MARIJA KRSTIĆ, General Manager of GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) for Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania: Global Leaders in Innovation and Development

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As a global innovative pharmaceutical company, we research, manufacture and make available a wide range of medication, vaccines and consumer healthcare products. 11,000 scientists in our global R&D team are using their expertise, the state-of-the-art technology and our 150-year-long scientific tradition to improve the quality of life of millions of people around the world and find a cure for diseases for which there is no therapy today.

GSK is a global pioneer in finding solutions. What responsibility do you have as the leader in research and innovation?

— Over 40 years of our scientific research of the respiratory diseases has changed asthma and chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD) therapy. We have developed the first drug used in HIV / AIDS therapy, the first vaccines against chickenpox and rubella and today we provide one third of the polio vaccines used in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. As one of the biggest vaccine producers in the world, with significant manufacturing and research centres, which European HQ is in Belgium, GSK aims to contribute through global partnerships to prevention of diseases that can lead to fatal outcomes. Today, our vaccines are available in 180 countries around the world and 2,000 doses are administered daily on a global scale. As a result of the recent threats to global health, such as Ebola and Zika virus, we have launched proposals for the establishment of the Bio-Preparedness Organizations
dedicated to the development of new vaccines to prevent future epidemics. Still, millions of people do not have
access to basic healthcare, and there are thousands of illnesses for which there is no appropriate therapy. Therefore, we are continuing to work on the development of the drugs of the future and finding new ways to make them available. The new approach is based on the idea of strengthening the immune system to attack a wide range of diseases. Some of the solutions relate to the use of genetic data in the selection of new drugs. In this we rely on our rich scientific heritage in immunology, including our vaccines against meningitis, cervical cancer and whooping cough that train the immune system to attack the disease.

How much are innovations available in Serbia?

— Considering that our focus is on research and development of vaccines and innovative drugs, it is our obligation is to advocate the availability of the latest therapies in Serbia. This implies that, despite limitations of the local environment, we seek and offer adequate solutions using the most successful global experiences, adapt the pricing policy to the local market, lead the entire industry in raising ethical standards, as well as encourage scientific debate and exchange of specialist knowledge with the medical community. It is encouraging to see that the state has made significant steps recently by expanding the list of prescription drugs, as well as extending the calendar of immunization, which improves the availability of modern therapy and vaccines and significantly contributes to the improvement of public health. In the following period, bearing in mind that we are the recognized leader in the successful treatment of asthma and COPD, we are eagerly waiting for the introduction of new innovative therapies, which could significantly contribute to improving the quality of life of patients with respiratory illnesses. In addition, we expect novelties in relation to HIV and vaccines.

Could you tell us more about key achievements and initiatives in the field of corporate responsibility?

— Thanks to the three-year partnership that we have established with UNICEF, the “Together for Better Health” programme has been launched in order to improve the health of the Roma children in Serbia. It is the first philanthropic partnership ever established between GSK and UNICEF. I am proud of the fact that it is happening in Serbia, with the possibility of expanding it to other countries in the world in the future. Through our traditional
“Orange Day” volunteer programme, which has been taking place for the 9 consecutive years, our employees supported 18 institutions and organizations in the local community. As part of the partnership with the Save the Children organization, from 2013 until today, our employees have also supported efforts towards helping children whose lives are jeopardized. This partnership was also recognized publicly and we have received the National Award for Social Responsibility from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia.

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