Do companies extend access terms for countries outside supranational agreements?
This part two of a four part series, describes how supranational agreements help solved access challenges and takes a look at whether companies extend the same terms of access for their products to countries which are not covered by these agreements.
About this series: How do companies ensure worldwide access to their products?
- Context Part I: Overview of how the Index assesses' companies access strategies for three categories of products: supranationally procured products, healthcare practitioner administered products, and self-administered products.
- Results Part II: Supranationally procured products
- Results Part III: Healthcare practitioner-administered products
- Results Part IV: Self-administered products
Boosting access through supranational agreements
Multilateral organisations tend to purchase vaccines or medicines for heavy burden diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, on behalf of buyers e.g. health systems or countries. Such mechanisms for controlling HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB emerged during a period in which governments and multilateral agents came together to greatly expand access to medicine for these high-burden diseases — and to great effect. For example, 22 million lives have been saved through the Global Fund Partnership, a partnership of governments, the private sector and civil society.
By predicting the supply of medicines and vaccines, these practices have helped solved challenges relating to procurement and supply management including logistics to securing sufficient supply. Often, countries need to be eligible for support from these entities and the criteria for eligibility are based on income level, gross national income (GNI) per capita etc.
Twelve companies in scope have a total of 45 products procured via supranational agreements. Many of these products are vaccines and HIV/AIDS treatments which are generally bought by multilateral organisations, such as GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance or the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Index looked at whether companies offer the same terms of access for their products to countries which are not covered by these agreements.
Half of the companies offer the same terms of access to countries outside these agreements
Of the 12 companies that have eligible portfolio products falling under supranational agreements, only six companies (Bayer, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, MSD*, Novartis and Sanofi) offer the same terms of access to both eligible countries and non-eligible countries.
Which companies stand out?
The best performing companies in this area are Johnson & Johnson and Novartis. In fact, these companies offer the same terms to any non-eligible country for all the products assessed in this category. This is an important step for companies to facilitate access to these products in countries graduating from or not eligible for support from supranational organisations.
Seven companies (AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, MSD and Novartis) are taking additional steps to reach more patients across the income pyramid, by either applying non-exclusive licensing agreements, non-assert declarations, product donation programmes or offering the same price as the public sectors to NGOs serving lower-income households. Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi expand patient reach for all their products assessed as part of these strategies.
Opportunity for companies to extend access terms to all products
Access strategies for supranationally procured products are generally better structured and applied more widely thanks to the presence of international organisations shaping the markets and the incentives already in place for the diseases targeted (HIV/AIDS, vaccines, malaria, tuberculosis etc.). Companies, however, can apply similar access terms to other products within their portfolio.
Please note: For this analysis, the Index analysed a sample of the companies’ portfolio products, looking at a maximum of five products per company.
*Merck & Co, Inc (Kenilworth, NJ USA)
 Global Fund. Global Fund Partnership has Saved 22 Million Lives - News & Stories - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Published 2017. https://www.theglobalfund.org/en/news/2017-09-13-global-fund-partnership-has-saved-22-million-lives/ Accessed November 6, 2020.