What is GlaxoSmithKline

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is one of the worlds largest pharmaceutical companies. While it is based in London, in 2008 it employed around 100,000 people in over 100 countries. Close to 15 percent of its staff is assigned to research and development. Unlike some of its other pharmaceutical counterparts, GSK possesses a strong pharmaceutical pipeline and promising products, but it has also generated some controversy for some of its goods (such as its diabetes drug Avandia).
With strengths in therapeutic areas such as vaccines, oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic drugs, neurosciences and biological-based products, GSK is a key player in the pharmaceutical arena. GSK has also demonstrated increased interest in the consumer healthcare segment by commercializing products such as nutritional drinks and over-the-counter (OTC) medication.
GlaxoSmithKline is the result of the $30 billion 2001 merger of GlaxoWellcome (which itself is the result of the mergers of Burroughs Wellcome & Company and Glaxo Laboratories in 1995), and Smith-Kline Beecham (which is the result of the merger of Beecham Instruments, Allergan, and SmithKline in 1982).
The current company traces the bulk of its history to the 1800s in the United Kingdom and has a strong history of growth through mergers and acquisitions. It was the first company to dedicate a factory exclusively to manufacturing medicine in 1859, and has a long history of diversification in novel drugs, over-the-counter medicine, nutritional, and animal health products.
Pharmaceutical products include treatments for asthma, HIV/AIDS, malaria, depression, migraine, diabetes, heart failure, digestive conditions, and cancer. They also have an important division that manufactures and sells vaccines for diseases such as hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, typhoid, and influenza. Most of the products have enjoyed modest growth in the last few years, except for Avandia, which has garnered some controversy. The drug, which was used to treat diabetes, was a blockbuster drug (which means it generated over $1 billion in annual sales) until scientific literature demonstrated that it could lead to heart attacks. The FDA required label warnings, but did not demand the withdrawal of the product. Nonetheless, sales of Avandia fell almost 22 percent in 2007.
The company is different from other big pharmaceutical companies in that it has an important division dedicated to consumer healthcare, while the other big pharmaceuticals have divested their over-the counter (OTC) divisions over the last few years. As such, GSK sells a wide array of consumer packaged goods through divisions such as consumer healthcare (with products such as NyQuil and Nicorette), dental products (with products like Aquafresh), and nutritional drinks (such as Boost). In 2007 the consumer healthcare division accounted for close to 15 percent of GSK’s total business, and grew an impressive 14 percent over 2006.
GSK develops many products that target diseases that afflict populations in poorer countries, as well as developing medication for “orphan” diseases. As such, the company has traditionally adapted its price structure to accommodate poorer economies. For example, in 2007, GSK cut the price of its HIV drugs for the worlds poorest countries for the fifth time since 1997, and sold those drugs at cost in 64 of the worlds poorest countries. It also dedicated £282 million in 2007 for educational and community programs around the world, and is currently dedicating resources to three “priority” diseases identified by the World Health Organization: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Through its long history, GSK has been implicated in a number of scandals. In one case, it was accused of overcharging Medicaid, to which it pleaded guilty and paid a fine of $87.6 million.
Other scandals include tax fraud, patent fraud, and antitrust behavior. Also, like all major pharmaceuticals, GSK is the subject of lawsuits relating to secondary effects in some of its drugs (such as Paroxetine and SeroXat), as well as the controversy surrounding its drug Avandia.

