A research programme by the Access to Medicine Foundation
Publication - published on 20 Nov 2018

2018 Access to Medicine Index

This is the 6th Access to Medicine Index. It evaluates 20 of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies on their actions to improve access to medicine. The Index covers 106 low- and middle-income countries and 77 diseases, conditions and pathogens.

The 2018 Index provides a finely detailed picture of these companies’ access-related policies and practices based on an analysis of 69 indicators, concerning 106 low- and middle-income countries and 77 diseases, conditions and pathogens.

The Index finds that the the industry continues to mature in its approach to access to medicine. The companies have more projects in the pipeline that target global health priorities than they did two years ago. Since the 2016 Index, at least 66 products have moved through the pipeline to reach the market. 

Companies are also more transparent about where they have patents in force, which is valuable information for international medicines procurers. Also, strategies that set different prices for different segments of a country’s population continue to become more sensitive to what people can afford.

However, performance continues to lag in some areas. For example, while companies are refining their pricing strategies to improve the affordability of more products, they are applying them in few countries, mostly emerging markets.  

The Index examined company efforts to increase access to cancer products for the first time this year, focusing on those that are included on the World Health Organization (WHO) list of medicines it considers essential for all healthcare systems. It identified 72 such products. 

“There have been massive improvements in global health in the past decades, with all major pharmaceutical companies taking action. To close the gaps that remain, a greater diversity of companies must get involved and stay engaged for the long haul.” Jayasree K. Iyer, Executive Director.



Learn more

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