U.S. Pharma Companies Up in 'Access to Medicine Index'
Global Ranking Shows More Transparency, More Programs for Low-income Countries
AMSTERDAM (June 21, 2010) - U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies are working harder than they did two years ago to make medicines available to people in developing countries. European drug companies have maintained their overall lead in the area, however, according to the second Access to Medicine Index, released today.
Compared to 2008, when the first Index was published, pharma companies have given more insight into their policies and actions to increase people's access to medicines in developing countries, researchers say in a report underpinning the ranking. They identify more industry initiatives than two years ago, but also see room for improvement.
"The Access to Medicine Index independently assesses how individual pharmaceutical companies perform in promoting universal access to essential medicines, and is thus an important tool in improving performance," said Dr Carissa Etienne, Assistant Director-General at the World Health Organization (WHO).
"The 2010 ranking reveals important progress, if only because companies have shown far greater willingness to open up. The Index unveils great improvements, especially in the areas of research and development, and equitable pricing. At the same time, it shows that the industry as a whole still has a long way to go," said Wim Leereveld, the Index's founder.
The Access to Medicine Index ranks 20 of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies on their efforts to make sure that medicines are made for, and reach, people in developing countries. The ranking encourages drug companies to compete and offers investors and others a way to compare their social responsibility records.
The Access to Medicine Index 2010 identifies GlaxoSmithKline (U.K.) as current industry leader in improving access to needed medicines. Following in its footsteps are Merck & Co. (U.S.), Novartis (Switzerland), Gilead Sciences (U.S.), and Sanofi-Aventis (France).
Gilead Sciences (U.S.) and Pfizer (U.S.) moved up strongly in the ranking; Bayer (Germany), Bristol-Myers Squibb (U.S.), Merck KGaA (Germany) and Novo Nordisk (Denmark) were down.
In the Index 2010, six of the ten highest-ranking originator companies are based in Europe, while four are U.S.-based. Two years ago, three U.S. companies got a top-10 ranking.
Also, generic drug makers, who do less research but produce low-cost off-patent drugs, now have a separate ranking. Ranbaxy Laboratories (India) and Cipla (India) top the list of generics companies.
The Access to Medicine Index was created by the Access to Medicine Foundation, a Netherlands-based non-profit, and was researched by RiskMetrics ESG Analytics, part of MSCI Inc., a global provider of investment decision support tools.
See also: key facts about the Index 2010:
- Highlights from the Index (pdf)
- Examples of leading practices (pdf)
- Index 2010 ranking: table (jpg)
- Index 2010 ranking: graph (jpg)
- Index 2010 ranking: spreadsheet (xls)
- Previous (2008) ranking: table & graph (pdf)
- How to compare 2010 and 2008 rankings (pdf)
- Access to Medicine Index 2010 - full report (pdf, 2.4 Mb)
Background fact sheets about the Access to Medicine Index:
- Access to medicine -- why it matters
- How the Index increases access to medicine
- About the Access to Medicine Foundation
- What others have said about the Index
Note for reporters: For more information or interview requests, please contact Sue-Lane Wood at tel: +31.62.888.8965 or e-mail her at [email protected]
Access to Medicine Index
- Spaarne 35 2011 CD Haarlem, The Netherlands
- Tel: +31.23.533.9187 [email protected]
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