Changing the Way We Do Business

May 2, 2017 9:00 AM ET

Changing the way we do business

When was the last time you upended your life – reevaluated the way you work, radically shifted how you measure success – and convinced 100,000 people to do it with you?

Now consider how the pharmaceutical industry traditionally markets and sells its products:

  • Paying sales representatives based on the number of prescriptions written without necessarily regarding what’s best for the patients.
  • Paying doctors to speak on behalf of the very same products the industry wants them to prescribe.

These practices were developed decades ago and have contributed to a widespread perception that the industry values profits over patients.

Modernizing the model

Over the last several years, we have made industry-leading changes to these traditional commercial practices:

  • Our sales representatives are not compensated based on individual sales targets. Instead, they are motivated and rewarded on their scientific knowledge of our products, customer service, and broader business success.
  • External doctors are not paid to speak about GSK pharmaceuticals or vaccines.

We have rejected the industry’s old ways of working and created a new approach – with modern commercial practices that are streamlined, more patient-centered, and better aligned with our values and society’s expectations. Further, we have strengthened our digital resources to supplement information provided by our salesforce and we have significantly expanded our global team of in-house medical experts.


This transformation is global in scale - guiding our business practices from Africa to Asia to the Americas – and giving us a competitive edge as the only pharmaceutical company in the world to pioneer revolutionary changes to traditional industry practices.

  • Despite many critics unsure if this new model would work, GSK’s full-year results for 2016 showed overall group sales and profits were up for all three of our global businesses (consumer healthcare +5, pharmaceuticals +4%, and vaccines +12%.) 
  • In the US, 2016 Respiratory sales increased 7% to $4.5 billion CER* with 14% volume growth, and Vaccines had an unprecedented year, ending the year up 12% on a pro-forma basis to $2.2 billion CER*.
  • And we have the #1 most trusted pharmaceutical salesforce in America, as rated by US physicians through a 2016 survey.

US Perspective

Dale is in US Pharmaceutical field sales in North Carolina and represents products from our respiratory portfolio. She has embraced our value-based sales approach and has received positive feedback from healthcare professionals

“If I sold cars or electronics, I might want to be rewarded based on my individual sales targets, but I educate physicians on respiratory products. I want to be rewarded based on my ability to effectively discuss the product that's best for the patient. I’m proud to represent GSK and be part of the #1 most trusted pharmaceutical salesforce in America.” (Dale, Sales Specialist)

More information

This article is part of a series on our responsible business in the US

Our values underpin everything we do – from ensuring rigorous safety standards in the development and manufacture of new medicines to interacting ethically with healthcare professionals, patient groups and political stakeholders. Learn more about our global commitments and progress for Our Behavior

*Constant Exchange Rate