Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Glaxo touts diabetes wellness plan for employees

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Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has announced an initiative designed to improve the health of employees with diabetes. Yes, the company's head honchos decided they would take the bull by the horns: if employees have difficulty taking care of their health, they determined to find out why and correct the problem. Result: an internal analysis of healthcare spending within GSK.

Turns out diabetes was one of the biggest problems for Glaxo employees. Glaxo's number-crunchers found the company spends more on diabetes medications, but less on medical care, than the national average. GSK's report states the company spent a total of $26.2 million on diabetes treatment for employees in 2005. Glaxo has now launched what it describes as a multilateral plan to address the needs of employees with diabetes. Leading the charge: a patient education campaign ("Know Your Numbers") and a physician intervention program.

Says Glaxo's US benefits chief, Michael Killian, "As a nation, we are seeing our healthcare costs soar and patients' health decline due to chronic diseases such as diabetes. GSK faces these same challenges and is prepared to meet them." Translation: prevention, prevention, prevention.

Glaxo figures there is nothing to lose, but lots to gain. Healthcare plans for employees already cost a bundle. By targeting the health issues that are hurting employees the most, the company can give those employees a better life and save a lotta money. In addition to making the results of its internal analysis available to the general public, Glaxo has invited other employers to utilize this same approach.

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