What we do

The Access to Medicine Foundation has been working to stimulate and guide the pharmaceutical industry to do more for people living in low- and middle-income countries for more than ten years.

We do this by defining the actions pharmaceutical companies can and should be taking to improve access to medicine in low- and middle-income countries, and to curb antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and then analyse what they are actually doing. 

In practice, that means talking with the experts in global health, in access to medicine, AMR and the industry to define ambitious but achievable actions pharma companies can take. We then benchmark companies against these expectations and make all of our research publicly and freely available.

To translate our findings into action, we engage with the companies we evaluate and with organisations from the private sector, donors, NGOs, governments and the investor community.

The Access to Medicine Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation. 

Why focus on pharma

Considering their size, resources, pipelines, portfolios and global reach, large pharmaceutical companies have a critical role to play in improving 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 the WHO, the UN and civil society. Pharmaceutical companies are the innovators, developers, manufacturers and distributors of the medicine and vaccines needed by so many, and key partners for advancing universal health coverage and improving immunisation rates. When it comes to slowing antimicrobial resistance, pharma companies can ensure antibiotics are produced responsibly, made available and used wisely.

Toward inclusive business models
Pharmaceutical companies, with the resources and the knowledge to develop medicines, have a responsibility to ensure these technologies are made available to people, regardless of their socioeconomic standing. Improving access to medicine creates new routes to market, opening up demand for new and adapted products. As companies enter new markets, they must do so ethically and responsibly.

How we drive change

Our mission is to stimulate and guide pharmaceutical companies to do more for the people who live in low- and middle-income countries. To achieve this mission, we use a three-part model for change that takes our research as its starting point.

  1. Build consensus.
    We build consensus on where pharmaceutical companies can and should be taking action to improve 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.
  2. Stimulate competition. 
    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.
  3. Share best practices.
    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. 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.

Three research programmes

We currently have three main research programmes that help us drive change:

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 Index is the most comprehensive, long-running survey of company behaviour regarding access to medicine. 

The Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark is the first report to compare what pharmaceutical companies are doing to bring antimicrobial resistance under control. By highlighting where good ideas are being implemented, it will encourage their wide uptake.

The Access to Vaccines Index reports what vaccine companies are doing to ensure all children can be immunised, wherever they live. By uncovering what is working and where, the Index helps ensure vaccine markets also reach the poorest and most remote communities.

We also publish thematic studies, 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.

Learn more

View our detailed overview of each company’s performance in the Index, including breakdowns of their product portfolios and R&D pipelines.

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