Who we are
The Access to Medicine Foundation’s mission is to stimulate and guide pharmaceutical and vaccine companies to do more for the people living in low- and middle-income countries without access to medicine or vaccines. We talk to experts about the actions pharmaceutical and vaccine companies can and should be taking in this regard. We then analyse what specific companies are doing, and use our findings to drive change. The Foundation is an independent, non-profit organisation.
We analyse pharma companies’ policies and practices regarding access to medicine in low- and middle-income countries. We benchmark companies against each other, and identify best practices and progress gaps.
We publish our findings in a range of forms:
The Access to Medicine Index ranks 20 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, based on seven areas of behaviour linked to access: strategy, governance, R&D, pricing, licensing, capacity building and donations. By publicly recognising the best performers, the Index spurs companies to compete to be the best.
The Access to Vaccines Index charts how vaccine companies are responding to external mechanisms for ensuring all children can be immunised, wherever they live. By uncovering what is working and where, the Index will help ensure vaccine markets also reach the poorest and most remote communities.
The Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark will be the first comprehensive accountability tool to focus specifically on the pharmaceutical industry’s response to AMR. It will drive change by identifying and sharing effective actions companies can take, and by uncovering how progress can be achieved.
Thematic studies provide topic-specific analyses of how pharmaceutical companies are responding to access-to-medicine challenges, such as providing access to hepatitis C medicines, or to maternal health.
Pharmaceutical companies have the ability and the responsibility to help all people benefit from modern medicine. The Foundation guides pharma companies on the best actions for them to take to improve access to medicine.
No-one can solve the challenge alone
To expand access to medicine, help is needed from many directions – from national governments to WHO, UN and civil society. Pharmaceutical companies are undoubtedly a key partner for providing universal health coverage. They are the innovators, developers, manufacturers and distributors of the medicine needed by so many.
Pharma has potential to deliver profound change
When pharma companies take positive action, it can have a profound impact on people’s lives. For example, a forthcoming 10% cut in the price of a pneumococcal vaccine is going to save enough to vaccinate almost 330,000 more children. Companies’ positive actions can improve the availability, affordability and acceptability of quality medicine.
Toward inclusive business models
Access to medicine and market access are often two sides of the same coin: there is growing scope for commercial business models that reach poor and vulnerable people in a sustainable, ethical way. The very poorest populations may always be out of reach. But in many cases, such models could offer the best chance of long-term improvements in access to medicine.
The Access to Medicine Foundation was founded in 2003 by Dutch entrepreneur Wim Leereveld. It started with a single idea: how can we encourage the pharmaceutical industry – which has such potential for changing the world – to do more to help the world’s poorest people access the medicine they need.
Over the next five years, many of the leading minds already working on this question were approached to cooperate with the Foundation. The result was consensus around a list of ambitious, but achievable actions for pharmaceutical companies to take. In 2008, this list formed the basis of the first Access to Medicine Index, ranking 20 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies on their policies and practices for improving access to medicine.
Worldwide, two billion people have little or no access to affordable medicine. The Index has been published every two years since 2008.
About the Founder
Wim Leereveld established the Access to Medicine Foundation in 2003 with the aim of encouraging the pharmaceutical industry to do more for the two billion people who still lack access to medicine. In 2008, this led to the publication of the first Access to Medicine Index. After 12 years leading the Foundation, Wim is now a member of its Supervisory Board (1 January, 2016 onwards) and remains closely involved.
Wim is active in the dialogue stimulating the pharmaceutical industry to do more to improve access to medicine. More broadly, he focuses on how the private sector can be triggered to address the major challenges of our times. Before establishing the Access to Medicine Foundation, Wim was co-founder of PMSI and Walsh International, leading providers of information services to the healthcare industry.
“Without the cooperation and consensus of the biggest pharmaceutical companies and all of their stakeholders, it is impossible to address today’s global health challenges. There are still so many people worldwide who cannot access the medicine they need. At the same time, I see that the will from all stakeholders to reach them is rapidly growing.” – Wim Leereveld
Watch the Youtube video where Wim talks about the goal and the idea behind the Access to Medicine Index and the role of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies in access to medicine in low- and middle income countries.
How we drive change
The Foundation is working toward five strategic shifts in how pharmaceutical companies think and act regarding access to medicine. We use our three-part model for change: (1) we follow a consensus-building process to determine how companies can improve access to medicine; (2) we analyse how companies are performing in this regard; and (3) we engage with experts from across the industry and access-to-medicine space, for example, to improve companies’ long-term thinking on access and to increase the application of best practices.
