GSK will provide free vaccines for low-income Americans

GlaxoSmithKline has decided to make a direct contribution for improving the poor vaccination rates in U.S. adults. The pharma giant has created a new program that provides free shots against hepatitis A and B, cervical cancer, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough to low income adults.

"Vaccines are one of the most effective ways we can prevent and fight disease, and subsequently, help drive down the cost of healthcare in the United States," says Deirdre Connelly, GSK's president for North America Pharmaceuticals. "Unfortunately, vaccines are severely under-utilized by American adults."

The vaccine program will cover adults 19 and up who are living on incomes up to 250 percent of the U.S. poverty rate: $27,075 for a single person and $36,425 for a couple. Like other pharma companies, GSK has come up with a number of new programs to help patients in the high-priced vaccines market get access to medicine. The drug company boasts that in 2009, 466,000 U.S. patients received GSK drugs worth over $507 million.

- here's the GSK press release
- and here's the story from the AP