A new catalyst for change: methodology for the first Access to Vaccines Index
The Access to Medicine Foundation is introducing a new tool for action – the Access to Vaccines Index. It will analyse how vaccine companies are improving access to high-priority vaccines for communities in need.
The 2017 Access to Vaccines Index will provide an initial baseline of industry activity regarding access to vaccines. It will examine where and how companies are already taking action, and bring good practices to the attention of other companies and stakeholders working in the vaccines space. These organisations will be able to use the Index to inform priorities and strategies, and to clarify where new incentives are needed to spur greater positive change. During 2016, the Foundation’s research team will analyse the data captured by the first Access to Vaccines Index, which will be published early in 2017.
What the Access to Vaccines Index measures
This new tool will chart how vaccine companies are responding to the mechanisms put in place by a wide range of stakeholders to improve access to vaccines. By uncovering what is working, where and why, the Index can help to build inclusive vaccine markets that also reach the poorest and most remote communities.
The focus of the Index is on preventive vaccines (rather than therapeutic vaccines). It assesses the policies and practices of the largest global players in the vaccine market and companies with significant potential for improving access to vaccines.
9 companies in scope
Johnson & Johnson
Merck & Co.
Serum Institute of India
The Access to Vaccines Index examines three key areas of company behaviour:
In Research & Development, the Index will map how companies are responding to vaccine R&D priorities. The aim is to enable companies and other organisations to identify persistent product gaps and stimulate further R&D where it is most needed.
In Affordability, the Index will benchmark how companies consider affordability when pricing their vaccines. The aim is to understand companies’ strategic thinking and to stimulate more open discussions on what sustainable vaccine pricing looks like.
In Manufacturing & Supply, the Index will assess companies’ policies and processes for providing reliable supplies of vaccines. The aim is to identify information gaps and opportunities for market actors to work together to align supply and demand.
The Access to Vaccines Index measures company activity across defined sets of diseases and countries:
69 diseases with the highest priority for improving access to immunisation: 44 diseases where no vaccines yet exist on the market, and 25 diseases where vaccines exist but with issues surrounding accessibility.
107 countries with the highest perceived need for access to vaccines: the lowest income countries as defined by the World Bank, countries with the lowest levels of human development and countries with the highest inequalities.
Key role for the private sector
Vaccines play a unique role in public health. Rather than treating sickness, they prevent it, giving children the opportunity to thrive, free from a range of debilitating diseases. Many stakeholders are already working to break down the barriers to access and achieving great progress. Yet there is more to be done – millions of children still lack access to the benefits of immunisation. In recent years, the most important actors in the vaccine ecosystem have put their weight behind clear targets for driving up global immunisation rates. Vaccine companies, due to their technical expertise, know-how and production capacities, have a key role to play. The Access to Vaccines Index is the first tool for publicly tracking the contributions of vaccine developers and manufacturers.
Driven by data, based on consensus
The methodology for the Access to Vaccines Index has been developed by the Access to Medicine Foundation, using its multi-stakeholder process for building consensus on the industry’s role in improving access to medicine and vaccines. This included discussions with experts working in governments, industry, NGOs, procurers, philanthropic organisations and research organisations. Essential strategic insight was provided by a group of Expert Advisors: from Clinton Health Access Initiative, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA). These discussions crystallised stakeholder expectations of vaccine developers and manufacturers regarding access to vaccines. These expectations are at the core of the methodology for the first Access to Vaccines Index.