|In 2018, the Index reports that four of these companies are implementing or expanding commercial models in Africa that serve people on very low incomes|
| The new Access to Medicine Index notes increasing interest from multinational pharmaceutical companies in doing business in Africa that benefits people on lower incomes. However, the 2018 Index also finds important gaps in where pharmaceutical companies are registering new products on the African continent.
The Access to Medicine Index ranks 20 of the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical companies on how they are improving access to medicine in low- and middle-income countries. In 2018, the Index reports that four of these companies are implementing or expanding commercial models in Africa that serve people on very low incomes. Several of these models focus on products for heart disease, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases, which are on the rise globally.
Capacity building to enable access
“The Index first noted pharmaceutical companies taking a strategic interest in Africa in 2014,” says Gabrielle Breugelmans, Director of Research at the Access to Medicine Foundation, which publishes the Index. “Today, we, see signs that this interest is deepening. The next challenge to ensure the best ideas benefit the poorest people.”
Companies generally first invest in capacity building in markets where there is commercial potential. In the Index analysis, Kenya has the most capacity building initiatives, followed by South Africa and then China. Overall, the Index analysed 141 capacity building initiatives in African countries. The Index analysis only included initiatives that meet local needs for specific capacities and covers 50 of the 54 countries in Africa. Of these, 22 countries have no initiatives that qualified for analysis.
Important gaps: are products available?
“Companies are deepening their focus and working with local partners – we see this as a good sign of long-term commitment to improving health,” says Jayasree K. Iyer, Executive Director of the Access to Medicine Foundation. “To radically ramp up progress, more companies must stay engaged for the long haul.”
The overall ranking, related data points, graphs and figures (e.g., from the Key Findings) in the report are available upon request.
The Access to Medicine Index analyses 20 of the largest research-based pharmaceutical companies with products for high-burden diseases in low- and middle-income countries. It ranks them on their efforts to improve access to medicine in seven areas of corporate behaviour and identifies best practices, highlights where progress is being made and uncovers where critical action is still required. The Index is endorsed by more than 80 investors, collectively managing assets worth more than USD 11 trillion. It is published every two years by the Access to Medicine Foundation, an independent non-profit organisation funded by the UK Government (UK AID), the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.