Report Finds Big Pharma is Doing More for Access to Medicine in Developing
Countries than Two Years Ago
AMSTERDAM, November 28, 2012
AMSTERDAM, November 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The latest Access to Medicine Index, which ranks the top 20 pharmaceutical
companies on their efforts to improve access to medicine in developing
countries, finds that the industry is doing more than it was two years ago,
with GlaxoSmithKline still outperforming its peers, but an expanding group of
leaders closing the gap.
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121128/579726 )
The Index, published Wednesday, found that Johnson & Johnson was one of the
most dramatic risers, climbing from the middle of the field in 9 ^th position
in the 2010 Index to 2 ^nd this year, closely behind GlaxoSmithKline. It is
one of two newcomers to the top three. Its rise is due largely to its
consolidation of its access activities under one business unit, which has
resulted in a more strategic and integrated approach, and to its acquisition
of vaccine maker Crucell, which has increased the relevance of its research
and development investments. It has also disclosed more overall about its
"This year's Index shows that companies are becoming more organised internally
in their approach to access to medicine and that those who do this best tend
to perform well across the other aspects we measure. The leaders are really
raising the bar," said Wim Leereveld, founder and CEO of the Access to
Medicine Index. "It's also clear that companies that do not continue to step
up their efforts tend to be overtaken by their peers."
The Access to Medicine Index is an independent initiative that provides
insight into what the world's leading pharmaceutical companies are doing for
the millions of people in developing countries who do not have reliable access
to safe, effective and affordable medicines, vaccines and other health-related
technologies. It is published every two years.
It scores companies on their commitments, performance, innovation and level of
transparency across seven areas of activity considered key to improving access
to medicine. The companies are graded on more than 100 factors covering these
areas, including whether they are developing new drugs for neglected diseases,
to what extent they facilitate or resist efforts to create generic versions of
their drugs, and how they approach pricing in developing countries. Lobbying
activities, marketing ethics and product donations and other philanthropic
activities are also tracked.
Ranking highlights: Who is doing the most?
GlaxoSmithKline remains at the top of the Index with a marginal improvement in
performance since 2010, and this year, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi, both new
to the top three, follow closely in 2 ^nd and 3 ^rd positions respectively.
The companies that rose in rank the most were Merck KGaA, followed by Johnson
& Johnson, and then Bayer. AstraZeneca fell down the rankings most
significantly, followed by Boehringer-Ingelheim, then Novartis and Roche. The
bottom of the league is dominated by Japanese companies Takeda, Daiichi and
Seventeen out of the 20 companies perform better than they did at the time of
the last Index in 2010. At the top end, membership of the leading group has
expanded from three to seven companies, and there is a smaller difference
between the scores of the Index leaders than there was in 2010. Meanwhile, the
gap has also narrowed between the bottom few companies and the top performers.
This is notable given the fact that the Index set higher standards this year
in many areas.
Companies are developing more products for more diseases that particularly
affect the world's poor, and collaborating more in the process than they were
two years ago. There is more target setting and some now devote as much as 20%
of their pipeline to developing products that address the needs of the poor.
For instance, Sanofi is adapting its leishmaniasis drug, which currently
requires health workers to administer repeated injections, to develop a
product that patients can apply to their skin at home. Meanwhile, Johnson &
Johnson is collaborating to develop a simple portable rapid screening test for
tuberculosis that doesn't need to be operated by a health professional,
requires patients to simply cough into a breathalyser, and yields results
In addition, more companies are using tiered pricing schemes to lower prices
for certain countries or population groups within a country, and applying them
to a broader range of products and in more countries.
However, there are still several areas where all companies could improve their
approaches significantly. These include being more transparent about their
lobbying practices, expanding their tiered pricing schemes, adapting packaging
to local needs, making their drug donations more needs-based, and allowing
their clinical trial data to be used to accelerate the approval of generic
medicines in developing countries.
An area where current industry performance falls far short of Index
expectations is transparency around the outsourcing of clinical trials to
Contract Research Organisations (CROs). Companies often hire them to conduct
clinical trials on their behalf in developing countries, but no company is
publicly transparent about all the CROs they employ. Company accountability
involves ensuring the wellbeing of trial participants through adequate due
diligence in selecting these contractors, monitoring how they conduct the
trials and willingness to enforce codes of conduct with disciplinary action.
However, only four companies (Merck & Co., Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline and Eisai)
provided evidence that they use disciplinary measures to enforce codes of
conduct with their CROs to ensure that trials of their products are conducted
safely and ethically.
"Access to medicine is a multi-faceted challenge and therefore responsibility
for improving it lies with a number of different actors, but the
pharmaceutical industry has a critical role to play. While the Index shows it
has made strides in many areas, companies that have sector-leading practices
also show us there is more the industry can contribute," Leereveld said.
The Access to Medicine Index is published by the Access to Medicine
Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands that aims to
advance access tomedicine in developing countries by encouraging the
pharmaceutical industry to accept agreater role in improving access to
medicine in less developed countries. The Index methodology was developed, and
is continually refined, in consultation with multiple stakeholders including
the WHO, NGOs, governments and universities, as well as 30 institutional
investors. The Index is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UK Department for International
Development and other charitable organisations.
The scoring and ranking of company performance for the 2012 Index was
conducted by MSCI ESG Research, which provides environmental, social and
governance ratings, screening, analysis, benchmarking and compliance tools to
advisers, investment managers and asset owners worldwide.
Contact: CONTACT : Suzanne Wolf, +31629404090/+31235339187, firstname.lastname@example.org
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