Thursday, November 29, 2012

Big Pharma improves access to medicine

The Big Pharmaceutical companies are slowly improving access of drugs for everyone. After decades of accusations of looking after profits more than the public's health, Big Pharma has taken some positive steps. Some companies are introducing tiered pricing systems that give discounts to poorer nations. They have also been taking steps to give the discounts for a wider range of products.

An annual survey rates how well each pharmaceutical company is doing, and the latest edition has just been released. The Access to Medicine index rakes each company on a range of access issues. Glaxco Smith Kline, Johnson and Johnson and Sanofi rank at the top. you can download the entire report from this link.

Guardian reporter Sarah Boseley has this introduction to the report.   
While British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), whose chief executive Sir Andrew Witty has announced moves to increase access to medicines in the developing world, continues to top the league table, its lead on the rest has shrunk. Two other major pharmaceutical companies, Johnson & Johnson and the vaccine manufacturer Sanofi, are now close behind.
The index ranks 20 leading pharmaceutical companies and is published every two years by the Netherlands-based non-profit Access to Medicines Foundation. It has become an authoritative guide, with input from the World Health Organisation, governments, universities, NGOs and institutional investors.
Drug companies are scored on a range of measures, from their willingness to discount prices in poor countries, to research on neglected diseases of poor people to lobbying, transparency and conduct in clinical trials.
This is the third index and it finds a much greater focus on drug access within drug companies – where it is now often an issue for the board.
"This year's index shows that companies are becoming more organised internally in their approach to access to medicine and that those who do this best tend to perform well across the other aspects we measure. The leaders are really raising the bar," said Wim Leereveld, founder of the index. "It's also clear that companies that do not continue to step up their efforts tend to be overtaken by their peers."

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