A research programme by the Access to Medicine Foundation

How we measure

The Index evaluates pharmaceutical companies in areas where they have the biggest potential and responsibility to make change, such as R&D and pricing. Find out more about the analytical framework and areas of evaluation.

Analytical framework: four pillars, seven areas

The Index assess pharmaceutical companies across seven areas of behaviour – called Technical Areas – that are key for improving access to medicine. It uses a framework of 69 metrics that distill the consensus view on what pharmaceutical companies can and should be doing to improve access to medicine. These metrics are divided horizontally between the seven Technical Areas as well as vertically in four strategic pillars: commitments, transparency, performance and innovation. 

The percentages indicate the weights assigned to each Technical Area, reflecting its relative importance for access to medicine.

7 Technical Areas of evaluation

A General Access to Medicine Management Looking at how companies govern, plan for and manage the achievement of access-linked objectives. This includes assessing access-to-medicine strategies, their rationale and whether they align with business strategies.

B  Market Influence & Compliance Looking at the interaction between companies and other organisations such as governments, patient groups, healthcare professionals and think tanks. It also examines companies’ internal processes for mitigating the risk of unethical conduct

C Research & Development Looking at pharmaceutical companies R&D activities to develop or adapt products for the diseases,conditions and pathogens within the Index scope. It also examines whether companies put plans in place during development to accelerate access to successful products for people living in low- and middle-income countries.

D Pricing, Manufacturing & Distribution Looking at how companies register products for sale in countries in scope, how they set prices that take affordability into account, and whether their manufacturing and distribution practices help ensure high-quality products are available to and used appropriately by those in need.

E Patents & Licensing Looking at how companies manage their intellectual property to support the supply and affordability of pharmaceuticals in countries in the scope of the Index, including licensing activities and whether companies have refrained from anti-competitive activities.

F Capacity Building Looking at how companies are building the capacities of health and pharmaceutical systems in low- and middle-income countries. The analysis focuses on specific areas, such as R&D and supply chain management, where companies can contribute knowledge and expertise.

G Product Donations Looking at companies’ product donation programmes in countries in scope, including the scale and focus of donation programmes, and how companies ensure programmes respond directly to local needs.

The Index cycle

Each Access to Medicine Index is the product of a two-year process known as the ‘Index cycle’, which begins with a review of the Index methodology. This process aligns the Index metrics with changes in access-to-medicine priorities and stakeholder consensus on what we expect from pharmaceutical companies to improve access to medicine. We also use the review to reaffirm the robustness of the next Index analysis, and ensure our capacity for trend analysis is maintained.

The latest review, held in 2017, led to the methodology for the 2018 Access to Medicine Index.

Read more about the Index methodology reviews.


Learn more

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