This is the first in a series of Oxfam Briefings analysing the impact on human development of transnational corporations (TNCs). It reviews the role of the newly formed GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and outlines three challenges facing GSK and other global pharmaceutical companies wishing to increase poor people's access to medicines. First, how to ensure that changes in global intellectual property (IP) protection do not further increase the prices of medicines in developing countries. Secondly, the acute need for research and development (R&D) into diseases associated with poverty. And thirdly, the need to curb corporate marketing and lobbying activities when they run counter to the public interest.