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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has selected Ethiopia to build a pharmaceutical plant Capital learned. The company will produce locally used drugs such as antibiotics, respiratory and Anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs. The production factory will be the first in Africa to turn out brand name anti-retroviral drugs.
The move is part of the recent announcement by the pharmaceutical company of its plan to invest 130 million British pounds in Africa over the next five years creating at least 500 jobs and contributing to the development of home-grown products and skills on the continent.
“Although actual discussions with the government started very recently, we have done the feasibility study and it demonstrates that the project is viable,” Mohamedosman Edriss, GSK Ethiopia Country Manager, told Capital.
GSK currently does not have a representative office but Mohamedosman says that will change very soon. “We are in the process of having a legal presence here and opening a workplace,” he said.
GSK is already supplying its patented products for Least Developed Countries at 75 percent less cost than it does in Europe. “We want as many people as possible to afford these medications, as we are the only source for them,” Mohamedosman said.
The pharmaceutical drugs that are produced here will be available initially for the local market. Then, as the factory’s capability and demand for the drugs increase the company will explore export opportunities as well, Mohamedosman added.
GSK is already re-investing 20 percent of its profit back into the society primarily in training health extension workers and health post construction projects. GSK will also invest 25 million British pounds  to create the world’s first research and development open lab in the UK for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that are prevalent in Africa. The lab will work to improve the understanding of the types and varieties of NCDs experienced in Africa. For example there is a prevalence of treatment-resistant hypertension and aggressive breast cancers in younger women more common in Africa and this lab would research this phenomena.  
According to a press release sent out by the company on March 31st 2014, the open lab will also be directly supporting the training and education of African scientific researchers who will participate in a portfolio of projects, build local expertise, and create a new generation of African NCD experts.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a British multinational pharmaceutical, biologics, vaccines and consumer healthcare company headquartered in Brentford, London. It is the world’s fourth-largest pharmaceutical company after Pfizer, Novartis and Sanofi, measured by 2009 prescription drug sales. The company had a net income of 5.237 billion British pounds in 2013.