The Access to Medicines Index published today has ranked GSK top for the fourth consecutive time. The Index is an independent measure of the performance of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies on their efforts to improve access to medicines and healthcare in developing countries.
What is Access to Medicine Index?
2 billion people in the world have no access to medicine. The Index gives insight into what the pharmaceutical industry is doing to improve this situation.
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GlaxoSmithKline is leading the pharmaceuticals industry in efforts to widen global access to medicines, according to a closely watched barometer that showed broad improvement in big pharma’s approach to the developing world.
The UK drugmaker came out top of the Access to Medicine Index for the fourth consecutive time, providing an endorsement of GSK’s practices in low- and middle-income countries despite its high-profile corruption scandal in China.
It ranks individual companies on their efforts to enhance access to medicines across seven categories, including product donation, patents and pricing. GSK leads in areas such as research & development, and management of access to medicines.
Commenting on the 2014 Index, GSK CEO Sir Andrew Witty said:
“People rightly expect us to do all we can to discover, develop and price our medicines and vaccines so they are accessible to those who need them, wherever they are in the world. The Index is an important barometer of the industry’s progress. GSK’s ranking is a fantastic acknowledgement of our continued commitment and the dedication of everyone throughout the company to help deliver access to healthcare every day – from scientists working with Save the Children to develop child-friendly medicines, to those collaborating on research into a potential vaccine against Ebola.
“There is more that we can do and are doing. This year, the Index is tougher than ever. It challenges us to think harder about how we drive innovation and enable access to our products. This is a challenge that we are ready and willing to take on. We will continue to push ourselves to go further and faster to make sure our medicines and vaccines reach more people.”
Since the last Index in 2012, GSK has taken further steps to help widen access, including:
Creating a groundbreaking five-year partnership with Save the Children with the aim of combining our resources and expertise to help save the lives of one million children. Our initiatives include developing child friendly medicines; training healthcare workers; and working together to increase access to medicines more broadly;
Submitting a regulatory application for our malaria vaccine candidate RTS,S. This brings us a step closer to making available the world’s first vaccine that could help protect children in Africa from malaria;
Establishing an Africa NCD ‘open lab’ to better understand variations in non-communicable diseases in Africa, helping to inform prevention and treatment approaches;
Evolving the way we sell and market products to healthcare professionals, to further align our activities with the interests of patients – including decoupling sales team remuneration from prescription generation;
Collaborating with the UNITAID-backed Medicines Patent Pool – through our ViiV Healthcare business – to improve access to medicines for people living with HIV.
These initiatives build on fundamental changes we have made to our business model over the past seven years – to ensure our medicines and vaccines are as available and affordable as possible while generating the returns we need to sustain our business and invest in future research; to encourage more collaborative research into diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries; to support communities to strengthen their local health infrastructure; and to form partnerships with governments, NGOs and other companies to help amplify our efforts.
The Access to Medicine Index is a major initiative of the Access to Medicine Foundation, an international not-for-profit organisation, established in 2004 and dedicated to improving access to medicines. The Index provides an overall ranking of 20 pharmaceutical companies who are measured across a range of strategic and technical areas.
The seven categories on which the 2014 Index ranks pharmaceutical companies are: product donations and philanthropy; capability advancement; patents and licensing; pricing, manufacturing and distribution; research and development; public policy and market influence; and general access to medicines management.
The Index – the first of which was published in 2008, then again in 2010, 2012 and 2014 – also analyses industry trends in commitments, transparency, performance and innovation.
Ref: 1. GSK Media Press Release, 17th of November, 17 November 2014, London, UK.
2. Official publication of Access to Medicine Foundation