Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


US leads way on medicine access amid global progress

July 2010

US pharmaceutical companies have improved in the latest Access to Medicine (ATM) index, and now lead an industry showing encouraging signs internationally of providing affordable drugs to the developing world.

In the 2010 index, which weights company performance according to various factors including research and development and patenting, UK-based GlaxoSmithKline again comfortably leads, but US companies, including Gilead, Merck and even the 2008 laggard Pfizer, have performed strongly.

The industry generally has revealed 'important progress' on access to medicines, especially in its pricing, but some European companies, including Bayer and Novo Nordisk, have fallen back.

However, the methodology has changed significantly this year after criticism of the 2008 index. Research and development and pricing have greater importance, and general management and capability are downgraded.

The index was intended to run annually but failed to appear last year because of wranglings over the amount of data it requested from companies (EP11, issue 9, p1). It is funded by organizations, including the Dutch foreign ministry and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is backed by institutional investors.

l Teva Pharmaceutical has been judged one of the most sustainable Israeli companies in this year's Maala Index for Social Responsibility. Teva, which employs more than 35,000 people worldwide and  had a turnover of $14billion (£9.2bn, €11.2bn) in 2009, scored especially well on community involvement. It was the only pharmaceuticals business in the top group of 17.

Access to Medicine | Global | Benchmarking

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