For more than a decade, Mercy Investment Services and other shareholders have pushed for equitable global access and affordability of medicines, vaccines and diagnostic testing. The COVID-19 pandemic magnified this need, and shareholders have continued to press companies to increase access to these lifesaving resources in low- and middle-income countries. The Access to Medicine Foundation’s biennial Access to Medicine Index ranks companies’ progress making their products available across the globe, as well as their research and development (R&D) of treatments for emerging infectious diseases.
The index assesses 20 pharmaceutical companies’ progress increasing access and delivery of their products to low- and middle-income countries, identifies best practices and demonstrates where action is most needed. Key findings of the recently released index include:
- All 20 companies have an access to medicine strategy for the first time since the inaugural index in 2008.
- Fifty percent of companies are making patented products available for generic manufacturing, which can increase availability, supply and affordability.
- Companies have improved their plans to promote access earlier in the R&D phase.
- Most access plans focus on upper-middle income countries, rather than low-income countries.
- GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca scored the highest overall in the index’s rankings.
- Companies are lacking R&D plans for emerging infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases.
Mercy Investment Services, which actively engages half of the companies in the index, will use the index during the 2023 shareholder advocacy season to press these companies to increase access to vital medicines and resources in communities across the globe.