How we work with experts

The Access to Vaccines Index methodology was developed in 2015 and reflects what stakeholders expect from vaccine developers and manufacturers when it comes to access to vaccines. Find out more about how the methodology was developed.

Identifying expert consensus

Throughout 2015, the Access to Medicine Foundation built multi-stakeholder consensus on the role of vaccine companies in increasing access to vaccines. Experts from Gavi the vaccine alliance, CHAI, UNICEF, the IFPMA, and the WHO, among others, helped to pinpoint the hurdles that prevent people from being vaccinated, and to strengthen the Foundation’s metrics for capturing company performances.

The level of interest and depth of insight from these experts was fantastic to see, says Jayasree K. Iyer, Executive Director at the Access to Medicine Foundation. Many access issues  such as vaccine affordability  remain hotly debated, with opposing views on what companies can and should be doing to help. The Access to Vaccines Index meets a real appetite for tools that provide constructive and objective evidence of what vaccine companies are already doing.

"You should be commended for taking on this difficult task in the environment of a consolidated industry with many atypical manufacturers playing important roles. We feel that the ATVI has struck a good balance, recognizing the elements that are important in access to vaccines, taking a systematic approach to comparing across manufacturers, yet recognizing and appreciating the differences in this industry."

Dr. Seth Berkley

CEO, the GAVI Alliance

Defining the founding principles

The Index team established the broad parameters of the Access to Vaccines Index through an initial feasibility exercise, landscaping study and literature review. These studies used the priorities defined in the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) as a background framework, and drew on the Foundation’s ten years’ experience in engaging with stakeholders and tracking company behaviour to stimulate change. Based on their conclusions, the Index team developed the founding principles of the Access to Vaccines Index:

  1. The role for vaccine companies in improving access to vaccines rests primarily in the areas of Research & Development, Affordability and Manufacturing & Supply.
  2. In Research & Development, companies are expected to continually address high-priority gaps for new and improved vaccines and delivery technologies.
  3. In Affordability, companies are expected to actively address the affordability of their vaccines for governments with limited resources.
  4. In Manufacturing & Supply, companies are expected to have strong policies and processes in place to ensure sufficient high-quality vaccines are available.

To support these principles, the team defined the potential range of diseases and companies that the Access to Vaccines Index could focus on. They also proposed metrics for benchmarking vaccine company behaviour. These proposals were based on the team’s knowledge of measuring pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to improve access to medicine, including vaccines. They were tested using the Foundation’s extensive data on pharmaceutical company policies and practices.

Challenging the founding principles

The Index team challenged these founding principles through consultations with the major players working to improve access to immunisation. Stakeholders also interrogated the parameters of the proposed methodology to see if other areas of company behaviour, such as managing intellectual property or donations, should also be included. 

The aim was to ensure that the Access to Vaccines Index complements the work of other organisations active in this space, and that all stakeholders can use the Index’s data and insights to inform future interventions. We spoke with many different experts and market shapers, asking which metrics would help them most in their efforts to stimulate change. 

The Index team gathered in-depth feedback from experts working in industry, governments, NGOs, procurers, philanthropic organisations and research organisations. The IFPMA provided consolidated feedback from companies with vaccine units, and the Index team held individual discussions with large research-based pharmaceutical companies as well as the largest manufacturers based in emerging markets. Further critical feedback was provided by a group of Expert Advisors, from CHAI, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and the IFPMA.

Framework of 3 Research Areas

Through its stakeholder consultations, the Foundation developed 13 metrics covering the three areas where vaccine manufacturers have a particularly important role to play: in R&D for new and improved vaccines; in ensuring vaccines are affordably priced for all payers; and in ensuring that supply meets demand. These are the three research areas that the Access to Vaccines Index focuses on.

Learn more

View our detailed overview of each company’s performance in the Index