew it was scheduled to come (there is a very brief quote in the end of the article by myself...)
There are some things worth commenting: First of all of course - I really like to approach taken by GSK. They try to develop a business model that works in poor countries with huge medical needs. It is of great necessity for the suffering patients and it is of course also good for our business. There has always been a discussion whether the best chances for developing countries to grow and prosper comes from "philanthropic initiatives" or "business driven initiatives". If you have followed my blog posts of the years you will know that I have strong beliefs in "business and market driven initiatives". If we can find business models that work, we clearly help the societies to develop and grow, and utilizes strong and positive driving forces among the citizens. If everything is based on charity-driven solutions there is a risk that the receiving countries remain being dependent on future aid.
I also like GSK's approach that their initiatives are a combination of pharmaceutical supply and building health care infrastructure. My opinion is that only focusing avilability of medicines would not dramatically change the situation in many poor countries around the globe. It is extremely important that a well-functioning health care infrastructure is built. Physicians and nurses must be educated, hospitals must be built, centers for treatment and capacity building needs to be constructed, and of course there is also a huge demand for clean water, different types of sanitary and hygienic articles, and health literacy.
Last year in October I had the opportunity to follow some of Pfizer's initiatives in Africa closely. Please read about Pfizer's "Global Health Program" on our global webpage. But take your time also to read by reflections "on site in Uganda" last October:
There is so much that needs to be done, in Africa and elsewhere, to really provide patients in need with adequate health care. I am however very happy to see all different initiatives that are being, and already have been, launched. Personally I feel strongly for integrating the CSR-perspectives with the business strategies. I am convinced that it is a key if we want to see sustainable change! And if GSK's new business model helps pave the way for other initiatives I couldn't be happier. It would help patients in need, provide sustainable growth opportunities for developing countries, and it would be good for our business:
"Långt borta från både Nairobi och Pennsylvania, deltar svenske Bengt Mattson, CSR-chef på Pfizer, under Almedalsveckan i Visby. Han vidmakthåller att läkemedelsbolagens nuvarande portföljer generellt inte matchar behoven i många utvecklingsländer, vilket är en risk på lång sikt eftersom tillväxten finns där. Men låg betalningsförmåga och bristande infrastruktur gör att företagen tvekar. Han tycker det är upplyftande att GSK vågar satsa långsiktigt och testa en ny modell som inte är kopplad till välgörenhet. – Vi pratar om framtida marknader och GSK:s investeringar snabbar på utvecklingen och drar upp spåren för oss andra, säger Mattsson. Samhällseffekten, såväl som marknadens värdering, av GSK:s satsning kan bedömas först om några år. Men jakten på nya kunder måste ändå ses som en viss garant för att läkemedelsbranschen kommer att hitta nya vägar att nå ut till fler patienter, oavsett inkomst och födelseland."
(The final paragraph in CSR-i-praktikens article, including a quote from myself)