AstraZeneca plc

Stock Exchange: London Stock Exchange Ticker: AZN HQ: Cambridge, UK Employees: 61,100



Rank 7 in 2016




Falls 2 places to 9th. AstraZeneca maintains a strong performance in 2018, notably in the application of advanced methods for determining prices for different population subsets. It falls two places in part due to a lack of impact measurements on its access approaches.

Performance by technical area
Performance by strategic pillar


Falls 6 places to 11th. It maintains strong governance and strategy, but fails to emulate peers in its commitment to measure the impact of its access initiatives.


Falls 3 places to 13th. Reaches a settlement under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act concerning improper payments to healthcare professionals in China. 


Holds 10th place. Has the largest pipeline with a process for access-planning, but does not disclose project-specific access plans for its late-stage projects.


Rises 4 places to 4th. Substantial increase in the coverage of the company’s portfolio with equitable pricing strategies.


 Falls 4 places to 10th. Despite consistent performance in transparency, it lags behind leading performers in IP-sharing.


Falls 6 places to 10th. Strong performance in health systems strengthening, but falls short on consistently monitoring progress and outcomes of initiatives.


They launched the Healthy Heart Africa programme, which aims to reach 10 million hypertensive patients across Africa by 2025.


Strengthen planning for access for R&D projects. AstraZeneca can improve its access planning process by applying it to more candidates across its entire pipeline and earlier in development (so that plans can be in place before Phase II). This can ensure more successful and rapid access.

Expand intra-country equitable pricing approach. The company’s Brazil Mosaic model of segmented intra-country equitable pricing is a best practice for others to follow. It is applied to products listed under the Faz Bem programme, including, for example, Candesartan (Atacand®), ticagrelor (Brilinta®) and rosuvastatin (Crestor®). AstraZeneca can consider expanding the model to other countries, with similar demographics, including China, India and Mexico.

Expand access to key products through registration. For example, AstraZeneca’s ticagrelor (Brilinta®) for ischaemic heart disease is an on-patent, first-line treatment product and registered in 6 out of 13 possible priority countries. Broader registration in more priority countries would help increase access to the product for more people in need, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Islamic Rep., Nepal and Pakistan.

Changes since 2016

  • Implemented an intra-country tiered pricing model to evaluate the maximum population that could be reached based on cost of goods to determine if a sustainable affordability programme can be developed for particular markets.
  • Expanded its Healthy Heart Africa programme beyond Kenya to include Ethiopia and Tanzania. It has also partnered with PEPFAR to integrate HIV and hypertension care in Kenya.
  • Launched the Healthy Lung Asia programme in 2017 which focuses on improved awareness, prevention, and treatment of respiratory diseases in Asia.
  • Published and incorporated its 5R framework (right target, patient, tissue, safety and commercial potential) for R&D into its Innovative Medicines and Early Development (IMED) Biotech Unit.

Pipeline​ and Portfolio

for diseases and countries in scope


Largest Pipeline: 218 R&D projects (all medicines) for diseases in scope.
Clinical candidates: 90, including a monoclonal antibody for the treatment and prophylaxis of influenza type A and a monoclonal antibody for the prophylaxis of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) .
Regulatory approvals: 7, including durvalumab (Imfinzi®) for the treatment of lung and bladder cancer.
R&D focus: non-communicable diseases (cancer, diabetes mellitus and asthma).
Access provisions: for 4 projects, all applied through access-oriented partnerships.


Mid-sized portfolio: 44 products for diseases in scope (all medicines).
Portfolio focus: non-communicable diseases (hypertensive heart disease, asthma and diabetes mellitus).
Essential medicines: 50% of AstraZeneca's medicines are currently listed on the 2017 WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (WHO EML).
First-line treatments: 45% of AstraZeneca's medicines have first-line indications for diseases in scope.

Projects in the pipeline: 218*
Products on the market: 44
Projects for R&D priority targets with access provisions: 4
Essential medicines with first-line indications: 17

Business context

One business unit: Biopharmaceuticals, with five main therapeutic areas (cardiovascular, renal and metabolism diseases; oncology; respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity diseases; infection and vaccines; and neuroscience). 

M&A news: 2016 sale of small-molecule anti-infectives business and late-stage pipeline to Pfizer; divestment of its global anaesthetics portfolio outside the US to Aspen Global Incorporated (AGI). 2017 acquisition of Takeda's respiratory business. 

Presence in emerging markets: In 2018, AstraZeneca reports sales in 40 countries in scope; one less than in the 2016 Index. It reports that around 30% of its sales in 2017 came from emerging markets.

Sales in countries in scope
Revenue by geographic region

*Figure excludes 4 projects that do not fall into the listed phases of development: e.g., technical lifecycle projects, diagnostics, platform technologies, vector control products, investigator sponsored trials and Phase IV projects.
** Neglected Tropical Diseases, while also communicable, are highlighted separately throughout the Index. See Appendix II.
*** See Appendix IV for definition.

Learn more

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