In the five years to 2021, we are working to achieve five strategic shifts in pharmaceutical company practice. These will amount to ethical and inclusive ways of doing business in low- and middle-income countries.
Embedding pro-access governance
By 2021, pharmaceutical companies will have management structures and processes in place that integrate access-to-medicine thinking and engagement with local and global stakeholders, as core aspects of their business strategies.
Mainstreaming inclusive business models
By 2021, the business models of the biggest pharmaceutical companies will be systemically inclusive – benefitting the poorest communities while delivering on the bottom line.
Improving industry responsiveness to public health priorities
By 2021, pharmaceutical companies will prove themselves to be natural partners in achieving the SDGs, and in implementing local, national and global health strategies.
Employing ‘access-thinking’ in product deployment
By 2021, essential products will be deployed to the poor, following pro-access strategies, including equitable pricing and generics-enabling approaches to IP management.
Addressing unmet needs through R&D
By 2021, pharmaceutical companies will develop products and solutions for unmet medical needs and for vulnerable populations, while working in partnership with other public and private organisations through more open innovation models. If you would like to engage with us on these goals, please get in touch.
The Foundation has been enabling change in the pharmaceutical industry for more than ten years. It has developed a three-part model based on consensus-building, stimulating competition and sharing best practices.
Build stakeholder consensus
We build consensus on where pharmaceutical companies can and should be taking action to address access to medicine. Every two years, we translate the stakeholder consensus into clear metrics for measuring company behaviour. The Foundation was the first organisation to determine the path for pharma companies to follow.
Stimulate pharma companies to compete on priority health topics
Our research identifies the best performers on access to medicine. By publicly recognising companies’ positive actions, we trigger other companies to join a “race to do well” on priority health targets and topics.
Share best practices and spur collaboration
Our research identifies best practices within the industry, where more action is needed, and where external mechanisms for engaging the industry in access issues are working. We facilitate the wider application of best practices and the development of new approaches to long-standing barriers to access.
The Access to Medicine Foundation has developed a robust process for building consensus on how pharmaceutical companies can improve access to medicine. Before our work in this area, companies had no clear guidance on where to focus.
From expert view to performance metric
We carry out a targeted review of how stakeholders view pharma’s role in access to medicine every two years. We engage with specialists from multilateral organisations, governments, research institutions, the pharma industry, NGOs, patient organisations and investors. We balance their different viewpoints to to identify ambitious but achievable actions that pharma companies can be expected to take.
We translate these expectations into metrics. They capture how the world’s largest pharma companies are performing on access to medicine. The metrics form the basis of our methodologies for comparing companies based on their actions. We are supported by independent advisors and formal committees of technical experts specialised in specific areas of access to medicine.
Our consensus-building activities follow set timelines. If you would like to contribute, please get in touch.
We gather data on almost 100 separate aspects of company behaviour regarding access to medicine and vaccines: including on pricing, R&D, licensing and donations; in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries; and regarding eight product types, from medicines to vaccines to diagnostics. We look at 50 high-burden diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.
We gather our data from the companies we measure, verifying and analysing all data in-house. Our analyses lead to new comparisons of how individual companies approach access. This is the most extensive long-running survey of pharmaceutical company activity regarding access to medicine. We strive for transparency, which is why our complete analysis is available for free online. The Foundation is open to sharing non-confidential data for the purposes of open access independent research.
Our reports benchmark individual companies against the landscape of industry activity, and identify best practices and progress gaps on a range of access topics. The Foundation publishes industry rankings as well as thematic studies focused on specific access-to-medicine priorities.
Investors and the Access to Medicine Foundation
The Access to Medicine Foundation is a fundamental partner for investors who want to understand how pharmaceutical companies manage risks and opportunities related to access-to-medicine issues. Our research covers core aspects of the pharmaceutical sector, including governance structures, R&D pipelines, IP management, pricing strategies, marketing practices and innovative business models.
Why access to medicine is a material issue for investors
The way in which pharmaceutical companies manage access-to-medicine risks and opportunities can have significant impacts on their financial performance.
How investors work with the Access to Medicine Foundation
Investors engage with the Access to Medicine Foundation to receive guidance and support based on our daily analysis of developments in the pharmaceutical sector.
Our Investor Statement
60 investors have already pledged their support to our independent research by signing the Access to Medicine Index Investor Statement. Together, these investors manage assets in excess of USD 5.5 trillion.
How to reach us
If you are new to the Access to Medicine Foundation and want to know more about the relevance of our work to your investment activities, please contact Damiano de Felice.