What is Gini Index

The Gini index is a commonly used measure of inequality in the distribution of income, wealth, consumption, and other economic variables although it can be used to calculate inequality of anything that can be measured. It was developed by the Italian statistician Cor-rado Gini and published in his 1912 paper “Variabilita e mutabilita” (“Variability and Mutability”). It is defined as 100 times the Gini coefficient, which is the ratio of the area inside the Lorenz curve to the area under the line of perfect equality. The Lorenz curve graphically shows the distribution by plotting the cumulative percent going to the bottom x percent of the population. The Lorenz curve for U.S. income data from 2005 shows that the poorest 20 percent of households earn 3.5 percent of the pre-tax/pre-transfer income, while the poorest 40 percent (which includes the bottom 20 percent and the next poorest 20 percent) collectively earns 12 percent of income.
Thus, a lower Gini index indicates more equality. The lowest possible value of the Gini index is 0, in which case the Lorenz curve lies on top of the line of perfect equality and everyone has exactly the same amount. The highest possible value of the Gini index is 100, in which case the Lorenz curve lies along the horizontal axis and one person has everything, while the others have none.
The Gini index is useful because it condenses the entire distribution into a single, unitless measure that can easily be compared over time, across groups and countries and across economic (and noneconomic) variables.
World Bank
The most widely cited Gini estimates are from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators. Using data from recent years, the World Bank estimates that the most economically equal countries in the world with income Ginis below 30 include many smaller European countries such as Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and all the Scandinavian countries, as well as Germany, Ukraine, and Japan. In the low to mid 30s are Australia, Bangladesh, Britain, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, and Vietnam. In the high 30s and low 40s are India, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Morocco, Russia, and Thailand.
The average Gini coefficient in the 126 countries on the World Bank’s list is 40.8 exactly the same as the rate in the United States, but almost all the countries with higher levels of inequality than the United States are much poorer. China’s Gini is about 47. Other countries in the mid and upper 40s are Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Uganda, and Venezuela. Among the highest in the world are many nations in Latin America and Africa, with Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, and South Africa near 60. Topping the chart is Namibia in southwest Africa at 74.
Ironically, the Gini index for the world as a whole-estimated to be between 56 and 66 is almost higher than for any single country, since rich people tend to live with other rich people, fairly equally in rich countries, and poor people tend to live with other poor people, fairly equally in poor countries.
From 1970 to 2005, the Gini index for the United States rose almost 6 points. The leading explanation for this rising inequality in the United States is technological changes that have boosted the demand for skilled labor relative to unskilled labor. Gini indexes for wealth tend to be much higher than for income, but consumption Ginis are noticeably lower.
In practice there are a number of problems in calculating and interpreting Gini indexes. First, defining the units of analysis can be difficult. Does income include only monetary income or nonmonetary income such as health insurance and food stamps? A broader definition is probably better, but dollar values of nonmonetary totals are open to debate, so these are often omitted from official figures. Is the household or the individual the appropriate level of analysis? Since income is shared within households, the income Gini is usually calculated at this level, but this leads to some anomalies that skew the statistic. For example, in the United States poor households tend to be smaller than rich households. Thus, the poorest 20 percent of households contains only about 15 percent of people, while the richest 20 percent contains about 24 percent of people.
Each country collects its data differently, making comparisons difficult although the levels and patterns reported above are generally believed to be approximately correct. Economies with similar incomes and Gini coefficients can still have very different income distributions. This is because the Lorenz curves can have different shapes and yet still yield the same Gini coefficient.
As an extreme example, an economy where half the households have no income and the other half share income equally has a Gini index of 50, but an economy with complete income equality, except for one wealthy household that has half the total income, also has a Gini index of 50.
There is no consensus on the optimal Gini index. The ideal will vary across individuals, cultures, and time. Most analysts agree that a certain degree of economic inequality is inevitable and desirable to give individuals the incentive to obtain skills, work hard, and undertake economic risks. However, if the disparity gets too great, the inequality it represents can tear apart the fabric of society

What is Global Digital Divide

The global digital divide refers to differences in Internet and other telecommunications access and usage across countries. The global digital divide encompasses two concepts. First, there is a divide in access and usage across definable groups within countries, and second, there is a divide in access and usage across countries themselves.
Individual country statistics routinely show an intr a-country digital divide. In a Pew Internet and American Life study and nearly all the countries surveyed in a 2008 OECD study, Internet use within OECD countries decreases with the age of the user, increases with the education of the user, and increases with the income of the user. Globally, households with children are more likely to use the Internet and urban/suburban users more likely to have access than rural users. And in many countries men access the Internet more than women. This same study also found that Internet access varies with firm size. Larger firms (firms with more than 100 employees) are twice as likely to have Internet access than smaller firms.
According to Internet World Stats, the latest number of world Internet users in 2008 is 1.5 billion, which represent 21.9 percent of the world population. According to recent studies, there are several major contributors to the inter-country, or global, digital divide among these users including differences in income, literacy, infrastructure, and the regulatory climate. As expected, the lower income developing countries have lower access to the Internet. In these same countries, illiteracy also complicates Internet usage. When the Internet is accessed, users must share a very low bandwidth. As a result, text-based Internet pages are the most likely to be successfully accessed. The irony is that these pages often cannot be read because of low literacy levels and translation difficulties. These users are deprived of the audio and video components of the Web that would be most beneficial to them due to low bandwidth. In 2004 a single user in Japan has access to more bandwidth than the 45 countries with the lowest bandwidth combined.
The focus of reducing the global digital divide has changed over time from expanding landlines to increasing dial-up access to expanding broadband via fiber optic cables. In OECD countries, broadband subscribers increased by 11 times 2000-06. Expanding broadband into developing countries is still a prominent interest of telecommunications companies and governments. A variety of public and private telecommunication structures has developed connecting to one vast network. Public policy analysts fear that monopoly pricing and limited access by private firms will continue to isolate vast geographical areas. One OECD study suggests that the solution to the global digital divide is through liberalizing telecommunications markets while keeping a sound regulatory framework.
Studies of the global digital divide often focus on both Internet access and PC availability. Moves to expand laptop and PC availability to developing third world countries will help increase access to broadband and reduce the global digital divide. However, the popularity of mobile communications in developing countries may suggest that satellite technology is the medium of the future. Mobile phones are less expensive for developing country citizens and providing access is cheaper for firms than building or repairing landline infrastructure. It is therefore easier to use satellite transmission to extend access in these areas. A Nielson report in July 2008 finds that while the United States leads in overall mobile Internet usage (of total users), other nations, such as Russia, Brazil, and India, are now using mobile devices as the primary mechanism for getting online.
Closing the global digital divide requires coordination via companies that produce the broadband and satellite access, telcos and ISPs that provide the access to the consumers, and governments. Provision of access alone will not close the divide. The price of that access for the consumers, their income, their literacy level, and their willingness to learn new technologies are also factors. Continuous technological improvement and competitive markets reduce the price of access. There are many groups seeking to reduce the other burdens of access and provide the tools necessary to equalize access to these markets, such as funds and equipment, accords between governments, and cooperation between private companies.