GSK tops rankings on drug access for poor

GlaxoSmithKline is tops at getting medicines into the hands of the poor, a new report shows. At No. 3, Merck is the only U.S. company to make the top seven. No Japanese companies made the list, and generics makers ranked close to the bottom of the top 20.

That's according to the Access to Medicines index, the result of a two-year study. Compiled by Innovest, a Dutch consulting firm that specializes in evaluating corporate social and environmental policies, assessed drugmakers for their equitable drug pricing, research into developing-world diseases, donations, philanthropy, lobbying, and more. The Top Five? GSK, Novo Nordisk, Merck, Novartis, and Sanofi-Aventis.

And it's not just a feel-good exercise, either. In endorsing the rankings, a dozen institutional investors said that pharma's response to the "access to medicine issue" could affect long-term shareholder value, so investors and analysts need tools to help them figure out just how drugmakers are doing at it.

- check out the rankings and full report
- see the story in the Financial Times