Our team collects and analyses data from the world’s biggest pharma and vaccine companies. Ours is the most comprehensive, long-running survey of company behaviour regarding access to medicine. To translate our findings into action, we engage with the companies we measure and with organisations from the private sector, donors, NGOs, governments and investors. Our findings and reports are used by companies’ access teams to drive change internally, as well as by specialists from the global health and investor communities to inform strategy and policy, discussions and wider debates.
The Access to Medicine Foundation is based in the Netherlands and is led by Jayasree K. Iyer (Executive Director).
Our international team has diverse academic and professional backgrounds. We conduct and share research into the pharma industry and access to medicine. We regularly draw on our findings and expertise to participate in conferences and events, print and online discussions about access to medicine and the role for pharmaceutical companies.
We are currently recruiting for the following positions
Our research is carried out with reference to experts and specialists from across the access-to-medicine space. Our industry benchmarks have formal teams of experts providing advice, oversight and guidance.
For the Access to Medicine Index, the Foundation is supported by committees of Technical Experts, a wider network of reviewers and an Expert Review Committee.
For the Access to Vaccines Index, a panel of Expert Advisors reviews both the methodology and the research prior to publication.
As an informal representative of the Access to Medicine Foundation, an ambassador supports the work of the Foundation and the Access to Medicine Index through education, co-operation, organisation and goodwill. Each ambassador commits to spread the word about the Access to Medicine Foundation and Index within their own networks and through the perspective of their own areas of expertise.
Governance and financials
The Access to Medicine Foundation is an independent, non-profit organisation. We are funded exclusively by sources such as foundations, governments and development organisations. We do not receive funding from pharmaceutical companies or industry bodies. Strategic and financial oversight is provided by the Supervisory Board. Good governance is ensured by the Foundation’s Executive Board and management team, and codified in various charters and codes of ethics.
The Access to Medicine Foundation is funded by the UK Government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its Access to Vaccines Index is funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery. The Access to Medicine Foundation has registered charity status in the Netherlands (known as ANBI-status).
The strategic supervision of the Access to Medicine Foundation is in the hands of its Supervisory Board. The international experience and expertise of the five board members are crucial in supporting our increasingly global reach.
The board supervises the policies, accounts and the direction set by the Foundation’s leadership team. It meets four times a year. Regular agenda topics include: strategy; finance, risk management; and staffing.
The governance and administration of the Access to Medicine Foundation are guided by its Governance Charter, Conflict of Interest Policy, Articles of Association and Code of Ethics documents. These outline the values on which the Foundation is built, including its role and the impact it aims to have on access-to-medicine issues.
The Foundation is independently funded by the UK Department for International Development, the Dutch Ministry of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its Access to Vaccines Index is funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery. Income streams are sufficiently diverse and secure in the short to medium term. We are proactively fundraising in order to secure multiple sources of funding for the long term.
Use of funds 2017 – 2021
The most recent Annual Report offers a detailed picture of the financial situation of our organization. The most important trend in the past two years has been the continuous improvement of the equity position of the Foundation, with real-terms increases in the overall net result. The Foundation’s finances are audited annually by an independent external auditor and overseen by the Supervisory Board, which is independent from the Foundation Executive.
The Access to Medicine Foundation has registered charity status in the Netherlands (known as ANBI-status).
Stichting Access to Medicine Foundation
Access to Medicine Index
1043 CB Amsterdam
+31 20 215 3535
Board and team
The Foundation is led by the Executive Board, represented by Jayasree K. Iyer, Executive Director. The Executive Board is responsible for the Foundation’s organisational and strategic development and day-to-day operations. The Foundation has a Supervisory Board that holds the Executive Board to account and oversees the management, direction and general state of affairs of the Foundation. The Supervisory Board also has an advisory function.
The Foundation pays its staff a market-based salary, in comparison with other research organisations. All employees are offered a pension scheme, and reimbursement for the cost of commuting by public transport.
The salaries and employment conditions of the Executive Board are determined by the Supervisory Board. Members of the Supervisory Board receive no remuneration for the fulfilment of their responsibilities to the Foundation. Costs incurred by members of the Supervisory Board in the fulfilment of their responsibilities are reimbursed on the basis of individual claims.
Completed activities & financial statements
For more information about the Foundation’s completed activities and financial statements, download the most recent Annual Report.
For an overview of the Foundation’s strategic direction, read about the five strategic shifts we are working to achieve in pharmaceutical company practice.
The Access to Medicine Foundation is featured in
The Access to Medicine Foundation is funded by