How we measure
The 2017 Access to Vaccines Index used the first metrics for mapping how vaccine developers and manufacturers are addressing access to vaccines. There are 13 metrics and three Research Areas: Research & Development, Pricing & Registration, and Manufacturing & Supply.
A. Research & Development
The 2017 Access to Vaccines Index mapped how vaccine companies are responding to vaccine R&D priorities. Metrics in this area focus on companies’ vaccine pipelines, including new, adapted and improved vaccines, as well as vaccine technologies. There are four metrics:
A.1 R&D investments
How companies allocate resources to vaccines R&D. With sufficient resources, companies can help ensure that vaccine candidates travel successfully through the pipeline.
A.2 R&D projects – vaccines
Number of investigational vaccines that the company is developing for vaccine-preventable diseases in scope of the Index. This metric revealed where needs and priorities are already being addressed, by whom, and where gaps and opportunities remain for companies and other research organisations to address.
A.3 R&D projects – technologies
Where companies are improving or developing vaccine packaging and delivery technologies, for example to reduce unit sizes and improve supply chains, or to introduce needle-free technologies that are easier to administer and better tolerated.
A.4 Facilitating access
Whether companies are taking steps (called access provisions), during the R&D process, to ensure successful vaccine candidates are rapidly made available, accessible and affordable. By putting access provisions in place while vaccines are under development, companies can significantly accelerate the speed at which they become available at an affordable price and at sufficient volumes.
B. Pricing & Registration
The 2017 Access to Vaccines Index benchmarked how companies consider affordability when pricing their vaccines. Metrics in this area focus on companies’ pricing strategies and whether they are transparent, and whether companies file for registration in low- and middle- income countries. There are three metrics:
B.1 Pricing strategy
The various factors companies consider when constructing pricing strategies. This metric looks at whether companies consider demand- and supply-side and other socio-economic factors, in order to ensure vaccines are priced affordably.
B.2 Pricing policy transparency
Whether the factors companies consider in their pricing strategies are publicly available so that governments and other procurers can understand the criteria for negotiating lower prices. This metric also assesses whether companies limit vaccine-price transparency by influencing governments’ ability to disclose prices.
Whether companies register their vaccines for sale in the countries that need them most, rather than focusing solely on the most lucrative markets. Registration is widely seen as the gateway to greater access to vaccines.
C. Manufacturing & Supply
The 2017 Access to Vaccines Index assessed companies’ policies and processes for providing reliable supplies of vaccines. Metrics in this area focus on the strategies and processes companies put in place to ensure a reliable supply of vaccines and at whether they adapt brochures and/or packaging or other delivery technologies to overcome barriers to vaccines in developing countries. There are seven metrics:
C.1 Overcoming local barriers
Whether companies help to overcome local barriers to access to vaccines by either adapting vaccine packaging or implementing new delivery technologies. Adaptations can include the use of local languages or pictograms in packaging inserts to help ensure medicines are used rationally.
C.2 Ensuring rational use
Whether companies provide clear instructions in the packaging materials on how to administer a vaccine, which minimise the risk of vaccines being given incorrectly.
C.3 Responding to shortages
The strategies and procedures companies have in place to quickly avert potential vaccine shortages. The metric provides insight into the best actions companies can take to prevent shortages from developing, and into opportunities for other actors to trigger a timely response from companies.
C.4 Collaboration to align supply and demand
The mechanisms companies have put in place to ensure they regularly engage with other stakeholders to align supply and demand (for example, with governments, UNICEF, Gavi and PAHO). The metric identifies gaps in information sharing and highlight opportunities for closer collaboration.
C.5 Supporting vaccine security
Whether companies take public health into account when making strategic and business decisions. This analysis built an understanding of how companies balance business priorities with public health needs.
C.6 Increasing global manufacturing capacity
Companies’ efforts to increase global vaccine manufacturing capacity, e.g., through partnerships, training exercises or technology transfers with other manufacturers; or by sharing manufacturing innovations. The metric identifies practices that could be applied for different vaccines, and to identify where manufacturing capacity is potentially not being strengthened sufficiently.
2015 Methodology for the 2017 Access to Vaccines Index
The Access to Medicine Foundation is introducing a new tool for action – the Access to Vaccines Index. It will be published in early 2017 and analyse how vaccine companies are improving access to high-priority vaccines for communities in need.The methodology comprises the first set of metrics for mapping the contributions of vaccine companies in improving access to vaccines.