GlaxoSmithKline’s intent to get more competitive leads to Sub-Saharan Africans Job cuts

With re-structuring comes change in hopes for a better future. As with all changes, the impact is either negative or positive to those directly involved. For Sub-Saharan GlaxoSmithKline’s employees, a company restructure means loss of jobs.

As GSK’s CEO, Emma Walmsley restructures the company, she is cutting jobs in Africa with the aim of achieving a more competitive company in the pharmaceutical market with the creation of a new operating model for the region.

Since April, Walmsley’s tenure since she took over in April 2017 has been marked by tough reviews of existing activities, leading to plans to divest some product lines, as well as a major overhaul of GSK’s drug research pipeline.

In 2014, former CEO, Andrew Witty, pledged to extend the company’s reach and commitments in sub-Saharan Africa, with an investment of £130 million for a 5-year project that would help Africa research and meet some of its own needs, adding that the company would invest £100 million in 5 new manufacturing facilities in different countries to produce medicines needed in Africa, like antibiotics and HIV medicines. Fast forward 4 years down the line, this investment includes everything (medicine, vaccines and research) except personnel in a region where it has over 1,500 workers.

Redirecting the focus on emerging markets came during an earnings call when Walmsley said the company’s biggest change “geographically” would come in emerging markets, where she noted GSK had not done enough to sell its newer drugs, Ellipta portfolio and Nucala which generate 90%.

Working towards promoting its newer products, GSK is creating an end-to-end operating model that will have its own governance model and commercial structures. Some of which might be a standalone business, a cluster of similar markets or a distributor-led model. However, Sub-Saharan Africa is to get the distributor model.

Assuring that these new models of distribution would in no way affect quantity of products, Walmsley said “Patients access to medicines and vaccines will not be affected by this change as we will continue to work with our distributor partners, governments and WHO/GAVI/Unicef to make our medicines and vaccines available to patients in the region.”