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Publication - published on 16 May 2019

Are pharmaceutical companies making progress when it comes to global health?

This is the first ten-year analysis of pharmaceutical companies' actions on access to medicine. It examines the performances of 20 of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies since 2008 in 106 low- and middle-income countries – home to 83% of all people alive today.

It finds clear evidence of progress, most notably in R&D, and in how companies approach access to medicine. A few companies are carrying the greater part of the load. Overall, companies’ activity concentrates on a few diseases and countries.

The report is the first independent study of its kind. It provides a springboard for discussions on how improvements can be sustained and expanded by the pharmaceutical industry in order to achieve SDG 3 on health and wellbeing by 2030.

“Compared with ten years ago, pharmaceutical companies are taking seriously the problems people face in low- and middle-income countries when accessing healthcare. The situation is still fragile – a retreat by one company, or a drop in healthcare investments, will jeopardise the progress made so far.” Jayasree K. Iyer, Executive Director of the Access to Medicine Foundation. 

The companies covered in this research together account for 70% of global pharmaceutical revenues. These companies have been tracked in the Access to Medicine Index since 2008. The Index is now the longest-running independent study of pharmaceutical company behaviour on access to medicine.


Learn more

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