Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Andrew Witty, chief executive officer at GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK), is being critical of drug company after the firm recently threatened to pull insulin drugs from Greek markets in a dispute about pricing.

Novo Nordisk operates a major insulin production plant in Clayton, N.C. and is the world’s largest insulin producer.

Its first quarter profit soared 23 percent, helped by increased sales of its core insulin products

Novo Nordisk employs some 400 people in Clayton.

According to Reuters, Witty said that companies and governments needed to work together to resolve disputes. Novo Nordisk told Greece it would stop providing its products after the government said it was cutting some drug prices by 25 percent.

Novo Nordisk and Greece, which is fighting a debt crises and is one of several governments looking to cut expenses, later reached an agreement to keep supplies flowing. Greece set a price cut of some 10 percent, Reuters said.

The dispute led Witty to speak out at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations at its annual meeting in Amsterdam. Witty is the group’s president.

"That kind of action isn’t necessarily helpful to the debate that is going on at the moment," Witty said, according to Reuters.

"We’ve got to find ways to stay at the table and be constructive.  Walking away from the table isn’t, I think, necessarily the right step."

Witty acknowledged that drug prices are falling in Europe about 3 percent a year and said governments and companies must work together to ensure lower prices don’t inhibit innovation.

Since taking over as CEO, Witty also is steering GSK more toward doing business in emerging markets.

Read the full

GSK operates its U.S. headquarters in RTP.

Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.