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GSK dedicates Nashik plant to fighting LF

Andrew Witty sets aside GSK's new production facility in Nashik to the manufacture of albendazole

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) CEO Andrew Witty has dedicated a new production facility at its Nashik site in India to the manufacture of albendazole, part of a combination treatment used within the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF).

The new facility, built with an investment of $330,000 (Rs15m), will deliver an additional 300 million treatments of albendazole per year, which is the largest drug donation programme in the history of the global pharmaceutical industry.

Constituting half of GSK's annual manufacturing capacity for the LF programme, the output from this facility will save the Indian health system an estimated Rs1.38bn (US$30m) in treatment costs and improve the lives of 550 million people in India who live at risk of developing this debilitating condition.

Technology for the Nashik facility was transferred from Cape Town and production started in August 2009. The first consignment of 15 million albendazole tablets was supplied to WHO in December, 2009.  This year Nashik is expected to deliver 300 million tablets.

The global programme to eliminate LF has become the most rapidly scaled-up drug administration programme in public health history. Since its inception in 2000, more than 1.9 billion treatments have been given to over 570 million people in 48 of the 83 countries with endemic LF.

"Promising new data show that the simplicity of the WHO's disease elimination programme is working. Through this investment in India we are able to focus on one of the largest areas at risk from LF and support the Indian government's current efforts to control and eliminate this crippling tropical disease," Mr Witty said.

8th March 2010

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