The London-based event was held to mark the launch of the Foundation’s Company Profiles report, which looks at five major players in the generics industry – Cipla, Hikma, Sun Pharma, Teva, and Viatris. The report includes specific Opportunities that have been identified for each company to improve access to its products in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), as well as wider analysis and standout examples.
Investors attending the event in London reflected on how best to use their collective power to drive change in the generics industry, and shared experiences and valuable insights which can serve as a starting point for further action and collaboration. The takeaways are briefly summarised below, with more details set out in the two-page report of the event.
6 key takeaways
1. There are real opportunities for investors in the generics industry.
If generics companies do invest in expanding access in LMICs – for example, by launching their products in additional markets and taking intentional steps to make sure they reach the people who need them – then not only is there a positive outcome for patients living in these countries, but investors may see sustainable, long-term returns as sales volumes increase.
2. The Analytical Framework and Company Profiles are useful tools for investors.
Investors have previously succeeded in leveraging the findings of the Access to Medicine Index to urge research-based companies to prioritise access. Now, two publications from the Foundation’s new Generic & Biosimilar Medicines Programme – both the Analytical Framework (February 2023) and the Company Profiles (September 2023) – provide investors with an effective blueprint to guide meaningful engagements with generic and biosimilar medicine manufacturers.
3. Investors care about ESG, so generics companies will benefit from stepping up access to medicine in the long term.
Panellists stressed the importance of generics companies developing sustainable business models that consider access to medicine in LMICs, and the importance of prioritising this long-term opportunity over short-term returns, as companies that do this will be better positioned to adapt to regulatory changes and tap into new growth potential in emerging markets.
4. Investors play a critical role in ensuring that the Foundation’s findings lead to concrete change.
Investors can serve as a vital avenue for engaging with companies at the board level and securing the necessary board-level buy-in and endorsement to drive progress towards the outlined Opportunities.
5. There are specific considerations concerning biosimilars.
There has been a phenomenal wave of innovation in biologics, and biosimilars in particular can prove to be an attractive investment opportunity due to their strong post-patent growth rates. There are significant challenges that can inhibit access to these products in LMICs, but investors can stress the importance of integrating access considerations into investee companies' strategies for their biosimilar products.
6. For investors concerned by antimicrobial resistance (AMR), engaging generics companies on this issue is key.
The vast majority of antimicrobials (e.g., antibiotics) are manufactured by generic medicine manufacturers. AMR is a major risk to global health, and lack of appropriate access to the right antimicrobial products is a significant driver of AMR. The Foundation already collaborates with investors as part of the IAAMR Initiative, but there is scope for more holistic approaches.