By Max Clarke

Pharmaceutical giant, GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) have slashed the prices of certain drugs in the developing world by up to 95%.

Rotarix, vaccine of the rotavirus which causes diarrhoea that results in countless deaths in the developing world, has been lowered to just $2.50 a dose.

The move by the joind-listed company (LSE: GSK, NYSE: GSK) is expected to be followed by rival giants, following years of campaigning by NGOs.

GSK’s offer has been made in response to a UNICEF request for rotavirus vaccines and will now be reviewed by UNICEF. If accepted, large scale vaccination against rotavirus could begin later this year.

“It is unacceptable that in the 21st century a child dies every minute of every day from diarrhoea, a preventable disease,” said Andrew Mitchell,UK Secretary of State for International Development. “I hugely welcome today's announcement from GSK to reduce their price of the vaccine Rotarix and urge other suppliers to follow suit and cut their prices. We are very clear that more affordable vaccines mean increased vaccination rates benefitting the world’s children.”

Glaxo chief executive, Andrew Witty, commented: “Whilst most babies in the world will get rotavirus at some point, those in developing countries do not have access to the medical care they need which means millions of babies die unnecessarily.

“GSK is committed to playing its part in addressing the healthcare challenges faced by world’s poorest countries. By working in partnership with others including governments, international agencies, NGOs and developing countries, we can find innovative ways to accelerate access to vaccines that are urgently needed by children living in these countries.”

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