GSK Responsible Antibiotic Promotion

Program Objective

Ensure that GSK sales and marketing activities are aligned with antibiotic stewardship principles. Implement a new incentive system for all sales representatives globally that doesn’t reward them for selling higher volumes of our products, thereby reducing pressure to increase sales volumes and enabling them to truly put patients’ needs first.

GSK no longer pays healthcare professionals to speak to other prescribers about its prescription medicines and vaccines, including antibiotics. 

Responsible Antibiotic Promotion Responsible Antibiotic Promotion Copyright Photo credits GSK

What are the health needs and challenges?

GSK recognises the potential for promotional sales and marketing activity to contribute to inappropriate use of antibiotics. We are committed to ensuring that our sales representatives put patient needs first and therefore we do not incentivise volume sales of antibiotics but instead encourage appropriate use. We have also changed common marketing practices to avoid the risk of undue influence over prescribing.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Traditional sales and marketing activities are designed to increase sales of the company’s products. GSK recognised the potential for this to contribute to inappropriate use of medicines; particularly concerning with antibiotics, due to the need for conservation.

Under GSK’s new model, sales representatives  are incentivised based on their technical knowledge, the quality of service they deliver to healthcare professionals to support improved patient care, and a broader set of business performance measures. The majority of GSK's representatives include appropriate use in every discussion with healthcare professionals and during 2017 GSK will extend this emphasis globally.

As of January 2016, we no longer pay healthcare professionals to speak about our prescription medicines and vaccines. We will continue to pay healthcare professionals for providing services and for participating in our clinical research; these payments are governed by rigorous controls and are based on fair market value.

GSK is also changing the way it supports medical education by no longer choosing which healthcare professionals we sponsor to attend scientific congresses. Instead, we will provide funding to independent professional bodies who will allocate funding to individuals – another industry first.

GSK sales and marketing employees, along with relevant third parties, must follow a Code of Practice for Promotion and Customer Interactions.

Corresponding principle in Declaration by the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Diagnostics Industries on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance

“We are committed to antibiotics only being used in patients who need them, we support continued education for clinical professionals on appropriate use, and we welcome the WHO Global Action Plan’s focus on improved stewardship.” 

Read full Declaration by the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Diagnostics Industries on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

Partnership information

Company(ies) GlaxoSmithKline

Therapeutic Focus Infectious Diseases

Disease(s) Drug-Resistant Infections (AMR)


Start Date 2015

More information GSK Sales and Marketing

Anticipated completion date Ongoing