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News - published on 22 Oct 2018

2018 Access to Medicine Index launches on 20 November

The Access to Medicine Foundation will publish the 6th Access to Medicine Index on Tuesday 20 November 2018. The latest report will show what 20 of the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical companies are doing to improve access to medicine for the world’s poorest populations.

The 2018 Index assesses pharmaceutical companies’ actions across 106 low- and middle-income countries, in relation to 77 high-burden diseases, conditions and pathogens. This includes infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as many lifestyle-linked diseases, for example heart disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases.

The analysis focuses on seven areas of corporate behaviour: management, compliance, R&D, pricing, patents, capacity building and donations. It identifies best practices, highlights where progress is being made, and uncovers where critical action is still required. By doing this, the Index provides both an incentive and guide for pharmaceutical companies to do more for people who still lack access to medicine.

This latest Index is coming at a time of change in global health. We have seen industry consolidation in areas such as HIV and vaccines and there has been increasing pressure on development aid for health. This is exactly when an independent assessment of progress is needed.” says Danny Edwards, Research Programme Manager for the Access to Medicine Index.

New topics and analysis covered in the Index
Published every 2 years, each Index builds on the Foundation’s previous research and addresses key access-related issues of the day. The 2018 Index includes:

Cancer in scope: The 2018 Index will look at cancer for the first time, including breast cancer and lung cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally with an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018 – approximately 70% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Priority R&D: WHO and others have published lists of the most urgently needed new products for critical diseases and pathogens, such as microbicides for HIV and vaccines for cholera. The 2018 Index looks at companies’ R&D pipelines and identifies which of these gaps are being addressed.

Broader pipeline and portfolio analysis: There are 77 diseases in scope for the 2018 Index, compared with 50 in the 2016 Index. With more diseases in scope, including communicable, non-communicable and neglected tropical diseases, the Index provides the most in-depth look at company portfolios and pipelines to date, including close assessment of how companies plan to ensure successful products are widely accessible.

New set of best and innovative practices: Each Index reports on company best practices and innovations in the seven areas measured. The 2018 Index has identified 45 best and innovative practices, which will all be published in full on a new website.

Pricing: Companies take multiple factors into consideration when setting product prices. The 2018 Index looks at whether the use of best-practice pricing strategies is expanding, particularly for people living in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Patent flexibility: The pharmaceutical business model uses patent protection to support its investments in medical research. The 2018 Index addresses whether companies are becoming more flexible when enforcing patent rights and more transparent when it comes to reporting on the patents that they hold.

Index publication and launch events
The 2018 Access to Medicine Index will be published online on Tuesday 20 November. The Index team will present the findings to key stakeholders, starting with a series of events bringing investors and pharmaceutical companies together. These events will continue into 2019.

When I speak to pharma company executives, the question that comes up most often is ‘how can the innovations from these companies reach the most people?’ With the new Index coming up, companies can find out exactly what steps they need to take.” says Jayasree K. Iyer, Executive Director.

More information
If you would like more information on investor events, please contact Bowen Gu.

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

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