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Report Finds Big Pharma is Doing More for Access to Medicine in Developing Countries than Two Years Ago

November 27, 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 9th position in the 2010 Index
to 2nd 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 access
activities.

“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 2nd and 3rd 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
Astellas.

Overall trends

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 within minutes.

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.

Notes:

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 to medicine
in developing countries by encouraging the pharmaceutical industry to accept a greater
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.

http://www.atmindex.org


    Photo: 

http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121128/579726

SOURCE Access to Medicine Foundation


Source: PR Newswire